5 Useful Rock Climbing Knots

Looking for 5 useful rock climbing knots? A sailor’s worth used to be determined in part by the number of knots he could tie. Times have changed, and instead of men tying useful knots only at sea, their fates are often in the hands of the winds. Men using knots today are likely to be scaling a mountain, muscle against rock. While rock climbing equipment has improved to allow more people to climb higher and more safely, when rigging up for technical climbing, good knot tying can mean the difference between life and death.

  1. The most basic rock climbing knot is the overhand knot. It looks like a pretzel and most school kids know it. Simply make a loop, feed the working end of the rope through the loop and pull.
  2. The most common knot in rock climbing is the figure eight loop. Once this knot cinches down, it is tough, and consequently tough to get out. Start by making a loop and holding both ends of the rope in one hand. Feed the working end around the inactive end and then through the loop. Then, pull.
  3. A useful rock climbing knot to know is the double figure eight. It's popular among top ropers and offers a way to equalize pressure on two ropes. As with the single figure eight, make a loop by doubling the rope back. Allow a lot of slack, about eight inches of doubled rope. Now use this loop as if it were a single piece of rope and make a loop out of it. Feed the two working ends around the inactive end and the through the loop as above. Pull.
  4. A clove hitch can be used to tie a rock climbing rope directly to a carabiner. Make two loops by looping one end of the rope forward and the other backward. Match the two loops, one atop the other. Slip the open side of the carabiner into the center hole and pull the ends tight.
  5. The fisherman’s knot is simply two overhand knots laced together. It can be used to attach two ropes. Another version of this knot is useful when only one rope end is available. In that case, both loops are made by circling the rope with the action end around the static rope twice. It is tied off by looping the action end through the loophole.

It’s best to see the knots tied in person and practice with someone skilled in knot tying. If a warm body isn’t available, there are many animated sites on the internet to help you learn these useful rock climbing knots.

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