The clove hitch is a commonly used general utility hitch. Use it for attaching a rope to a carabiner, or for temporarily securing a rope to a cylindrical object, such as a tree or post. It is made up of two single hitches, one superimposed on the other. It gets its name by resembling a cloven hoof.
There are two ways to tie a clove hitch: making loops in a rope, and tying a rope around an object. The loop method can either be two-handed when both hands are free, or one-handed when only one hand is free.
Two-handed loop method for tying a clove hitch:
- Make a loop with the working end crossing behind the rope.
- Make another loop to the right of the first loop.
- Take the right loop and place it over, or on top of, the left loop.
- Clip both loops to the carabiner.
- Pull tight to secure.
One-handed loop method for tying a clove hitch:
- Clip the rope running from the harness into the carabiner. The rope in front of the carabiner is from the harness; as it extends behind the carabiner, it is going to the belayer.
- With wrist face down, grab the portion of the rope going to the belayer.
- Make the loops by turning the wrist face up.
- Clip that loop into the carabiner next to the rope that is already there.
Tying the rope around an object using a clove hitch:
- Wrap the rope one time around the object. Make sure the direction of the rope is from front to back. If the cylindrical object is horizontal, make sure the rope goes over the top of the object, not under it.
- When the first wrap around is complete, start a second wrap around by crossing the rope over the first wrap. The crossover will be in front and will go to the left of the first wrap.
- Once the second wrap is around the object and to the front, pass the rope under the loop that the second wrap made. At this point, the two ends of the rope will be going in opposite directions and the shape of the knot will resemble a pretzel.
- Tighten by pulling the ends of the rope.
Never use a clove hitch when there is a danger of it slipping off an object. This hitch works best when there is tension pulling on it at both ends at the same time. If there is no pull, or if the pull in intermittent, it can loosen.