There are of course many knots and variations that climbers could use, but here we consider the main knots that it is essential for every climber to know:
Prusik Loop: A cord knot that clamps onto a thicker rope under load. Actually two variations on the original Prusik Knot as designed by Dr Prusik. These variations (The French Prusik/Autoblock and the Kleimheist) are less prone to jamming than the original Prusik. What we shall loosely term Prusik knots have numerous uses - here are a few:
1. Make a loop in one end.
7. Pull the knot tight. If it is to be a permanent fastening, then put a lot of weight on it to tighten it really well.
A Triple Fisherman's is tied the same way except that each half of the knot is made with three loops. It is mainly used for tying Dyneema cord which is much more prone to slippage.
Tape Knot: A simple knot used to tie two ends of a length of nylon tape together to make a loop or sling, and it is of particular use when setting up abseils. In these illustrations we have used two different coloured tapes to make it clearer - normally of course you would be tying opposite ends of the same piece of tape. It should not be used for tying Dyneema tape which is much more slippery. Dyneema tape should be professionally sewn.
1. Tie a loose overhand knot in one end, making sure it is laid neatly - ie not twisted.
4. ....then tighten the knot really tight by applying lots of weight to it.
Top Tip: Don't sew or use sticky tape to secure the ends as the knot can work loose and then work its way along and off one of the ends! Leave the ends free.
Clove Hitch: A very simple, quick to tie knot that is the ideal knot to use when setting up belays as it can be tied anywhere in a rope, without needing to find an end, adjusted on the bight (ie without taking it off the karabiner), and uses up very little rope. It also comes undone easily no matter how much force has been applied to it.
1. Make a double loop in the rope by winding it round your fingers twice.
First Figure of Eight on a Bight (a bight is a loop in the rope).
This is mainly used when you need to clip a rope into something (eg an abseil point).
1. Take a bight (ie a folded over bit) of rope.
2. Make a loop in the bight.
Secondly a Figure of Eight Threaded.
This is mainly used for tying into a harness.
1. Make a loop in the rope.
Stopper Knot: Whatever Figure 8 Knot or Bowline you tie you should always finish it off with a Stopper Knot, which is basically half a Double Fisherman's.
1. Wind the tail of the rope round the rope twice to form two loops, making sure that the second loop is between the first loop and the knot....
Bowline: For many years the knot of choice for tying onto a harness, but recently rather superceded by the Figure of Eight which is a bit more foolproof. However it has some advantages over a Figure of Eight, foremost of which is that it is much easier to undo, especially when a load has been applied to the rope. Unlike the Figure of Eight, it is very easy to adjust without undoing it, and it is the easiest knot to use if you want to tie off a rope around a tree or boulder.
1. Make a loop in the rope and take the tail round the object you want to tie off. Lay the knot in such away that the loop is on top of the main rope.
4. Here's a close up.
A good way of remembering the bowline is to think of the end of the rope as the "Rabbit", the loop as the "Hole", and the main part of the rope as the "Tree". The rabbit comes out of the hole, goes round the tree, and then goes back down the hole again.
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