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Tying Knots

By Rebecca Gonzales - March 14th, 2002

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It's important to know how to tie your knots correctly because mistakes can be fatal.
  • Always tie into both your belt and leg loops.
  • Always double check your and your partner's knot.
  • Always double-back your harness.

The Figure Eight
I can't say enough good things about this knot because it is secure and easy to tie. It is also easily apparent when it is tied incorrectly. In addition to the diagram, follow these instructions:

  1. Tie a single eight by twisting a loop twice and running an end through. Make sure to leave two to three feet at the end.
  2. Run the free end through your harness and leg loops and retrace the figure eight. Retracing is the complicated part, so make sure you do it correctly.
  3. Try to tie the knot as close to your harness as possible.
  4. Pull tightly on the knot from all four extensions and tie a double fisherman's knot as a back-up.

The Double Bowline
Despite its wonderful quality of being easy to untie after hanging and falling, it consequently has been known to loosen on its own when unattended, such as on a big wall. It is also not as easy to recognize if tied incorrectly. However, with proper supervision, and a secure back-up knot, it can also be used as a knot for climbing.

  1. Twist two coils and take the free end from the bottom and pass it through your harness and leg loops. Try to get the knot very close to your harness.
  2. Then send the free end back up the coils from below and around the standing strand (which is now coming up from beneath the coils).
  3. Pass the free end back down the coils, outside the coils, and back up through the loop you just created and tie a double fisherman's as a back-up knot.
  4. Tighten everything.



I use the Bowline with a Yosemite finish and grapevine back up knot to tie into my harness for sport climbing. (Don't use it for Trad). I seen many climbers tying the knot using an outside/Spanish bowline instead, which I don't believe is correct. However, I haven't seen any documents that specificall say that it is unsafe or not as strong. Any info on this subject?
Jim :-)

Posted on July 1, 2011 - 1:40pm
by Jim Southward

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