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How To Tie Knots and Hitches

    Technically, a knot forms a loop or noose, fastens two ends of the same cord, or creates a "stopper" in the end of the rope. A bend joins two free ends together, and a hitch grips a shaft or another rope. Rope, cordage and webbing is strongest when loaded in a strait line. When you bend the rope or web to create a knot, the strength of the rope is reduced.

Knot Strenth
No Knot 100%
Figure Eight 70-75%
Double Bowline 70-75%
Double Fisherman's 65-70%
Water Knot 60-70%
Overhand Knot 60-70%
Clove Hitch 60-70%
Square Knot 45%


Overhand Knot
    Probably the simplest knot in existence. Usually used as a stopper knot, but a double overhand is preferable.

Double Overhand Knot
    Better as a stopper knot than the Overhand, as it is less likely to pull through.

Tautline Hitch
    This knot is the standard for tying out tents in rough weather. This knot will slip up and down the rope by hand, but not by tention. You can also fix a draw-string sack with this knot.

Bowline
    The bowline is easy to adjust and untie. Beware, though, that if tied incorrectly in can be unsafe. You should really tie a stopper knot in the loop with the loose end to prevent it from pulling through.

Yosemite Bowline
    This is a variant of the basic bowline which gets around the problem of the knot loosening itself by taking the end of the rope and threading it back through the knot. This is a neat alternative to using a half-hitch to secure the end of the rope and the resulting knot has the strength of a figure of eight.

Bowline on the bight
    This is another double loop knot suitable for rigging Y-belays. It has the advantage that is is a bit less bulky than the figure-of-eight on the bight.

Fisherman's Knot
    Probably the simplest knot for joining two ends of rope. Consists of two overhand knots.

Double Fisherman's Knot
    Better than the Fisherman's Knot, this uses two double overhand knots. Good knot, as it can be difficult to untie. Check regularly for the loose ends getting shorter, and if so, re-tie. Tighten with body weight.

Overhand Loop
    This is the simplest way to create a closed loop in the middle of a rope. Difficult to untie after loading.

Alpine Butterfly
    A good knot for rebelays or for tying rub points out of a rope. Its main advantage is that the two strands of rope emerging from the knot are at 180 degrees to one another rather than emerging in the same direction as in a figure-of-eight for example. This makes it a good mid-rope knot and good for rebelays because it has greater strength than a figure-of-eight if the rebelay fails.

Sheet Bend
    Occasionaly used to join the ends of ropes, may be adjusted easily, but can also come undone easily.

Constrictor Knot
    A new knot useful to cavers and climbers was invented early this century by Clarence Ashley himself. He calls it "the constrictor knot". It is enormously resistant to coming undone. Ashley claims it can be used in a pinch as a radiator hose-clamp.

Figure-of-Eight
    The Figure-of-Eight knot is probably the most useful of all climbing knots. It is easy to tie, easy to undo after a load has been applied, and puts the least stress on the rope when tied tight. It can be tied anywhere in the rope, but if it's near the end, it should be secured with a stopper knot to prevent the knot from un-doing itself.
    There are generally two methods used to tie a figure of eight knot. The first method is used when a piece of equipment is clipped into the loop, the second when the knot is used to tie into something, for example, a climbing harness.

Figure-of-Eight Re-Threaded
    The above re-threaded method is usually used to tie into a harness, and is just a case of making a figure-of-eight on the single rope, looping through the harness, and following the knot back through itself.

Double Figure-of-Eight on the Bight
    This double loop knot is most commonly used for rigging Y-belays. The nature of the knot means that it is reasonably easy to adjust the loops by moving rope from one of the loops to the other.

Figure-of-Nine
    The figure-of-nine knot can be used as an alternative to the figure-of-eight. It is very similar to a figure-of-eight with just an extra turn before finishing the knot. It is a little bulkier than the figure-of-eight but has greater strength.

Italian/Munter Hitch
    An excellent self-reversing friction knot suitable for belaying people when climbing or using a ladder. It can also be used for abseiling and gives a smoother ride than a stitcht plate (IMHO).
    This one is worth learning for all those occasions when you forget your Stitcht plate or descender.

Farmers hitch
    This knot is excellent for tying in the middle of a climbing rope, for rebelays, for lashings of many kinds -- anyplace a loop that leads fair both ways in wanted. The method for putting it in is simplicity itself:
Take three turns of the rope round your hand, then:
1. Move center part (b) over right part.
2. Move new center part (c) over left part.
3. Move new center part (a) over right part.
4. Pull new center part (b) up to form the loop
5. For most satisfying results, remove hand before fairing or loading knot.

Clove Hitch
    The clove hitch is easily adjusted when place, but is not a particularly strong knot. If one side of the knot is to be loaded, place the diagonal underneath. If both sides are to be loaded, place the diagonal at the top. Tighten before loading, as it may run if loaded when loose.

Highwayman's Hitch
    This knot can bear one's weight on one strand of the rope and can be untied by just pulling on the other strand. End 'B' is the load-bearing end. NOT RECOMMENDED for climbing, but excellent for robbing stagecoaches, when you want to get away quick with your rope.

Girth Hitch/Lark's Foot
    Quick knot, but weak. Best avoided.


Ascending Knots
    Five ascending knots are shown in all, each have their advantages and disadvantages. Try them all out, and see which you prefer.


Prusik Loop

The Kleimheist

The Hedden Knot, also known as Kreutzklem
    First published in 1960 in Summit Magazine. In 1964, the name Kreutzklem was attached to it by someone in the German mountain troops who was shown it by an officer serving in the US Air Force. The Kreutzklem name (cross-clamp) was applied because the original inventor (Chet Hedden) got lost somewhere along the way when it was shown to different people in Europe.

The French Prusik

The Bachmann