If you are venturing into rock climbing, tying your shoes is not the only thing you will want to be good at; there are several important knots you will want to have at your fingertips too for you to nail the sport. Efficient knot tying is essential. Your life technically depends on it!
For beginners, knowing how to tie climbing knots by heart requires practice. We have listed 20 rock climbing knots that are easy to tie, easy to recognize, and hard to forget. Familiarize yourself with them, study them, and rehearse them until you can’t get any wrong.
Knot Tying Terminology
To understand climbing knots, you need to get acquainted with other essential terms associated with rope management. Read on!
- Knot: A fastening made by twining or looping your climbing rope on itself and tightening it.
- Hitch: Connects your rope to another rope or object like a carabiner.
- Bight: A section between the two ends of your rope.
- Bend: A knot used to connect two ropes.
- Working end: The side of the rope that you are using during knot tying.
- Standing end: The side of the rope that you are not using during knot tying.
20 Essential Climbing Knots For Safe Ascent And Descent
While there are many types of rock climbing knots recorded today, you need to master only a few to get by. The following will get you started.
1. Figure 8 Knot
Figure 8 is the most commonly used knot when attaching the rope to the climbing harness. It is strong and pretty easy to tie, which is perhaps the reason it is the first knot that most climbers learn. It is also very safe, as it only tightens when loaded; though this can make it hard to untie. This is one of the knots you will use every time you go rock climbing, which is why it is vital to get the hang of it.
2. Grapevine Knot (Double Fisherman’s Knot)
Grapevine knot is two double overhand knots drawn together. When joining two ropes, this is the knot you should have in mind. Once, it is weighted, you cannot untie it easily. You can make a triple Grapevine by using three double overhand knots.
3. Clove Hitch
The Clove Hitch is an essential anchoring knot that a climber uses to tie their rope into the carabiner. It is fairly easy to undo after it has been weighted and unravels quickly when it is unclipped from the carabiner. Clove Hitch is a great binding knot. However, you should use it with caution because if the carabiner or any other object is secured to rotates, the hitch can come undone. The good thing about Clove Hitch? You can even do it with a single hand.
4. Lark’s Foot (Girth Hitch)
Lark’s foot is the most common knot for attaching a safety tether (personal anchor, personal tether) to your harness. Having a safety tether in place while climbing on rock outcrops is important, as it enables you to clip into safety lines easily when setting anchors, adjusting your climbing helmet or harness, or doing any other edgework.
5. Overhead Bend (European Death Knot)
The Overhead Bend is the simplest and most effective way to connect two rappel ropes. The coolest thing about these knots is that they flatten out when weighted, hence they do not stick on the wall when the rope is pulled down.
6. Prusik Knot
You use the Prusik knot when you want to make a cord loop around your rope. This knot is easily adjustable and grips securely when weighted. It is commonly applied in rock climbing, mountaineering, canyoneering, rope rescue, and caving.
7. Ring Bend (Water Knot)
The Ring Bend is one of the rock climbing knots used to connect two ropes. However, it is mostly used to connect two flat pieces of fabric or material such as nylon or polyester. Nylon webbing is used in climbing backpacks, harnesses, anchor extensions, slings, and runners. If you want to join two webbing straps, this is the knot to go for.
8. Bowline Knot
Another knot you can use to connect your climbing harness to the rope is the Bowline knot. It is not as popular as Figure 8 perhaps because it is not as easy to tie. However, when perfected, it can be made with a single hand and can be an excellent knot for attaching the end of your rope to almost anything.
9. Figure 8 Knot On A Bight
Whenever you need to make a loop between the two sides of your rope, the Figure 8 knot on a bait should be your number one option. It is ‘on a bight’ because it is made at the center of the climbing rope and not toward the end. Figure 8 on a bight is super strong, which makes it convenient for carrying an extra heavy load.
10. Butterfly Knot
The Butterfly knot is also tied in the middle of the rope. If you are climbing as a group, this is the perfect knot to use on the middle members of the team, as it does not deform when pulled in either direction.
11. Triple Overhand Knot (Barrel Knot)
The Triple Overhand is a vital knot when belaying or rappelling. It closes the system to ensure that the end of your climbing rope does not accidentally slip through your belay device.
12. Stopper Knot
Also known as a Double Overhand knot or Single Fisherman’s knot, the Stopper knot is a great knot for when you want to backup other knots. When using the Stopper knot as a backup, you must secure it as close as possible to the knot you are backing up. This will keep your rope from slipping.
13. Munter Hitch
Drop your rappel or belay device and you will be thankful that you took the time to learn the Munter Hitch. It will give you a simple, elegant backup solution for rappelling and belaying. If you are a beginner, make sure to practice rappelling and belaying with a Munter Hitch before you attempt it by yourself outdoors.
14. Klemheist Knot
Though most people refer to it as a knot, the Klemheist knot is not categorized under rock climbing knots. It is a unique friction hitch that can be secured both with nylon webbing and cord. The main purpose of Klemheist is to grasp the rope for a downward pull. It is therefore important that you tie it carefully.
15. Autoblock Knot
Autoblock is yet another favorite rope gripping hitch for climbers. Unlike Klemheist, this one allows gripping from either direction. The Autoblock knot will come in handy when you want to back up rappels. And since the heat from the friction will be absorbed by the cord rather than your hand, you will also be able to rappel faster.
16. The Monkey’s Fist Knot
When you want to throw your rope, say, up to a route setter, over bushes, or a ledge, this is the knot you make to attach some weight to the end of the rope. Weighting the end of your rope allows you to throw it much further and the Monkey’s knot will help you with that. It is one of the easiest rock climbing knots to tie.
17. Slip Knot
Sometimes you may need a temporary tie for your equipment, a backup tie to an anchor, or just a quick utility knot, and a Slip knot would be a great choice. How these knot works are that when you pull one side of the rope, the knot slips tight and when you pull the other, the knot pulls out. A Slip knot is easy to tie. When done right, it provides excellent anchorage.
18. Stevedore Knot (Double Figure 8)
The Stevedore knot is made toward the end of the climbing rope so that the end doesn’t unveil, pass back through a rappel/belay device, block or hole, or slip through another knot. It is bulkier and less likely to jam than the Figure 8 knot.
19. Blake’s Hitch
Named after Jason Blake, Blake’s Hitch is a slide and grip hitch used by climbers for the ascent. Unlike most of the climbing hitches, Blake’s Hitch is created using one end of the rope rather than looping the rope. This is a very stable knot but you can always back it up with a stopper knot for added safety. Many climbers prefer Blake’s Hitch over other hitches because it is not prone to jamming.
20. Distel Hitch
Another knot you can use to attach your rope to the carabiner is the Distel Hitch. This knot is similar to Prusik but has a more consistent grip that allows climbers to control their ropes effectively. It grips in only one direction, making it suitable for roping up. When set and dressed correctly, Distel Hitch usually does not jam or slip.
Q: What Knots Are Used For Rock Climbing?
The most common knots in rock climbing include Figure 8 knot, Double Fisherman’s knot, Clove Hitch, Girth Hitch, European Death knot, Prusik knot, Water knot, Bowline knot, Figure 8 knot on a bight, Butterfly knot, Barrel knot, Stopper knot, Munter hitch, Klemheist knot, Autoblock knot, The Monkey’s Fist knot, Slip knot, Stevedore knot, Blake’s Hitch and Distel Hitch.
Q: How Do You Tie A Climbing Knot?
To tie a climbing knot, you must first know the type of knot you want, what purpose you need it to serve, and importantly, make sure your rope is sturdy enough to handle a weighted knot. There are different ways to tie different knots. Practice a few essential ones to ensure correct tying and anchoring.
Q: How Do You Tie A Carabiner Knot?
To tie a carabiner knot (Clove Hitch), hold the rope in your hands and cross it over itself to form a loop. Repeat the process to create a second loop. Next, grab the second loop and move it behind the first loop and clip them both with a carabiner. Then pull both strands tight to dress the hitch.
Q: How Do You Tie A Barrel Knot?
To tie a barrel knot, wrap the rope over your palm such that the working side passes underneath your hand. Pass the working end over your palm, to form an X with the standing side. Wrap the working end again over your palm so that you have two strands crossing the standing side. Slip the working end under the three loops starting from near your thumb, slide the rope carefully off your hand, and pull both ends to tighten the knot.
Q: What Is The Best Knot To Tie Two Ropes Together?
Double Fisherman’s knot is the best and safest knot to tie two ropes together. It is very difficult to unfasten once it has been weighted, which makes it perfect for Prusik. This is a permanent knot; once heavily loaded, it cannot be untied.
Q: What Is The Strongest Knot?
Figure 8 on a bight is the strongest knot for climbers. Because of this, it is commonly used to tie a climber onto an anchor. It is also easy to unfasten even after being tightened. Since the knot is formed in the middle of the rope, figure 8 on a bight is also often used to tie middle members of a rope team.
Globo Surf Overview
Safety should be your number one priority whenever you take up an outdoor sport. When it comes to rock climbing, having the right equipment is not enough; you need to know how to use it to ensure your safety.
Your rope is one of the most essential pieces of climbing gear, and knowing how to make the right knots can mean the difference between an adventurous day and a disastrous one. This guide summarizes the most essential rock climbing knots to set you up for safe climbing. Make sure to practice them thoroughly before you venture into this thrilling pursuit.