As a rappeller, your safety comes down to a myriad of factors. However, one of the biggest factors is how you tie the rappelling knots. If you are just getting started with rappelling, you may not be familiar with the types of knots to use.
Understanding the knots for rappelling is the first step to making sure you are doing everything correctly when preparing to rappel. In this article, we will take you through the best rappelling knots.
The Best Knots for Rappelling
1. Figure 8 Knot
The figure 8 knot is primarily used when putting loops at the end of the line. In some instances, the knot is used anywhere along the climbing rope.
The figure 8 knot is easy to tie and untie. It retains approximately 80 to 90% of the rope’s breaking strength, depending on the type of line you are using.
2. Fisherman’s Knot
This is one of the rappelling knots you would utilize when linking 2 separate pieces of line together. It often comes in handy when the lines feature varying diameters.
The fisherman’s knot is super compact, tough, and it does not get loose easily on accident. This makes it extremely reliable when you need to extend the length of your beginner climbing rope.
3. Square Knot
Typically, this knot is used when linking 2 ropes together as with cinching. However, this is one of the weaker knots for rappelling considering that it only retains 50 to 60% of the lines breaking strength.
Although the square knot strength may be increased by securing it with overhand knots on the ends, we do not recommend it for linking rappelling lines. It doesn’t give the same strength as the double fisherman and figure 8 knots.
4. Water Knot
Also known as the Ring Bend knot, the water knot is ideal for linking webbing together. The water knot is simply an Overhand knot but with the thread going the inverse direction with each other. When done correctly, it looks like a large overhand knot. The knot retains 80% breaking strength.
5. Bowline Knot
This knot is ideal for making loops at the end of the rope or linking the line to climbing anchors. It is also pretty easy to wrap the knot around cylindrical fixtures and trees.
Tying and untying the knot is a breeze. To improve the knot’s safety, you may want to make sure that the tail is fastened to the bowline loop using the overhand knot.
6. Double Fisherman Knot
This knot is similar to the Fisherman’s knot with the addition of another loop on each side of the knot. When done correctly, the double fisherman’s knot is extremely secure. It is capable of retaining 70 to 80% of the line’s breaking strength.
If after wearing your climbing helmet and climbing pants you find yourself in a situation where you need to link 2 or more pieces of webbing together for rappelling, this is one of the knots for rappelling you can use.
7. Double Overhand Knot
Sometimes called the European Death Knot, the double overhand knot has gained a lot of popularity among rappellers. It is often used to tie ropes together. The knot is both easy and fast to tie, making it a perfect option for when you do not have time to concentrate on complicated knots.
The double overhand knot has minimal bulk. This makes it less likely to snag and stick the rope. The knot is, however, not ideal for joining ropes featuring varying diameters – when used on these types of ropes, they tend to untie unexpectedly which can cause fatal accidents.
8. Square Fisherman’s Knot
This is a square knot that is backed with a double fisherman’s knot on both sides. It is one of the rappelling knots owing its popularity to the ease of untying.
If you decide to use this knot, you should always use the backup knots or you will risk the knot coming untied when you would least want it to. A square knot alone is never ideal for rappelling or any type of climbing.
9. Triple Barrel Knot
This is the knot of choice for closing the system when rappelling. It does the critical job of making sure that the end of the rope cannot accidentally feed through the belay device. The knot is clean, it stays tied, and makes a functional stopping point for the climbing rope.
10. Alpine Butterfly Knot
This climbing knot produces a strongly fixed loop in the middle of the climbing rope. The knot is easy to untie even after loading in multiple directions. When rappelling, it is the knot of choice for passing a damaged rope section. It is also an ideal option for shortening a rope.
Q: How Do You Tie A Rappelling Knot?
When tying a rappelling knot, you have to decide how you want to use that knot. For example, if your goal is to link 2 or more pieces of webbing together, you will need to follow the steps for tying the double fisherman’s knot. If your goal is to create a stopping point, following the instructions for the triple barrel knot may be a good idea.
Q: How Do You Rappel Without Leaving Gear?
The best way to rappel without leaving gear is to set up a retrievable rope rappel. When using this option, you will need to be careful to avoid additional risks which are often a result of retrievable rappelling techniques.
Q: How Do You Rig A Carabiner for Rappelling?
There are various ways of rigging a carabiner for rappelling. However, the quickest way involves building a webbing anchor and attaching the end of the climbing rope to the anchor using a figure 8 knot and the locking carabiner.
Globo Surf Overview
A large number of knots for rappelling do exist. Most of the rappelling knots will have varying uses. You must choose the strongest knots for each purpose and stick with them. By doing this, you will be familiar with the knots to the point where tying and untying them will be extremely easy.