8 Basic Knots for Rock Climbers (for print)
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Gurus of rope tricks among climbers can certainly show more than these 8 basic knots. However, these are the knots I use again and again and they are all I need to know for regular rock climbing.
- Figure-Eight Loop. This absolutely essential knot is a standard way of tying rope to your harness. Take time to make it neat, non-crisscrossed, as it eases untying dramatically.
- Double Fisherman’s Knot. The strongest knot for connecting two ropes or two tails of a cord to form a loop. Eats quite a bit of rope, and is a pain to untie after being loaded, but totally safe.
- Figure-Eight Bend. Alternative to Double Fisherman’s for binding two ropes, but muuuuch easier to untie. My favorite.
- Water Knot. Perfect knot for tying webbing! Also, my choice for tying accessory cords for loops. It’s slightly weaker than Figure 8 bend, but quick to tie, and uses very little rope.
- Clove hitch. Can’t praise this one enough. Great for tying to the anchor (allows readjusting of the length of your anchor without the need to untie first). Another use: slinging a horn for pro with this knot fixes the sling in place.
- Klemheist. My beloved friction knot. Faster to tie than Prusik, easier to loosen after load, but works only in one direction. Work with slings too.
- Munter hitch. For safe belaying (much better friction than belay plates or figure 8). Can be used for emergency rappel too, but the rope suffers from twisting.
- Girth hitch. So simple and so many uses: attach a sling to the rappel loop on your harness for clipping in; quickly connect two loops of cord; sling a piton with it.
And while you are at it, why not to learn 3 more knots that every climber may find occasionally useful: Mule knot (for locking off your belay/rappel device to free your hands), Bowline (a loop that is really easy to untie, however, be careful) and Alpine Butterfly (for tying in to the middle of rope).