Proper Rope Tying for Rock Climbing

Proper Rope Tying for Rock Climbing
Rock climbers depend on several basic knots and hitches in their routines. It is crucial to your safety as well as your climbing partners that you know how to tie these knots second nature. Many of these knots can be used for more than one purpose. All knots must be made neatly without extra twists in the rope. These are six knots you should practice until you can practically do them in your sleep.


Difficulty: Moderate

Things You’ll Need:
  • 9 mm to 11 mm dynamic climbing rope
  • 9 mm to 11 mm dynamic climbing rope
Step 1
Tie a figure eight knot if you want to tie a rope to your harness or a figure eight on a bight for a sturdy loop that can be easily untied after carrying a load. To tie a rewoven figure eight, make a loose figure eight with at least 2 to 3 feet of extra rope. Use the extra rope and retrace the figure eight, feeding the end back through, then tighten.
Step 2
To tie a figure eight on a bight, make a bight (a crimp in the rope) and make a figure eight with the double strands of the folded rope and tighten. The end of the bight will be pulled through the end of the figure eight, creating a loop.
Step 3
Tie a bowline knot for the use of securing the rope around a tree or other anchor. This knot creates a loop at the end of the rope that doesn't slip. It is also useful for setting up tarps and tying the guy lines to trees. To make a bowline, create a small loop in the rope and pass the loose end of the rope under and through it. Pass it around the back of the standing end of the rope and pass the end of the rope back down through the loop again. Pull it tight and tie off the loose end with an overhand knot.
Step 4
Tie a double fisherman's knot to attach the ends of two ropes together for rappelling. This is less bulky than two rewoven figure eight knots and so has a lesser chance of getting hung up on features when pulling the rope down. To do this, use the ends of two ropes and tie an over hand knot with one of them around the other but make two loops around the rope before making the overhand knot and tightening. Use the other rope and do the same on the first rope. Pull the ends tight.
Step 5
Tie a butterfly knot to make handles in a rope for a rope team making a traverse or in any instance when the rope may be pulled on from either direction. The butterfly knot can uphold a pull from either end of the rope and not come undone.
Step 6
Tie a clove hitch to quickly clip your climbing rope into a carabiner that is attached to an anchor. This knot is an easy way to attach to the anchor while maintaining maneuverability so the rope length can be adjusted between the belayer and anchor. The clove hitch can also be used to tie off partially driven pitons.
Step 7
Tie a simple girth hitch knot anytime you need to attach something. Usually webbing is used with a girth hitch to attach to a pack's haul loop, for example.

Article Written By Naomi Judd

Naomi M. Judd is a naturalist, artist and writer. Her work has been published in various literary journals, newspapers and websites. Judd holds a self-designed Bachelor of Arts in adventure writing from Plymouth State University and is earning a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing from the University of Southern Maine.

Don't Miss a Thing!

All our latest outdoor content delivered to your inbox once a week.



We promise to keep your email address safe and secure.