Knots, Hitches and Bends Construction for Rock Climbing: What You Need to Know

If you want to know the ins and outs of tying layered knots, hitches, and bends correctly every time, you’ve come to the right place! Knowing how to safely and securely construct and check your knots, hitches, and bends is essential before attempting any type of rock climbing, and this article will provide you with the helpful tips and tricks you need to ensure your safety.


Overview of Knot Building

Knot building is the basis of successfully rock climbing. To build knots properly, a climber must know the types of climbing knots they wish to use, the anatomy of a secured knot, and the different ways of confirming knot security. There are three main types of ropes that a climber needs to be aware of when building knots: static ropes, dynamic ropes, and full strength ropes. Additionally, all knots need to be tied loosely to ensure that the rope runs through the knot without offending or reduplicating any fibers. Always take the time to inspect your knots before proceeding to the next step.

Common Climbing Knots

The most commonly used knots for rock climbing are the bowline knot, double figure 8, the clove hitch and the overhand knot. Each of these knots has a different purpose and has features that make them more preferable for certain types of climbing. For instance, the bowline knot provides strong tension and is great at stopping rope slippage. The double figure 8 controls rope movement while providing strength. The clove hitch is more dynamic and can be quickly and easily undone, which is beneficial in activities involving multiple ropes, and the overhand knot is great for tying the rope to oneself or an object.

Tying Technique

It is important to remember to apply proper tension when tying the rope. Carefully examine the knot for symmetry and for any extra loops. Don’t be afraid to undo and retie the knots until it ties evenly. You also want to try to keep the knot as small as possible to reduce excess bulk. Once the knot is finalized, always check for maximum tension as well as gradual resistance to the pull. You will then want to tie the knot-off at the end. This can be done by using a double fisherman or tucking two ends of the rope and elastically securing it.

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Types of Hitches

The most common hitches used in rock climbing are the clove hitch, french prusik, Klemheist, Bachmann and Italian hitches. The clove hitch is used to secure a rope to a pole or a tree and is usually used as a back-up. The french prusik is a loop tied around the rope which is then tightened and locked in place with the aid of a carabiner or a webbing loop. The Klemheist is a good option when trying to attach a rope to something that you need to later adjust, because it is easily adjustable and doesn’t slip when pressure is applied. The Bachmann is stronger than the Prusik and prevents the rope from sliding under pressure. Lastly, the Italian hitch is used for attaching a rope to a belay or rappel point.

Ways to Tie Hitches

When tying hitches, the knot needs to be adequately secured, allowing for enough tension so that it does not slip or come undone. An easy way to start a hitch is to loop the rope in half and create a big loop. Then the loop should be thread through the anchor point and cinched to complete the knot. The clove hitch can be tied directly to the anchor point, while the Bachmann and French Prusik need to be secured to the anchor point through a looping process. Once the hitch is tied, give it a firm tug to ensure that it is secure and won’t come undone while climbing.

Checking a Hitch

Once a hitch is tied the climber should double check the knot to ensure it is adequately secure. To do this the climber must look at the knot and make sure the rope does not slip or come undone. The climber should also make sure that the rope is held in place when applying pressure.


Understanding Bends

Bends are used to connect two rope sections together. This is done by placing both rope sections together, then wrapping them around each other to create loops. The section of rope that is being used as the loop should have a backup knot, then the one end of the rope should be pulled through the other. This type of knot connection is called a crossing knot. When tying a bend, it is important to tie the knot securely in order for it to be able to hold two pieces of rope together.

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Common Bends

The most common bends that are used in rock climbing are the alpine butterfly knot, figure 8 knot, re-threaded figure 8 knot, double fisherman knot, and overhand knot. Each of these bends have different characteristics and serve a specific purpose in climbing. The alpine butterfly knot is one of the strongest and most secure knots for connecting two sections of rope together. The figure 8 knot is also used for connecting two rope sections but it is not as secure as the alpine butterfly knot. The re-threaded figure 8 is similar to the figure 8 knot but more secure. The double fisherman knot is a secure knot for connecting two sections of rope together when there is slack in the section being connected. Finally, the overhand knot is used to hold a piece of gear to a climber’s harness.

Knot Tying Technique

When tying any bend, a climber should inspect the knot closely to ensure that there are no extra loops and the knot is evenly spread. The rope should also be snugged up to eliminate excess bulk and make the knot as small as possible. The knot should then be given a few hard tugs to make sure that the knot does not loosen or come undone before use.

People Also Ask

What is the strongest knot for climbing?

The strongest knot for climbing is the Alpine butterfly knot.

How do you secure a rope for rock climbing?

Rope securement for rock climbing is done by appropriately tying the different types of knots, hitches, and bends used in climbing.

How do you tie a figure 8 knot?

To tie a figure 8 knot, start by creating a loop in the rope, then crossing the end of the rope over the larger loop and back through the smaller loop. Finally, pull both ends of the rope to cinch the knot together.

How do you check a climbing knot?

To check a climbing knot, make sure the knot looks symmetrical and all the loops are evenly spread. Then, give it a few hard tugs to double-check that the knot is secure.

How do you tie a clove hitch?

To tie a clove hitch, start by making two loops around the anchor point and draw the end of the rope through the center of the two loops. Finally, pull tight to cinched the ends of the knot together.

Final Words

Properly securing and inspecting climbing knots, hitches, and bends is essential to keeping climbers and the equipment they use safe. By understanding the different types of rope, knots, hitches, and bends, and their purposes, climbers can confidently ascend and rappel their way up and down the rock faces. Knowing the basic steps of securely constructing these different types of knots, hitches, and bends can allow climbers to be more aware and more confident of the steps they are taking before embarking on any given climb.