by Kevin

September 6, 2021

How to Tie Rappelling Knots

Knowing how to tie rappelling knots is key to a brilliant performance on the mountainside or canyon. There are several techniques one could employ when tying rappelling knots. Besides, they both attach you to your every climbing tool. Mastering them well will enable you to use the rest of your equipment accurately and hit the expected target.

Remember, when descending from a cliff, your well-being is hanging on your rappelling tools. That is the rope, the rappel device, the harness, and the carbineers. So, apart from having a perfect anchor, you have to tie a strong knot to support your weight and remain untied.

Below are the commonly used rappelling knots. Take your time to understand how to do each. Should you master it, you will be able to rappel on sheer cliffs, down caves, waterfalls, etcetera.

The Bowline Knot 

The Bowline Knot 

Bowline rappelling knots are used to attach a rope to items like a rock or a tree. The benefit of this knot is its ease of tying and untying. Even though this is not easy to master, it is feasible to tie this knot with one hand with practice. 

A bowline knot can be tied to almost anything to keep your rope tight. The con is that the knot tends to loosen when a load is applied to the bowline and unloaded after a while. Nonetheless, with a fisherman’s knot back up, you are good to go.

To tie this:

1. Create an intricate loop on the rappelling rope using your hands. Make sure the tail is long enough to tie the bowline knot you’ll need.

2. Make an overhand knot by passing the tail through the tiny loop.

3. Draw the tailback through the small loop and under the main thread to complete the knot.

Figure Eight Loop

Figure Eight Loop

This is a common climbing knot that is used to secure a rope end or the bight.

To tie this:

1. Perpetuate a small loop on the rappelling rope with rope tails on top.

2. Tuck the tail beneath the loop.

3. Make a tiny loop with the tail and pass it into it. Then tighten the rope.

The Flemish Bend or The Figure Eight Follow-Through

The Flemish Bend Knot

There is no doubt that this is the strongest knot for rappelling available. The Flemish bend is used to secure the rope to the harnesses, rappelling ring, or a carabiner. This is the knot that guarantees you that your won’t collapse.

Tying procedure:

1. With one hand, grasp the rope’s tip. The tips length should be equal to your arm to shoulder length.

2. Now, grab a bight from your shoulders measurement and fold a full rotation. Ensure the hanging portion of the line passes over the operating side. Twist it once more to return it to its initial position.

3. From back and front, slide the rope’s operating tip into the loop. Figure 8 should be the end outcome.

4. Thread both rope ends through the harness’s tie-in ends and draw the knot in closer to you to make the follow-through.

5. Repeat the process, feeding the rope back into the knot while mimicking the initial knot. The working end should be entirely perpendicular to the standing part of the preceding knots. Once you complete working on the other end, you have to neaten the knots and ensure they run parallel.

6. Pull the ropes, one at a time to tighten the knot. If your tail is less than six inches long, you shouldn’t use it. Count the five parallel lines to check if the knot is right.

Double Fisherman’s Knot 

Double Fisherman's Knot 

The double fisherman knot, or the grapevine knot, joins nylon cords to a loop to create a cordelette. A cordelette is kind of a large sling. It uses an accessory cord and is formed by either double or triple fisherman’s knots.

The grapevine knot is also applicable for securing a joint between two ropes-double rappels. So far, it’s the best joining knot and a practical backup for the figure 8 follow-through knot.

To tie this knot:

1. Align all the ropes in a parallel position and tie them together.

2. Ensure the ends of the ropes crossover but are still parallel to each other. That should allow room for slack and tie knots on both ends.

3. Tie your first knot. Grasp the tip of one rope and weave the tip of the other rope twice over the first knot and itself. To complete the knot, pull the operational end of the line into the X’ formed by the double overlapping ropes. As the operational end goes through, a strangling knot should form around the first rope.

4. Create another knot with the tip of the second rope, and wrap it twice on the first rope. This should be just as easy as you did with the first rope. You should then pull them tightly to complete the loop.

5. Bring the ends of both ropes to close so that both knots slide together and tighten them to complete the knots.

Prusik Knot

Double Fisherman's Knot 

Prusik knots come in handy when ascending a rope. It’s your go for when cave rappelling. Further, tests show that prusik knots can bear more weight compared to other rappelling knots. Hence, it is perfect when the rope has to hold more than just your body weight.

To tie it:

1. Make a double fisherman’s knot as above to join the double cords.

2. Create another double fisherman’s knot using the untied tail. At this time, the chords should form a circle.

3. Stretch the fisherman’s knots close to form a barrel knot.

4. Now, take the cord’s loop and put it under the rope.

5. Wrap this cord around the rope triple times and ensure the wraps remain inside the cord and the double fisherman is at the bottom.

Final Thoughts on How to Tie Rappelling Knots

Once you’ve mastered the procedure basics of tying rappelling knots, it’s time to practice the art repeatedly. It will be simpler to recall how to tie rappelling knots if you practice ahead of time. With time, it becomes a natural thing. Remember knots, as simple as they are; they hold your life when rappelling. So, as you tie them, have a professional to check your work.

You must continue to practice what you have learned after receiving instruction from a skilled specialist too. Above all, believe in yourself and put what you’ve learned into practice right away. When you are confident that you have mastered the skill and instructions from your trainer, you can proceed forward to rappelling.

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About the author 

Kevin

Kevin loves bouldering. Mainly because he can practice it alone without considering other people. Although he rediscovered this hobby in the last three years, the boulders turned out to be his most visited landmarks.

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