by Jullie

January 22, 2021

Popular Rappelling and Climbing Knots

Everybody knows that gear is extremely essential when it boils down to rappelling and climbing knots. These activities carry an element of risk. You run the dangers of injuries if you fail to practice them correctly.

As far as tying rappel ropes are concerned, you have a few options to try on. However, four of the options are foolproof. Still, none of them will ensure safety if you fail to tie properly. So, see to it that you follow each instruction minutely to avoid issues.

How to tie 6 Popular Rappelling Climbing Knots

The below list consists of some of the preferred climbing knots. This includes the square fisherman’s knot, Machard’s, double fisherman’s, double overhaul knot, double figure 8 fisherman’s knot, and the Prusik knot. I hope that after reading this post, you’ll get familiar with tying knots.

However, before you start a repelling or climbing endeavor, be sure you tie the stopper knot at the ends of both ropes. That should make sure you don’t rappel off your rope’s loose ends accidentally.

A stopper knot could be an overhand knot, the double fisherman’s, or merely a figure 8 knot. Whatever you choose, each one will work just fine provided you tie them effectively.

Choose one and stick to it!

This point is critical, especially if you’re just getting started in the field. You may try each of the climber knots mentioned below.

Yet, you should stick to the one you feel comfortable and safer with. After getting used to tying and untying your preferred knot numerous times, you must attain some level of proficiency.

Plus, you should tie under any circumstances. In the process, you’ll learn its strengths, its intricacies, and weaknesses.

A little bit of practice will increase your confidence in rappelling or climbing. Note that your life might depend on the knot quality. So, expend enough time practicing before thinking about using a knot for rappel anchors.

By this time, you may feel a little bit bored by my safety drill. So, let’s dive in and determine the best climbing knots and ways of tying them.

Climbing Knots #1: Prusik Knot

How to tie a prusik knot

The Prusik hitch or the Prusik knot is a popular knot that you might stumble upon during your endeavors. Tying this knot is simple. Despite this fact, it’s among the most dependable knots.

So, every serious climber should understand this must-know knot. Rappellers commonly use the Prusik knot for securing a loop on a right line. Without weight, it slides effortlessly on the line. However, it tends to jam tightly when you apply load onto it.

Many climbers use this handy knot for footholds to get help on ascending the rope. Moreover, this knot offers some sort of “give” compared to similar solutions (the Klemheist, for example).

That makes it perfect for climbing activities because it puts less strain in the case of a shock. A critical note about the Prusik knot is that it should be done using a cord or a rope that measures 1/2 the diameter of your primary line.

Tips on tying a primary Prusik

  • First of all, make a sling from cordage that isn’t more than 1/2 the diameter of your main rope.
  • Next, tie the Girth Hitch encircling the main rope.
  • Bring the sling’s loop back through the Girth Hitch’s center about four times.
  • Put the weight on the Prusik to ensure it’s appropriately tied and holds well.

Read our entire review on how to use a prusik in rappelling.

Climbing Knots #2: Double Figure 8 Fisherman’s Knot

It encompasses the potency of being some of the popular knots on the market. That is a promising feature I prefer. The knot is considered classic and a proven knot as a result.

It’s so reliable that it won’t turn undone under any circumstances if you tie it properly. Plus, the knot is extremely user-friendly for beginners. You can quickly identify flaws in your tied knot with a little bit of attention.

If you have a mix of thin and thick ropes, then the double figure 8 knot should be your best option. Moreover, untying the knot is relatively simple, even if you put some weight onto it.

So, you enjoy a fair degree of flexibility using the knot. The only downside associated with this particular knot is it’s bulky. So, it could jam when pulling the ropes.

Advice on tying the double figure 8 knot

  • Pick the two ropes. On the flat surface, put them one over the other.
  • Now, make the figure 8 on your top rope. Use the other rope for tracing back via figure 8 in your first rope. It’s from here the double originates from.
  • Next, pull tight to make the knot done.
  • I’d suggest securing both the ends of your rope using a fisherman’s back up for a stopper.

Climbing Knots #3: Double Fisherman’s Knot

How to tie a fishermans knot

The knot makes an ideal choice for rappelling. It guarantees safety, provided you tie it properly without leaving room for blunders. However, note that most of the rappelling and climbing enthusiasts don’t favor the double fisherman’s knot much over the past few years.

Why? Checking the knot on the go can be difficult. Plus, untying the knot becomes daunting and tedious if the ropes get wet.

So, I won’t endorse it for water rappelling. Anyone can tie up accessories (especially anchors) using this knot without any problems. Usually, they’re thinner ropes. So, the double fisherman’s knot does the job nicely here. Another benefit is you can tie the knot quickly.

Advice on tying the double fisherman’s knot

The directions are pretty simple for this handy not.

  • To begin with, lay both ends of each rope parallel to one another.
  • Coil the free end of one of the ropes twice to circle the other rope. Make sure you do this before you pass it between the inside portion of the coils.
  • Repeat the procedure for the other rope in the opposite direction.
  • Tighten the knots by pulling up the ropes’ free ends. Finally, pull the standing lines so that they slide along each other.

Climbing Knots #4: Double Overhand Knot

How to tie a double overhand knot

It’s unquestionably among the most popular climbing knots for rappelling. However, it carries a strange reputation. As it causes low bulk, it’s quickly becoming popular as one of the easiest and fastest knots to tie on.

There’s the least chance to snag. Still, it’s called the European Death Knot. Why? Some fatalities have been linked to it. You must not use the knot for ropes of different diameters.

Unfortunately, the double knot has resulted in at least one casualty by coming off undone. Despite this fact, it’s more durable than the double figure 8 rope, according to some studies. Professionals widely use the double overhaul knot with no issues. Yet, if you’re just getting started with climbing/rappelling, try the double figure 8.

Tips on tying the double-overhand knot

  • The overhand knot works fine as a stopper.
  • Tie a common overhand -not to the rope’s end. However, don’t tighten it yet.
  • On the contrary, pass the line’s end through the loop you created. Now tighten the knot by sliding it in the direction of the line’s end.
  • Make sure you leave some tail out at the knot’s end as a safety measure.

Here’s a video that demonstrates how the technique works.

Climbing Knots #5: Square Fisherman’s Knot

How to tie a square fishermans knot

Easy-to-tie and stronger climber knots are a preferred choice for beginners. Each of the above knots meets these criteria. However, the square fisherman’s knot surpasses other contenders on one point.

Untying this knot is a breeze, and beginners prefer this particular feature. As opposed to common beliefs, it isn’t an intricate knot.

It mimics an ordinary square knot ornamented by the double fisherman on each side. To avoid unfortunate events, use backup knots. Otherwise, it might come undone. Note that the square knot isn’t durable enough for rappelling and climbing. Yet, it’s reliable when backed by other knots.

Tips on tying a square fisherman’s knot

  • As this is the easiest knots, it’s simple to tie it.
  • Tie a common square knot (see the below video). Then do the double fisherman’s knot encircling it.
  • Also called a Hercules knot or reef knot, it’s among the most reliable and oldest knots.

Climbing Knots #6: The Klemheist (Machard) Knot

How to tie a Klemheist Knot

Also called  French Machard Knot, a Klemheist Knot is among the oldest knots available today. It’s unique and interesting. Serge Machard, a young climbing enthusiast from Marseille, invented this knot at the age of 16. The Machard knot depends on the Prusik Loop as it’s strongly linked to a Prusik Knot.

Creating a Prusik Loop is easy. Just join both the ends of your rope with a double or triple fisherman’s. Be informed that a Klemheist Knot is meant for weight in one direction only. For those of you interested in different styles of climbing, read what is French free climbing.

Advice on tying your Klemheist Knot

  • Tying the knot is effortless.
  • Use a rope or cord already tied into a loop. Pass the loop encircling the main rope.
  • Complete the three turns to make a robust Machard Knot.
  •  Make sure that the remaining part of the cord goes between the loop well before pulling down in the direction where the load is expected. Within minutes, the tying process should finish.

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About the author 

Jullie

Jullie is a professional indoor climber. She loves speed climbing competitions. This style makes her feel like she's flying. Maybe because her other passion is flying airplanes. Obviously, high speeds are her thing.

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