Blake's hitch

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Blake's hitch
Blakes hitch knot retouched.png
Category Hitch
Origin Heinz Prohaska
Related Prusik knot, Sailor's hitch, Bachmann knot, Klemheist knot
Typical use Climbing

The Blake's hitch is a friction hitch commonly used by arborists and tree climbers as an ascending knot. Unlike other common climbing hitches, which often use a loop of cord, the Blake's hitch is formed using the end of a rope. Although it is a stable knot, it is often backed up with a stopper knot, such as a figure-of-eight knot, for safety. It is used for both ascending and descending, and is preferred by many arborists over other hitches, such as the taut-line hitch, as it is less prone to binding.

Arborist professional who cares for trees

An arborist, tree surgeon, or arboriculturist, is a professional in the practice of arboriculture, which is the cultivation, management, and study of individual trees, shrubs, vines, and other perennial woody plants in dendrology and horticulture.

Stopper knot knot that creates a fixed thicker point on an otherwise uniform thickness rope for the purpose of preventing unreeving

A stopper knot is a knot that creates a fixed thicker point on an otherwise-uniform thickness rope for the purpose of preventing unreeving: stopping the rope at that point from slipping out of a narrow passage. Stopper has three distinct meanings in the context of knotting and cordage. A decorative stopper knot may be referred to as a lanyard knot.

The single-strand stopper knot is...[one variety] of knob knots. Generally it is tied as a terminal knot in the end of a rope, where it forms a knob or bunch, the general purpose of which is to prevent unreeving. It is found in the ends of running rigging. It secures the end of a sewing thread; it provides a handhold or a foothold in bell ropes and footropes. It adds weight to the end of a heaving line, and it is often employed decoratively, but it should not be used to prevent unlaying and fraying except in small cord, twine, and the like, as a whipping is in every way preferable for large and valuable material.

Figure-eight knot type of stopper knot used in sailing and climbing

The figure-eight knot or figure-of-eight knot is a type of stopper knot. It is very important in both sailing and rock climbing as a method of stopping ropes from running out of retaining devices. Like the overhand knot, which will jam under strain, often requiring the rope to be cut, the figure-of-eight will also jam, but is usually more easily undone than the overhand knot.

The figure-eight or figure-of-eight knot is also called the Flemish knot. The name figure-of-eight knot appears in Lever's Sheet Anchor; or, a Key to Rigging. The word "of" is nowadays usually omitted. The knot is the sailor's common single-strand stopper knot and is tied in the ends of tackle falls and running rigging, unless the latter is fitted with monkey's tails. It is used about ship wherever a temporary stopper knot is required. The figure-eight is much easier to untie than the overhand, it does not have the same tendency to jam and so injure the fiber, and is larger, stronger, and equally secure.



The first known presentation of this knot was made by Heinz Prohaska in an Austrian guides periodical in 1981; in 1990, he presented it in a caving journal, Nylon Highway. Separately, Jason Blake discovered the knot for himself and presented it to the arborist community in a letter to Arbor Age in 1994, after which it was enthusiastically adopted by arborists. It has since become well known under the name "Blake's hitch".

Caving Recreational pastime of exploring cave systems

Caving – also traditionally known as spelunking in the United States and Canada and potholing in the United Kingdom and Ireland – is the recreational pastime of exploring wild cave systems. In contrast, speleology is the scientific study of caves and the cave environment.


This hitch has two conventional forms -- the 4/2 and the 5/3 -- although other variations are possible. The 5/3 version has the tail pass up through the bottom three turns of the coil which has five total turns. In the 4/2 version the tail passes up through two of the four coils. The hitch is dressed and set tight enough to provide enough grip for the applied load without being tighter than necessary. This hitch is most commonly used with 12-13mm (1/2 inch) static climbing ropes. (Heinz has advised that where slippage of the base, "4/2" knot seems to result from extra slippery rope(s), add a turn to the away end (i.e., that end beyond the tucked tail); if slippage seems to result from rope stiffness, add a turn at the near end, resulting in the "5/3".)


In practice it helps to insert the thumb under the lower turns since this facilitates threading the tail in later. After passing the tail round the standing end, the tail then must pass back behind the standing line and up through the desired number of turns of the coil. A stopper knot is then added to the dangling tail to prevent any chance of it pulling out.

See also

Related Research Articles

Knot method of fastening or securing linear material, such as rope, by tying or interweaving

A knot is an intentional complication in cordage which may be useful or decorative. Practical knots may be classified as hitches, bends, splices, or knots. A hitch fastens a rope to another object; a bend unites two rope ends; a splice is a multi-strand bend or loop. A knot in the strictest sense serves as a stopper or knob at the end of a rope to keep that end from slipping through a grommet or eye. Knots have excited interest since ancient times for their practical uses, as well as their topological intricacy, studied in the area of mathematics known as knot theory.

Truckers hitch hitch knot

The trucker's hitch is a compound knot commonly used for securing loads on trucks or trailers. This general arrangement, using loops and turns in the rope itself to form a crude block and tackle, has long been used to tension lines and is known by multiple names. Knot author Geoffrey Budworth claims the knot can be traced back to the days when carters and hawkers used horse-drawn conveyances to move their wares from place to place.

Figure-eight loop type de nœud

A figure-eight loop is a type of knot created by a loop on the bight. It is used in climbing and caving where rope strains are light to moderate and for decorative purposes. The knot is commonly followed by tying a strangle knot or an overhand knot around the standing end.

The Flemish loop or figure-eight loop is perhaps stronger than the loop knot. Neither of these knots is used at sea, as they are hard to untie. In hooking a tackle to any of the loops, if the loop is long enough it is better to arrange the rope as a cat's paw.

Taut-line hitch hitch knot

The taut-line hitch is an adjustable loop knot for use on lines under tension. It is useful when the length of a line will need to be periodically adjusted in order to maintain tension. It is made by tying a rolling hitch around the standing part after passing around an anchor object. Tension is maintained by sliding the hitch to adjust size of the loop, thus changing the effective length of the standing part without retying the knot.

Zeppelin bend bend knot

A Zeppelin bend is a general-purpose bend knot. It is a secure, easily tied, and jam-resistant way to connect two ropes. Though its simplicity and security may be matched by other bends, it is unique in the ease with which it is untied, even after heavy loading, by pulling the opposing bridges away from each other.

Klemheist knot

The klemheist knot or French Machard knot is a type of friction hitch that grips the rope when weight is applied, and is free to move when the weight is released. It is used similarly to a Prusik knot or the Bachmann knot to ascend or descend a climbing rope. One advantage is that webbing can be used as an alternative to cord. The Klemheist is easier to slide up than a Prusik. The klemheist is also a way to attach a snubber to the anchor rope of small boats, with the advantage that it is easy to undo.

Tree climbing

Tree climbing is a recreational or functional activity consisting of ascending and moving around in the crown of trees.

Cats paw (knot) hitch knot

The Cat's paw is a knot used for connecting a rope to an object. It is very similar to the cow hitch except there is an additional twist on each side of the bight, making it less prone to slipping.

The cat's-paw is the common hook hitch for slings. It is the same basic form as the bale sling hitch but has additional twists. Brady says "two or three altogether," and Steel, who mentioned the name in 1794, says "three twists." It is the best of all sling hitches and is often recommended for a slippery rope. But no hitch can slip when tied in a slings since it has no ends. All that is needed is a hitch that cannot jam, and this requirement the cat's-paw fills admirably. The knot spills instantly when removed from the hook. It is the hitch always used for heavy lifts.

Icicle hitch

An icicle hitch is a knot that is excellent for connecting to a post when weight is applied to an end running parallel to the post in a specific direction. This type of hitch will hold its place even when holding a substantial load on a smooth surface. One can even suspend from a tapered post with this knot.

Munter hitch

The Munter hitch, also known as the Italian hitch or the Crossing Hitch, is a simple knot, commonly used by climbers, cavers, and rescuers as part of a life-lining or belay system. To climbers, this knot is also known as HMS, the abbreviation for the German term Halbmastwurfsicherung, meaning half clove hitch belay. This technique can be used with a special "pear-shaped" HMS locking carabiner, or any locking carabiner wide enough to take two turns of the rope. The Munter hitch is named after a Swiss mountain guide, Werner Munter, who popularised its use in mountaineering around 1970.

Rolling hitch

The rolling hitch is a knot used to attach a rope to a rod, pole, or another rope. A simple friction hitch, it is used for lengthwise pull along an object rather than at right angles. The rolling hitch is designed to resist lengthwise movement for only a single direction of pull.


A Prusik is a friction hitch or knot used to attach a loop of cord around a rope, applied in climbing, canyoneering, mountaineering, caving, rope rescue, ziplining, and by arborists. The term Prusik is a name for both the loops of cord and the hitch, and the verb is "to prusik". More casually, the term is used for any friction hitch or device that can grab a rope. The word is often misspelled as Prussik, Prussick or Prussic, as it is a homophone with the term prussic acid.

Yosemite bowline

A Yosemite bowline is a loop knot often perceived as having better security than a bowline. It has been pointed out that if the knot is not dressed correctly, it can potentially collapse into a noose, however testing reveals this alternative configuration to be strong and safe as a climbing tie-in.

Gripping sailors hitch

The gripping sailor's hitch is a secure, jam-proof friction hitch used to tie one rope to another, or a rope to a pole, boom, spar, etc., when the pull is lengthwise along the object. It will even grip a tapered object, such as a marlin spike, in the direction of taper, similar to the Icicle hitch, but superior. It is much superior to the rolling hitch for that purpose. It is similar to the Michoacan-Martin friction knot used in climbing; The finishing wrap for Michoacan-Martin is in the opposite direction of the Gripping Sailors knot, both ends are then made to carry weight.

Coiling A method for storing rope or cable in compact yet easily attainable form

A coiling or coil is a curve, helix, or spiral used for storing rope or cable in compact and reliable yet easily attainable form. They are often discussed with knots.

Rope are often coiled and hung up in lofts for storage. They are also hung over stakes in farm wagons and on hooks in moving vans, fire apparatus and linesmen's repair trucks. For such active storage coils must be well made.

Distel hitch

Distel hitch is a friction hitch knot used to attach a carabiner to a rope, allowing a climber to descend or ascend. The knot is similar to the prusik knot, however it grips the rope more consistently, making for increased climber control.