Bowline on a bight

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Bowline on a Bight
Doppelter Palstek.jpg
Category Loop
Related Double bowline
Releasing Non-jamming
Typical useForming a loop in the middle of a length of rope.
ABoK #1080

The Bowline on a bight is a knot which makes a pair of fixed-size loops in the middle of a rope. Its advantage is that it is reasonably easy to untie after being exposed to load. This knot can replace the figure-eight loop knot when tying into a climbing harness. It is one of the two tie-in knots that are being taught by the German Alpine Club (DAV), generally being considered secure. [1] [2] [3]



2011 testing shows that the knot might slip when only one loop is loaded. Cavers and canyoneers ought to fasten their cow-tail carabiner through both loops. [4] European cavers widely advocate the use of a figure eight twisted version of the Bowline on a bight.


This knot can be used to provide a toe hold in the middle of a rope; to make an emergency bosun's chair; and to create an upper rope "block" to make a crude purchase by threading the rope round an anchor point and then back up through the loop. It is sometimes used in sport climbing to tie into two anchor bolts independently. This knot is convenient when a dependable loop is required but neither end of the line is available. It's also commonly used as a seat while being hoisted as there are two secure loops as opposed to the traditional one loop bowline. In theory, this knot would make hoisting many people with one line possible. This knot is very popular in caving as it allows the load to be spread between two anchor points, reducing the stress placed on them and providing a backup should one fail. Commonly known as the Y-hang it allows for a free-hang descent and can be easily adjusted to avoid waterfalls or rub points.

As mentioned earlier, this knot can replace the figure-eight knot when tying into a climbing harness by tying a regular bowline knot and then re-threading it, such as is done with a figure eight knot. However, it is critical to use a strong backup knot with plenty of tail beyond the knot, as the knot may untie during long climbs. The advantage of using this knot instead of the figure eight knot is that it can be easily untied after a severe fall.


The bight of rope is initially used to make a bowline in the usual way (picture on right). However, the bowline is not completed by going on round the standing end(s) and tucking the bight back down beside itself. Instead, the bight is opened up to allow the whole knot to pass through it (see picture on right). When tightened, the bight now embraces the pair of standing ends (see top picture)

Notes and references

  1. "Duell der Knoten: Achter versus Bulin (Duel of the knots: Figure-eight vs. Bowline)". Archived from the original on Jun 22, 2019. Der gesteckte Achterknoten und der doppelte Bulin erfüllen diese Anforderungen. Es sind deshalb auch die beiden Einbindeknoten, die der Deutsche Alpenverein bei seinen Kursen lehrt, wobei der Achterknoten bei Einsteigern den Vorzug erhält, weil er sich leichter kontrollieren lässt.
  2. "Know-How Am Berg - Wesentliches zu Ausrüstung, Planung und Seiltechnik (engl: Know-how on the mountain - Essentials of equipment, planning and rope handling" (PDF). DAV. Archived (PDF) from the original on June 24, 2019. Retrieved July 4, 2019. Der Achterknoten, in diesem Fall als „gesteckter Achter“ oder als „doppelter Bulin“ ausgeführt, dient als Anseilknoten.
  3. "So binden Sie sich richtig ein und so bitte nicht! (This is how you tie yourself in properly and this is how you don't do it!)". Alpin. Archived from the original on Oct 13, 2018.
  4. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-05-21. Retrieved 2012-06-03.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) Video with genuine et voilà! ending (in French)

See also

Related Research Articles

Knot Method of fastening or securing linear material

A knot is an intentional complication in cordage which may be useful or decorative. Practical knots may be classified as hitches, bends, or splices: a hitch fastens a rope to another object; a bend unites two rope ends; and a splice is a multi-strand bend or loop. A knot may also refer, in the strictest sense, to 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.

Bowline Simple knot used to form a fixed "eye" at the end of a rope

The bowline is an ancient and simple knot used to form a fixed "eye" at the end of a rope. It has the virtues of being both easy to tie and untie; most notably, it is easy to untie after being subjected to a load. The bowline is sometimes referred to as King of the knots because of its importance. Along with the sheet bend and the clove hitch, the bowline is often considered one of the most essential knots.

Butterfly loop Knot used to form a fixed loop in the middle of a rope

The butterfly loop, also known as lineman's loop, butterfly knot, alpine butterfly knot and lineman's rider, is a knot used to form a fixed loop in the middle of a rope. Tied in the bight, it can be made in a rope without access to either of the ends; this is a distinct advantage when working with long climbing ropes. The butterfly loop is an excellent mid-line rigging knot; it handles multi-directional loading well and has a symmetrical shape that makes it easy to inspect. In a climbing context it is also useful for traverse lines, some anchors, shortening rope slings, and for isolating damaged sections of rope.

Sheepshank knot

A shank is a type of knot that is used to shorten a rope or take up slack, such as the sheepshank. The sheepshank knot is not stable. It will fall apart under too much load or too little load.

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.

Eskimo bowline

The Eskimo bowline is an 'anti-bowline' which is in a class of knots known as 'eye knots'. The eye is formed in the end of the rope to permit attachments/connections. The common bowline is also an 'eye knot'. In the common bowline, the bight component forms around the 'standing part'. In contrast, the bight component of an anti-bowline forms around the ongoing eye-leg.

Figure-eight loop type de nœud

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 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.

Span loop

A span loop is a non-jamming loop that can be tied away from the ends of the rope.

Climbing harness item of climbing equipment that secures a person to a rope or an anchor point

A climbing harness is an item of climbing equipment for rock-climbing, abseiling, or other activities requiring the use of ropes to provide access or safety such as industrial rope access, working at heights, etc. A harness secures a person to a rope or an anchor point.

Lead climbing Competitive discipline of sports climbing

Lead climbing is a climbing style, predominantly used in rock climbing. In a roped party one climber has to take the lead while the other climbers follow. The lead climber wears a harness attached to a climbing rope, which in turn is connected to the other climbers below the lead climber. While ascending the route, the lead climber periodically connects the rope to protection equipment for safety in the event of a fall. This protection can consist of permanent bolts, to which the climber clips quickdraws, or removable protection such as nuts and cams. One of the climbers below the lead climber acts as a belayer. The belayer gives out rope while the lead climber ascends and also stops the rope when the lead climber falls or wants to rest.

Triple bowline

The triple bowline knot is a variation of the bowline knot. The knot can be applied to emergency situations, such as mountain rescue.


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. Due to the pronunciation, the word is often misspelled Prussik, Prussick, or Prussic.

Figure-of-nine loop

The figure-of-nine loop is a type of knot to form a fixed loop in a rope. Tied in the bight, it is made similarly to a figure-of-eight loop but with an extra half-turn before finishing the knot.

Halter hitch

The halter hitch is a type of knot used to connect a rope to an object. As the name implies, an animal's lead rope, attached to its halter, may be tied to a post or hitching rail with this knot. The benefit of the halter hitch is that it can be easily released by pulling on one end of the rope, even if it is under tension. Some sources show the knot being finished with the free end running through the slipped loop to prevent it from working loose or being untied by a clever animal, still allowing easy but not instant untying.

Yosemite bowline Loop knot often perceived as having better security than a 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.

Bight (knot) curved section or slack part between the two ends of a rope

In knot tying, a bight is a curved section or slack part between the two ends of a rope, string, or yarn. A knot that can be tied using only the bight of a rope, without access to the ends, is described as in the bight. The term "bight" is also used in a more specific way when describing Turk's head knots, indicating how many repetitions of braiding are made in the circuit of a given knot.

Trident loop

The trident loop is a fixed loop knot which can jam when heavily loaded. It was proposed as a replacement for the figure-of-eight loop for use in climbing by Robert M. Wolfe, MD, who developed it as a loop form of Ashley's bend. While some tests indicate its strength lies somewhere between the weaker Bowline and stronger figure-of-eight loop, the trident loop shows exceptional resistance to slipping in shock-loading tests.

Karash double loop

Karash double loop is a common name for a knot forming two loops. This knot has been a known variant of the Bowline on a bight per the International Guild of Knot Tyers, referred to as bowline twist or twisted collar bowline on a bight. The knot is also referred to as nœud de fusion in French references and sometimes called Fusion knot in English.