Double bowline

Last updated
Double bowline
NamesDouble bowline, Round Turn Bowline, Double-Knotted Bowline
Category Loop
Related Bowline, Water bowline, Double sheet bend, Bowline on a bight
Typical use climbing
ABoK #1013

A double bowline (or round turn bowline) is a type of loop knot. Instead of the single turn of the regular bowline, the double bowline uses a round turn. This forms a more secure loop than a standard bowline. [1]



Though called "double bowline" by Clifford Ashley, this name is also reasonably descriptive of a different knot: the bowline on a bight. Because of this ambiguity some sources differentiate by using one of the alternate names above. And at least one other source uses the name "double bowline" for a mid-line loop knot made by tying a basic bowline with a bight of rope instead of the end. [2]


First, learn to tie the bowline by laying the working end on the standing part and twisting to form a loop (the "hole" that the rabbit comes out of). Wrap the loop once more around the working end. Then pass the working end behind the standing part and back down through the double loop.


The double bowline is one of the typical tie-in knots used in climbing, along with the figure eight follow through [3] [4] and the Yosemite bowline. [5] The advantage of the double bowline over the figure 8 is that it is easier to untie after being weighted in a fall, [3] [4] and so is used by sport climbers who take multiple lead falls and then have trouble untying their figure eights. [3] [4] The disadvantages of the double bowline are that it is less secure than a figure eight knot, takes longer to tie, and is not as easy to check. [3] [4] Unlike the figure eight, there are many variations of the bowline, with ambiguous names, and some are not safe for climbing. [6] [7] [8] [9]

The Bowline on a bight, when re-threaded instead of being tied on a bight, can also be used for tying into a climbing harness and provides more strength and security than the double bowline.

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.

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

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.

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 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.

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.

Traditional climbing

Traditionalclimbing, is a style of rock climbing in which a climber or group of climbers place all gear required to protect against falls, and remove it when a pitch is complete. Traditional bolted face climbing means the bolts were placed on lead and/or with hand drills. The bolts tend to be much farther apart than sport climbs. For example, a trad bolted route may have bolts from 15–75 feet apart. A sport route may have bolts from 3–10 feet apart, similar to a rock climbing gym. The term seems to be coined by Tom Higgins in the piece "Tricksters and Traditionalists" in 1984. A trad climber is called a traditionalist.

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.

Offset overhand bend

The offset overhand bend is a knot used to join two ropes together. The offset overhand bend is formed by holding two rope ends next to each other and tying an overhand knot in them as if they were a single line. Due to its common use in several fields, this bend has become known by many names, such as thumb knot, openhand knot, one-sided overhand knot or flat overhand bend (FOB), though the terms "one-sided" and "flat" are considered incorrect.

Bowline on a bight Knot that makes a pair of fixed-size loops in the middle of a rope

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.


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.

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.

Belay device Mechanical piece of climbing equipment

A belay device is a mechanical piece of climbing equipment used to control a rope during belaying. It is designed to improve belay safety for the climber by allowing the belayer to manage their duties with minimal physical effort. With the right belay device, a small, weak climber can easily arrest the fall of a much heavier partner. Belay devices act as a friction brake, so that when a climber falls with any slack in the rope, the fall is brought to a stop.

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.

Harness bend

The harness knot is a general purpose bend knot used to join two ropes together. The knot can be tied under tension and will not capsize.

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.


  1. Ashley, Clifford W (1944). The Ashley Book of Knots . New York: Doubleday. p. 186. ISBN   978-0-385-04025-9. OCLC   156951323.
  2. Cox, Steven M.; Fulsaas, Kris, eds. (2003). Mountaineering: The Freedom of the Hills (7th ed.). The Mountaineers Books. p. 119. ISBN   978-0-89886-827-2.
  3. 1 2 3 4 Luebben, Craig (2004). Rock Climbing: Mastering Basic Skills. Seattle, WA: Mountaineers Books. p. 301. ISBN   978-0-89886-743-5.
  4. 1 2 3 4 Green, Stewart M; Ian, Spencer-Green; Mark, Doolittle (2010). Knack Rock Climbing: A Beginner's Guide: From the Gym to the Rocks . Guilford, Connecticut: Globe Pequot. p.  256. ISBN   978-1-59921-852-6.
  5. Kidd, Timothy W.; Hazelrigs, Jennifer (2009). Rock Climbing. Human Kinetics. p. 136. ISBN   9781450409001 . Retrieved 12 October 2014.
  6. Heise-Flecken, Detlef; Flecken, Gabi (2016-03-28). Rock Climbing: Technique | Equipment | Safety – With an Introduction to Indoor Climbing. Meyer & Meyer Verlag. p. 20. ISBN   9781782550358. double bowline is more complicated than the Figure Eight and partner checks are harder to verify. ... single bowline is not safe while the double bowline is difficult to tie but is easier to undo after taking strain
  7. "Incident: Climber's Bowline Came Untied While Climbing at Rifle". Mountain Project. Retrieved 2018-07-14. there are many versions of the bowline, some of which are unsafe for climbing ... Bowline on a Bight, Retraced Through Harness w/ Yosemite Finish ... is the safest option
  8. Rock Climbing. Human Kinetics. ISBN   9781450409001. Because this knot unties so easily, sometimes even by simply rubbing against your body
  9. Tilton, Buck (2008-09-02). Knack Knots You Need: Step-by-Step instructions for More Than 100 of the Best Sailing, Fishing, Climbing, Camping and Decorative Knots. Rowman & Littlefield. ISBN   9781599217598. A knot that can be shaken loose to spill of its own accord, such as the bowline ... is an insecure knot.