Klemheist knot

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Klemheist knot
NamesKlemheist knot, French Machard knot
Category Hitch
Related Prusik knot, Bachmann knot, Blake's hitch
Typical useRock climbing
ABoK #1762

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. [1]


Sometimes the knot name is misspelled as kleimheist, with an extra i.


Klemheist knot with loop Klemheist2.jpg
Klemheist knot with loop

Make a secure loop of a cord (see Double fisherman's knot) that is definitely narrower than the rope. Wrap from one end around the rope two or three times in a direction that will be down. The loose end is then threaded through the starting end, and carefully tightened to leave the wraps neat. In use, strain must be taken only on the hanging end. If the knot slips when load is placed on the hanging loop, re-tie around the climbing rope another time or two, until there is no slippage. Holding around the wraps will let you slide the knot up or down. Making the wraps slide when the hitch is under tension will create friction heat on the rope and the knot.

See also

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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, 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.

A whipping knot or whipping is a binding of marline twine or whipcord around the end of a rope to prevent its natural tendency to fray. The whipping can be made neat and permanent by tying it off or sewing the ends of the twine through the rope. According to The Ashley Book of Knots, "The purpose of a whipping is to prevent the end of a rope from fraying...A whipping should be, in width, about equal to the diameter of the rope on which it is put...[Two sailmaker's whippings], a short distance apart, are put in the ends of every reef point, where the constant "whipping" against the sail makes the wear excessive; this is said to be the source of the name whipping." The other type of stopping knot is a seizing knot.

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.

Abseiling Rope-controlled descent of a vertical surface

Abseiling, also known as rappelling from French rappeler, 'to recall' or 'to pull through'), is a controlled descent off a vertical drop, such as a rock face, using a rope.

Self-locking devices are devices intended to arrest the fall of solo climbers who climb without partners. This device is used for back rope solo climbing for 'ground-up climbing' or 'top rope self belaying'. To date, several types of such self-locking devices have evolved.

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.

The Munter hitch, also known as the Italian hitch or the Crossing Hitch, is a simple adjustable knot, commonly used by climbers, cavers, and rescuers to control friction in 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 Werner Munter, a Swiss mountain guide who popularised its use in mountaineering.

Bachmann knot

The Bachmann hitch is a friction hitch, named after the austrian alpinist Franz Bachmann. It is useful when the friction hitch needs to be reset quickly/often or made to be self-tending as in crevasse and self-rescue.

Blakes hitch

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.


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.

Sling (climbing equipment) item of climbing equipment consisting of a tied or sewn loop of webbing

A sling or runner is an item of climbing equipment consisting of a tied or sewn loop of webbing. These can be wrapped around sections of rock, hitched to other pieces of equipment, or tied directly to a tensioned line using a Prusik style knot. They may be used as anchors, to extend an anchor to reduce rope drag, in anchor equalization, or to climb a rope.

Sailmakers whipping

The sailmaker's whipping is one of the most durable and stable of rope whippings known. According to The Ashley Book of Knots, "Palm-and-needle whipping, or sailmaker's whipping, is the most satisfactory of all."


An autoblock is a rope device used in climbing and caving for both rappelling (downward) and ascending (upward).

Garda hitch

The Garda Hitch is a class of climbing knots known as ratcheting knots for their ability to let the rope move in one direction, but not in the other. This class of knots has many uses in climbing and mountaineering, for example in a pulley system where a load is being hauled up a cliff, the Garda hitch prevents the load from slipping when the pulley system is reset.


A Z-Drag or Z-Rig is an arrangement of lines and pulleys commonly used in rescue situations. The basic arrangement provides a theoretical mechanical advantage of three. The name comes from the fact that the arrangement of lines is roughly Z shaped. Besides the mechanical advantage to pulling, it also uses only part of the total length of the rope for the block and tackle arrangement.

Farrimond friction hitch

The Farrimond friction hitch is a quick release adjustable friction hitch 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 or adjust tension whilst remaining quick and easy to untie; such as when hanging the ridge line for a Basha. It can be used in very effective conjunction with the Siberian hitch for this purpose. It can also be used as a mooring knot.

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.


  1. Eric Vola, « Le nœud Machard et son histoire Archived 2016-06-03 at the Wayback Machine », site du CAF-Marseille, 2015