List of climbing knots

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There are many knots used in climbing, rappelling and mountaineering. Popular climbing knots are briefly described and depicted in this article.

Beer knot.JPG
Beer knot: The Beer knot is often used in tubular webbing, usually for making slings.
Double fisherman's knot WPK.jpg
Double fisherman knot (also known as Grapevine): The Grapevine knot is useful to tie together two ends of ropes. Ropes can be of unequal sizes. It is often used to tie both ends of the same rope together to form a circle.
Triple fisherman's knot
Overhand bend WPK.jpg
Overhand bend (also known as European death knot, Euro death knot, EDK): The Overhand bend is a simple and fast way to join two ropes, notably for rappelling. Can be very useful in situations where speed is critical to safety. It is similar to a water knot, but both bitter ends come out the same side of the knot.
Water knot WPK.jpg
Water knot (also known as Tape Knot, Double Overhand Bend, Ring Bend): The Water knot is useful to tie together two ends of ropes. Often used with webbing.
Strangle knot WPK.jpg
Strangle knot: The Strangle knot is a simple binding knot. It forms both sides of a Double fisherman's knot, and is also used to back up loop knots and both ends of bends.
Bachmann knot WPK.jpg
Bachmann knot: The Bachmann knot is useful when the friction hitch needs to be reset quickly/often or made to be self-tending as in crevasse and self-rescue.
Clove hitch WPK.jpg
Clove hitch: The Clove hitch is used in belay systems among other things.
Italian hitch WPK.jpg
Italian hitch (also known as Munter hitch, HMS): The Italian hitch is a simple knot, used by climbers and cavers as part of a life-lining or belay system. Its main use is as a friction device for controlling the rate of descent in belay systems.
Klemheist knot WPK.jpg
Klemheist knot: The Klemheist knot is an alternative to the Prusik knot, useful when the climber is short of cord but has plenty of webbing.
Prusik WPK.jpg
Prusik: The Prusik is a knot used mainly for emergency use. Some carry between one and three cords specifically for prusiks. One can be used to quickly secure a person's position to correct problems with equipment; two can be used as a method of ascending a rope.
Blakes hitch knot retouched.png
Blake's hitch: Blake's hitch is widely used in tree climbing applications. The knot can be slid up and down a line manually, but when loaded, it sticks securely.
Tete d'alouette.jpg
Girth hitch: This hitch is commonly used to attach loops of runner to harnesses, bags, other kinds of equipment, and to natural features like rock knobs or brush/tree trunks for protection.
Loop Knots
Alpine butterfly knot WPK.jpg
Alpine butterfly knot: The Alpine Butterfly is a strong and secure loop knot. Allows load distribution in multiple directions. It can also be used to isolate a worn section of rope.
Figure-of-eight loop 2 WPK.jpg
Figure-of-eight loop: The Figure-of-eight loop is considered strong and secure. Can be tied by taking a bight of rope and tying a figure-of-eight knot, or can be tied directly around/through objects by weaving back through the first figure eight knot (Figure-of-eight follow through), which is the standard method for attaching a rope to a climbing harness. [1]
Inline figure-of-eight loop 2 WPK.jpg
Directional Figure-of-eight Loop: The Inline figure-of-eight loop is similar to a figure-of-eight loop but used to form a loop that will be loaded longitudinally in a line under tension. Particularly useful in rope tightening systems where the loop is established as a means to secure a pulley or carabiner onto the main line to reduce the amount of work needed to tighten the entire system. Similar to a trucker's hitch.
Double bowline: The double bowline is commonly used by sport climbers who take multiple lead falls and then have trouble untying their figure eights.
Double Figure-Eight Loop.jpg
Double Figure Eight Loop (also known as Bunny Ears): Used for equalising two anchors using the rope.
Yosemite bowline: Also called a bowline with a Yosemite finish, this is another way of tying the rope to the harness.
Doppelter Palstek.jpg
Bowline on a bight: Used for equalizing anchors.
Stopper Knots
Stevedore knot WPK.jpg
Stevedore knot (also known as Double figure eight): The Stevedore knot is tied at the end of a rope to prevent the end from unraveling, slipping through another knot, or passing back through a hole, block, or belay/rappel device. It is more bulky and less prone to jamming than the closely related figure-of-eight knot.
Overhand knot WPK.jpg
Overhand knot: The Overhand knot is a component of many knots used in climbing.
Monkey's fist WPK.jpg
Monkey's fist: The Monkey's Fist is used to tie the end of a climbing rope into a tight ball so the rope can be thrown farther/easier.

Related Research Articles

Climbing Activity to ascend a steep object

Climbing is the activity of using one's hands, feet, or any other part of the body to ascend a steep topographical object. It is done for locomotion, recreation and competition, and within trades that rely on ascension; such as emergency rescue and military operations. It is done indoors and out, on natural and man-made structures.

Carabiner Shackle with a spring-loaded gate

A carabiner or karabiner is a specialized type of shackle, a metal loop with a spring-loaded gate used to quickly and reversibly connect components, most notably in safety-critical systems. The word is a shortened form of Karabinerhaken, a German phrase for a "spring hook" used by a carbine rifleman, or carabinier, to attach his carabin to a belt or bandolier.

Mountaineering Sport of mountain climbing

Mountaineering, or alpinism, is the set of outdoor activities that involves ascending tall mountains. Mountaineering-related activities include traditional outdoor climbing, skiing and traversing via ferratas. Indoor climbing, sport climbing and bouldering are also considered variants of mountaineering by some.

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.

Figure-eight loop

Figure-eight loop is a type of knot created by a loop on the bight. It is used in climbing and caving

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.

Climbing protection is any of a variety of devices employed to reduce risk and protect others while climbing rock and ice. It includes such items as nylon webbing and metal nuts, cams, bolts, and pitons.

Sailors hitch

The sailor's hitch is a type of knot, which is a secure, jam-proof hitch. It is a type of knot that is defined as a type of hitch knot. A hitch is a type of knot that has the ability to fit to the size and shape of an object that it is being tied to.

Double bowline

A double 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.

Climbing harness

A climbing harness is a device which allows a climber access to the safety of a rope. It is used in rock and ice climbing, abseiling, and lowering; this is in contrast to other activities requiring ropes for access or safety such as industrial rope work, construction, and rescue and recovery, which use safety harnesses instead.

Glossary of climbing terms List of definitions of terms and concepts related to rock climbing and mountaineering

This glossary of climbing terms is a list of definitions of terms and jargon related to rock climbing and mountaineering. The specific terms used can vary considerably between different English-speaking countries; many of the phrases described here are particular to the United States and the United Kingdom.

Ice climbing Activity of ascending ice formations

Ice climbing is the activity of ascending inclined ice formations. Usually, ice climbing refers to roped and protected climbing of features such as icefalls, frozen waterfalls, and cliffs and rock slabs covered with ice refrozen from flows of water.

Abseiling Rope-controlled descent of a vertical surface

Abseiling, also known as rappelling, is a controlled descent off a vertical drop, such as a rock face, by descending a fixed rope.

Nut (climbing)

In rock climbing, a nut is a metal wedge threaded on a wire that climbers use for protection by wedging it into a crack in the rock. Quickdraws are clipped to the nut wire by the ascending climber and the rope threads through the quickdraw. Nuts come in a variety of sizes and styles, and several different brands are made by competing manufacturers. Most nuts are made of aluminum. Larger nuts may be threaded on Dyneema cord instead of wire, but this has become unusual.

Rock climbing Sport in which participants climb natural rock formations

Rock climbing is a sport in which participants climb up, down or across natural rock formations or artificial rock walls. The goal is to reach the summit of a formation or the endpoint of a usually pre-defined route without falling. Rock climbing is a physically and mentally demanding sport, one that often tests a climber's strength, endurance, agility and balance along with mental control. Knowledge of proper climbing techniques and the use of specialized climbing equipment is crucial for the safe completion of routes.

Ascender (climbing) Devices used for ascending, braking, or protection in climbing

An ascender is a device used for directly ascending a rope, or for facilitating protection with a fixed rope when climbing on very steep mountain terrain.

Prusik knot

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 used to tie the hitch and the hitch itself, 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)

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.

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. 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.

Offset figure-eight bend Dangerous knot

The offset figure-eight bend is a poor knot that has been implicated in the deaths of several rock climbers. The knot may capsize (invert) under load, as shown in the figure, and this can happen repeatedly. Each inversion reduces the lengths of the tails. Once the tails are used up completely, the knot comes undone.


  1. Gaines, Bob; Martin, Jason D. (2014-05-20). Rock Climbing: The AMGA Single Pitch Manual. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 64. ISBN   9781493009626.