Yosemite bowline

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Yosemite bowline
NamesYosemite bowline, Bowline with a Yosemite finish
Category Loop
Related bowline
Releasing Non-jamming
ABoK #1015, #1436

A Yosemite bowline is a loop knot often perceived as having better security [1] than a bowline. It has been pointed out that if the knot is not dressed correctly, it can potentially collapse into a noose, [1] [2] [3] [4] however testing reveals this alternative configuration to be strong and safe as a climbing tie-in. [5]


A Yosemite bowline is made from a bowline with the free end wrapped around one leg of the loop and tucked back through the knot, a final round turn and reeve commonly known as a "Yosemite finish." The knot's security is enhanced by preventing the bowline capsizing to form a highly dangerous slip knot. Additional safety is achieved by tying with a tail (see below). When finished, the working end forms a figure eight.

Because of the danger of incorrectly tying the Yosemite bowline, it may be safer and less error-prone to use a standard or double bowline with a backup stopper knot added to the tail, such as a double overhand knot tied around the loop. [3] [4]

The Yosemite finish can be applied to other bowline variants, such as the double bowline.

While the knot's versatility suggests it as a convenient tie-in for attaching a climbing rope to a climber's harness, the figure-of-eight follow through is the most common choice because it is more widely known and more easily checked. [6] The Mountaineering Handbook is one of the few texts that suggest that the Yosemite bowline is better for this purpose. Suggested benefits of the bowline include being easier to untie after loading or when wet and frozen, and being possible to tie-in with only one hand. [7] [ unreliable source? ] Testing found it a strong knot for the purpose. [8]

It is recommended that any knot which is used to attach a rope to a safety harness is always finished with a stopper knot. A stopper knot, while serving to keep the loose end tidy, will not only help to prevent failure of the primary knot, but also act as a secondary safety knot itself. It is sometimes said that if enough of a tail is left to tie a stopper knot, the stopper becomes unnecessary. The tail should be a minimum of 10cm but depends on the thickness of the rope. [9]


How to knot the Yosemite bowline YosemitebowlineBulin1 5.jpg
How to knot the Yosemite bowline

See also

Related Research Articles

Knot Method of fastening or securing linear material

A knot is an intentional complication in cordage which may be practical or decorative, or both. Practical knots are classified by function, including hitches, bends, loop knots, and splices: a hitch fastens a rope to another object; a bend fastens two ends of a rope to each another; a loop knot is any knot creating a loop, and splice denotes any multi-strand knot, including bends and loops. 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 loop at the end of a rope

The bowline is an ancient and simple knot used to form a fixed loop 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.

Marlinespike hitch

The marlinespike hitch is a temporary knot used to attach a rod to a rope in order to form a handle. This allows more tension than could be produced comfortably by gripping the rope with the hands alone. It is useful when tightening knots and for other purposes in ropework.

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

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.

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.

Traditional climbing Style of rock 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 have been coined by Tom Higgins in the piece "Tricksters and Traditionalists" in 1984. A trad climber is called a traditionalist.

Climbing harness

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.

Overhand knot with draw-loop

A slipped half hitch is a knot in which the weight of the load the rope carries depresses the loop sufficiently to keep it in place until the load item is placed in its location. When no longer required the free end may be pulled and draw the loop through and so release the load.

Stopper knot

A stopper knot is a knot that creates a fixed thicker point on an otherwise-uniform thickness rope for the purpose of preventing the rope, at that point, from slipping through a narrow passage, such as a hole in a block. To pass a rope through a block, or hole, is to reeve it. To pull it out is to unreeve it. Stopper knots prevent the rope from unreeving on its own.

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.

Water knot

The water knot is a knot frequently used in climbing for joining two ends of webbing together, for instance when making a sling.


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.

Honda knot

A honda knot is the loop knot commonly used in a lasso. Its round shape, especially when tied in stiff rope, helps it slide freely along the rope it is tied around. To tie, first place an overhand knot in the end of the rope. Then tie a second overhand knot, pass the running end of the rope through it, and tighten.

Bight (knot)

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.


  1. 1 2 Gommers, Mark (18 November 2017). "An analysis of the structure of Bowlines". Professional Association of Climbing Instructors. Retrieved 2018-10-06. 'Yosemite' variation of the Bowline is an attempt to make the standard #1010 structure more secure. ... care must be taken not to draw the tail up before setting the nipping loop or it may become displaced and compromise the knot.
  2. Prohaska, Heinz (April 1988). "A Safer Bowline for Climbers and Cavers". Nylon Highway. 26: 4–5. Archived from the original on Jan 1, 2009. This idea looks really good, but has a serious and unexpected disadvantage. The parallel parts of the rope in the knot can change their places before it is tightened, and if this happens, the finished knot can work loose and/or turn into a noose—much easier than a regular bowline.
  3. 1 2 Youtube Video of failure with poorly dressed Yosemite bowline: Yosemite Bowline not safe for climbing
  4. 1 2 Grogono, Alan W.; Grogono, David E. "Bowline Knot – How to tie a Bowline Knot – Climbing Knots". Animated Knots. Tighten the Bowline first and then tighten the Yosemite Tie-Off. Failure to do so can result in a slip knot. ... A Safety Knot is essential, e.g., a Double Overhand (Strangle Knot) can be tied around either the adjoining loop (left)
  5. Titt, James (2012-07-16). "Load testing of mis-dressed Yosemite bowline knot" . Retrieved 2016-05-25.
  6. Gaines, Bob; Martin, Jason D. (2014-05-20). Rock Climbing: The AMGA Single Pitch Manual. Rowman & Littlefield. ISBN   9781493009626. the uniform nature of the knot enables quick inspection and supervision.
  7. Herman, Abram (2013-07-06). "The 5 Biggest Safety-Related Myths in Rock Climbing". Go Up: The Road to El Cap. Archived from the original on 2018-01-03. Retrieved 2018-10-06.
  8. Connally, Craig (2004). The Mountaineering Handbook. International Marine/Ragged Mountain Press. ISBN   978-0-07-143010-4.
  9. "how to tie in to the rope".