/ stopper knot or rethread?

This topic has been archived, and won't accept reply postings.
ashaw - on 18 Dec 2012
spent a number of years teaching my students to do stopper knots above their re-tied figure 8. I used to justify it that it would jam in the 8 and it also got rid of the extra piece of rope so it didnt hit you in the bollo**s. Then a few years ago I discovered the re thread dropping the tail back into the lower part of the 8. I now teach this to my students and groups. When i look at it if you were too fall the tail would simply jam in the 8 and it would in fact tighten up on it. A stopper knot can not only look messy but also can be daunting to a beginner when they watch it slowly come undone and they think the whole knot is failing.
So what do people prefer and why?
GrahamD - on 18 Dec 2012
In reply to ashaw:

I'm with you on tucking the end back through the knot. The rope end can then easily be tucked out of the way into the harness loop. Seem to be in a minority there, though.
alooker - on 18 Dec 2012
In reply to ashaw: I heard there are issues with the yosemite fig 8 failing when belaying from the rope loop, by rolling over itself. Not sure if this is a rumour or not, I've never heard of anyone getting injured because of it. I use it fairly often but avoid belaying from the rope loop when I do.
EeeByGum - on 18 Dec 2012
In reply to ashaw: I don't bother with either. I just leave a 6" tail. The argument that the tail might unthread itself simply doesn't wash based on my experience. Even with a loosely tightened knot, the tail doesn't come close to unthreading under load.
Jamie B - on 18 Dec 2012
In reply to EeeByGum:

Personally I have a suspicion that the stopper-knot insistence was "imported" from the bowline when the figure-eight became more popular, but I don't really have a timeline on this.
ashaw - on 18 Dec 2012
In reply to EeeByGum: oh i totally agree with you I dont think an 8 with a bit of a tail would come undone, however I am trying to educate my students as to best practice and be able to have areasoned argument either way. Obviously MIA's, MIC's etc when assessing for spa or cwa though have their own personal preferances and I want to ensure my students can stand their ground if they end up having this debate during an assessment
cheers
allan
jkarran - on 18 Dec 2012
In reply to ashaw:

If the tail is long enough to annoy me or for me to accidentally grab while trying to clip I'll add a stopper to tidy it up, if it's short enough I just leave the tail flapping. I'm sure rethreading it further to tidy up the end is just fine, I'm perfectly happy using 8's with more than 2 strands in them. I don't have any problem with the knots I use now so I don't imagine I'll change but it sounds like a neat finish.

jk
Bulls Crack - on 18 Dec 2012
In reply to ashaw:

When i look at it if you were too fall the tail would simply jam in the 8 and it would in fact tighten up on it.

Didn't I read on another thread that this is a way of loosening the 'jammed' fig 8?!
ian Ll-J - on 18 Dec 2012
In reply to GrahamD:
> (In reply to ashaw)
>
> I'm with you on tucking the end back through the knot. The rope end can then easily be tucked out of the way into the harness loop. Seem to be in a minority there, though.

I'm also in this minority club!

I always tie in this way, it has many advantages including the ease of undoing after a fall (never had a problem even after big falls or doing clip drops).

It also makes for a compact knot (closer to the harness) which is good for redpointing i.e. allows you to pull closer to the clip when working a route.

It also works well with short / young climbers who are learning to lead, trying to reach past a fig 8 + a stopper knot to reach the 'clean' rope for clipping is awkward for the very short, this method allows them to reach past the knot with ease making the clipping process far more efficient.
GridNorth - on 18 Dec 2012
In reply to ashaw: I think that Mammut did some testing with this and concluded that it was not safe and the Swiss Alpine Club subsequently advised against it's use.
nufkin - on 18 Dec 2012
In reply to ashaw:

How far back along the '8' do you follow with the tail? And do you just follow directly alongside the 'outgoing' line, as it were, or take a turn around the live end first, or loop over both the '8' threads before following back?

(I hope that all makes sense - a bit hard to explain without pictures)
Mike Stretford - on 18 Dec 2012
In reply to ashaw: Reading around and found this....

http://www.thebmc.co.uk/climbing-wall-death-due-to-knot-failure

can anyone explain what Ed is trying to say?
Bulls Crack - on 18 Dec 2012
In reply to GridNorth:
> (In reply to ashaw) I think that Mammut did some testing with this and concluded that it was not safe and the Swiss Alpine Club subsequently advised against it's use.

http://irishmountaineeringclub.org/index.php?option=com_loudmouth&task=topic&id=3301

seems to indicate a danger for using this method for abseiling fig 8 knots AND a problem for leading?
Kid Spatula - on 18 Dec 2012
In reply to Papillon:

Bowlines need a stopper knot?
Neil Williams - on 18 Dec 2012
In reply to Kid Spatula:

That's how I read it as well.

I've often heard it said that for a Fig 8 the main reason for a stopper knot is because it forces you to have enough tail to tie it, which is therefore enough tail for the Fig 8 on its own. It's also belt and braces to some extent, which can help a beginner psychologically ("It won't come undone, but we do this as well just to make absolutely sure" or similar).

Neil
wivanov - on 18 Dec 2012
In reply to alooker:
> (In reply to ashaw) I heard there are issues with the yosemite fig 8 failing when belaying from the rope loop, by rolling over itself. Not sure if this is a rumour or not,

http://www.rockclimbing.com/cgi-bin/forum/gforum.cgi?post=2538511#2538511
"The swiss alpine club now strongly advises against backthreading the fig-8 in any circumstances. "

http://alpineinstitute.blogspot.com/2008/11/figure-eight-follow-through.html
"Some climbers like to finish their figure-eight with a "Yosemite tuck" or "Yosemite finish." This is common technique is accomplished by tucking the end of the rope back into the knot. The upside of this is that it can clean up the knot. The downside is that this technique may seriously weaken the knot if you use the inside of the knot as a belay loop. If you load the loop of the knot it is possible that it will invert, after which you will only have part of the figure-eight remaining. Some people cure this problem by passing the rope around itself before going through the hole, but that makes the knot a little bigger."



Mike Stretford - on 18 Dec 2012
In reply to Kid Spatula:
> (In reply to Papillon)
>
> Bowlines need a stopper knot?

yeah so why say 'Contrary to a statement read in court from a local climbing instructor, a bowline will not ordinarily come undone if no ‘stopper’ knot is tied. A correctly tied bowline is an accepted way of tying into a harness, but it is imperative to tie a stopper knot in case the bowline is incorrectly tied or loosens and inverts.'

It doesn't make sense.
ashaw - on 18 Dec 2012
In reply to wivanov: a right yer i tend to teach the extra wrap version
cheers
jkarran - on 18 Dec 2012
In reply to Papillon:

> http://www.thebmc.co.uk/climbing-wall-death-due-to-knot-failure
> can anyone explain what Ed is trying to say?

Bowlines need a stopper knot in case they loosen then fall apart in use. Incorrectly tied bowlines need a stopper knot because they're incorrect and it's the stopper that's likely to catch you.

jk
elliptic on 18 Dec 2012
In reply to Papillon:

What JKarran said.

> a bowline will not ordinarily come undone if no ‘stopper’ knot is tied

...the key word being "ordinarily". He didn't say "ever".

Mike Stretford - on 18 Dec 2012
In reply to jkarran:
> (In reply to Papillon)
>
> [...]
>
> Bowlines need a stopper knot in case they loosen then fall apart in use.

Yeah that's what I always thought, which is at odds Ed's comments on the inquest. Suprised they've left that up.
Mike Stretford - on 18 Dec 2012
In reply to elliptic: That's just bad use of language as is the word 'contrary'.
snoop6060 - on 18 Dec 2012
In reply to ashaw:

There no need for anything more than a figure of 8 knot, stopper knots are pointless (well not quite, they tidy up the spare rope if you got a bit silly with it and used too much, sure beats tucking it in your pocket). But they arent needed for safety, a figure of 8 is more than enough.
Ciro - on 18 Dec 2012
In reply to ashaw:

There was a link posted on the "instrument of death" thread showing the fig. 8 with the tail threaded back through the knot failing under cross loading of the loop, so I would say avoid using it, never mind teaching it to anyone else.
HB1 - on 18 Dec 2012
In reply to ashaw: I can only say that re-threading is what I've done for years now - it neatens the knot, it seems easy to untie (even after a fall or lower-off), and makes it easier to clip. I see no danger or downside to this
henwardian - on 18 Dec 2012
In reply to ashaw: Only got half way through reading the topic but one of the justifications I give for tying a stopper knot is that it allows you to see you have enough tail left over. If the tail is too short to tie the stopper knot, you should retie the figure 8 so there is enough for said stopper knot. This way the stopper knot is just a tool for forcing people not to leave barely an inch of rope end sticking out of the completed figure eight.

I don't thread the end back into the knot because nobody has been able to explain to me how this might make it safer so I don't feel the need to change. It doesn't worry me if other people choose to tie it that way though.
lazzaw - on 18 Dec 2012
In reply to henwardian:
> the stopper knot is just a tool for forcing people not to leave barely an inch of rope end sticking out of the completed figure eight.

This. Also if you always tie a stopper knot then it forces you to make sure you've completed tying your figure of 8 and not got distracetd half way through (seems to be cited as a common way of cocking up a bowline). I doubt it adds anything to the security of the knot if you've tied the figure of 8 correctly.

The down side is that, unless the stopper is put snugly against the figure of 8, you could create and extra loop that you could mistakenly clip into when constructing a belay etc. My local sports centre tells people to do the stopper knot this way - makes no difference in an indoor wall but it seems so easy not to teach people something that could make a difference when climbing outside.

If you're going to use a figure of 8 I'd view using a stopper knot as best practice as an extra safety step but not integral to the knot integrity
Ciro - on 18 Dec 2012
In reply to HB1:
> (In reply to ashaw) I can only say that re-threading is what I've done for years now - it neatens the knot, it seems easy to untie (even after a fall or lower-off), and makes it easier to clip. I see no danger or downside to this

here's the danger:

http://www.vimeo.com/40767916
tom_in_edinburgh - on 18 Dec 2012
In reply to ashaw:

With the stopper knot everyone's figure 8 looks exactly the same. With the rethreaded finishes you are creating variants of the fig 8 knot that look slightly different. The likelihood of a badly tied knot being spotted in a partner check is part of the overall safety of system and non-standard variants make it more likely your partner will miss a problem.
ashaw - on 19 Dec 2012
In reply to Ciro: thank you thats a useful link and i will use that with my bods. Fortunatly I have been teaching the 3rd version but hey as everyone says perhaps I should just plod on with a long tail and nothing else so at least it can be checked
cheers everyone
GrahamD - on 19 Dec 2012
In reply to Ciro:

What a great little video. The direction of force is a little articial for a belay of course (more applicable for an abseil knot and none of these is really a sensible candidate for that)

I'm not sure that either of the fig 8 rethreads is what I do (for me the tail goes over the top of the knot and through, the knot is snugged tight but the tail isn't pulled through tight.)
ian Ll-J - on 19 Dec 2012
In reply to GrahamD: I agree that the direction of the forces applied in the test are totally artificial, would be really good to see this test re-done...

I'm not going to draw any conclusions from the test as common sense says that forces from taking a fall on the same knots would be very different and would not yield these scary results. The knot would simply tighten up if they tested it with the correct directional forces...

So for sport climbing and indoor climbing I will carry on using this knot...(or would I be safer with a bowline..lol!!!)
TheAndyBarker - on 19 Dec 2012
Seems simple.. Fig 8 with or without stopper (sufficient tail) but not re-threaded. Bowline with a stopper.
Direction of pull in the test is the same as would act across the rope loop when it is used as the belay point (semi-direct).
Interestingly, industrial application of Fig 8 advocates a tail long enough to hold on to after knot is tied and no stopper..!
Personally I think that it's more important that a Fig 8 is well dressed, tidy and tight before you use it. If this is taught to beginners, it should become 2nd nature and their own best practice.
ian Ll-J - on 19 Dec 2012
In reply to TheAndyBarker:
> Seems simple.. Fig 8 with or without stopper (sufficient tail) but not re-threaded. Bowline with a stopper.
>
Hi Andy

What evidence do you have to back up the 'not re-threaded' statement?
TheAndyBarker - on 19 Dec 2012
In reply to ian Ll-J: Hi Ian, only applies to high loads across the rope loop, mostly from pull tests in an extreme situation (rescue loads etc.) can cause the knot to pull open in some instances (as per video). Don't know of any tests being done on a simple drop situation with 'normal' climbing loads.
Just a personal opinion taking into account all the tests i've seen over the years. Not right or wrong but can complicate things with beginners. I have witnessed people climbing with the tail 'tucked in' (partially back through the hole it came out of) to make the knot tidier (as they had been shown by their instructor the week before). As I said, not right or wrong, just an informed personal opinion
ian Ll-J - on 19 Dec 2012
In reply to TheAndyBarker: I've just e-mailed DMM to ask if they could produce a similar video to the above but with a 'relevant' directional force...

In the mean time I will certainly carry on using a Fig 8 with a rethreaded tail.
Ciro - on 19 Dec 2012
In reply to ian Ll-J:
> (In reply to GrahamD) I agree that the direction of the forces applied in the test are totally artificial, would be really good to see this test re-done...
>
> I'm not going to draw any conclusions from the test as common sense says that forces from taking a fall on the same knots would be very different and would not yield these scary results. The knot would simply tighten up if they tested it with the correct directional forces...
>
> So for sport climbing and indoor climbing I will carry on using this knot...(or would I be safer with a bowline..lol!!!)

I wouldn't say the load was totally artificial - if you've used your rope loop as the centre point of an anchor and then set up a haul line from it to rescue a stuck climber, you're going to load it in exactly this way. Also, I guess it could be possible to catch the rope loop on something in a fall and load it load it like this.
ian Ll-J - on 19 Dec 2012
In reply to Ciro: I agree though I was trying to refer to the context of single pitch sport climbing / indoor climbing i.e. no belaying.
Steve Clark - on 20 Dec 2012
In reply to ashaw:

I witnessed an accident about 15years ago where the stopper knot caused the problem. A figure 8 had been tied in the end of a top rope, with a lot of spare rope. Someone had tied a stopper knot about a foot beyond the knot. The stopper then slid down the rope creating two loops. (As was common practice at the time) someone clipped into the wrong loop. Fortunately, they fell off about 12feet up, pulled the stopper and only bruised their heels.

Not likely if you're tying in properly, but something to be aware of. Keep the stopper tight to the main knot.

Steve
redcal - on 20 Dec 2012
In reply to ashaw:
I think the important part is that figure of eight knot that you tie is well finished and neat. A well tied figure of eight with a good tail is going to be far more effective in a worst case scenario than any variation where the concentrated effort is on what you do after to make the initial knot "safer". If you are buddy checking you can look at a well tied figure 8 and think yeah that looks solid almost instantly, whereas you look at a stopper knot, Yosemite finish etc. and the simplicity is no longer there. If you think from the perspective that you want your climbing partner or anyone you might be climbing with to be able to see clearly that you are tied in with a good solid knot then makes sense to keep things simple.
Davy Virdee - on 20 Dec 2012
In reply to ashaw:
> Then a few years ago I discovered the re thread dropping the tail back into the lower part of the 8. I now teach this to my students and groups.

I personal wouldn't teach "tuck-back" with beginners. I think teaching to tuck-back could cause folk to mis-rethreading in the first place, and make it harder for people to spot a badly tied f-o-8. Certainly for beginner I think it's as important to be able to spot a badly tied not as it is to be able to tie a good knot - budydy checking and all that.
David Reid - on 20 Dec 2012
In reply to ashaw:

If the re threaded figure of eight is becoming a source of paranoia then why dont we all tie the figure of 9 with a stopper knot?
When I started climbing it was a bowline I was taught with, it was only when I started using the indoor climbing wall did I then use the re threaded fig of 8 with a stopper
MikeTS - on 21 Dec 2012
In reply to Ciro:

>
> here's the danger:
>


Sh*t. When I started climbing we used a bowline without a stopper. Looks like I'm lucky to be alive!

Ciro - on 21 Dec 2012
In reply to MikeTS:
> (In reply to Ciro)
>
> [...]
>
>
> Sh*t. When I started climbing we used a bowline without a stopper. Looks like I'm lucky to be alive!

That's almost as irrelevent as the fact that when I started climbing we didn't use any ropes (and I am indeed quite lucky to be alive, as an x-ray of my spine will show, but then again aren't we all?).

The question was what's best practice, not what can you get away with. Why not go away and have a think about it, see if you can come back with something constructive?

This topic has been archived, and won't accept reply postings.