This is the first in a 12-part series from Climbing Magazine, Wild Country and Red Chili, demonstrating and explaining the basic skills needed to be safe on the crags.
In this episode, Julie Ellison, Climbing Magazine's Gear Editor, talks us through tying on with a figure of eight knot - the standard method required by climbing walls and often thought to be more 'foolproof' than a bowline...
The lack of a stopper knot is astonishing. Should be standard practice whatever tie in knot you use, in whatever country you climb Given there's no stopper, that 6-8 inch end looks horribly short to me.
> (In reply to Martin1978)
> So if you only thread one of the leg loops/waistbelt and miss the other, it's the waistbelt that's threaded.
The counter argument is that if you do not complete the knot the rope is more likely to fall away if it is threaded from the bottom. Forgetting to complete the knot has happened to me more often than threading just the leg loops. Bottom up for me although to be honest it's not worth debating.
> (In reply to galpinos)
> The counter argument is that if you do not complete the knot the rope is more likely to fall away if it is threaded from the bottom. Forgetting to complete the knot has happened to me more often than threading just the leg loops. Bottom up for me although to be honest it's not worth debating.
In reply to GrahamD: No, but it's not necessarily about adding strength. Everything you do in the mountains is about taking risks, understanding those risks and what you can do to mitigate them.
I would imagine the risk of a properly tied F8 with 13cm end coming undone is close to zero. However, if you anticipate a risk that the F8 is not tied properly, then the stopper knot could save your life.
Agreed, nothing to do with strength. It's to stop knot falling apart in the unlikely event of it coming loose; but, more than that, it's a way of tidying up a longer end coming out of the knot. There have been extraordinary cases of knots pulling a fantastic distance in some falls. Anyhow, in 42 years of climbing I don't recall any climbing partner of mine not using a stopper knot.
In reply to UKC Articles: Oh heck here we go again...
Rethreaded Fig. 8 without a stopper knot- correctly tied and well dressed with a reasonable tail is fine to climb on and some people feel its easier for the climber and there partner to see at a glance if the rethreaded fig. 8 is correctly tied. Its also less bulky.
Rethreaded Fig. 8 with a stopper knot- a belt and braces approach with the stopper knot increasing safety if the main knot is mistied and the stopper shows that a sufficient length of tail has been left and serves to tidy the tail away.
Pros and cons add your own then take your pick.
Threading bottom up. In my experience this seems to be the 'natural' way for many to tie in. When you look down its often easier to see the bottom/leg loops and that is what many people automatically reach for.
Threading top down. IF you forget to thread both bits of the harness then arguably its better to have the belt as the only bit threaded as its higher up relative to most people's centre of gravity so if they fall on steep ground there is less chance of them inverting. Many CWAs/SPAs are introduced to this argument and teach top down threading because of it and word has spread.
However anecdotally (and from few non scientific tests I've done) if you forget to rethread your knot beyond the first pass then if you have threaded bottom up there seems to be more friction and even an untied knot may hold a fall. (Have a play with that one at the wall and scare the floorwalkers ;-).
Again add further pros and cons and take your pick.
Yes I remember that same same advice even in the 1980s.
A well tied stopper-knot looks good and stays in place but a poorly tied one will come loose. In those situations, even when the stopper-knot has come completly undone, I've never seen the figure of eight loosen up.
If the stopper-knot doesn't add to the mechanical strength of the figure of eight is it really required - though it does look tidy when in place.
In reply to GridNorth:
The counter experience: I've missed the leg loop, but never missed tying the knot. It was slightly uncomfortable as I lowered off, but I didn't die.
I don't know the consequences of threading the leg loop but not the waist.
Not tying the knot, however, could result in death, hence why I check twice.
One more thing: threading from the top is easier in big gloves (gravity assisted) when e.g., ice climbing. So maybe an advanced technique?