Rock Climbing Basics Series: Episode 12; Abseil Knots

© Wild Country/Climbing Magazine

This is the twelfth 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 two useful knots for use when abseiling. Firstly, she shows us the overhand knot, used to attach two ropes together to allow a full-length, retreivable abseil. She then shows us a knot to be used on the other ends of the ropes to prevent the climber from accidentally abseiling off the ends of the ropes.

There can be differences in standard practice between the USA and the UK, and some beginners may have been taught very slightly different techniques at their local climbing wall or club. However the methods in this video series are simple, easy to understand and if done correctly, safe. As always, feel free to discuss alternative methods in the forums.

Wild Country and Climbing Magazine have produced a series of 'How To' videos designed to demonstrate basic climbing skills and techniques. In this video Julie Ellison, Climbing Magazine Gear Editor, shows which knots are best for rappelling. Julie shows how to tie an overhand knot to link her ropes for abseiling and then shows a 'triple barrel' knot to act as a stopper knot meaning you can't abseil off the end of the rope.

Support UKC

As climbers we strive to make the kind of website we would love to visit, with the most up-to-date news, diverse and interesting articles, comprehensive gear reviews, breathtaking photographs and a vast and useful logbook system. As a result, an incredible community has formed around the site - we’ve provided the framework but it’s you who make the website what it is today. If you appreciate the content we offer then you can help us by becoming an official UKC Supporter. This can be a one-off single annual payment or a more substantial payment paid monthly or yearly which includes full access to Rockfax Digital and discounts on Rockfax print publications.

If you appreciate then please help us by becoming a UKC Supporter.

UKC Supporter

  • Support the website we all know and love
  • Access to a year's subscription to Rockfax Digital.
  • Plus 30% off Rockfax guidebooks
  • Plus Show your support UKC Supporter badge on your profile and forum posts
UKC/UKH/Rockfax logo

2 Oct, 2013
I've used the simple overhand knot for abseiling without problem. Now for some reason in France there's a new official reccomndation that the fig8 be used instead (tied as for the overhand on the double). Maybe someone can enlighten me as to why it might be safer?
2 Oct, 2013
The fig 8 is most definitely not recommended. There is a video somewhere on the interweb that demonstrates this. have you got a link to this recommendation?
2 Oct, 2013
Nothing official. Various discusiions come up (in french ) if you search on "neoud de 8) + rappel. The comment is that it's 'more resistant'; greater detail would useful. Incidentally I've tried the fig8 in this context and not had any problem.
2 Oct, 2013
I've been told by various people that the figure 8 is more likely to roll than anything else. No proof, sorry
2 Oct, 2013
"To tie the figure of eight correctly requires that both ropes travel a particular path through the knot. This is very difficult to ensure in a stressful situation. In addition to this, the knot has an alarming tendency to roll along the rope when stressed at right angles to its main axis. Not recommended"
More Comments
Loading Notifications...
Facebook Twitter Copy Email LinkedIn Pinterest