Beginner's Guide to Climbing Knots
Whether you're learning how to climb rocks, cliff faces, or trees, there are certain Rope Knots every climber should know. Tying the correct climbing rope knots could be the difference between life and death, so it’s critical you know how to make them tight and secure with every climb.
What are Climbing Knots?
Climbing knots are the knots you'll use when tying and using rope during your climb. Each knot has a specific purpose, and some of them you'll use all the time (like the trace-eight), while others may only come in handy during specific situations.
Since the early days of Sport Climbing, climbing rope knots have been developed for many needs and Rope Products. However, there are only about seven basic knots every climber should know. From there, you can practice with other knots as needed. For example, tree climbing knots are a bit different than those used for rock climbing. For a comprehensive review of how to tie a tree climbing knot by knot style, check out these Basic Tree Climbing Knots Every Arborist Should Know on the SGT KNOTS Blog.
As a beginner, you may already know a handful of knots, but there are quite a few to learn before you head out. Today, we'll break down the five most essential climbing knots for beginners.
5 Essential Knots Every Climber Should Know
1. Trace-Eight (aka Figure Eight Follow-Through)
This knot is what you'll use to connect your harness to the rope, and it's essential for climbing in a gym or out in the field. Some gyms will only allow you to climb if you can show your ability to tie this knot, so practice it often. This climbing rope knot will keep you attached to the belay, and it clinches well if you fall.
The trace-eight knot is relatively easy to learn and looks weird if you do it incorrectly, making it easy to master.
A Prusik knot is useful as a backup for a rappelling device, as it can move freely and then cinches tight when weight is applied. Prusiks are handy if you want an easier way to move up the rope without having to hold the main line with your hands. Also, you can tie multiple Prusiks for each hand so you can move faster.
3. Figure Eight on a Bight
If you're rock climbing, you'll have to set anchors and tie to them for safety. This knot is quick and effective for securing a belay line to an anchor. Plus, it's relatively easy to untie when you're making your way back down.
If you use rappelling devices, a Munter hitch can come in handy so you don't lose the device by accident. However, it can create snarls in the rope, so use this knot sparingly. Overall, you're just tying the rope around the rappelling device so it will cinch in one direction and move smoothly in the other (i.e., upward).
5. Double Fisherman's Bend
Chances are, you won't have quite enough rope for the entire climb, so you'll have to join two or more pieces together. This knot only works for ropes of the same diameter, so don't try to join different-sized ropes. The main downside of this knot is that it becomes practically impossible to untie after a fall. That's the price for peace of mind, though.
Get Your Essential Climbing Equipment at SGT KNOTS Today
Learning these basic climbing knots is a good start, but there are literally dozens of knots you can master before climbing. Also, remember that tree-climbing knots are slightly different, so plan accordingly, depending on your needs. Browse our selection of high-quality rope and become a master in the field of climbing rope knots!