Knots, knots, knots – get knotted:
Learning how to tie a few knots is pretty important for a beginner. You aren’t going to be climbing anywhere without them. The Figure-of-Eight is probably the most commonly used knot in climbing, and is used to attach the rope to your harness – so it is a knot you will be using ALL the time. Thanks to climberatspire for this example.
Then there’s the Clove Hitch, thanks to pantograffiti for the demonstration. The clove hitch knot is popular because it is easy to do. It is one of the most frequently used knots and is used in both summer and winter climbing. It is useful in belay set-ups and it’s useful to pass through a caribiner when climbing. It is the knot generally used when you need to tie anything to a pole. The reason for its popularity is because it is fairly easy to adjust unlike, for example, the figure-of-eight. With a bit of practice the clove hitch can be tied one-handed.
And then there’s the Fisherman’s Knot and Double Fisherman’s Knot. This knot is most likely to be used when hooking two climbing ropes together to rappell. You would also use this for joining cordalette ends together to form a loop. A cordelette, just to refresh your memory, is a useful piece of climbing gear for equalizing anchors or for applications where a triple runner would be used. A variety of cords are available for making cordelettes, each with advantgages and disadvantages… more later.
This is a good video on how to tie the double fisherman’s knot – thank you to mikebarter387 for the video.
Knots are selective though. What one man likes, another hates. You must climb with what you feel most comfortable and secure with.
It’s a very good idea to practise tying knots at home until they become second nature.
And remember – always be prepared:
With the adrenaline buzzing, there can be a tendency to plunge straight into a climb, but preparation is everything. Stand at the bottom of the wall or crag and plan your route. Work out where the hard bits are and try to determine a rest point before you get to them, so you can shake your arms out and take a breather. Also, familiarise yourself with your gear and make sure it is properly ‘racked’ on your harness, so you can locate what you need, quickly, when you need it.