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Glossary of knots common in climbing

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This page describes knots related to climbing, rappelling and mountaineering.


Double fisherman knot (aka Grapevine)
The Grapevine knot is useful to tie together two ends of ropes. Ropes can be of unequal sizes. It is often used to tie both ends of the same rope together to form a circle.
Water knot (aka Tape Knot, Double Overhand Bend)
The Water knot is useful to tie together two ends of ropes. Often used with webbing. It is also useful in that the load of the two ends of one side can have load pulled in different directions.


Bachmann knot
The Bachmann knot is useful when the friction hitch needs to be reset quickly/often or made to be self-tending as in crevasse and self-rescue.
Clove hitch
The Clove hitch is used in belay system among other things. Note, it requires a load in each direction in order to be effective and avoid slippage.
Italian hitch (aka Munter hitch, HMS)
The Italian hitch is a simple knot, used by climbers and cavers as part of a life-lining or belay system. Its main use is as a friction device for controlling the rate of descent in belay systems.
Klemheist knot
The Klemheist knot is an alternative to the Prusik knot, useful when the climber is short of cord but has plenty of webbing.
The Prusik is a knot used for mainly for emergency use. Some carry between one to three cords specifically for it quickly if needed. One can be used to quickly secure persons's position to correct problems with equipment, two can be used as a method of ascending a rope.

Loop Knots

Alpine butterfly knot
The Alpine Butterfly is a strong and secure loop knot. Allows load distribution in multiple directions. It can also be used to isolate a worn section of rope.
Double Alpine Butterfly Knot
The Double Alpine Butterfly Knot is a variant of the Alpine Butterfly with two loops. Allowing load to be distributed in a fourth direction.
Figure-of-eight loop
The Figure-of-eight loop is considered strong and secure. Can be tied by taking a bite of rope and tying a figure-of-eight knot or can be tied directly around/through objects before weaving back through the first figure eight knot(Figure-of-eight follow through).

Stopper Knots

Stevedore knot (aka Double figure eight)
The Stevedore knot is tied at the end of a rope to prevent the end from unraveling, slipping through another knot, or passing back through a hole, block, or belay/rappel device. It is more bulky and less prone to jamming than the closely related figure-of-eight knot.
Overhand knot
The Overhand knot is a simple and fast way to join two ropes. Can be very useful in situations where speed is critical to safety.
Double overhand knot
The Double overhand knot is an extension of the regular overhand knot, made with one additional pass. It forms the first part of the Surgeon's knot and both sides of a Double fisherman's knot.


Monkey's fist
The Monkey's Fist is used to tie the end of a climbing rope into a tight ball so the rope can be thrown farther/easier.