8 Essential Knots Every Climber Should Learn

8 Essential Knots Every Climber Should Learn


Climbing knots are important to learn. And mastering the art of knots is simple with a little guidance. Whether you’re a beginner or an advanced rock climber, knots are lifesaving skills that everyone needs to know. Here we’re going to share 8 essential climbing knots, bends, and hitches to get you started working with rope.

1. The Figure 8

This basic knot is one of the most commonly used knots in mountaineering, therefore, arguably the most important to learn. Also known as the Flemish Bend, it’s a type of stopper knot that’s extremely strong. Whilst climbing you’ll need to know how to tie a rope into your harness.

Learn how to tie an effective Figure-eight knot here.

2. The Water Knot

Otherwise known as the Ring Bend Knot, this is important to learn as a climber as it will allow you to join two ends together. You can also use it to make slings and grab handles. Whilst practicing make sure the tails come out on opposite sides of the knot. They also should be at least 3 inches long to ensure the knot can be evaluated for slippage.

Learn how to tie the Water Knot here.

3. The Prusik Knot

The Prusik Knot is technically a friction hitch used for climbing. It's excellent for ascending. Plus, a must-have for crevasse rescue systems since it can hold the rope in either direction. Knots are often confused with hitches which are used to secure a cord to a rope for a short period of time. When the rope is weighted, they grasp it tightly, and when the load is removed, they glide freely.

Learn how to grasp the Prusik Knot (hitch) here.

4. The Figure 8 on a Bight

It’s the quickest and safe way to create a loop in the middle of a rope. Because they're tied in the middle of the rope rather than at the end, they're called "on a bight." Many new climbers are taught this knot to secure themselves to a redundant top-rope anchor via a karabiner. Or climbers can use it to attach equipment to the rope.

Follow this video to learn how to master Figure 8 on a Bight Knot.

5. The Munter Hitch

Hitches are easy to tie and when you remove them from the object, they simply unravel. The Munter Hitch is useful for rappelling if you need to descend. Or it's also great for belaying and will help to exert tension if you happen to fall.

Learn the Munter Hitch here.

6. The Double Fisherman’s Bend

Also known as the Grapevine Bend is a type of bend used to join two ends of a line forming a Prusik Loop. It’s often used in rock climbing, arboriculture, and search and rescue. Whilst climbing you may need to use it to join two ropes for a rappel as it's extremely reliable.

Learn how to tie a sturdy Double Fisherman’s Bend here.

7. The Clove Hitch

This is another important knot to learn as it allows climbers to safely secure the rope on a carabiner. It’s often used to connect to an anchor point. This knot is very beneficial when the length of the running end needs to be adjusted. This is because feeding rope in either direction loosens the knot, allowing it to be tightened at a new location.

Watch how to tie the Clove Hitch here in a few simple steps.

8. The Girth Hitch

Also known as a Strap Knot and Bale Sling Hitch, this is a simple technique to attach a loop of webbing or rope to a permanent location or object. This creates an anchor point. You may need to secure yourself to a tree or pole at some point on your climbing adventures so it will come in handy. It’s very easy to learn and quick to tie and unwind.

See for yourself here and learn the Girth Hitch.

You never know when you might need each climbing knot, bend or hitch so make sure to learn each of them. Winter is the perfect time to practice.

To learn more essential climbing skills, visit our blog where you can find detailed advice to keep you safe in the outdoors.