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Knots, Bends and Hitches

The "knots" we use as mountaineers actually include a variety of knots, bends and hitches.

Rock Protection (Trad Gear)

Chocks (also known as Rocks, Nuts or Stoppers)

"Chocks" is a generic term used to describe the various types of artificial protection other than bolts or pitons.

Belay Devices, Ascenders and Pulleys

Belay Devices

Belay devices range from the least equipment intensive (the body belay) to high-tech metal alloy pieces of equipment. Regardless of the belay device chosen, the basic principal remains the same—friction around or through the belay device controls the ropes' movement. Belay devices are divided into three categories: the slot, the tuber, and the mechanical camming device.


One of the most versatile pieces of equipment available to the mountaineer is the carabiner. This simple piece of gear is the critical connection between the climber, his rope, and the protection attaching him to the mountain.

Climbing Harnesses

Years ago climbers secured themselves to the rope by wrapping the rope around their bodies and tying a bowline-on-a-coil. While this technique is still a viable way of attaching to a rope, the practice is no longer encouraged because of the increased possibility of injury from a fall. The bowline-on-a-coil is best left for low-angle climbing or an emergency situation where harness material is unavailable.

Webbing and Slings

Loops of tubular webbing or cord, called slings or runners, are the simplest pieces of equipment and some of the most useful. The uses for these simple pieces are endless, and they are a critical link between the climber, the rope, carabiners, and anchors.

Climbing Ropes and Cord

Ropes and cords are the most important pieces of mountaineering equipment and proper selection deserves careful thought. These items are your lifeline in the mountains, so selecting the right type and size is of the utmost importance. All ropes and cord used in mountaineering and climbing today are constructed with the same basic configuration. The construction technique is referred to as Kernmantle, which is, essentially, a core of nylon fibers protected by a woven sheath.


SERENE and/or ERNEST are useful acronyms for remembering the important points when building anchors.

Introduction to Glaciers

A glacier is a perennial mass of snow or ice that is large enough and heavy enough to flow, like a very thick fluid.

Belaying Basics

Tying-in to the climbing rope and moving as a member of a rope team increases the climber's margin of safety on difficult, exposed terrain. In some instances, such as when traveling over snow-covered glaciers, rope team members can often move at the same time, relying on the security of a tight rope and "team arrest" techniques to halt a fall by any one member. On steep terrain, however, simultaneous movement only helps to ensure that if one climber falls, he will jerk the other rope team members off the slope. For the climbing rope to be of any value on steep rock climbs, the rope team must incorporate "belays" into the movement.

The Climber's Bible