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Basic Mountaineering Knots


Assuming that you're sensible enough to follow an experienced climber until you've mastered the skills, there aren't many knots that you need to know to get started climbing mountains. It's important that you master the essentials though. You need to be able to tie these basic knots quickly, in the dark, while wearing mittens.




  • Overhand: Backing up other knots
  • Rewoven Figure Eight: Tying into the end of a rope
  • Figure Eight on a Bight: Tying into the middle of a rope for glacier travel
  • Double Fisherman: Tying two equal diameter pieces of rope together (making prussik cords or extending a rope)
  • Bowline: Building an anchor
  • Clove Hitch: Attaching a rope to an anchor
  • Munter Hitch: Belaying or rapelling without a belay device
  • Girth Hitch: Attaching personal protection to your harness
  • Prussik Knot: Ascending a rope
  • Water Knot: Tying webbing into a loop

Tip: Keeping a 10' length of rope near your television can make your TV viewing time productive.

Tip: There are many different ways to tie a given knot, so if one way isn't working for you check a different resource. Once you've found a method that works for you, stick with it.

Tip: Learn what each finished knots looks like so you'll know you've done it correctly.

The Climber's Bible