Knots workshop

Knots are an important facet for many outdoor sports – they are used extensively in rock climbing, mountaineering, sailing and many other sports. From time to time hikers and backpackers may also find knots useful (securing tents, hauling gear, clipping to a rope team while crossing snow fields/crevasses and so on.) I was not sure if CTC have already done an introductory knots clinic. If not, I was wondering if there was any interest in going through this blog covering basic knots and their uses. Depending on how we do on time, we could cover some/all of the following:
Here are the topics to be discussed in Knots Clinic.

What this session will cover:

Stopper Knots and Loops
  1. Overhand Knot, Overhand Knot on a Bight
  2. Fisherman’s Backup
  3. Figure Eight, Figure Eight on a Bight, Equalizing Figure Eight
  4. Alpine Butterfly
  5. Double Bowline

  1. Square Knot
  2. Water Knot
  3. Double Fisherman’s Knot

  1. Clove Hitch
  2. Girth Hitch
  3. Munter Hitch
  4. Autoblock
  5. Prussik
Here’s the summary of the workshop:
1. We started with an introduction to ropes and their applications in hiking, mountaineering and rock climbing and so on…
2. Modern ropes are Kern-Mantel ropes consisting of inner nylon core and outer protective sheath. They also come in two kinds – static and dynamic. Static ropes are used for setting up fixed ropes mountaineering, for abseiling/rappelling and so on. Dynamic ropes are typically used in rock climbing, especially when belaying the lead climber. Dynamic ropes expand when a climber takes a fall, thus absorbing some of the impact forces.
3. Tensile Strength (measured in kilo Newton) is the force that permanently distorts or breaks a rope. A rope (without knots) is good to 100% of its tensile strength. Once knotted, the tensile strength of the rope goes down. Different knots affect the tensile strength differently.
4. The first type of knots discussed was “stopper” knots. One application of these knots is to prevent the belay device from sliding through the rope entirely. We discussed the overhand knot, fisherman’s backup knot and triple overhand knot.
5. The next category of knots was Slip Knots. We examined the overhand and fisherman’s backup slip knots. With slip knots, the rope can freely slip through the knot.
6. The next category we examined was loops. We looked at the overhand loop, the Figure 8 follow-through (a very strong knot, extensively used in rock climbing), figure 8 on a bight and the Double Bowline Knot (less stronger than the figure 8, but quite popular). We did not have time to cover: Figure 8 with 2 loops, equalizing figure 8 (three loops), alpine butterfly, alpine butterfly with 2 loops (the alpine butterfly is a very strong knot as well) and the bowline on a bight (2 loops).
7. The next category we covered was Bends (for connecting 2 ropes or two ends of a rope). We looked at the Square Knot (small profile), Overhand knot (also small profile, lately being used for joining two ropes together for a long rappel) and the Figure 8 bend (used for tying ropes of different diameters). We did not have time for the Water Knot and the double fisherman’s knot (a very popular bend).
8. We did not have time for any of the hitches – clove hitch (secondary anchor), girth hitch (useful for tying to a tree, chockstone e.t.c.), Munter hitch (can be used for belay/abseil if you lose your belay device), Autoblock (friction knot used for controlling rappels) and Prussik (used for ascension when you don’t have mechanical ascenders/jumars).
Hope the workshop was helpful. Leave your comments
Please take some time to refresh what we covered today. Also, I carry a rope with me during my travels – practicing knots is a good way to kill time at airports, trains, planes etc. and it keeps your skills sharp too.

Date: Wed, 10th Dec
Time: 7:00 pm
Venue: Besant Nagar Beach (Attendees requested to meet at Cozee by 6:45pm. We will walk to a flood-lit area of the beach for the workshop)
What to bring: 5 ft rope (any diameter is fine…5 or mm would be perfect)

Organizer: Sanjay Raghavan

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