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10 knots every climber should know

10 knots every climber should know

Knots are so important, whether you’re an Arborist, Rigger or in Rope Access.

They’re the tools you carry in your mental toolbox, that help you to get the job done and can get you out of a sticky situation.


Do you know these basic knots?


1. Knot:  Munters hitch

This is a great example of a “get out of trouble” knot! As an Arborist, if you ever find yourself in the situation that your rope prusik or mechanical prusik just isn’t grabbing (your Spiderjack cam is seriously worn, or your prusik isn’t grabbing) and you have nothing else. USE THIS KNOT.

Especially now with so many people climbing SRT with a rope wrench. If your prusik isn’t grabbing, you can find yourself descending pretty quickly.

If this is the case.

  1. Grab a spare carabiner and attach it to either a side D-Ring or leg loop (somewhere below your prusik).
  2. Tie a Munters Hitch onto the carabiner.
  3. Holding the tail of the rope under the Munters Hitch to control your descent, release what’s left of the friction on your prusik.
  4. Descend down and get rid of that worn out Spiderjack cam or cooked old eye to eye prusik.


If you’re in show/stage rigging, the Munters Hitch is great for lowering heavy or awkward motors down from the catwalks etc.

  1. Simply tie your Munters Hitch around a solid bar and then tie off onto the motor.
  2. Unhook the motor and lower down using the munters hitch like a figure 8.

You can even use it in reverse to capture progress because the knot flips. Get a mate to start pulling up the motor from the ground while you take in the slack using the Munters Hitch. Then he can have a quick rest mid haul, while you hold the tension on the Munters hitch.


  • reliable lowering knot for moderate loads (think figure 8)
  • tensioning the line for use as a track line
  • emergency friction device
  • restraining/guying purposes.



Another staple is definitely the Bowline. It’s great because it creates a fixed size loop in the end of a rope (that doesn’t slip) and can be heavily loaded and still undo.

2. Knot:  Bowline


  • Attach a rope to different objects
  • Attach a rigging carabiner to the rigging line and still be able to undo the knot.
  • Can be used as a termination knot for a tree climber if stopper knot is tied.




If you’re on the ground for a climber and  find yourself having to send up spare ropes (rigging lines pull lines etc) the Sheet Bend is great.

If you want to keep the climber even happier, tie a Slippery Sheet Bend instead, for a bit of extra untying speed.

3. Knot:  Sheet Bend


  • Joining 2 ropes together
  • Add an additional line
  • Suitable to join ropes of differing thicknesses.




4. Knot:  Alpine Butterfly Loop


  • Suitable to tie in the middle of the line when the ends are not free
  • Able to handle multi-directional loads.




Here’s an easy one, but you’d be surprised how many people get this wrong, when sending chainsaws up to a climber.

5. Knot:  Slip Knot


  • Securing loads when a quick release may be required.




6. Knot:  Girth Hitch


  • Attach a Reecoil chainsaw lanyard to your chainsaw ;)
  • Attaching a throw line to a throw bag (*hint, tie Bowline with a large loop)
  • Connecting a Prusik Loop to a carabiner



7. Knot:  Prusik Loop


  • Double rope system climbing (the obvious one)
  • Creating the adjuster for a basal anchor
  • Progress capture for a pulley. When hauling loads.



This is a super simple Hitch, but can have a massive impact on your climbing and rigging. 
Eg, a 1 tonne rated sling connected in a Basket Hitch, can be used for 2 tonne. But that same 1 tonne sling choked (in a Girth Hitch) is down graded to 0.5-0.8 tonne.


8. Knot:  Basket Hitch


  • Create an anchor point or false crotch.



9. Knot:  Clove Hitch


  • Tying tag lines onto steel girders/beams, to maneuver while being craned into position
  • Tying off limbs to be rigged (When locked off with Half Hitches).



While not actually a knot … this is equally important. If you’re not using rope bags, coiling your rope correctly can save so much time and hassle. Practice Coiling Rope to avoid having to untangle meters of rope mid job.

10. Coiling Rope


  • Keeping your ropes from tangling.



What have we missed? Are there others that you use regularly?


Leave us a comment below on other knots we should have added.


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