Basic Rock Climbing Knots

Some of the first skills you will learn as a new climber are the basic climbing knots. Basic climbing knots are considered any knot that you would learn on your first day at an indoor rock climbing gym and/or on a beginner outdoor rock climbing course.  Although basic, you will literally use one, or all of these knots, multiple times every climbing session.

Basic Rock Climbing Knots – Figure Eight Knot

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The very first knot you will learn is the figure-eight knot.  The reason why this knot is so important is because it provides the foundation for the next knot we will discuss, the figure-eight follow-through.

Figure-Eight Knot – How to Tie a Figure-Eight Knot

Basic Rock Climbing Knots – Figure-Eight Follow-Through Knot

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Building on the regular figure-eight knot, the figure-eight follow-through is the primary knot used to tie into the climbing rope.  Although it may look complicated… don’t worry, you will get plenty of practice. You will tie this knot hundreds times over the course of your climbing career!

Figure-Eight Follow-Through – How to Tie a Figure-Eight Follow-Through

Basic Rock Climbing Knots – Figure-Eight and Overhand on a Bight

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Figure-Eight on a Bight.
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Overhand on a Bight. Note: It needs to be dressed!

The figure-eight on a bight and the overhand on a bight are the two most common knots used for creating loops in the climbing rope for clipping carabiners.

Figure-Eight on a Bight – How to Tie a Figure-Eight on a Bight

Overhand on a Bight – How to Tie a Overhand on a Bight

Quick Notes on Basic Climbing Knots

-Not many climbers notice this right away (myself included), but both the figure-eight follow-through and the figure-eight on a bight are essentially the same knot. The only differences between them are how they are tied and the way in which they are applied in the field.

Since a figure-eight on a bight creates a pre-made loop, you need to be able to either slide the rope over the object and/or clip directly into the loop in order to use it.  On the flip side, the figure-eight follow-through gives you the ability to wrap the rope around or through the object before closing the loop.

-The figure-eight on a bight and the overhand on a bight are used almost interchangeably. Without getting too deep into strength testing and whatever else (both knots are strong enough for standard rock climbing applications)… In general, even through the overhand on a bight is slightly faster to tie, it tends to be super difficult to untie after being significantly weighted.

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