Learn 3 Basic Climbing Knots: A Guide For Beginner Climbers

Learn 3 Basic Climbing Knots: A Guide For Beginner Climbers

Many pieces of knowledge are crucial for climbers. If you are just starting off, you may find yourself overwhelmed by the number of things that you have to learn to ensure that your climbs go as smoothly as possible. Today, we are going to be discussing something that is a little confusing for less experienced climbers to retain.

We are going to be talking about the essential climbing knots that you should know if you are a beginner. You will find that knots are a part of climbing that is critical to understand because they are so versatile. There are many things that you can do with knots that can reduce the equipment that you will need to carry.

While you can't rely on climbing knots for all of your linkage needs, you will find that the more knots you know, the better. More knots will allow you to get yourself out of more tight situations if a piece of your gear ends up breaking on you in the middle of a climb, or it will just make you a more versatile climber.

Climbing Bowline Knot

Both versatility and safety in case of emergencies are two highly important parts of climbing, so you will find that climbing knots are an integral piece of knowledge. Now that we have explained the importance of climbing knots, we will take a look at the ones that you will need to know.

Bowline Knot

The bowline knot is used as a way to anchor your rope. This type of knot will not slip when there is a weight on it, which makes it ideal for an anchor. Unfortunately, it does tend to come loose when the pressure is removed, so you will need to account for this occurrence.

  • This knot is rather simple to tie, so let’s take a look at the process
  • The first step is to position the rope that you intend to knot around the object that you want to anchor it to
  • Run the working end of your rope through the loop
  • Run the working end of the rope behind the standing side and then circle the standing side before running the working end through the loop once again
  • Pull the side of the rope that goes through the loop and the one that passes through the standing side tight
  • Once you have pulled those two parts tight, tighten the rest of the rope strands, one at a time

Figure 8 Knot

This is easily one of the most important climbing knots, and it is perhaps the first that you will learn in any climbing class. You will find that the figure 8 knot is ideal for attaching your rope to your harness. If you remember any knot from this guide, you will very likely want to remember the figure 8.

Climbing Figure 8 Knot
  • You will want to play out a length of rope that is about three to four feet long before you start tying this knot
  • Twist the rope over itself at the end of the length that you have played out and then twist it once more, so it is standing how it was originally, with the twist added
  • Run the working end of your rope through the loop that you have created with the twist
  • If you look at your rope at this point, it should resemble a figure 8, which is where the name for this rope comes from
  • You must now run the rope through the parts of your harness which you are meant to tie into
  • Once the rope has been run through your harness, you will have to pull the knot in
  • At this point, run the rope back through the knot and follow the shape of the first knot with the rope, essentially doubling it up
  • Once you have done this, dress your knot to make sure that it is neat
  • At this point, all you have to do is tighten the knot, and your harness should be tied in with no issues

Double Bowline Knot

The double bowline knot is another method that you can use to tie into your harness if you are not comfortable tying a figure 8 knot. When you are tying climbing knots, you will find that one of the most important things to ensure is that you are comfortable tying the knot that you will be using.

While the figure 8 may be more common, you will find that some think that the double bowline is a more simple knot. The main advantage to the double bowline, however, is that it is easier to untie, even when it has tightened after a good deal of force has been exerted on it.

Climbing Double Bowline Knot

Unfortunately, a double overhand knot will have to be used to secure this knot, but this is not as much of an issue as it would seem.

  • The first step is to run your rope through your harness’ tie-in points
  • Run the standing end of your rope over your palm
  • While you hold the rope between your harness and your hand, wrap it around your thumb twice
  • Slide the two loops that you have created off of your thumb
  • Hold these loops so that the working end of the rope is at the top of them
  • Run the working end of your rope through the two loops, ensure that it ends up parallel to the standing side of your rope
  • Run the working end behind the standing side and then wrap it around before putting it through the loops
  • Pull the strands that run through the loops and the standing side to dress your rope
  • Pull the remaining strands tight one at a time
  • Tie your double overhead knot to secure the double bowline, and you are ready to climb


As you can see, it is a little easier than you would think to learn the essential climbing knots. We hope that our guide has been able to help you, regardless of whether you are a beginner climber or a veteran climber.

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