KNOTS FOR CAVERS
From The Complete Caving Manual by Andy Sparrow
Many of these knots are demonstrated in the video section
A very quick and easy-to-tie knot which is used for general rigging. It is similar, but not identical, to the Alpine butterfly, a knot often used in climbing. It is used ideally, either for a three-way loading or for a mid-rope tie-in (a ‘middleman’s knot’).
Bowline on the Bight
The best knot for tying a shared belay or Y hang, especially between bolt anchors. It can also be tied by rethreading and used for shared loading around thread anchors.
The only recommended knot for joining ropes, this is particularly safe for connecting ropes of different diameter. Half a double fisherman’s can be used as an excellent stopper knot in conjunction with the bowline or figure 8. Half a double fisherman’s can be used to create a noose sometimes known as ‘barrel knot’, which is used to secure karabiners to cowstails.
Many conventional rope knots are unsafe when tied in webbing, and this is the only recommended method for joining tape. Generous tails of at least 10cm (4in) should be left, and the knot pre-tightened by hand before use. It is a good policy only to use pre-sewn tape slings which are stronger and safer.
Capuchin or Stopper Knot
This large ball-shaped knot makes an ideal stopper, as it is sufficiently large (tied in 10mm rope) not to pass through a figure 8 descender, or even an HMS karabiner.
This is tied using a 3–6mm cord. It is simple but ingenious as it can be slid up and down the rope, but (usually) binds tight when loaded.
This is an alternative to the Prusik knot which uses tape and provides an alternative if cord is not available. It is much stronger than the conventional Prusik knot.
A really useful technique for improvising a jammer. It works best with two identical karabiners. A very good way to protect the ascent of a climb - but not easily releasable.
A quick and simple way to tie into a karabiner using minimal rope, appropriate for mid-rope, rather than as an end-knot. Not for general usage, but occasionally very handy.
A loosely tied overhand knot is as strong as a figure 8, but after loading it is much weaker, and very difficult to untie. It is useful for tying a quick loop which can be clipped into, briefly, for safety.
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