Knots for passive climbing protection?


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Trad climber
Birmingham, Alabama
Topic Author's Original Post - Oct 21, 2009 - 11:51am PT
I'm heading to Eastern Europe to climb some Taditional sandstone routes. They don't allow regular modern protection. Does anyone have any information on tying any specific knots for protection. I want to practice this winter, I've tied some and they have worked suprizingly well. Any information would be appreciated. Thanks Don
goatboy smellz

Oct 21, 2009 - 12:41pm PT
Maybe email JoergB, he may be able to help you out;

I scored some bitchiní knots from him when out in Indian Creek but I havenít a clue on how to tie them. From what I hear you can buy them at climbing shops in Dresden.

Good luck!


Boulder climber
santa cruz, CA
Oct 21, 2009 - 12:42pm PT
knot that i know anything about knot placement, but i'm pretty sure the trick is just to use one simple knot with varying sizes of cordage. then when you need much bigger ones the monkeys' fist should do the trick. don't ask me how to tie one though.

Mountain climber
Okinawa, Japan
Oct 21, 2009 - 12:46pm PT
When I first started climbing and had trouble remembering how to tie knots,
Layton Kor told me not to worry, that "enough overhand knots will hold anything".

Trad climber
meffa, ma
Oct 21, 2009 - 01:09pm PT
if you can't tie a knot, tie a lot!
Brian Hench

Trad climber
Anaheim, CA
Oct 21, 2009 - 01:40pm PT
Ashley's is the authoritative book on knots. It's a work of art. If you like knots that is the book to have.
Lee Bow

Trad climber
wet island
Oct 21, 2009 - 05:41pm PT
Back in the 80's when I was a broke kid, I asked the mighty Hatten about this. He insisted I bring over beer and he'd tell me exactly how. He then lent me 5 hexes, 20 biners and twenty slings; which more thn doubled my rack. He then ORDERD me to go aid a local 5.9 finger/hand crack, using the real gear as if doing a free asscent, and to work it out with the knots for all the moves in between. He informed me that if I threw so much a a single free move I was a big chicken coward.

I'm a big chicken coward!

The whole point of trying to learn to use knots for pro was money savings. I was too broke/cheap to buy gear...but quickly learned that while knots worked it was (for me) a last resort only. Instead it was simpler to forget to return Darryl's gear...

This was the kind of thing he approved of, so he gave me a copy of Kor's Big Wall book as a reward. He also told me which of you maniac Really owned the gear and the book so I could hide if I ever ran into you.


Trad climber
Birmingham, Alabama
Topic Author's Reply - Oct 22, 2009 - 10:31am PT
Thanks for the feedback i'll order the book you suggested Tami... thank you.


Trad climber
Oct 22, 2009 - 11:46am PT
Tami's a comedian, she was making a joke. Knot.

Social climber
Oct 22, 2009 - 11:57am PT
Damn we're a consumerist society, aren't we?

You don't need to spend cash on a book, this isn't complicated. A few different diameters of cordage, overhands, fig-8s, monkey fist. Animated GIFs, youtube vids, and step-by-step pics for almost any knot you can think of are available all over the web for free.

Monkey Fist:


Mountain climber
Oct 22, 2009 - 12:01pm PT
Interesting knots! Wish i could afford $50 for the Ashley book.

Google does have some preview pages:

Trad climber
Birmingham, Alabama
Topic Author's Reply - Oct 24, 2009 - 11:12am PT
Elcapinyoasz sp? Thanks for the diagram for tying the monkey fist. I tied one last night but i'm having some trouble "dressing" the knot into a nice ball like in the photo. Thanks again I'll try to place it this week sometime. Thanks again Don

Trad climber
philadelphia, pa
Oct 24, 2009 - 12:33pm PT
Hey Skychild,

Keep playing with the monkey fist... it gets easier with practice, especially the dressing part. Another thing to keep in mind is that the monkey fist can be tied around an object to make it bigger/heavier (it's a sailing knot used to make the end heavier so it throws nicely). Probably easier to just use a different diameter though...

This article looks at strength of knots used as pro and has some good examples: Strength of placements of knotted cord


Gym climber
the ground up
Oct 24, 2009 - 12:40pm PT
You can place a marble or rock inside a monkeys fist. The knot might have a little more integrity. I don't know if this would cheating. If so, maybe a piece of sandstone then. If you consider doing it, I would ask the locals. I'm sure they have experimented with the idea. Finally, would better protection encourage you to push to the point where you might fall. Just don't fall, eh? Please send a report if you can. Maybe make it political so we can read it here.

Edit: Adatesman great link.

Trad climber
Birmingham, Alabama
Topic Author's Reply - Oct 25, 2009 - 10:53am PT
Thanks for the information everyone! I'll be doing some "backed-up" knot tests today I'll let you know the knot hold. I need to go back to school if I want to make sense of the technical jargon on the page with allof the test results from Germany. Thanks again, Don

Jim Henson's Basement
Oct 25, 2009 - 10:58am PT rocks!

There's a few other tutorial websites. I'll see if I can drudge them up.


Trad climber
The state of confusion
Oct 25, 2009 - 06:49pm PT
Kunlun. . .
go to your local library. . .good ones will have a copy of Ashley's.
Check it out, copy the relevant pages, return it.

Trad climber
May 3, 2017 - 09:36am PT
In order to make your monkey's fists more rigid and uniform you should use an old sock inside the knot. Don't use a new sock as that is bad luck! Marbles, rocks, or other metal objects add extra unneeded weight and limit the knots ability to slip into a constriction.
Tom Patterson

Trad climber
May 3, 2017 - 09:51am PT
Scariest and most exhilarating climbing I've ever done was leading with knots the Czech Republic (Cesky Raj).

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
May 3, 2017 - 12:11pm PT
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