Water knot = death. Do you agree? We are all gonna die?


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Dick Danger

Trad climber
Lakewood, Colorado
Jul 11, 2018 - 02:38pm PT
I've trusted my life to rapping off 1" tubular webbing joined with a water knot and a couple of c*#k rings more times than I can remember. I will continue to do so.

Just be sure to have at least a few inches of tail. However, I never rap off webbing that was already at the anchor before I got there - no matter how 'new' it looks. I'll either remove the tat or at least back it up with some fresh 1" webbing joined by a water knot.

Trad climber
Truckee, CA
Jul 11, 2018 - 04:19pm PT
The video is kind of total hooey. No way a nubbin is going to pull one of the ends through if the knot is the least bit dressed. Even in slippery 9/16" webbing. I always carry one or two slings of that stuff tied with double fisherman's, long enough tails on that knot too, fully tightened by pulling each of the 4 "ends". That takes a whole lot longer to loosen than a water knot, in fact, to untie for use in a rappel anchor, you have to pound on it a bit with something, hammer, rock, somebody's head. Whatever it takes. It's a great knot to use as a jammed piece or anchor, tapers nicely like a nut. It needs a pretty deep pocket so the tension on the upper end can't lever it out.

Falls Church, VA
Nov 28, 2018 - 04:40pm PT
I'd like to put this footnote to the thread.
I, too, am surprised by the assertion of water-knot vulnerability to being pried open. I first heard of this from an Austrian knotting acquaintance, and believe that Pitt Schubert (former UIAA Safety Commision head) is among those who say that it's been shown (the vulnerability).

We should realize that the water knot has an interior and a traced exterior overhand strands. It is the latter's tail that supposedly can be pried out.

But it can only happen if:
1) the knot is oriented so that the pull on the exterior strand leads to its TAIL (untensioned);
2) and how much might be pulled out depends on how far the knot can be moved by loading stretch.

.:. So, if the knot is oriented (on the side of the upper anchor) so that the exterior strand is being loaded from below (that addresses #1)
the knot is set close to the upper anchor (for #2),
there should be no real chance that the knot can be pulled apart.

(I have played around and fiddled various knots that don't have the vulnerability, IMO --most easily, most like "the original", is a what I call the "symmetric water knot", which was designed to not have an exterior tail (as that is the end that can be ratcheted out w/low-force cyclic loading). )


Ice climber
Pomfert VT
Nov 28, 2018 - 04:57pm PT
even with 1" webbing they loosen up. I retied a bunch a cams a few years ago with 9/16th Nylon and they loosend up until I sewed the tails. Friend of mine broke 21 bones with a failed water knott. fatality on the grand in 2016 failed water knotts. I have retied the on this thing quite a few times since I installed this 1"flat webbing in 1985
Credit: tradmanclimbs

Jingus Newroutaineer
Nov 28, 2018 - 06:10pm PT
The Water Knot is not a tie and forget for years sort of knot.

Anyone with experience should know this.

Other than that, perfectly safe and that it can be untied relatively easily is one of its biggest benefits.
mouse from merced

Trad climber
The finger of fate, my friends, is fickle.
Nov 28, 2018 - 07:17pm PT
P2 of Right Side of the Cookie in '71, just a tough layback, but committing.

Mathis was amazed to finish the pitch only to find when he clipped the anchor that his swami had untied itself.

I made sure my own was securely finished with hitches after that episode.

I think it's potential for death is there, but one needs to check one's knot and one's partners' knots, too--something which took time to work into the routine of roping up in my crowd, not having been schooled by any "method" other than DIY.

Fritz, that coulda been so much worse, buddy...

Gym climber
Nov 28, 2018 - 08:27pm PT
I once retied all my slings with beer knots. Seemed like a good idea at the time, had lots of beer. My partner was not pleased when I pulled my rack out the next day. Totally not worth it, other than the beer.
Shaun Pinkham

Trad climber
Nov 30, 2018 - 05:12pm PT
The beauty of the beer knot is that its just as neat with 8 inches of tail as it is with 2. I've tied them that way for decades. I crochet tie them when I sort my gear, which pretty much forces you to handle the tails and feel where they're at.

Trad climber
Nov 30, 2018 - 07:39pm PT
Credit: telemon01

I used a water knot today when I made a V-thread with 6mm cord to rappel this climb.
I left 4 tails because of this thread. And I bounce tested it twice to set the knot. Thank you Supertopo!

Social climber
Location: It's a MisterE
Dec 1, 2018 - 07:58am PT
I find I worry about the slippage less when I internally sleeve the water knot....

...because I can't see it slipping!

Out of sight, out of my mind!

Bad Climber

Trad climber
The Lawless Border Regions
Dec 1, 2018 - 12:10pm PT
For rap slings that I have to leave, I switched to double fisherman's on 9/16 super tape a long time ago. Totally bomber. I got tired of seeing the water knots loosening up. I checked 'em, of course, but they spooked me enough to stop using the WK. Love the EDK on raps for connecting both ropes, however. Use mega tails.

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