Elements of A Knot | Knots & Pulleys in Rope Rigging Systems Segment 1

Written By: Lance Piatt

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In this segment we explore some of the finer points of knot craft and the make-up of a quality rescue knot.

The way we address knots, MAs (Mechanical Advantages) and anchors in this video is a general presentation with a focus on the finer points that are many times overlooked. Our hope is that the viewer walks away with an energized commitment to studying the “WHY” behind general rigging, with a focus on an extremely clean approach and with a dedication to practice and muscle memory. We will explore the finer points of these topics that are applicable to anyone who is called upon to rig.

Commitment to rigging as an art form is the true storyline.

The purpose of this segment is not to teach knots, but rather to address the topic of the language and commonalities of knots to clarify the language surrounding knots.

Ends of the Rope

The working end of the rope is called the “working end”, sometimes referred to as the running end of the rope. The other end, the bulk of the rope that is going to the rope bag or to the coil of rope is called the “standing part”.

One confusing term in rope conversations is “bight”. What is the bight? A bight is the creation of a loop in the rope where we’re connecting something to the rope. To further define bight, a bight contains two strands of rope which are parallel to one another and which stay parallel to one another throughout the course of the knot. Therefore, while tying an overhand on a bight you should be able to look at it and see the parallel ropes going around the overhand until it comes out to the connection point at the top.

A bight is different than a loop. A loop has a cross in it. A loop can be defined in these terms; the working end is on top of the standing part at the point of cross or the working end is underneath the standing part at the point of cross.

A bight contains two strands of rope parallel to one another.
A loop contains two strands of rope arranged in a cross.

A good example of a loop is found in the bowline knot. In the creation of a bowline you start with a loop with the working end on top of the standing part. The working end comes through the loop, goes around the standing part and back into the top of the loop. You now have a definite bight and the bight is captured by the loop.

Another term that is important in rigging as well as in knots is the “gain”. The gain is the overall dimension of the knot within the rigging configuration. The overall dimension of the knot is that distance from the point where the standing part enters the knot to the point where the working end clears the knot. The dimension (length of) of the gain has strong implications regarding how efficient one is rigging his systems especially in systems designed for confined space, particularly underneath tripods, where one wants to minimize the gain so one can maximize the work space.

The saving of space is of great importance in anchor construction and in knot tying, particularly at its most important point of rigging, at that elemental stage of rigging, that first knot that you tie. Become familiar with controlling the gain, keeping it small and compact. Doing so will help ensure you build systems with minimum gain, with a minimum amount of space in the system allocated to rigging and simultaneously with a maximum amount of space allocated to working space.

Sterling Rope is the Official Rope of Rescue Response Gear’s The Rigging Lab.

Certified to NFPA 1983, 2006 Life Safety Rope – Light use

 

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