What are knots, bends, and hitches? The standard definition of a knot is a rope intertwined with itself, a bend is the intertwining of two ends of rope, and a hitch is a knot that is dependent on a host object. In the true spirit of the art of knot craft, defining knots deserves a little more than “intertwined rope!”

The first thing that comes to mind when we visualize “rope intertwined with itself” is the broken body of a rock climber lying dead on top of a heap of “intertwined rope”, only because he lacked the skill in tying the appropriate knot somewhere in his system. Or as Clifford Ashley (probably history’s greatest authority on knots) put it:

“A knot… is either exactly right or it is hopelessly wrong.”

By its very nature, vertical rescue is dependent on rope, and the most elemental skill in using rope is tying it into a knot. There are no gray areas, no “in betweens” in tying knots, Mr. Ashley goes on to say “Make only one change and either an entirely different knot is made or no knot at all may result.” This statement holds true in this business of high angle rescue, there is but only a careless visual difference between a slipped Figure Eight, and a Figure Eight on a Bight Follow Through. The Figure Eight on a Bight Follow.  Through is a great knot for securing a rappel harness, and under the same application, the slipped Figure Eight will drop you like a rock!





What Students Will Learn

Knots, bends, and hitches are defined by their function. It’s the responsibility of the rescuer to use the most appropriate knots for the job at hand. As with all systems within a vertical rescue, safety is a team issue. At least two (2) qualified team members should inspect all knots involved in the rescue operation before anyone is allowed to move into the hazard zone.


Inside this unique Knot Craft course, we’ll explore concepts and topics such as:


Peace on your days!



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