The Who-Huh-What Knot?!

The figure eight knot is a type of knot that is used for a variety of activities, including the high ropes course and for rock climbing at the Outdoor Learning Center.  When using knots as a safety line, it is important to make sure the knot is completed properly.  Not only should one be sure to tie the proper knot, it is also important to understand the principles of knots.  Knots are the weakest point in a rope.  The first place a rope will tear (excluding obstruction to the rope) is the knot.  Certain knots have higher rates of strength rates than others.  According to Project Adventure, Inc., it takes 420 to 470 pounds of braking force for a figure eight knot to break in plate mode.  With proper care and safety precautions, the risk of the figure eight knot breaking is minimal.

There are several types of figure eight knots, such as the figure eight retrace knot and a figure eight loop, and double figure eight.  Here is the basic figure eight knot:

figure 8 knot

On the high ropes course, we use a figure eight loop knot with a locking carabiner that is clipped to the harness.  Many climbers and people that use knots have different preferences.  There is no one single knot that is correct for any activity.  Different knots serve different purposes.  An excellent place to learn how to tie knots is at: http://www.abc-of-rockclimbing.com/howto/learn_climbing_knots.asp.  Please take precautions when using knots as a safety support line.  If you are inexperienced, try taking a class or learn from an experience climber.

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