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Gearheads Casey & Bill setting up a snow anchor. Photo Credit: Ian Matteson

Need-to-Know Climbing Knots: Clove Hitch

If you’re going to be a rock climber, you don’t necessarily need to know how to tie your shoes (as long as you wear Velcro slippers), but there are seven essential knots you’ll want to know. There are dozens of knots that might be worth learning as a climber, but for the most part, you can get up and down any climb on Earth with just these basic, essential knots—The Figure-8 Retraced, Girth Hitch, Clove Hitch, Munter Hitch, Double Fisherman’s, Prusik and Euro Death Knot.

Know them, learn them, and practice them until you can tie them in your sleep.

Clove Hitch

What is it: A knot for quickly tying a climbing rope to a carabiner. Great for tying yourself in to an anchor. Also the clove hitch is especially handy when equalizing an anchor using the rope.

Why it’s cool: Easy to tie and untie after being weighted. Easy to adjust after being tied. Can be tied with one hand, allowing you to quickly clip to an anchor or bolt.

Red Flags/Rules: At a certain force, clove hitches will begin to slip, which is why they aren’t recommended as the sole knot for tying yourself into an anchor, and they are best paired with another knot such as a Figure-8 on a bite. However, it’s virtually impossible to ever generate a large-enough and consistent-enough force to cause the clove hitch to slip in a dangerous way.

How to Tie it

  • Form a loop and clip it to a carabiner.
  • For a second identical loop, and clip into the carabiner, setting it against the first loop.
  • Finish by pulling both sides of the rope tight.

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Learn How to Tie the 6 Other Essential Knots

Figure-8 Retraced

Girth Hitch

Munter Hitch

Double Fisherman’s

Prusik

Euro Death Knot

Related

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A Guide to Carabiners: Climbing Gear’s Unsung Heroes

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Gearheads Casey & Bill setting up a snow anchor. Photo Credit: Ian Matteson

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