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Need-to-Know Climbing Knots: Girth 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.

Girth Hitch

What is it: A knot for tying climbing slings to various features including: the belay loop of your harness, bolt hangers at anchors, and “threads” of rock, horns/chicken heads on trad routes.

Why it’s cool: Easy to tie, can be tied with one hand, and is useful in many situations.

Red Flags/Rules: Don’t leave slings girth-hitched to your harness belay loop for extended periods of time.

How to Tie it

  • Using a sewn sling, pass a loop around the object you’d like to girth hitch.
  • Thread the other end of the sling through the first loop.
  • Dress the girth hitch so there are no kinks, and pull the sling tight.


Learn How to Tie the 6 Other Essential Knots

Figure-8 Retraced

Clove Hitch

Munter Hitch

Double Fisherman’s


Euro Death Knot


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