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Figure 8 vs Double Bowline
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By Step hen
From Fort Collins, CO
Nov 27, 2012
Boulder Canyon  photo by Curt
Craig Connally's Mountaineering Handbook has an interesting discussion on the 8 vs. Yosemite bowline. I've been using the latter for years, it's fine as long as you tighten it (as you would an 8). It's easier to untie, as others have noted, and strong. I sport climb mostly and like to push my limits (I fall a lot), hence my preference for the Yosemite bowline. No need to tie a fisherman's for the finish, it's just fine if you use 8 inches of slack, give or take.

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By Rocky_Mtn_High
From Arvada, CO
Nov 27, 2012
Lamb's Slide
I really like Craig Connally's Mountaineering Handbook, as well, and I switched over to the (single) bowline with a Yosemite finish for my tie-in knot after reading it. However, I also back it up with a barrel knot (half of a double fisherman's) because it takes just a few more seconds and I figure, what the heck, it reduces the chances of it untying from about zero to even closer to zero...

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By wivanoff
Nov 27, 2012
High Exposure
Mark Wyss wrote:
I don't know of ANYONE that when taught the fundamentals of climbing, the double bowline was part of it.


/me raises hand

Age 59, started climbing in 1972, Connecticut, USA.
Double bowline with half fisherman's backup is my usual tie in. EVERYONE I knew used it back then. EBs, RRs, still have Robbin's blue suede boots somewhere in my basement.
Lead on double ropes. Trad. Have never climbed a sport route.

I use a figure 8 in the gym only because they make me. And because that's all the gym "instructors" know.

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By Miike
From MA/CT border
Nov 27, 2012
my foot
wivanoff wrote:
/me raises hand Age 59, started climbing in 1972, Connecticut, USA. Double bowline with half fisherman's backup is my usual tie in. EVERYONE I knew used it back then. EBs, RRs, still have Robbin's blue suede boots somewhere in my basement. Lead on double ropes. Trad. Have never climbed a sport route. I use a figure 8 in the gym only because they make me. And because that's all the gym "instructors" know.


I love it, another close minded CT climber. Not touching a sport route in 40+ years huh? mighty impressive, yet you still go to the gym. wow, way to stand by your guns.

I use the figure 8 exclusively when climbing and I use the bowline exclusively when sailing/boating.

The one thing I dont get is that I have fallen probably 500 times on the rock and the only time my knot was impossible to untie was when the rope was worn out and ready to retire and/or I was pumped out of my mind. Maybe its the fact that most of the time I'm climbing with a 10.something rope?

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By wivanoff
Nov 27, 2012
High Exposure
fair weather climber wrote:
I love it, another close minded CT climber. Not touching a sport route in 40+ years huh? mighty impressive, yet you still go to the gym. wow, way to stand by your guns.


Yeah, that must be it :roll
Perhaps you should read guideline #1?

That I've never climbed sport is just a statement of fact, not an indictment of what you chose to do. Sorry you're so easily offended.

BTW, I only climb in the gym in winter when I can't climb outside.

Stopped ice climbing years ago. Hope that statement of fact doesn't offend ice climbers. That I lead on double ropes is just another statement of fact. Hope that doesn't offend people who lead on SRT.

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By Miike
From MA/CT border
Nov 27, 2012
my foot
wivanoff wrote:
Yeah, that must be it :roll Perhaps you should read guideline #1? That I've never climbed sport is just a statement of fact, not an indictment of what you chose to do. Sorry you're so easily offended. BTW, I only climb in the gym in winter when I can't climb outside. Stopped ice climbing years ago. Hope that statement of fact doesn't offend ice climbers. That I lead on double ropes is just another statement of fact. Hope that doesn't offend people who lead on SRT.


I'm sorry, its nothing I wouldnt say directly face to face. I'm close minded about some things myself, just not about climbing rock. I think the description for a climber that completely ignores more than half of the climbing in the world would be close minded. Maybe a better description would be "under the influence of ken"?

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By Brassmonkey
Nov 27, 2012
Brass monkey
Im 30 years old, and though I wasnt originally taught the bowline for climbing I was taught that knot during my time in the Coast Guard. At some point I was shown the bowline as a tie in knot and loved it. I have used a double bowline with a fishermans tie-off exclusively for thousands of sport falls, quite a few trad falls, lots of multipitch trad, and some aid. If you are a competent individual and know how to tie it right and ALWAYS back it up its safe.

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By Guy Keesee
From Moorpark, CA
Dec 11, 2012
Big Boulder, just a bit downhill from Temple of Ka...
So I wanted to dig up this topic, cause of the recent news:

John Long just shattered his leg, while getting lowered at a gym.

He will be OK.... in about 1 year after a ton of pain.

His knot: Bowline

Reason for accident: The Fu-ken thing came untied.

enuf said, wise up folks.

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By zenetopia
Dec 11, 2012
reason for accident: He tied his knot wrong. Not paying attention. So....actually, tie whatever knot you us correctly...pay attention, people.

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By csproul
From Davis, CA
Dec 11, 2012
Summit of Wolf's Head with Pingora in the backgrou...
Guy Keesee wrote:
So I wanted to dig up this topic, cause of the recent news: John Long just shattered his leg, while getting lowered at a gym. He will be OK.... in about 1 year after a ton of pain. His knot: Bowline Reason for accident: The Fu-ken thing came untied. enuf said, wise up folks.

That didn't take "Long"...did it come untied or was it not tied/finished in the first place?

BTW...I've always been a little confused how you tie a bowline "wrong". When I have mis-tied a bowline, I don't get a knot. The whole thing falls apart and is obviously wrong. Not saying it can't be done, I just can't envision what a mis-tied bowline looks like.

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By Guy Keesee
From Moorpark, CA
Dec 11, 2012
Big Boulder, just a bit downhill from Temple of Ka...
Don't know.... the result is the same.

Figure 8 will not come unglued and you can spot a bad one from a mile away.

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By bearbreeder
Dec 11, 2012
rockandice.com/news/2383-john-...

Climbing's best-known author, pioneer and original Stonemaster, John Long was seriously injured on November 29 at the Rockreation climbing gym in Los Angeles when his bowline came untied and he fell to the floor, suffering a compound fracture to his lower left leg/ankle. The 59-year old climber was transported to a local hospital where he underwent emergency surgery.
....

Long attributes the accident to pilot error, forgetting to finish his knot "I screwed up big," he says. "Double compound right at the ankle, and a big wound where the bone shot through. Long road back but I'll make it." As of this report, Long has undergone two surgeries and is recovering at the hospital.


any knot that you screw up will kill you ... but that said there sure seem to be more bowline screw ups ...

absolutely no one here is more "experienced" that mr long or miss hill in terms of climbing (some of you geriatic geezers might have climbed longer, but i doubt even youll say yr more "experienced" than those 2) .... and if they screwed it up ... anyone can ... and likely will at some point should you climb enough ... the real question is will it get caught ...

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By Jake Jones
From Richmond, VA
Dec 11, 2012
Me and the offspring walking back to the car after...
A few months ago Dave MacLeod was lowered off the end of a rope. Bottom line: Doesn't matter if you're a super strong badass, legend, gumbie, weekend warrior, etc. Fundamentals and vigilance need to be applied by everyone in this sport 100% of the time.

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By Jonas Salk
Dec 11, 2012
An anecdote about the fig 8 being tied wrong; I was talking to someone in the local gym about screwing up your knot and falling in the gym. She tells me she did it the other day (!!!).. She had only done two of the follow throughs on her figure 8 and led a climb. When she weighted the rope it slipped through one loop and held on the last one. So even if you tie the 8 kinda wrong, it might hold. Fuck up a bowline and you are bumming.

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By CJC
Dec 11, 2012
check each others knots too and try not to distract/be distracted when that knot is being tied.

oh and figure 8 for me and everyone I've ever taught

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By bearbreeder
Dec 11, 2012
CJC wrote:
check each others knots too and try not to distract/be distracted when that knot is being tied. oh and figure 8 for me and everyone I've ever taught


the flip side to this is that there is absolutely no way im gonna memorize every persons favorite variation of the bowline ... hell even MP "experts" are confused about what bowlines are called what ... and whether a particular bowline is "acceptable"

if you use a bowline ill basially ask you "is your knot good" ... because theres no way im gonna to learn every persons favorite variation and how to spot it at a glance ...

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By Gregger Man
Dec 11, 2012
gg
Unambiguous safety dialog:

Belayer - 'Knot good?'
Climber - (looks down) 'Knot good.'
Belayer - (sees mistake) 'NOT GOOD!!'

What could possibly go wrong?

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By Ed Wright
Dec 11, 2012
Magic Ed
I guess no one else here uses the trident loop?

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By Baumer
From Boulder, CO
Dec 11, 2012
Easy Lieback
If you actually dress the knot correctly, an 8 is never hard to untie. It's that simple.

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By csproul
From Davis, CA
Dec 11, 2012
Summit of Wolf's Head with Pingora in the backgrou...
Baumer wrote:
If you actually dress the knot correctly, an 8 is never hard to untie. It's that simple.
It's also simply false.

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By Guy H.
From Fort Collins CO
Dec 11, 2012
Once you have Black, you will fear to go back...
Gregger Man wrote:
Unambiguous safety dialog: Belayer - 'Knot good?' Climber - (looks down) 'Knot good.' Belayer - (sees mistake) 'NOT GOOD!!' What could possibly go wrong?


I am paranoid about checking my knot and my partner's knot these days. I watched a ground fall in Eldo when some guy didn't finish his figure 8. I have also saved one of my partner's lives when I noticed their figure-8 wasn't finished when they were about 10ft off the ground.

The biggest thing going for the figure 8 is that it is easily inspected. I have never had major issues with untying one, but I normally don't take big whippers.

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By Ian Stewart
Dec 11, 2012
Baumer wrote:
If you actually dress the knot correctly, an 8 is never hard to untie. It's that simple.


You must either weigh 50 pounds, have never taken a big fall, or have never pumped yourself out so much that even just tying your shoe laces hurts.

I've definitely taken whippers that locked up my properly dressed 8 tight enough that they took a few people a few minutes to get them undone.

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By NC Rock Climber
From The Oven, AKA Phoenix
Dec 11, 2012
tanuki
Ed Wright wrote:
I guess no one else here uses the trident loop?



Ed, I have no idea what a "trident loop" looks like. I am sure that I am not the only person on this site living in ignorance. Please, share your magic knot with the group.

BTW, Pepe (now Jefe) says "Bow Wow!" I hope you and Tami are doing well.

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By Mark E Dixon
From Sprezzatura, Someday
Dec 11, 2012
At the BRC
Baumer wrote:
If you actually dress the knot correctly, an 8 is never hard to untie. It's that simple.


Not in my experience. How often do you actually fall?

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By Guy Keesee
From Moorpark, CA
Dec 11, 2012
Big Boulder, just a bit downhill from Temple of Ka...
I fall a lot and im big-n-fat..... that eight sure can get cinched down, hard.

When I'm dogging, falling, I will go straight in, and then loosen and re-tye the eight.

That knot, absorbs almost 40% of the fall forces.

I have whitnessed "Drop Test" and if you keep dropping the weight enuf times, the rope breaks at the knot. It gets pinched down and that is where the rope eats it...... then you eat it.

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