How to tie in on a bight?


Original Post
Kevin MP · · Redmond, OR · Joined Nov 2013 · Points: 193

When climbing with a half rope doubled over, what is the best way to tie in to the midpoint? I know I can use a figure-8 or butterfly and a locker clipped to the belay loop but I would rather not use the biner for a few reasons(cross-loading potential, weight, simplicity) So whats the best knot? Thanks.

Kurt G. · · Reading, PA · Joined Nov 2012 · Points: 125

you could get a belay biner with a gate that prevents cross loading. yes a little heavier but you cant get much simpler than clipping a biner and screwing it shut.

Vaughn · · Colorado · Joined Mar 2011 · Points: 50

Tie a fig. 8 or butterfly with a really long bight (like 3 feet), thread the bight through your belay loop and then step through the loop, bring it over your head and then cinch down. You've just girth hitched yourself in. Kinda wacky but it works.

Edit: Or you can skip the knot entirely I guess: Alpine Girth Hitch

ROC · · Englewood, CO · Joined Feb 2003 · Points: 205

You can also use a retraced overhand. That will be less bulky than a figure 8 using a bight.

Ross Ayer · · Southington, CT · Joined Apr 2015 · Points: 60

I mean, the locker to a figure 8 on a bight is best. The girth hitch greatly reduces strength. You could make a HUGE figure 8 with a loop of rope with the base knot tied through hard points and then follow it through. It is very clunky and eats rope... The Figure 8, butterfly, or super eight to a carabiner is preferred.

The knot

Jeffrey L · · Hillsdale, NJ · Joined Mar 2015 · Points: 10

Though I personally would use an alpine butterfly with a couple biners, bowline on a bite is another good option.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PzIP4IUnqvI

Mason Roberts · · Boulder, CO · Joined Jul 2014 · Points: 201

Maybe this takes it too far but I use two lockers, opposing and reversed, on the butterfly or figure 8 on a bite. You just don't know what jostling around can do to your lockers while you're climbing. Having that redundancy makes it so I feel ok not worrying about my tie-in while climbing or simul climbing. But, like most things with climbing and redundancy, do what your risk level requires.

VRP · · Denver, CO · Joined Jul 2013 · Points: 45

Locker through both tie in points works me.

Steven Kovalenko · · Calgary · Joined May 2014 · Points: 25

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wq9DYjkkOV0

Mike references this as "How to tie into the end of the rope" since this is a glacier travel video, but I use this method for tying into the middle of a double-over half rope, as well.

Tie an overhand on a bight with a long bight. Feed bight through tie-in points, and then back through the knot. Finish by tying an overhand around the doubled-over rope with passed-through bight. Escapeable, simple, requires no additional gear.

Mitchell E · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2016 · Points: 28

I like what Freedom of the Hills confusingly calls a "double bowline." It's essentially a single bowline tied with a bight (not to be confused with the Bowline on a Bight) and finished with a locking carabiner on the belay loop.

Bowline Tie In for Middle Climber

This way you're falling on a knot, not on a carabiner. Cross-loading isn't a concern since the locker isn't weight bearing.

Brian in SLC · · Sandy, Utah · Joined Oct 2003 · Points: 13,772

Girth hitch the rope through your standard harness rope points. Easy to tie in, easy to untie. Stick a loop through, put if over yourself, step over, cinch up and go.

A partner showed me this when we were trying to do a bunch of routes in a day in Joshua Tree. Short routes, use half the rope.

Kevin MP · · Redmond, OR · Joined Nov 2013 · Points: 193
Vaughne wrote:Tie a fig. 8 or butterfly with a really long bight (like 3 feet), thread the bight through your belay loop and then step through the loop, bring it over your head and then cinch down. You've just girth hitched yourself in. Kinda wacky but it works. Edit: Or you can skip the knot entirely I guess: Alpine Girth Hitch
Just what I was looking for, I knew there was a simple solution but was brain farting it. Thanks!
Mason Roberts · · Boulder, CO · Joined Jul 2014 · Points: 201
verticalworldtraveler wrote: Just what I was looking for, I knew there was a simple solution but was brain farting it. Thanks!
The girth hitch works well unless you're multipitching and need to come off the rope at some point (like if you're in a group of 3). When you get to the top of the pitch you'll have to figure out how to pass the belay, which gets more complicated with a girth hitch.
Mitchell E · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2016 · Points: 28
Mason Roberts wrote: The girth hitch works well unless you're multipitching and need to come off the rope at some point (like if you're in a group of 3). When you get to the top of the pitch you'll have to figure out how to pass the belay, which gets more complicated with a girth hitch.
This also creates problems for self-rescue. The fig-8 and alpine girth hitch make it difficult to escape the system.
Clint White aka Faulted Geologist · · Lawrence, KS · Joined Jan 2015 · Points: 158
Vaughne wrote:Tie a fig. 8 or butterfly with a really long bight (like 3 feet), thread the bight through your belay loop and then step through the loop, bring it over your head and then cinch down. You've just girth hitched yourself in. Kinda wacky but it works. Edit: Or you can skip the knot entirely I guess: Alpine Girth Hitch
Difficult to escape is an understatement; dangerous and near impossible under most situations where the word alpine is used. No escaping the belay. If SAR came upon this situation it would probably mean cutting your rope and using theirs. I am not SAR, I just imagine tempers flaring. A step thru hitch is a knot I know I will NEVER use. Hopefully I can erase this portion of my memory.

Any of the other knots with a locker is quick, simple, and safe. I like the alpine butterfly. As stated it can become a rusty skill so practice it. Chicks dig alpine butterfly knots. Tie one at the bar next time and score big!
wivanoff · · Northeast, USA · Joined Mar 2012 · Points: 472

I use the "overhand/feed through/overhand" as shown in Mike Barter's video. Or the bowline tied in a bight as shown by Mitchell E. from FOTH

I wouldn't clip in with a locker when leading because of improper loading.

I'm not really comfortable using the "girth hitch step though" only because it squeezes the two tie in points on my harness. (EDIT: deleted single pitch comment as I see this was posted to the Mountaineering forum)

The Brits seems to do this more often and it was extensively discussed here:

http://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/t.php?t=563538&v=1#x7499964
http://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/t.php?t=530268&v=1#x7127584

Kyle Tarry · · Portland, OR · Joined Mar 2015 · Points: 162

A few comments:

-While cross-loading a biner isn't really a good thing, note that small lockers like the Positron are rated to 8 kN when cross-loaded, and a Rocklock is 7 kN. This is probably sufficient to withstand a big whipper, let alone a smaller fall-factor you'd see in a non-vertical mountaineering scenario. If that scares you, 2 lockers is plenty strong, even cross-loaded, and adds redundancy.

-Worrying about escaping the belay, while reasonable, is probably not a primary concern in these scenarios, and certainly is a matter of judgement. Stating absolutes like "never ever" is always a bad idea (irony intended). There are situations where it would be bad, and plenty of others where it's probably fine, so rather than refusing to ever do it, consider the situation and judge accordingly. If it gets real bad, you can escape the belay by cutting the rope, or do a bit of shenanigans to attach your prusik/klemheist a few feet away from the harness, giving you enough slack to undo the girth hitch.

-SAR is the least of my concerns, if something bad enough happens that I am sitting on the mountain for 12-24 hours waiting for SAR to show up, I don't really care if they cut my rope, and I don't really think cutting my rope is going to be a big enough deal to make them angry (after they just hiked and climbed miles and miles to help me, cutting one rope seems like a minor gripe).

-I don't see how "squeezing the two tie-in points" is a concern. The same thing happens when you girth hitch a sling/PAS through your harness for anchoring on rappel, and when you fall on a loop of rope with a normal tie-in they're going to get pulled together too.

For what it's worth, I just tie a knot on a bight (butterfly or figure-8, depending on the circumstances) and clip into it with a locker. This is standard practice for glacier travel, and should be fine for short bits of leading too. If this scares you, add a non-locker or another locker. If it still scares you, maybe alpine climbing isn't your jam.

BenRobert · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2014 · Points: 0

Bowline on a bight is real common for midpoint tie in.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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