Double Fisherman's Unsafe?


Original Post
CornCob · · Sandy, UT · Joined Nov 2012 · Points: 0

I recently heard something interesting from a climbing partner. He was told that the AMGA discourages using double fisherman's to tie runners/prusiks out of cord, and that two overhands (EDK with backup) are preferred.

I find this hard to believe, so I tried to find some source material to confirm/deny this claim. I was unable to find anything stating that the double fisherman's is unsafe.

Have any of you heard anything similar to this, or have any sources on this? I'm convinced it's false, but wanted to get some additional community input. Thanks.

timinthehouse · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2016 · Points: 0

I think you may have runner/prussik mixed up with making a bend with two ropes. My understanding is the EDK is best for joining two ropes in a double rope rappel although the double fisherman's is fine for that as well only that the fisherman's knot has a tendency to get caught when pulling the ropes. I use a double or triple fisherman's knot with cord that I tie in a loop for anchors that I top rope with, also on cord that I tie in a loop for autoblock. I believe a fisherman on webbing is called a grapevine but I could be wrong.

Double and triple fisherman's knot is fine for cord and even webbing from what I understand.

RangerJ · · Denver, CO · Joined Jan 2012 · Points: 0

Yet another AMGA rumor...

It makes sense to not use a double fisherman's for a long cordalette because it is hard to untie. If you ever needed to use the full length of cord it is easier to just tie an overhand.

Forrest Williams · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2015 · Points: 0

It has nothing to do with safety. The Dub Fish is a great way if not the most secure way to tie two ends of rope or cord together. The problem is it's too secure and after being weighted will not untie. If you needed to unloop your cordellete to let's say replace a rap anchor, you would have to cut the dub fish out. You loose nothing by using a flat overhand and will be able to later untie it.

George W · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Sep 2015 · Points: 3

The double-fisherman knots should not be used to join webbing, but it is ideal for cord. The flat overhand (follow-thru) is applicable to nylon tubular webbing, whereas it is not ideal for cord. It is not advisable to join dyneema with any knots.

CornCob · · Sandy, UT · Joined Nov 2012 · Points: 0
timinthehouse wrote:I think you may have runner/prussik mixed up with making a bend with two ropes.
That's the only thing I could think of when I heard it. However, how this all happened was my climbing partner was climbing with someone else. The other climber took all his cord runners and retied them because he said the the AMGA recommends EDK and backup over the double fisherman's.

My partner and I are both pretty sure this other guy is wrong, but I just wanted to see if anyone actually had source material to backup the claim.
George W · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Sep 2015 · Points: 3

Please everyone, stop referring to the flat overhand knot as a EDK (euro-death-knot), as that name implies an unsafe connotation and leads new climbers to tie their ropes together with a flat figure-eight knot, which rolls apart more easily and has led to 2 deaths in the US this year alone. There are many knots, some are more right than others, and some will kill you.

The OP was asking about joining cord/webbing for a loop.

George W · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Sep 2015 · Points: 3

OP, here's a reference to exactly what you're asking. I don't love the article, but it references your question exactly.
http://www.rockandice.com/climbing-accidents/euro-death-knot-mysteriously-fails
"there is no reason to use the EDK to tie slings or for rigging a rappel anchor, since just about any other knot is less likely to untie."

Ted Pinson · · Chicago, IL · Joined Jul 2014 · Points: 45

As mentioned, the double (or triple) fisherman's knot is recommended for joining two tails of a cord together to make a loop. The double overhand (EDK) is for joining two different ropes for a rappel. The double fisherman's can be used for this, but it is a) difficult to untie, and b) more likely to get stuck in cracks, which is why the AMGA recommends EDK.

Nick Goldsmith · · Pomfret VT · Joined Aug 2009 · Points: 15

EDK is great for rap ropes. stupid as shit for a cordelette that you want to be able to use in situations that may have much higher fall factors than rapping.

George W · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Sep 2015 · Points: 3

Hard Data: user.xmission.com/~tmoyer/t...

It's an easy google search, and the third result following two threads about this very subject...

A. Michael · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2016 · Points: 0

We need to have a sticky knot thread with photos and brief descriptions of applications. Somebody more knowledgeable than I should start it.

CornCob · · Sandy, UT · Joined Nov 2012 · Points: 0
George W wrote:Hard Data: user.xmission.com/~tmoyer/t... It's an easy google search, and the third result following two threads about this very subject...
Thanks for posting that. I was never really concerned about the strength of either knot, more just curious about the claim that the AMGA would discourage the use of the DFK.

Based on everyone's replies, as well as this data, is seems as though the AMGA has never discouraged the use of DFK's for the use of looping cord.

Thanks for the fast replies everyone!
slim · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2004 · Points: 930
George W wrote:The double-fisherman knots should not be used to join webbing, but it is ideal for cord. The flat overhand (follow-thru) is applicable to nylon tubular webbing, whereas it is not ideal for cord. It is not advisable to join dyneema with any knots.
you can use a double fisherman's knot with webbing. it is hard to untie though. for this reason, it is actually better to use the DF if you are leaving it as a rap anchor. it won't work loose over repeated use, which can happen with water knots.

in general, i use edk when i am rapping, retraced 8 (flemish bend) if i am leaving up a TR for a bunch of folks, double/triple fishermans in cord or webbing that i am leaving as a permanent/semi-permanent installation.
Brian BH · · Boston · Joined Mar 2016 · Points: 0

Agree with the untie comment. The spool of my 5mm tech cord specifically states to use the dub fish.

FourT6and2 Haftel · · San Francisco, CA · Joined Mar 2015 · Points: 5
A. Michael wrote:We need to have a sticky knot thread with photos and brief descriptions of applications. Somebody more knowledgeable than I should start it.
Here you go: animatedknots.com/indexclim...;Website=www.animatedknots.com#ScrollPoint
A. Michael · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2016 · Points: 0
FourT6and2 wrote: Here you go:
awesome.
Karsten Delap · · North Carolina · Joined May 2006 · Points: 215
Derek DeBruin · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2010 · Points: 540

I can't speak for the entirety of the AMGA, but as a general rule, the AMGA as a body does not take stances on specific technical systems and their uses. Rather, the AMGA encourages its guides to be knowledgeable about a wide number of technical solutions to various climbing problems and select the solution most appropriate for the application at hand.

In the case of joining loops of cord, the principle concern for application is whether the loop will be untied. Often, prussik loops are tied in a loop and left that way for the life of the material. Consequently, in those situations a double fisherman's knot is a very appropriate bend to use--it is secure, strong, and the ease of untying is irrelevant as the cord will likely never be untied. For tech cords, a triple fisherman's is often preferable and recommended by the manufacturer.

For a cordelette (assuming it's not tech cord), there are many options. Often, a cordelette is made more useful and versatile when it can be untied. As a double fisherman's is challenging to untie, this makes it less desirable in this application. However, both the flat overhand bend (aka the "EDK") and the inline overhand bend (aka the ring bend or water knot) are easier to untie.

If electing the flat overhand, the user should be aware that the knot can roll under loading. This can be countered by simply ensuring adequately long tails or by tying a back-up knot behind the flat overhand (such as a second overhand). If electing the inline overhand, the user also needs to ensure sufficiently long tails to avoid creep of the tails which can occur under repeated loading. However, if the user doesn't want to have to make these considerations, the double fisherman's bend will work quite well, provided the ease and versatility of untying the cordelette is not needed.

Personally, I use a double fisherman's bend for my prussiks. I tend to use a flat overhand bend for my cordelette, though lately I've been leaning toward the inline overhand bend instead.

BGardner · · Seattle, WA · Joined Aug 2009 · Points: 0

I'd echo what Derek said. In general whenever some one starts a saying with "the AMGA says..." there was probably a misunderstanding somewhere.

I will say, having done a lot of AMGA programs that the flat-overhand is by far the most used method for joining the ends on cordelettes. Personally, I'm a big fan of the inline-overhand and use that 99% of the time. Like Derek said, it is very easy to untie and doesn't have the knot rolling issues of the flat-overhand but it is a little slower to tie so sometimes, in the heat of the moment if I've just opened my cord up to get around something, I'll just use the flat-overhand to keep things moving.

Again like Derek, I use the double fishermans for prussics, not because it is stronger but because I can tie it once "weld" it and the knot/bend will still be there when I decide its time to throw the thing away.

knudeNoggin · · Unknown Hometown · Joined May 2016 · Points: 0

Often, a cordelette is made more useful and versatile when it can be untied.

Rather, a cordelette should NOT BE tied --just bring the tails out through the powerpoint knot ("big honking" overhand), and clip the two (rather than three) eyes as usual. The structure's legs will be *pure*/knotless, as will twin clip-in loops. Those tails could then be tied of with an overhand, which would only be loaded as a stopper knot against the powerpoint should some amazing slippage occur --and never be hard to untie.

  • kN*
Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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