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Tying off double bowline


Original Post
normajean · · Reading, PA · Joined Jun 2015 · Points: 100

For those who use double bowline to tie in, do you tie it off next to the tie-in loops or thread it back through and tie it off on the standing end (see pics)? Are both correct?

Bowline tied-off next to tie in loops

Bowline tied off on the standing end
Brassmonkey · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2012 · Points: 115

I do the top picture, my partner does the bottom.

Haven't died yet.

Gunkiemike · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2009 · Points: 2,745

The first approach is what's in the AMGA Tech Manual I have. I've never seen the second option. And, given the inherent instability of the bowline (i.e. "don't pull on it THIS way or it comes apart") AND the possibility that some variants of the "Yosemite Finish" make a knot LESS secure, I would stay away from it. YMMV.

Bill Kirby · · Baltimore Maryland · Joined Jul 2012 · Points: 480

I tie in the way shown in the second photo if use a double bowline. It's safe. Bill Dodd, an well known Adirondacks guide taught me.

rgold · · Poughkeepsie, NY · Joined Feb 2008 · Points: 525

I do a Yosemite finish and double overhand on the standing part with both single and double bowlines. Looks like the second photo but not entirely---how did the end make it out of the knot to the standing part?

normajean · · Reading, PA · Joined Jun 2015 · Points: 100
rgold wrote:I do a Yosemite finish and double overhand on the standing part with both single and double bowlines. Looks like the second photo but not entirely---how did the end make it out of the knot to the standing part?
Threading back
normajean · · Reading, PA · Joined Jun 2015 · Points: 100

According to this netknots.com/rope_knots/yos… my threading for Yosemite finish as depicted on the photo above is not correct and unsafe. If so, I would agree with Gunkiemike regarding tying it AMGA way due to how easy it is to make a mistake.

In addition, this depiction in Rock and Ice is also incorrect which is even more concerning.
rockandice.com/lates-news/r…

Allen Sanderson · · Oootah · Joined Jul 2007 · Points: 1,135

First in all of your photos it appears you are tying a left handed bowline (the working end finishes on the outside of the loop).

Your third photo of the threading back does match what was tied in the second picture. In the second picture the working end went through on the same side as the standing end.

What I see in the second picture is similar to the Yosemite finish but instead of taking the working end around and inside the loop before going through the "hole" is that the working end went directly back through the hole. Which is what I do except you have a twist which I do no like ( the working end should stay on the right or outside.

Mark Hudon · · Lives on the road · Joined Jul 2009 · Points: 415

Interesting logic from the article

"we bagged on the knot because in 1989 Lynn Hill took a 70-foot groundfall when her partly tied bowline pulled free of her harness."

Essentially,

We bagged on the knot because Lynn Hill didn't finish tying it.

rgold · · Poughkeepsie, NY · Joined Feb 2008 · Points: 525
Mark Hudon wrote:Interesting logic from the article: "we bagged on the knot because in 1989 Lynn Hill took a 70-foot groundfall when her partly tied bowline pulled free of her harness."
In reality, there was no "partly tied bowline." There was no knot whatsoever. She had threaded the rope through her harness intending to tie a bowline, got distracted, and never tied anything. Same thing happened to John Long in his awful gym accident. These distracted accidents are no different than a person tying a figure eight, threading the rope through the tie-in points, and forgetting to retrace. But with the distracted bowline failure, there is nothing left on the rope, allowing people (including a coroner in the UK) leap to the conclusion that the knot "untied."

normajean wrote:According to this netknots.com/rope_knots/yos… my threading for Yosemite finish as depicted on the photo above is not correct and unsafe.
"Not correct" in the sense of not being the original Yosemite finish. Nowadays, almost any way of tucking the free end back through any knot is called the Yosemite finish, regardless of whether it is the original method or whether the knot is even a bowline.

As for "dangerous," the site mentioned has nothing to say about the safety of the method you used. It characterizes the original Yosemite finish as dangerous if certain steps, as far as I can tell requiring deliberate mistying, cause an interchange of loops in the knot.

normajean wrote:If so, I would agree with Gunkiemike regarding tying it AMGA way due to how easy it is to make a mistake.
As I suggested above, it is actually very hard to accidentally make this particular mistake---you have to work at it, leaving everything very loose, so that pulling on the final end can interchange the loops. I've used the bowline for 60 years and the Yosemite finish for perhaps 40 of those years and have never caused the "dangerous" loop interchange. But whatever---here is the video that started the concern about the classical Yosemite finish. youtube.com/watch?v=1dj5Y3h….

I should add that it is far from clear whether or not the "dangerous" loop interchange is actually dangerous. The only tests I know that have been performed say that the "mess" that results holds as well or better than an ordinary bowline!

normajean wrote:In addition, this depiction in Rock and Ice is also incorrect which is even more concerning. rockandice.com/lates-news/r…
Again, the R&I finish is not the Yosemite finish. It may be less or more "dangerous," whatever the term means in this context. For those wary of the Yosemite finish, there is the double end-bound bowline (but don't use the same finish with a single bowline...)

Double end-bound bowline

Allan Sanderson wrote: in all of your photos it appears you are tying a left handed bowline (the working end finishes on the outside of the loop).
The left-handed, cowboy, or Dutch Navy bowline has gotten bad press over the years---I was taught it was "wrong" when I first learned the bowline. But testing has shown there is little or no difference, and the left-handed version may be better at resisting ring-loading.
Allen Sanderson · · Oootah · Joined Jul 2007 · Points: 1,135
rgold wrote: Again, the R&I finish is not the Yosemite finish. It may be less or more "dangerous," whatever the term means in this context.
It is not the Yosemite finish nor as R&I calls it a Half-Fisherman's knot (there is no such knot). It is double overhand knot.

rgold wrote: The left-handed, cowboy, or Dutch Navy bowline has gotten bad press over the years---I was taught it was "wrong" when I first learned the bowline. But testing has shown there is little or no difference, and the left-handed version may be better at resisting ring-loading.
As you note left hand is a fine knot - I just wanted to make sure others realized it because it makes a difference when tying the Yosemite finish. I have always tied my bowline left handed as it makes for a cleaner finishing knot. Of course I am right handed but left eye dominate not to mention dyslexic. So in some ways I am lucky not to get a granny knot.
Paul Hutton · · Dirtbaggin · Joined Mar 2012 · Points: 706
wivanoff · · Northeast, USA · Joined Mar 2012 · Points: 472

I do it sort of the second way you show.

But, I don't thread it back the way you show in the third picture. Instead, I wrap it around one strand of the loop before threading it through the "eye" and tying the grapevine knot. (Basically, I thread it through the "eye" from the opposite direction than you show)

Mark Hudon · · Lives on the road · Joined Jul 2009 · Points: 415
rgold wrote: In reality, there was no "partly tied bowline." There was no knot whatsoever. She had threaded the rope through her harness intending to tie a bowline, got distracted, and never tied anything.
Ha! Even better!
eli poss · · Durango, Co · Joined May 2014 · Points: 456

Why bother with a double bowline? I use this to tie in because it's quick, simple, easy to untie, and most important, it doesn't leave a knot in the rope when untied.

single bowline with grapevine backup
rgold · · Poughkeepsie, NY · Joined Feb 2008 · Points: 525
eli poss wrote:Why bother with a double bowline? I use this to tie in because it's quick, simple, easy to untie, and most important, it doesn't leave a knot in the rope when untied.
I use a single bowline when top-roping and a double bowline when leading. The reason is a hunch---I don't know of any relevant tests---that the double bowline, having more rope involve and more turns, will be a better energy-absorber for leader falls. (We know from Attaway's tests that tightening a figure-eight absorbs a decent bit of fall energy.)
amarius · · Nowhere, OK · Joined Feb 2012 · Points: 20
rgold wrote: I use a single bowline when top-roping and a double bowline when leading. The reason is a hunch---I don't know of any relevant tests---that the double bowline, having more rope involve and more turns, will be a better energy-absorber for leader falls. (We know from Attaway's tests that tightening a figure-eight absorbs a decent bit of fall energy.)
I am curious what your rationale for using different knots is? I am not implying that one is less or more safe than other, but why bother with two different knots when there is no time penalty for tying double bowline over single bowline. Using your logic, DBL even dissipates energy better than SBL. Furthermore, I would think that always tying the same knot would make it somewhat safer.
normajean · · Reading, PA · Joined Jun 2015 · Points: 100

What I've gathered from this thread is that the easiest, least error-prone, and still completely safe way to tie-in with a bowline is to do the double bowline with double fishermans backup next to tie in loops (as in my first photo with original post). I tested this setup the way shown in the video rgold posted (thank! that was really helpful) and it stays absolutely put.

I think Yosemite finish looks neater but beyond that, what's the benefit? Having to tighten the knot in specific order (bowline first and then the extra thread for Yosemite) makes this too error prone imo. And it takes longer. Am I missing something?

wivanoff · · Northeast, USA · Joined Mar 2012 · Points: 472
normajean wrote: Am I missing something?
Less cluster in the loop for those of us who belay off the tie in loop
Robert Hall · · North Conway, NH · Joined Aug 2013 · Points: 12,396

I had never heard of the "Yosemite finish" for a bowline, or double bowline, but from the video it looks as if one orientation of passing the free (tail) end back through, coupled with pulling that end first to tighten the knot can result in "no knot". I'm sort of glad I'd never heard if it.

I have been using a double bowline for 40+ years, and I finish the knot, not by tieing the tail to the active-portion of the rope (as in the original post's photo#2), but rather by tieing it to the waist loop-area of my harness with a "half" of a double fisherman's (same knot as in Photo#2). I get to look at that knot every time I put a leader or second on belay, as it is right next to my belay loop. If it's the least bit loose, I can snug it up.

cyclestupor · · Woodland Park, Colorado · Joined Mar 2015 · Points: 93
wivanoff wrote: Less cluster in the loop for those of us who belay off the tie in loop
So you use the yosimite finish just so that you don't have to tie your backup (double overhand) to the loop? But why not just tie the backup directly on the standing end WITHOUT the yosemite finish?

Bowline with backup knot tied directly to standing end. No Yosemite finish.
Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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