What tie in knot is this?


Original Post
Nolan Huther · · Clarkson University · Joined Dec 2014 · Points: 567

Continuing the "spotted on Instagram" trend...

My friend sent this to me asking what knot this person used to tie in and I had no idea. All the commenters on the photo were wondering the same thing. Anyone recognize this?

20 kN · · Hawaii · Joined Feb 2009 · Points: 1,128

It's a bowline on a bight retraced through the harness (some call it a double bowline, although that's technically not correct) with a double fisherman's backup. However, instead of tying the fishermans backup to the main loops, she would have been better off using the Yosemite finish and tucking the tail back through the knot. That's the exact version of the knot I use to tie in with and I've fallen on it several hundred times. It's a great knot, but it's far more complex than the figure eight, easier to mess up, and less likely to be noticed if you mess up since probably less than 1% of climbers know how to tie that knot.

FrankPS · · Atascadero, CA · Joined Nov 2009 · Points: 15

She's very shapely, but I digress. 

Jordan · · Wilmington, NC · Joined Mar 2017 · Points: 0

I'll stick to bowlines for attaching a rope to something that is not my harness. 

aikibujin · · Castle Rock, CO · Joined Oct 2014 · Points: 200

Deja vu? It's the same knot as the post below, just with a different finish.

https://www.mountainproject.com/forum/topic/112572813/anyone-know-what-knot-this-is

Brassmonkey · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2012 · Points: 0

Sweet, another bowline thread. 

It looks odd because she tied the fisherman back to the loops instead of the rope portion leading away from her harness. 

Healyje · · PDX · Joined Jan 2006 · Points: 100

It's a double bowline with a quite odd finish. What I tie in with:

amarius · · Nowhere, OK · Joined Feb 2012 · Points: 0

2nd 20kN - double bowline twice through tie-ins with Yosemite like finish. I bet this finish was chosen to keep the tail end out of the way.
I use what HealyJE showed - visual symmetry makes inspection easier, but then I am blessed to climb with people who know what double bowline is supposed to look like.

Whatever knot you use - know how to check it, double check it. Your safety is YOUR primary concern. If your climber uses something that you do not know how to inspect, ask them to inspect it twice.

Do not not check your knot.


aikibujin · · Castle Rock, CO · Joined Oct 2014 · Points: 200
amarius wrote:

2nd 20kN - double bowline twice through tie-ins with Yosemite like finish.

Actually, 20 kN and Healyje are talking about two different knots. 20kN is talking about a retraced bowline, essentially a bowline on a bight tied by retracing a single bowline, here's a picture:

Healyje is showing a "double bowline", basically a regular bowline tied with two loops as the "hole" the rabbit goes through. He then tuck the tail through the tie-in points before finishing it. This finish really creates some confusion because it looks a lot like the retraced bowline. I was not aware of this finish before, and now I can't be sure if the photo in the OP is a retraced bowline or this double bowline with tail tucked through the tie-in points. Edited to add: after looking at the picture in the OP closely, I'm 100% sure it's a retraced bowline, and not a double bowline with the tail tucked through the tie-in points.

I use the retraced bowline (not the double bowline) as my "project knot" when I expect I will be falling a lot. I always double check it myself since I don't expect anyone I climb with to know it.

rgold · · Poughkeepsie, NY · Joined Feb 2008 · Points: 40

Right.  The knot in the OP's picture is a rethreaded bowline on a bight, Joe's knot is a double bowline, which is not at all the same thing.  A few years ago a DAV study rated the rethreaded bowline on a bight as the best tie-in knot, so it is quite popular in Germany and perhaps other European countries.  It is relatively rare to see anyone using it here.

cyclestupor · · Woodland Park, Colorado · Joined Mar 2015 · Points: 68
20 kN wrote:

It's a bowline on a bight retraced through the harness (some call it a double bowline, although that's technically not correct) with a double fisherman's backup. However, instead of tying the fishermans backup to the main loops, she would have been better off using the Yosemite finish and tucking the tail back through the knot. That's the exact version of the knot I use to tie in with and I've fallen on it several hundred times. It's a great knot, but it's far more complex than the figure eight, easier to mess up, and less likely to be noticed if you mess up since probably less than 1% of climbers know how to tie that knot.

Yes, 20kN nailed it.

I would add that the Yosemite finish on the retraced bowline, or any knot for that matter, is NOT a backup knot.  It just gets the tail out of the way (or makes it easier to untie in the case of fig-8 w. Yosemite).  when properly tied, the retraced bowline is safe, but you should not be under the illusion that Yosemite Finish adds any degree of redundancy to the knot in case you tie it incorrectly (the purpose of a backup knot).

amarius · · Nowhere, OK · Joined Feb 2012 · Points: 0

Holly crap, both double bowline with a tie in rethread and rethreaded bowline do look very similar! Good catch.


Healyje · · PDX · Joined Jan 2006 · Points: 100

I personally do not and would knot ever use the 'Yosemite finish' on any bowline as it destroys the visual symmetry of the knot. As to the U.S. popularity of bowline tie-ins, I can't speak to it in general, but I came up in SoIll hollers climbing overhangs and roofs and a figure-8 is just a pointless pain in the ass to deal with after repeated falls.

amarius · · Nowhere, OK · Joined Feb 2012 · Points: 0
Healyje wrote:

figure-8 is just a pointless pain in the ass to deal with after repeated falls.

Come on, it teaches one grit AND perseverance!
As a side note - 8a.nu mentioned some kind of doodad to make untying fig8 easier

20 kN · · Hawaii · Joined Feb 2009 · Points: 1,128
cyclestupor wrote:

I would add that the Yosemite finish on the retraced bowline, or any knot for that matter, is NOT a backup knot.  It just gets the tail out of the way (or makes it easier to untie in the case of fig-8 w. Yosemite).  when properly tied, the retraced bowline is safe, but you should not be under the illusion that Yosemite Finish adds any degree of redundancy to the knot in case you tie it incorrectly (the purpose of a backup knot). 

While it's not a separate knot per se, it does tuck the tail back through the choke points which is what makes the bowline a knot in the first place. W/ the Yosemite finish, for the knot to come untied the tail would need to slip through the choke point three times as opposed to two without the finish. In other words, using the finish adds more "knot" to the knot. On a similar note, it's known the figure eight will hold if you dont run the last pass of the tail through the knot. Even when pulled to failure, the last pass of the rope does not get loaded. Thus, completing the last pass of the figure eight just adds more security even though the knot can hold without it. The Yosemite finish on the bowline is a similar analogy.

Healyje wrote:

I personally do not and would knot ever use the 'Yosemite finish' on any bowline as it destroys the visual symmetry of the knot.

The bowline is not a symmetrical knot in the first place. The back side of it looks nothing like the front side. The figure eight is a mirror image on both sides which makes it symmetrical. In any case, adding the Yosemite finish doesent make the knot any more difficult to inspect and in either case inspecting it is going to be the sole responsibility of the climber since the belayer likely wont know how to tie it. Thus, if you know what a bowline w/ Yosemite finish is supposed to look like, it's not any more dangerous than one without it.

Healyje · · PDX · Joined Jan 2006 · Points: 100
20 kN wrote:

The bowline is not a symmetrical knot in the first place. The back side of it looks nothing like the front side. The figure eight is a mirror image on both sides which makes it symmetrical. In any case, adding the Yosemite finish doesent make the knot any more difficult to inspect and in either case inspecting it is going to be the sole responsibility of the climber since the belayer likely wont know how to tie it. Thus, if you know what a bowline w/ Yosemite finish is supposed to look like, it's not any more dangerous than one without it.

The back and front side are different, but the front side by itself is symmetrical and very easy to verify it's shape. That ease of verification is completely destroyed by the Yosemite finsh which looks like a bastard offspring of a bowline and figure-8. Would never.

20 kN · · Hawaii · Joined Feb 2009 · Points: 1,128
Healyje wrote:

The back and front side are different, but the front side by itself is symmetrical and very easy to verify it's shape. That ease of verification is completely destroyed by the Yosemite finsh which looks like a bastard offspring of a bowline and figure-8. Would never.

So then verify it's base shape, then tuck the tail through. The Yosemite finish is a hell of a lot less complicated than some cluster shit of double fishermans with the tail ran back into the harness and tied off to one strand like in the OP's photo. You want to talk about complicated to inspect...

Bowline:

Bowline w/ Yosemite finish:

cyclestupor · · Woodland Park, Colorado · Joined Mar 2015 · Points: 68
20 kN wrote:

While it's not a separate knot per se, it does tuck the tail back through the choke points which is what makes the bowline a knot in the first place. W/ the Yosemite finish, for the knot to come untied the tail would need to slip through the choke point three times as opposed to two without the finish. In other words, using the finish adds more "knot" to the knot. On a similar note, it's known the figure eight will hold if you dont run the last pass of the tail through the knot. Even when pulled to failure, the last pass of the rope does not get loaded. Thus, completing the last pass of the figure eight just adds more security even though the knot can hold without it. The Yosemite finish on the bowline is a similar analogy.

Yes, all of that you say is correct, and I'm not disputing it.

The fact remains however that the Yosemite finish is NOT a backup knot.  The whole purpose of a backup knot is that if we screw up the primary knot, we can still rely on the backup knot to save us.  If you tie a bowline w. Yosemite incorrectly (retraced, double, or single), the Yosemite finish won't save you.  

Unfortunately, there is a false perception that the backup knot exists just in case the knot creeps.  That is only one of the reasons for a backup, not the entire purpose though.  I've had people tell me that the fig-8 doesn't need to be backed up because it doesn't creep.  But again if you tie it incorrectly, it may creep, and a backup will save you.

Many of us, myself included, choose to omit the backup knot when we tie in w. a fig-8.  Whether or not you think you need a backup knot is irrelevant.

The point is... The Yosemite Finish is not a backup.

aikibujin · · Castle Rock, CO · Joined Oct 2014 · Points: 200
cyclestupor wrote:

Unfortunately, there is a false perception that the backup knot exists just in case the knot creeps.  That is only one of the reasons for a backup, not the entire purpose though.  I've had people tell me that the fig-8 doesn't need to be backed up because it doesn't creep.  But again if you tie it incorrectly, it may creep, and a backup will save you.

Actually, I think the false perception is to call any of these different finishes a "backup knot". A "backup" implies that if the primary fails, the backup will work in place of the primary. So let's take the figure-8 for example, most tie the tail to the rope with a double overhand knot as the finish. Now let's say you tie a figure-8 on the rope, thread the end through your tie in, and then completely forget to retrace the knot and just finish that with the double overhand. Would you take a whipper on a double overhand? I know I wouldn't.

That's why I don't call any of these finishes "backup", I just call them "finish". The primary function of the "finish" is to keep the tail from creeping, especially with the bowline. The only knot that I consider to have a "backup" is the retraced bowline, because you're essentially tying two bowlines back to back (not quite, but pretty close). If you somehow mess up the first bowline... for example, if you let the rabbit go from above ground into the hole, this would be a catastrophic failure with the regular bowline. But if you retraced it, you end up with a girth hitch. For the retraced bowline to creep loose, the tail has to creep through almost an entire bowline first before you're left with a single bowline with a very long tail. With any of the other bowline variations and their different finishes, the tail only has to creep through a "Yosemite finish", or a double overhand, before you're left with just one bowline. This is why I prefer the retraced bowline to any of the other bowline variations.

pfwein · · Boulder, CO · Joined May 2006 · Points: 30

Regardless of whether it's a good idea, are you all sure that what 20kN calls a "yosemite finish" is what most people mean by "yosemite finish"?

I thought a yosemtite finish was what was described here:  

Seems pretty different to me; maybe I'm missiing something.  

Andrew Krajnik · · Plainfield, IL · Joined Jul 2016 · Points: 50
pfwein wrote:

Regardless of whether it's a good idea, are you all sure that what 20kN calls a "yosemite finish" is what most people mean by "yosemite finish"?

I thought a yosemtite finish was what was described here:  

Seems pretty different to me; maybe I'm missiing something.  

That video link doesn't work for me... it takes me to an MP error page.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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