You don’t need to know a lot of knots to go rock climbing, but the knots you need to know, you need to know well. While there are almost 4,000 recorded knots, you can safely climb by knowing the six simple but important knots below.
As your climbing career progresses you will undoubtedly learn many other specialized knots but these six everyday knots are the ones you need to know backwards, forwards, and in the dark. Practice tying the knots until you know them by heart; your climbing safety depends on knowing your knots.
3 Reasons These are Best Knots
These six knots are the best knots for rock climbing for three reasons:
- Easy to tie.
- Hard to forget.
- Easy to check visually.
The 6 Most Important Knots
Practice tying these knots with a length of rope before going to the cliff so you’ll be competent and able to look after your own safety. You need to know how to tie them all, why they’re important, and how to use each one.
- Figure-8 Follow-Through Knot finished with a Fisherman’s Backup Knot
This is your standard tie-in knot, connecting the climbing rope to your harness. It’s the strongest climbing knot used and when tied correctly, it will not come untied.
The clove hitch is an easy-to-tie knot that is used for connecting the rope to anchors at a belay or rappel stance. The clove hitch is a good knot because it does not take a lot of rope to tie and it’s easily adjusted.
The figure-8-on-a-bight is the best loop knot for tying your rope into belay anchors because it is strong and easy to untie after being weighted. The knot is also useful for clipping someone into the middle of the rope.
The Prusik Knot is an easily-tied, self-rescue knot that is used for ascending the climbing rope in emergency situations. It's main drawback is that the knot is difficult to untie after being weighted. Learn how to tie and use a Prusik Knot here.