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Equalizing Figure-8 Knot

A Great Knot for Tying Into Anchors

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This safe anchor uses 3 quickdraws clipped to 3 bolts and the knot clipped into locking carabiners.

The 3 loops of an equalizing figure-8 knot are clipped into 3 carabiners attached to a 3-bolt anchor.

Photograph © Stewart M. Green

The equalizing figure-8 knot is an excellent variation of the figure-8-on-a-bight knot which allows you to equalize two or three different anchors or pieces of gear with the climbing rope rather than with slings or a cordelette. It’s particularly good for tying yourself and your rope into a belay anchor. By equalizing your anchors, such as at a belay stance, the knot distributes the load equally on all the anchors, which increases the strength of your anchor system since no single piece will be shock-loaded in the event of a fall.

Advantages of the Knot

The advantage to using the equalizing figure-8 knot is that you don’t have to carry lots of extra slings or even a cordelette when you’re climbing a multi-pitch route. The main disadvantage to the equalizing figure-8 knot is that the anchors it is clipped into need to be close together rather than far apart. The farther apart the anchors, the bigger and longer the knot’s loops have to be to equalize the load.

Ideal Knot for Long Routes

The equalizing figure-8 is an ideal knot to use if you’re climbing a long route with bolted anchors, such as those at Tuolumne Meadows in California or the South Platte area of Colorado. When you get to the two-bolt belay anchor, you just have to tie the equalizing figure-8 knot and clip the loops or ears of rope into a carabiner on each bolt hanger and presto, you’re safe, tied in, and ready to put your partner on belay. Using this knot as your tie-in point at the anchor only works, however, if your partner and you are changing leads for each pitch. If you’re leading all the pitches, it’s better to use a cordelette so you don’t have to untie the primary anchor knot before heading up the next pitch.

Easy to Learn and Tie

The equalizing figure-8 knot, also called a figure-8 triple-loop, is a loop knot tied on a bight or bend of rope. The knot is easy to learn, especially if you already know how to tie a figure-8-on-a-bight knot.

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