Friday, 20 March 2009

video blog: abseil knots and the double fisherman's

This blog is especially for Patrick - after a hard fought discussion about the best knot to abseil on (and after a mini tantrum where my overhand knot was snatched away from me and converted into a double fisherman's by said partner who was impersonating a very wussy little girl at this point).


  1. That's really cool and makes sense even to a non-climber as myself. I generally use the 8-knot or "overhand in an 8 as it is called here only when I need a thickening on a line and that's for fishing.

    I got the "Hardy Line Book of Knots" which has been quite helpfull doing trolling for pike in the large seas up where the family cabins lies in the forests around a town called Malung.

  2. Okay – my turn. So after the “wussy little girl” incident we abseiled down on my fine, bombproof double-fisherman’s know. As Lauren mentions, we then did another fine pitch. At the top of that pitch, the conversation went something like this:

    L: So are you going to try the overhand knot this time then?
    P: Well…..
    L: There’s nothing wrong with it and these days everyone says it’s the way to go.
    P: Yes but….
    L: Have you ever actually abbed off an overhand?
    P: I have actually. Jus the once. I was with someone who insisted I try.
    L: And you didn’t die, right?
    P: Evidently not.
    L: And you trusted him.
    P: I suppose so.
    L: (slightly hurt) But you won’t trust me?
    P: It’s not that I don’t trust you……..
    L: Well?
    P: It’s just that……..oh sod it, go on then!
    L: Look, there’s nothing wrong with it. Here goes. You just take the two ends and tie it.
    P: You need long tails left over to avoid slippage.
    L: I know.
    P: Those don’t look that long to me.
    L: (undoing and re-tying knot) Okay, here we go again. Now these tails must be two feet long,
    P: You need to pull the opposite ends tight.
    L: (exasperated) tails must be two feet long,
    P: You need to pull the opposite ends tight.
    L: (exasperated) Yes, yes. Red end and red end – pulled tight. Blue end and blue end – pulled tight. See, there’s no slippage (pulling ropes). That’s not going anywhere. And when it goes over an edge see how it flips itself over instead of getting caught. Patrick this is safe. I’ve abbed off these hundreds of times. It’s not going to slip. It’s not going to come undone. There is nothing wrong with this at all. Can you think of a single reason why you wouldn’t be happy to ab off this?
    P: Well, yes actually, there is one thing.
    L: For God’s sake WHAT?
    P: You haven’t actually attached the rope to anything……(grinning).
    L: Aaaaaarrggghhhhhh.

  3. the other advantage in using the overhand knot is it is less likely to jam than other knots as it has an ability to roll over edges when you retreive the rope. ......worth trying