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Knots and Skills

Knowledge of the following knots and skills is required. The 2020 Knots Test Checklist can be found HERE. 




  • Climbing Signals
    • Refer to FOTH (9th Ed), page 197-198, for a list of voice commands. Use partners' names when issuing the commands, starting the command with your partner's name (e.g. "Jill, on belay").
    • For more detail about climber communication, the American Alpine Club has an article
  • Reversed and Opposed Carabiners - Used in lieu of a locking carabiner
    • Refer to FOTH (9th Ed), page 170 for illustration
  • Butterfly Coil - Rope storage
    • Secure the butterfly coil with a square knot on top
  • Passing protection on a running belay - Use this to pass protection while tied in for glacier travel
    • While both ways shown are certainly valid, for this class, you should learn the "fast" way
  • Passing protection on a fixed hand line - Use this to pass protection while attached to the hand line with a prusik (FOTH (9th Ed, page 267-268)
    • After tying prusik on hand line, the prusik should be clipped into harness' belay loop (if it has one) with a locking carabiner
    • Bod-style harnesses with no belay loop would have the prusik clipped into the carabiner that is attached to the harness' waist and leg loops
    • To pass the protection, slide prusik hitch through the carabiner on the fixed line and then clip the two strands of the prusik through that carabiner's gate


  • Overhand - Mostly used to tie off other knots
  • Figure Eight on a Bight  - Used to create loop in rope
  • Re-woven Figure Eight - Used to tie into harness
    • Ensure 5-8" of tail, enough to tie either an overhand or stopper knot (one side of double fisherman's)
  • Clove Hitch - Useful in belay setups
  • Munter Hitch (steps 1 - 6 in animation) - Used in lieu of rappel device
  • Girth Hitch onto harness - Used to attach personal anchor to harness
  • Water Knot - Used to tie two ends of webbing, such as chest harness for glacier travel or setting up a rappel anchor in certain scenarios.
    • Ensure at least 3" of tail
  • Double Fisherman's - Used to tie two ends of a rope (e.g. perlon, climbing rope)
    • Ensure at least 3" of tail
  • Device-Mule Hitch - Rescue hitch, used to hold a belay (go hands-free)
  • Stopper - One side of a double fisherman's, used on the end of a rappel rope
    • Ensure at least 12" of tail and that knot is tightened.

Friction Hitches

  • Auto-block - Backup when rappelling, we use the Sterling HollowBlock for this.
    • Extended Rappel w/ ATC: Clip the HollowBlock to your belay loop with a small, locking carabiner. Wrap 2-3 times around both strands of rope (enough for it to grab), and clip other end to the same carabiner for the WAC Way.
    • Munter Rappel: The HollowBlock carabiner gets clipped to your leg loop.
  • Prusik - Friction hitch, engages when loaded in both directions
  • Klemheist - Friction hitch, engages when loaded one direction, can use webbing

Other Useful Resources

The following skills and topics are covered in this class, although they are not on the classroom knots test.