Knots and Skills
Knowledge of the following knots and skills is required. The 2022 Knots Test Checklist can be found HERE.
Top-Rope Belaying with Munter
Use Pull-Brake-Under-Slide (no longer Slip-Slap-Slide)
Extended Rappel w/ ATC (with both dominant and non-dominant hand, HollowBlock backup)
Rappelling w/ Munter Hitch (with dominant hand, HollowBlock backup)
To go hands-free, use a leg wrap (FOTH (9th ed, page 218)
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
Learning to do this one-handed is useful, although not necessary for the test
Munter Hitch (steps 1 - 6 in animation) - Used in lieu of rappel device
Article on self rescue techniques, core skill #3, has a good description
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)
Instructions from FOTH (9th Ed) page 160.
Article on self rescue techniques, core skill #5, has a good description.
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.
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.
Climbing with a Pack for Newbies - Don't be foiled by that pack and mountaineering boots!
Escaping the Belay (with Munter-Mule-Overhand) - The video steps are slightly different from the WAC Way but touches on all the main points
Rigging up for Prusik Ascension - Photo of how we rig for prusiking
Crevasse Rescue Using a Z-Pulley - Good video on using a 3:1 z-pulley to haul a climber
Shortening the Rope for Glacier Travel - Video with 2 methods for shortening the rope (kiwi coil and stacking in pack)