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Knots for Arboriculture




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Knots for and illustrations by Scott Sharpe and
Frank Somerville
The Victorian Tree Industry Organisation
421 Eugene Terrace
Ringwood 3134
CONTENTS
Introduction 5
1 Ropes for Arboriculture 6
Overview
Definition of Rope
Natural Fibres
Synthetic Fibres
Polyester
Nylon
HiTech Fibres
Kevlar
Technora
Spectra
Dyneema
2 Rope Construction Types 5
Twisted Ropes
Braided Ropes
Solid or Sash Braid
Diamond Braid
Double Braid
Kernmantle
3 Standards for Strength and Usage 10
New Rope Tensile Strengths
Dynamic Loading
Working Load
Danger to Personnel
Normal Working Loads
Avoid Abrasive Conditions
Rope Inspection
Splicing and Knots
Avoid Overheating
Winch Lines
Storage
Avoid Chemical Exposure
4 Rope Handling 11
Removing Rope from Reel or Coil
Rope Storage
FigureEight
Coiling Twisted Ropes
Bagging
Avoid Kinking and Tree Industry Organisation Page 2 of 45 7242010
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5 Rope Life Factors 12
Selection
Strength
Elongation
Firmness
Usage
Working Loads
Shock Loads
6 Rope Inspection and Retirement 13
Sheave Diameters on Rotating Sheave Blocks
Fixed Pin Termination Diameter
Retirement
Abrasion
Glossy or Glazed Areas
Inconsistent Diameter
Inconsistent Texture Stiffness
Temperature
Rope Inspection Check List
Original Bulk New Rope
Volume Reduction
Pulled Strand
Cut Strands
Melting or Glazing
7 Technical Information 14
Elongation Data
Bending Radius
Sheave Diameter and Sizes
8 Knots for Arboriculture 16
Basic Rope Terms
The Parts of Rope
The Rules of Knot Tying
9 Knots Illustrated 18
Basic knots
1 Bowline
2 Clove Hitch
3 Marlin Spike Hitch
4 Girth Hitch
Rope Joining Knots
5 Sheet Bend
6 Double Fishermans Knot
7 FigureEight Bend
Hitches
8 Running Bowline
9 Timber Hitch
10 Cows Tree Industry Organisation Page 3 of 45 7242010
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Midline Knots
11 Alpine Butterfly
Stopper Knots
12 Knot
13 Figure Eight Knot
Climbing Essentials
14 Closed Climbing System
15 Munters Hitch
Life Line Attachment Knots
16 FigureEight Loop
17 Double Bowline
18 Bowline with the Yosemite tie off
19 Double Fishermans Loop
Climbing Friction Hitches
20 English Prussik Knot
21 Blakes Hitch
22 Swabian Prussik Hitch
23 Distel Hitch
24 VT French Prussik
25 Klemheist Knot
Tube Tape
26 Water Knot Tape Knot
27 Beer Knot
10 References 45
11 Tree Industry Organisation Page 4 of 45
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knowledge of knots and knot tying is essential for the climbing arborist Although it is
possible to muddle through with just a handful of basic knots using the wrong knot for a
particular application can be awkward and hard to untie at best and flatout lethal at worst
This document attempts to provide some foundations for understanding the different sorts of rope
used in their construction and intended use In addition a large range of used by climbing arborists are presented and described and their particular
strengths
and weaknesses categorised A simple photographic guide to tying each knot is also included
As discussed below You must be sure of tying your knots correctly and the best way to learn
them is through repetition You can then identify the knot through recognition If you the knot you have tied then you probably have not tied it
correctly or as sure it is always tied other words as with any unfamiliar technique it is important to practice on or near the ground
until you are completely confident before using a knot for lifesupport or for Tree Industry Organisation Page 5 of 45
7242010
The Victorian Tree Industry Organisation
421 Eugene Terrace
Ringwood 3134
ROPES FOR has used rope in one form or another since the earliest days In fact the use of creepers or
vines as climbing aids arguably predates any other form of tool taking us back to a time before
the species learned to walk upright or make fire
In the industry ropes are used primarily for safety and rigging To utilise the correct
ropes the tree worker or arborist should know the different types and how to correctly use and
care for the ropes the types of ropes available allows you to select the best rope for the job to Important are
Strength
Weight
OF ROPE
A rope is a length of fibres twisted or braided together to improve strength for pulling It has tensile strength but is too flexible to provide
compressive strength ie it can be
used for pulling not pushing Rope is thicker and stronger than similarly constructed cord line
string or fibre rope such as Manila Sisal Coir and HempFlax are very rarely used in and should be avoided They tend to be very inconsistent with
breaking strains and
SWL Safe Working Loads and tend to break down in the elements too quickly to be prolonged is very close to nylon in strength when a steady force is
applied However unlike
nylon polyester stretches very little roughly 38 extension and therefore cannot absorb shock
loads as well It is as equally resistant as nylon to moisture and chemicals but is superior in
resistance to abrasion and sunlight
In arboriculture polyester represents by far the largest percentage of ropes we use as it has the
right durability elongation and strength requirements for our day to day industry Tree Industry Organisation Page 6 of 45
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FIBRES is the strongest of all ropes in common use excluding hitech fibres When stretched it
has a memory for returning to its original length For this reason it is best for absorbing shock
loads as is the case when lifting or towing Nylon lasts 45 times longer than natural it has good abrasion resistance and is not damaged by oil or
most chemicals Like manila
nylon has good resistance to ultraviolet deterioration from sunlight referred to as UV can have around 48 ultimate extension and a melting point
close to 250C
In Arboriculture Nylon ropes are generally used for specialist rigging jobs to try to reduce the
impact of shock loading For most day to day tree work Nylon ropes tend to be a little too
stretchy this is however dependant on the ropes Poly because of its light weight is one of the few ropes that float For this
reason it is very popular for pool markers and water sports Poly is affected by more so than any other synthetic or natural fibre rope but its life
can be extended
by storing it away from direct sunlight Poly begins to weaken and melt at 150F the point of all synthetic ropes excluding Hitech fibres It is not as
strong as nylon or
polyester with 38 extension but it is 23 times stronger than manila Because poly is than other fibres it is the most popular allpurpose rope for the
average consumer
In Arboriculture Poly ropes are generally used for rough rigging work where if the ropes are
damaged it is of little FIBRES
In recent years developments with synthetic fibres such as Kevlar Spectra Dyneema and selected others have lead to the development and production of
Hi
Tech ropes These synthetic fibres are used by leading rope manufacturers for the of conventional steel wire rope because of the weight to strength
ratio ropes are used in marine oilfield offshore shipping mooring applications and climbing and rigging is a synthetic fibre primarily used in
ropes for high heat resistance low elasticity and is a synthetic fibre primarily used in ropes for high strength and low HMWPE A high molecular
weight polyethylene fibre A synthetic fibre which is one
of the worlds strongest yarns It provides very high strength to its weight ratio low and has excellent abrasion resistance but a low resistance to
heat Excellent for winch
lines due to its low elongation Low elongation results in a poor ability to handle shock UHMWPE An ultra high molecular weight polyethylene fibre A
synthetic high abrasion resistance very low elongation highest strength to weight ratio of any
fibre approximately twice the strength of steel wire of the same diameter Excellent flex but a low resistance to Tree Industry Organisation
Page 7 of 45 7242010
The Victorian Tree Industry Organisation
421 Eugene Terrace
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CONSTRUCTION TYPES
There are two broad types of rope braided rope and twisted rope each of which has In order to optimize a ropes performance and safety it is
important to
select the correct rope construction for a given Twisted Ropes are made by twisting bundles of individual yarns together to
form 3 strands which are then themselves twisted together to form the rope As
the successive bundles of fibre are twisted together the direction of the twisting
is alternated so that the torque resulting from twisting in one direction is
balanced against the torque resulting from twisting in the other direction This
counteracts the tendency of the three strands to unwind These ropes can be
recognized by their spiral shape Some larger ropes may be made up of more
than three ropes are typically less expensive than braided ropes because the manufacturing process
is faster Twisted ropes can be easily spliced however despite the balancing of torque achieved
by alternating the direction of twist these ropes retain some torque and therefore have a tendency
to kink up and to rotate under load
Braided Ropes come in various braiding patterns but always consist of bundles
of fibre which are formed into strands and then interlaced by passing each
strand over and under other strands This structure creates a round rope as
opposed to the spiral shape of twisted ropes This round shape makes them well
suited for use with hardware such as pulleys winches and rope grabs Generally
speaking braided ropes are inherently torque free and nonrotating Braiding is
a relatively slow process so ropes made in this fashion tend to be more costly
than twisted ropes
When braiding ropes there are a number of variables the manufacturer can use to such as strength elongation flexibility and durability The following
is a of some of the more common types of braided ropes
Solid or Sash Braid ropes are formed by braiding strands of fibre in a reasonably with or without a filler core in the centre of the rope Solid braid
ropes tend to round shape and therefore work exceptionally well in pulleys and sheaves They tend to
have high elongation but are generally less strong than other braided Braid ropes are used extensively in arboriculture as climbing lines and cheaper
They are formed by rotating half the strands of fibre in one direction while the other half
rotate in the other direction crossing alternately over and under each other Diamond braid ropes
tend to be flatter than some of the other Often a filler is put in the core of the rope
to make it rounder and firmer or to build it up to a desired size Diamond braid ropes tend to have
moderate Tree Industry Organisation Page 8 of 45 7242010
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Braid ropes are used extensively in arboriculture as high quality rigging lines and some
modern light weight climbing lines They are made by braiding one rope over the top of another
so you actually have a rope within a rope The inner rope and outer rope are generally designed to
share the load fairly evenly These ropes tend to be very flexible strong and easy to handle Eyes
can be spliced into the ends of these ropes Double Braid ropes are very popular in boating and
marine applications However caution must be exercised where double braid ropes are run over
pulleys through hardware or in any situation where the outer rope may slide along on the inner
rope and bunch up This condition often called milking will cause dramatic loss of strength by
causing the entire load to go onto the inner rope because the sheath is bunched up and therefore
not under the same tension as the inner ropes are also used in arboriculture as climbing lines and specialist access lines
They are made by braiding a cover mantle over a core kern The core may be made of
filaments of fibre lying essentially parallel inside the rope or it may be twisted into little bundles
much like miniature twisted ropes In some cases it will be made of small braided ropes are always designed so that the inner core is taking most if
not all of the load
The outer cover serves primarily to protect the fibres of the inner core If milking occurs on
these ropes it does not generally affect strength very much because the rope is designed so that
the inner core is the load bearing member These ropes are very strong and durable and can be
made to have very low elongation Since the load bearing fibres are inside the protective outer
cover they are well protected from abrasion dirt and ultra violet rays All other forms of rope
have the load bearing fibres exposed resulting in faster ropes are often categorized as either static meaning having very little stretch or
dynamic meaning they have more stretch These terms are however relative since all ropes have
some stretch Kernmantle ropes have their origins in mountain climbing where the higher are used to absorb energy if the climber falls The low stretch
versions are used rescue and in most industrial safety applications where they are favoured because of
their inherent toughness and the efficiency with which rope grabs work on them They tend to be
more expensive than other ropes because they are normally made from very high quality fibres
and have stringent requirements for care in particularly where they are designed
for use in life critical applications Most of the higher initial cost is offset by their durability and
because one can normally select a smaller kernmantle rope for any given Tree Industry Organisation Page 9 of 45
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This page courtesy of Samson Cordage
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12 CHECKING YOUR SETUP
One of the main risks of SRT along with any access method that relies on installing a line
high into the tree is that it is very hard to inspect your anchor point before leaving the
ground
Tied Particularly
off with running alpine in tall trees or trees with dense canopies or a lot of internal growth
butterfly or running bowline on
the anchor point may be hard to see It is critical that you ensure that you are over a
a bight
sound and sufficient anchor point before leaving the ground This can be done by
visual inspection possibly using binoculars or by performing an onrope bounce test
Remember that if you are tying off the line at the base you may be your
anchor point In this instance checking your anchor point by getting additional climbers to
load your line must be done by both loading the climbing part of the line It is no good one
of you hanging on each side as this is the same load as you will be applying when you tie
off and start climbing Be aware that bounce testing or multiple loading may cause upper
canopy failures so be ready to move away
Single Rope Technique is a strong and efficient method of tree access It does have
some drawbacks however Almost all are related to the risks inherent in the installation
of a climbing line high in a tree over an anchor point that may be hard to see from the
ground Particularly in trees where the climber has found it hard to install a line there
may be a temptation to accept an anchor point whose safety and sufficiency is hard to
determine Take the time to check it again and if you arent confident then throw again
for something lower In some trees it may not be possible to use SRT a traditional
method of access may be preferable
In addition new SRT users should practice an onrope changeover to a suitable descent
device several times near the ground before beginning SRT climbing The tree may
contain insect swarms or other such unforeseen hazards and with some SRT systems
the changeover to a descent device can be involved and New users
should also consider the use of a rescue setup similar to the one to tie thein
shown Alpine Butterfly I
Appendix
From Wikipedia
which allow the climber to be lowered to the ground in the event of Tree Industry Organisation Page 10 of 45
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This page courtesy of Samson Tree Industry Organisation Page 11 of 45 7242010
The Victorian Tree Industry Organisation
421 Eugene Terrace
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Tree Industry Organisation Page 12 of 45
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page courtesy of Samson Cordage
The Victorian Tree Industry Organisation
421 Eugene Terrace
Ringwood 3134
Tree Industry Organisation Page 13 of 45 7242010
This page courtesy of Samson Cordage
The Victorian Tree Industry Organisation
421 Eugene Terrace
Ringwood 3134
page courtesy of Samson Cordage
Victorian Tree Industry Organisation Page 14 of 45 7242010
The Victorian Tree Industry Organisation
421 Eugene Terrace
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Victorian Tree Industry
page courtesy Organisation
of Samson Cordage Page 15 of 45 7242010
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421 Eugene Terrace
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2 KNOTS FOR BASIC ROPE TERMS Elbow Overhand clockwise Loop
Loop
Bight
Standing Part
Working End
THE PARTS OF ROPE
To tie and apply the knots in this document first ensure you have grasped the basic terms
referring to the respective parts and of rope Once you have familiarized yourself
with these terms you will be able to easily identify which part of a rope is being used at a
particular stage of tying a knot
The working end is the end that you are using to tie the knots the running end is the end you
are not tying with You may still be using the running end in situations
The rope in between the two ends is the standing part There are other various loops and turns
which are made in the rope to help form knots and these may be called a bight a loop an elbow
or an uncrossed loop A turn is where the rope loops around an object See picture above for
these terms and parts
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RULES OF KNOT TYING
An arborist must know a range of knots and their application for different situations know how to choose the appropriate knot for a given situation
how to tie the correct knot
and also untie the chosen knot Importantly we must know how the knot will perform under load
and not under load also what other knots could be used to substitute for the selected knot
Knots can be the best way to attach a rope to another object although the compromise is that the
knot will weaken the strength of the rope Different knots will weaken the rope by but allow for a loss of rope strength by as much as 60 When
calculating the Safe
Working Load SWL of a rope with knots factor this percentage into your tying of knots is broken up into three parts these are as follows
1 T Tie to tie the knot
2 D Dress to align all of the parts of the knot
3 S Set to tighten the knot ready for use
You must be sure of tying your knots correctly and the best way to learn them is You can then identify the knot through recognition If you cannot
recognise the knot
you have tied then you probably have not tied it correctly or as sure it is always tied make sure you leave enough tail of rope beyond the end of a
knot as a general rule of thumb
you should leave a tail roughly eight times the rope diameter for example if you are tying a knot
using 125mm 12 inch rope you should leave a tail no shorter than 10cm 4 inches long The
only exception to this rule is if you are tying a permanent knot such as a Double knot 6 and you either stitch or whip the ends to the body of the
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KNOTS KNOTS
1 Bowline Also known as the Standing Bowline Bolin or Bowling Knot Possibly the best
knot you could know commonly known as the King of Knots because it is arguably the
most versatile knot with numerous variations When tied correctly as pictured below you will
notice the Working End of the rope finishing on the inside of the loop
Uses As an end line attachment knot in many rigging situations
Pluses The best thing about a Bowline knot is that even under extreme loading it remains
easy to untie
Minuses The downside to this is that if it is not kept under constant tension it has a tendency
to creep distort and even unravel For this reason the Bowline on its own or Standing
Bowline is NOT acceptable as a Lifeline Attachment Knot however there are acceptable
variations listed bellow refer to knots 17 Tree Industry Organisation Page 18 of 45 7242010
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Clove Hitch Also known as the Watermans Knot
Uses Second only to the Bowline knot 1 in versatility Commonly used as an end line
attachment knot in many rigging situations such as attaching limbs to be lowered must be
Backed Up in this situation It is also the best way to send items up to a climber that do not
have a karabiner attached such as a drink bottle hand saw etc
Pluses Very Quick and easy to tie with practice it is able to be tied with one hand Can be
tied midline
Minuses If used as an end line attachment knot NOT suitable for climbing it must be
backed up with a minimum of two half hitches to stop this hitch from potentially rolling out
The bigger the object it is tied to the easier it is for this hitch to role out As easy as it is to tie
it is just as easy to tie wrong there is not much difference between the Clove Hitch Girth
Hitch knot 4 and the Munters Hitch knot Tree Industry Organisation Page 19 of 45 7242010
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Marline Spike Hitch Picture A is also known as the Slip knot or Slipped Overhand knot
Picture B is also known as a Simple Noose or Noose The difference is if you pull on the
working end of A it tightens the loop whereas if you pull on the working end of B it
pulls the loop through undoing the knot
Uses Most commonly used to clip equipment in to pass up to a climber A or can be tied
underneath a Prussik knot as a backup to stop it from slipping B once tied a karabiner
needs to be placed in the loop and clipped back onto the working end to stop the loop
slipping through if used in a climbing situation
Pluses Very quick and easy to tie and even easier to undo it can also be tied midline
Minuses Easy to confuse knots A and B If knot B is used to pass up a heavy object such
as a chain saw it has the potential to pull the loop through and the saw fall to the ground
Whereas if knot A is used to back up a Prussik knot and the Prussik slips it will push the
loop through undoing it with potentially fatal A B
Working end Working Tree Industry Organisation Page 20 of 45 7242010
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Girth Hitch
Uses Mostly used in conjunction with the English Prussik knot 20 to stop the bottom of
the loop moving around on the karabiner
Pluses As stated above it stops the loop moving around on the karabiner which reduces the possibility of nose loading or gate loading the
karabiner It can be tied either with
a loop or midline
Minuses Makes slipping the loop on and off a karabiner a fraction Tree Industry Organisation Page 21 of 45
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JOINING KNOTS
5 Sheet Bend Sheet Bend A Dbl Sheet Bend B Slipped Sheet Bend or Quick Hitch C
Uses The Sheet Bend is one of the few knots that are effective for joining two ropes of
different sizes and types Make sure the smaller rope is the one tucked under its own
standing part This knot has limited uses in and is certainly NOT intended to
be used in a life support situation Its best use is to pass a rope up to a climber and version C
the Quick Hitch is best for this For a more secure version use version B the Double Sheet
BendUse in light non critical rigging situations only
Pluses Easy to tie and untie even when loaded can be tied midline
Minuses Not for life support or big loads It reduces rope strength and has a tendency to slip
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Double Fishermans Knot Also known as the Grapevine Knot
Uses For joining ropes together It is most commonly used for making Prussik loops such as
for the English Prussik knot 20
Pluses Very secure life support knot for joining ropes together
Minuses Once loaded it can be very difficult to untie and is most commonly used in a
permanent situation Some modern heat resistant rope fibres are very slippery and can creep
slowly so it is advisable to whip or stitch the tail of the knot to the standing part of the rope
once Tree Industry Organisation Page 23 of 45 7242010
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FigureEight Bend Also known as a Flemish Bend
Uses For joining ropes together in life support or heavy load situations
Pluses Very secure knot for joining ropes together Easy to add additional backup if desired
Minuses A time consuming knot to tie that takes practice to dress correctly A relatively
bulky knot that has a tendency to work tight over Tree Industry Organisation Page 24 of 45 7242010
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Running Bowline Simply tie a bowline knot 1 around its own standing part
Uses A very useful knot for many rigging and climbing situations In rigging this knot
allows you to rig branches from a distance and is the preferred hitch used to pull a tree over
This hitch can also be used to set anchor slings for Pulley blocks lowering devices and even
belay devices It also works well to isolate the trunk or limb as an anchor for SRT ascent
Single Rope climbing Technique Important if using for climbing the bowline needs to be
backed up refer to knots 17 18
Pluses As stated above this knot allows you to rig branches from a distance simply throw
the end of the rope over the desired limb take the working end tie a Standing Bowline knot
1 around the standing part of the rope and pull snug up to the branch As per knot 1 even
under extreme loading it remains easy to untie
Minuses The downside to this is that if it is not kept under constant tension it has a tendency
to creep distort and even unravel For this reason the Bowline on its own or Standing
Bowline is NOT acceptable as a Lifeline Attachment Knot however there are acceptable
variations listed bellow refer to knots 17 Tree Industry Organisation Page 25 of 45 7242010
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Timber Hitch
Uses The Timber Hitch is used for attaching an anchor sling to the trees trunkbranch to
attach a lowering device pulleys etc for rigging It is important to have at least four wraps
around the standing part of the hitch and they need to be wrapped at least onethird around
the circumference of the object A stopper knot can also be added to the loose end
Pluses This is a very easy knot to tie and is very secure under load it is also very easy to
untie and does not jam The timber Hitch also uses minimal rope
Minuses Not to be used for life support This hitch is very susceptible to direction change
and it is important to load the hitch vertically or ninety degrees 90 to the bight instead of
horizontally not to be used for pulling trees over If the hitch slips sideways the wraps could
bunch up severely compromising its hold on the object Placing a Half Hitch below the
Timber Hitch will reduce Tree Industry Organisation Page 26 of 45 7242010
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Cows Hitch
Uses The Cows Hitch is used for attaching an anchor sling to the trees trunk or branch to
attach a lowering device pulleys etc for rigging and belay devices for climbing
Pluses More secure than the Timber Hitch and can be used for anchoring slings in climbing
situations Less susceptible to the issues of sideway or change of direction when loaded care
still needs to be taken to avoid this Still easy to undo when loaded
Minuses This hitch requires a lot of rope because it has to travel around the trunk twice Can
slip with sideways movement depending on which way it is tied but less of a concern than
with the Timber Tree Industry Organisation Page 27 of 45 7242010
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KNOTS
11 Alpine Butterfly Also known as the Butterfly Knot Harness Loop Single Linemans Loop
Linemans Loop or Artillery Mans Hitch This knot can be confusing at first to tie so
attached are two completely different ways to tie the same knot
Uses This knot makes an ideal anchor point It is also ideal for reducing rope
spread around a limb for the secured foot lock technique simply place the tail end of your
access line through the loop of the Butterfly Knot keep the loop small and run it up under
the limb
Pluses Very secure midline knot that is reasonably easy to undo when loaded Both ends exit
the knot in the direction of pull It is visually easy to see if the knot has been tied dressed
and set correctly
Minuses This knot can be a little confusing at first to Tree Industry Organisation Page 28 of 45 7242010
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KNOTS
12 Knot Also known as Stopper Knot Blood Knot or
Knot
Uses End of climbing line stopper knot
Pluses Easily tied very secure stopper knot
Minuses Relatively bulky knot that can be difficult to untie if loaded practice is required to
correctly dress this Tree Industry Organisation Page 29 of 45 7242010
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FigureEight Knot
Uses Stopper knot for use at end of Blakes Hitch etc not recommended for end of life line
Pluses Very easy to tie and untie even when loaded
Minuses Has a tendency to undo itself if left Tree Industry Organisation Page 30 of 45 7242010
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Closed Climbing System Start by tying a Bowline Knot Knot 1 leaving 15m of tail after the knot with the working end of your climbing line Using
the remaining
15m of tail tie a Blakes Hitch Knot 21 around the running side of your climbing line
leaving a comfortable length to advance the hitch between the two knots Finish the system
by tying a FigureEight Knot Knot 13 as an all important stopper knot in the remaining
tail Now simply clip the Bowline Knot loop into your karabiner and you are ready to climb
It is acceptable to tie the Bowline directly into the D rings of your harness
Uses Not commonly used as a climbing system as it requires retying every time the rope is
set over a new fork This configuration is normally reserved for a backup system or
emergency system in the event you may have your Prussik or you may
simply need a second redirect system using the other end of your climbing line For these
reasons a system like this is a must know for all climbers
Pluses Very simple system that requires only your climbing line The Blakes Hitch runs
quite smoothly
Minuses If used regularly the friction and heat generated by running rope on rope damages
the end of your climbing line meaning your rope will get shorter every time you cut the
damaged section off Also the system needs to be completely undone and retied every time
you wish to change limbs resulting in a potentially labour intensive slow Tree Industry Organisation Page 31 of 45
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Munters Hitch Italian Hitch or Crossing knot
Uses This hitch is a must know for all climbers It can be used to descend with to belay a
climber with and to even use in light lowering applications It is important to note that a large
pear shaped locking karabiner be used with this hitch to enable the two directional hitch to
invert when switching from lowering a load to raising a load
Pluses Very easy to tie and untie always available and easy to remember It also runs quite
smoothly
Minuses Tends to twist the Tree Industry Organisation Page 32 of 45 7242010
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ATTACHMENT KNOTS
16 FigureEight Loop One extra turn of the loop gives you an even more secure FigureNine
knot favoured by cave explorers and yet another turn gives you the FigureTen knot favoured
by Police and Fire rescue services
Uses A life line Attachment knot very popular amongst beginners but still an old favourite
for many experienced Pluses Very secure lifeline attachment knot and very simple to tie in principle however
Minuses A well ordered FigureEight Loop requires practice The FigureEight Loop can be
difficult to untie once Tree Industry Organisation Page 33 of 45 7242010
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Double Bowline
Uses This variation of the Bowline makes an ideal lifeline attachment knot
Pluses The Double Bowline remains easy to untie and with the addition of the second loop it
significantly reduces the Standing Bowlines knot 1 tendency to creep distort or unravel
Minuses It takes some dressing to properly align all parts of the knot otherwise clipping
into the wrong loop is possible and potentially Tree Industry Organisation Page 34 of 45 7242010
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Bowline with YosemiteTie Off
Uses This variation of the Bowline also makes an ideal lifeline attachment knot when tied
correctly
Pluses As with the Standing Bowline knot 1 the Bowline with the YosemiteTie Off
remains easy to untie however by passing the Working End around and back through the
Bight significantly reduces the Standing Bowlines tendency to creep distort or unravel It
also places the working end parallel with the standing part of the rope and out of the way of
the loop This knot makes a good Lifeline Attachment Knot
Minuses Much care must be taken to tie and dress this knot correctly to reduce the
possibility of clipping into the wrong part of this Tree Industry Organisation Page 35 of 45 7242010
The Victorian Tree Industry Organisation
421 Eugene Terrace
Ringwood 3134
Double Fishermans Loop also known as the Poachers knot One more turn of the
working end gives you a Triple Fishermans Loop
Uses A lifeline attachment knot or end terminations for the accessory cord of your advanced
Prussik Hitch such as the Swabian knot 22 Distel knot 23 or VT French Prussik knot
Pluses A secure easy to tie lifeline attachment knot that chokes up tight on to a karabiner
making a very compact knot that is extremely easy to untie once the karabiner has been
removed
Minuses can be difficult to untie if tied onto an object that cant be removed first from the
loop The tail has a tendency to creep if tied with some rope types such as heat resistant
Prussik Tree Industry Organisation Page 36 of 45 7242010
The Victorian Tree Industry Organisation
421 Eugene Terrace
Ringwood 3134
FRICTION HITCHES
20 Prussik Knot also known as the English Prussik
Uses This climbers friction hitch is very popular amongst beginners but is still an old
favourite for many experienced It is traditionally tied to form a loop and also
has many rigging applications As a general rule four six parts of the cord need to encircle
the climbing line depending on rope types and application
Pluses Easy to tie easy to use and very safe simply add another wrap if it slips when
loaded One of the very few Prussik hitches that functions in both directions
Minuses Because it is generally tied using a loop whose length is set for ease of ascent using
the body thrust method it can be out of reach to adjust whilst branch walking Tends to bind
quite tightly on the climbing line and may need regular dressing for smooth operation
depending on the two rope types Tree Industry Organisation Page 37 of 45 7242010
The Victorian Tree Industry Organisation
421 Eugene Terrace
Ringwood 3134
Blakes Hitch
Uses Climbers friction hitch a favoured among American climbers As a general rule four or
more parts of the cord need to encircle the climbing line depending on rope types
Pluses The length the hitch sits away from the climber is easily adjustable allowing the hitch
to be always in reach Does not bind on the climbing line and is easy to add a Micro Pulley
bellow the hitch for a Fairlead Can be tied using the end of your climbing line as a closed
climbing system knot 14 or with a split tail a piece of rope approximately 15m long
normally with an eye spliced in one end
Minuses Normally works best using the same diameter rope as the climbing line resulting in
quite a bulky knot Heat and friction buildup causes damage to the part of rope used to tie the
hitch if descended on too Tree Industry Organisation Page 38 of 45 7242010
The Victorian Tree Industry Organisation
421 Eugene Terrace
Ringwood 3134
Swabian Prussik Hitch Also known as the Swaybish Prussik or the Asymmetrical Prussik
This hitch is a variation or advancement on the English Prussik knot 20 As a general rule
five or more parts of the cord need to encircle the climbing line depending on rope types
Uses Generally used as a climbing hitch but has many rigging applications as well As a
climbing hitch it can be tied with a Micro Pulley on the climbing line bellow the hitch as
pictured in knot 24 this is commonly referred to as an advanced climbing system and the
Swabian Prussik is normally the entry level Prussik for such a system
Pluses Releases the climbing line easier than the English Prussik When tied as an advanced
climbing system it is kept very short making it always easy to reach
Minuses It cant be tied using a loop regular dressing is required while climbing to
maintain smooth action This friction hitch only operates in one Tree Industry Organisation Page 39 of 45 7242010
The Victorian Tree Industry Organisation
421 Eugene Terrace
Ringwood 3134
Distel Prussik Hitch This hitch is a variation or advancement on the Swabian Prussik knot
22 It is effectively a clove hitch knot 2 with a minimum of three extra turns in the upper
part depending on rope types
Uses As with the Swabian this hitch is generally used as a climbing hitch but has many
rigging applications as well As a climbing hitch it is commonly used as an advanced
climbing system A very short version of this hitch with a Micro Pulley is favoured as a
flipline adjuster also
Pluses Releases the climbing line easier than the English Prussik and the Swabian Prussik
for an even smother climb When tied as an advanced climbing system it is also kept very
short making it always easy to reach
Minuses It also can not be tied using a loop and regular dressing is required whilst
climbing due to the bottom wrap tendency to work up making the hitch tight to advance To
maintain smooth action the bottom wrap needs to be kept apart from the top wraps to work
smoothly This friction hitch generally only operates in one direction however if more wraps
are added to the bottom of the knot it can be both Tree Industry Organisation Page 40 of 45 7242010
The Victorian Tree Industry Organisation
421 Eugene Terrace
Ringwood 3134
Valdotain Tresse Also known as French Prussik Valdotain Braid or VT Prussik
Uses This hitch is also generally used as a climbing hitch especially in climbing
competitions but has many rigging applications as well
Pluses Very fast and very smooth Works well on almost any rope type Releases the rope
and fairleads the climbing line very well Very simple to tie and the addition or subtraction
of wraps or braids drastically changes its performance It is one of the very few Prussik
hitches that holds securely on a rope that is already under load Can be tied using a loop this
variation is called a Machard Tresse MT Prussik
Minuses Very fast Too fast for beginners The French Prussik is an unforgiving knot
that has short comings with potentially fatal consequences The primary shortcoming is that
it sometimes fails to grab the rope if not tied exactly right This typically occurs when not
enough wraps and braids are taken with the cord The length diameter and pliability of the
cord also strongly influence how the hitch will perform As with all knots the French Prussik
must not be integrated into a climbing system until the climber has mastered tying and
operating it while on the ground The Tree Climbers Companion Jepson p84 This
friction hitch only operates in one Tree Industry Organisation Page 41 of 45 7242010
The Victorian Tree Industry Organisation
421 Eugene Terrace
Ringwood 3134
Klemheist Knot
Uses Most commonly used as a Prussik belay for double rope footlocking technique As a
general rule six to eight parts of the cord need to encircle the climbing line depending on
rope types Most commonly tied with a loop of cord
Pluses Fastest and easiest of all Prussik knots to tie Very easy to advance when not loaded
Minuses Tends to bind very tightly when loaded and needs loosening off to run smoothly
again This friction hitch only operates in one Tree Industry Organisation Page 42 of 45 7242010
The Victorian Tree Industry Organisation
421 Eugene Terrace
Ringwood 3134
TAPE
Tube tape is a useful accessory used to create continuous loops and slings often used as a redirect
for the climbing line as a foot sling to gain purchase in a tree or even in rigging as light weight
anchor or speedline strops
The tube tape is a hollow tube constructed from nylon fibres and range from 12mm 50mm in
diameter It has high strength low elongation and low cost Average tensile strength in 25mm
tube tape is 2200kgs
26 The Water Knot Also known as the Tape knot Leave a minimum of 8cm 3 inches of tail
once tied
Uses The most common knot used to join webbing slings together or to form an endless
loop
Pluses Very easy to tie
Minuses Has a tendency to creep and can eventually come undone if not regularly inspected
Very difficult to untie when Tree Industry Organisation Page 43 of 45 7242010
The Victorian Tree Industry Organisation
421 Eugene Terrace
Ringwood 3134
Beer Knot
Uses Another knot for joining tube tape together or tying endless slings Insert at least 25
30cm 1012 inches of tape into itself before centralising and tightening the overhand knot in
place
Pluses Much more secure knot than the Water knot and still very easy to tie This knot
retains 80 of the original strength of the webbing and is neater and more compact than the
Water Knot
Minuses Can be difficult to undo when loaded and can be time consuming to Tree Industry Organisation Page 44 of 45
7242010
The Victorian Tree Industry Organisation
421 Eugene Terrace
Ringwood 3134
Arborist Ropes Sampson Ropes 2005
The Tree Climbers Companion Jeff Jepson Beaver Tree Publishing 2000
Tree Climbers Knot book Dirk Lingens schlauverlag Germany 2006
The Ashley Book of Knots Clifford W Ashley Faber Faber London 1993
Pocket Guide to Knots Lindsey Philpott New Holland technical information in this book was compiled by Frank Somerville and Scott Sharpe for
Swinburne Tafe Department The document was then written by Scott
Sharpe in June 2008
Ropes supplied by ATRAES Australian Tree and Rope Access Equipment Tree Industry Organisation Page 45 of 45 7242010

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