Knots for Arboriculture
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Knots for and illustrations by Scott Sharpe andFrank Somerville The Victorian Tree Industry Organisation 421 Eugene Terrace Ringwood 3134 vtioorgau 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 The Victorian Tree Industry Organisation 421 Eugene Terrace Ringwood 3134 vtioorgau 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 Discoloration 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 HitchVictorian Tree Industry Organisation Page 3 of 45 7242010 The Victorian Tree Industry Organisation 421 Eugene Terrace Ringwood 3134 vtioorgau Midline Knots 11 Alpine Butterfly Stopper Knots 12 DoubleOverhand 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 Knot10 References 4511 45Victorian Tree Industry Organisation Page 4 of 45 7242010 The Victorian Tree Industry Organisation 421 Eugene Terrace Ringwood 3134 knowledge of knots and knot tying is essential for the climbing arborist Although it ispossible to muddle through with just a handful of basic knots using the wrong knot for aparticular application can be awkward and hard to untie at best and flatout lethal at worstThis document attempts to provide some foundations for understanding the different sorts of ropeused in arboriculture their construction and intended use In addition a large range of knotscommonly used by climbing arborists are presented and described and their particular strengthsand weaknesses categorised A simple photographic guide to tying each knot is also includedAs discussed below You must be sure of tying your knots correctly and the best way to learnthem 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 intendedMake sure it is always tied correctlyIn other words as with any unfamiliar technique it is important to practice on or near the grounduntil 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 vtioorgau1 ROPES FOR has used rope in one form or another since the earliest days In fact the use of creepers orvines as climbing aids arguably predates any other form of tool taking us back to a time beforethe species learned to walk upright or make fireIn the arboricultural industry ropes are used primarily for safety and rigging To utilise the correctropes the tree worker or arborist should know the different types and how to correctly use andcare for the ropes the types of ropes available allows you to select the best rope for the job to beundertaken Important considerations are Strength Weight OF ROPEA rope is a length of fibres twisted or braided together to improve strength for pulling andconnecting It has tensile strength but is too flexible to provide compressive strength ie it can beused for pulling not pushing Rope is thicker and stronger than similarly constructed cord linestring or twine1NATURAL FIBRESNatural 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 andSWL Safe Working Loads and tend to break down in the elements too quickly to be trustworthyfor prolonged useSYNTHETIC is very close to nylon in strength when a steady force is applied However unlikenylon polyester stretches very little roughly 38 extension and therefore cannot absorb shockloads as well It is as equally resistant as nylon to moisture and chemicals but is superior inresistance to abrasion and sunlightIn arboriculture polyester represents by far the largest percentage of ropes we use as it has theright durability elongation and strength requirements for our day to day industry Tree Industry Organisation Page 6 of 45 7242010 The Victorian Tree Industry Organisation 421 Eugene Terrace Ringwood 3134 FIBRES ContinuedNylon is the strongest of all ropes in common use excluding hitech fibres When stretched ithas a memory for returning to its original length For this reason it is best for absorbing shockloads as is the case when lifting or towing Nylon lasts 45 times longer than natural fibresbecause it has good abrasion resistance and is not damaged by oil or most chemicals Like manilanylon has good resistance to ultraviolet deterioration from sunlight referred to as UV stabilityIt can have around 48 ultimate extension and a melting point close to 250CIn Arboriculture Nylon ropes are generally used for specialist rigging jobs to try to reduce theimpact of shock loading For most day to day tree work Nylon ropes tend to be a little toostretchy this is however dependant on the ropes Poly because of its light weight is one of the few ropes that float For thisreason 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 extendedby storing it away from direct sunlight Poly begins to weaken and melt at 150F the lowestmelting point of all synthetic ropes excluding Hitech fibres It is not as strong as nylon orpolyester with 38 extension but it is 23 times stronger than manila Because poly is lessexpensive than other fibres it is the most popular allpurpose rope for the average consumerIn Arboriculture Poly ropes are generally used for rough rigging work where if the ropes aredamaged it is of little concernHITECH FIBRESIn recent years developments with synthetic fibres such as Kevlar Spectra Dyneema and selected others have lead to the development and production of HiPerformance HiTech 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 arboricultural 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 oneof 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 winchlines due to its low elongation Low elongation results in a poor ability to handle shock loadingDyneema UHMWPE An ultra high molecular weight polyethylene fibre A synthetic fibreproviding high abrasion resistance very low elongation highest strength to weight ratio of anyfibre approximately twice the strength of steel wire of the same diameter Excellent flex but a low resistance to heatVictorian Tree Industry Organisation Page 7 of 45 7242010 The Victorian Tree Industry Organisation 421 Eugene Terrace Ringwood 3134 vtioorgauROPE CONSTRUCTION TYPESThere are two broad types of rope braided rope and twisted rope each of which has verydifferent In order to optimize a ropes performance and safety it is important toselect the correct rope construction for a given application 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 strandsTwisted ropes are typically less expensive than braided ropes because the manufacturing processis faster Twisted ropes can be easily spliced however despite the balancing of torque achievedby alternating the direction of twist these ropes retain some torque and therefore have a tendencyto 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 ropesWhen 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 ropesSolid 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 maintaintheir round shape and therefore work exceptionally well in pulleys and sheaves They tend tohave high elongation but are generally less strong than other braided Braid ropes are used extensively in arboriculture as climbing lines and cheaper rigginglines They are formed by rotating half the strands of fibre in one direction while the other halfrotate in the other direction crossing alternately over and under each other Diamond braid ropestend to be flatter than some of the other constructions Often a filler is put in the core of the ropeto make it rounder and firmer or to build it up to a desired size Diamond braid ropes tend to havemoderate Tree Industry Organisation Page 8 of 45 7242010 The Victorian Tree Industry Organisation 421 Eugene Terrace Ringwood 3134 Braid ropes are used extensively in arboriculture as high quality rigging lines and somemodern light weight climbing lines They are made by braiding one rope over the top of anotherso you actually have a rope within a rope The inner rope and outer rope are generally designed toshare the load fairly evenly These ropes tend to be very flexible strong and easy to handle Eyescan be spliced into the ends of these ropes Double Braid ropes are very popular in boating andmarine applications However caution must be exercised where double braid ropes are run overpulleys through hardware or in any situation where the outer rope may slide along on the innerrope and bunch up This condition often called milking will cause dramatic loss of strength bycausing the entire load to go onto the inner rope because the sheath is bunched up and thereforenot under the same tension as the inner ropeKernmantle ropes are also used in arboriculture as climbing lines and specialist access linesThey are made by braiding a cover mantle over a core kern The core may be made offilaments of fibre lying essentially parallel inside the rope or it may be twisted into little bundlesmuch 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 loadThe outer cover serves primarily to protect the fibres of the inner core If milking occurs onthese ropes it does not generally affect strength very much because the rope is designed so thatthe inner core is the load bearing member These ropes are very strong and durable and can bemade to have very low elongation Since the load bearing fibres are inside the protective outercover they are well protected from abrasion dirt and ultra violet rays All other forms of ropehave the load bearing fibres exposed resulting in faster ropes are often categorized as either static meaning having very little stretch ordynamic meaning they have more stretch These terms are however relative since all ropes havesome 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 inrappelling rescue and in most industrial safety applications where they are favoured because oftheir inherent toughness and the efficiency with which rope grabs work on them They tend to bemore expensive than other ropes because they are normally made from very high quality fibresand have stringent requirements for care in manufacturing particularly where they are designedfor use in life critical applications Most of the higher initial cost is offset by their durability andbecause one can normally select a smaller kernmantle rope for any given Tree Industry Organisation Page 9 of 45 7242010 This page courtesy of Samson Cordage The Victorian Tree Industry Organisation 421 Eugene Terrace Ringwood 3134 vtioorgau 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 doubleloading 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 timeconsuming New users How 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 7242010 The Victorian Tree Industry Organisation 421 Eugene Terrace Ringwood 3134 vtioorgau This page courtesy of Samson Tree Industry Organisation Page 11 of 45 7242010 The Victorian Tree Industry Organisation 421 Eugene Terrace Ringwood 3134 Tree Industry Organisation Page 12 of 45 This 7242010 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 vtioorgauThis page courtesy of Samson Cordage Victorian Tree Industry Organisation Page 14 of 45 7242010 The Victorian Tree Industry Organisation 421 Eugene Terrace Ringwood 3134 vtioorgauThis Victorian Tree Industry page courtesy Organisation of Samson Cordage Page 15 of 45 7242010 The Victorian Tree Industry Organisation 421 Eugene Terrace Ringwood 3134 vtioorgau 2 KNOTS FOR ARBORICULTURE BASIC ROPE TERMS Elbow Overhand clockwise Loop Loop Bight Standing PartWorking 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 configurations 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 Victorian Tree Industry Organisation Page 16 of 45 7242010 The Victorian Tree Industry Organisation 421 Eugene Terrace Ringwood 3134 vtioorgauTHE RULES OF KNOT TYINGAn arborist must know a range of knots and their application for different situations Arboristsmust know how to choose the appropriate knot for a given situation how to tie the correct knotand also untie the chosen knot Importantly we must know how the knot will perform under loadand not under load also what other knots could be used to substitute for the selected knotKnots can be the best way to attach a rope to another object although the compromise is that theknot 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 SafeWorking 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 useYou 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 knotyou have tied then you probably have not tied it correctly or as intendedMake sure it is always tied correctlyAlso make sure you leave enough tail of rope beyond the end of a knot as a general rule of thumbyou should leave a tail roughly eight times the rope diameter for example if you are tying a knotusing 125mm 12 inch rope you should leave a tail no shorter than 10cm 4 inches long Theonly exception to this rule is if you are tying a permanent knot such as a Double FishermansBend knot 6 and you either stitch or whip the ends to the body of the ropeVictorian Tree Industry Organisation Page 17 of 45 7242010 The Victorian Tree Industry Organisation 421 Eugene Terrace Ringwood 3134 vtioorgau3 KNOTS KNOTS1 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 18Victorian Tree Industry Organisation Page 18 of 45 7242010 The Victorian Tree Industry Organisation 421 Eugene Terrace Ringwood 3134 vtioorgau2 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 15Victorian Tree Industry Organisation Page 19 of 45 7242010 The Victorian Tree Industry Organisation 421 Eugene Terrace Ringwood 3134 vtioorgau3 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 consequences A B Working end Working endVictorian Tree Industry Organisation Page 20 of 45 7242010 The Victorian Tree Industry Organisation 421 Eugene Terrace Ringwood 3134 vtioorgau4 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 significantly 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 7242010 The Victorian Tree Industry Organisation 421 Eugene Terrace Ringwood 3134 vtioorgauROPE JOINING KNOTS5 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 Arboriculture 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 A B CVictorian Tree Industry Organisation Page 22 of 45 7242010 The Victorian Tree Industry Organisation 421 Eugene Terrace Ringwood 3134 vtioorgau6 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 The Victorian Tree Industry Organisation 421 Eugene Terrace Ringwood 3134 vtioorgau7 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 timeVictorian Tree Industry Organisation Page 24 of 45 7242010 The Victorian Tree Industry Organisation 421 Eugene Terrace Ringwood 3134 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 18Victorian Tree Industry Organisation Page 25 of 45 7242010 The Victorian Tree Industry Organisation 421 Eugene Terrace Ringwood 3134 vtioorgau9 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 thisVictorian Tree Industry Organisation Page 26 of 45 7242010 The Victorian Tree Industry Organisation 421 Eugene Terrace Ringwood 3134 vtioorgau10 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 HitchVictorian Tree Industry Organisation Page 27 of 45 7242010 The Victorian Tree Industry Organisation 421 Eugene Terrace Ringwood 3134 KNOTS11 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 midlineinline 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 tieVictorian Tree Industry Organisation Page 28 of 45 7242010 The Victorian Tree Industry Organisation 421 Eugene Terrace Ringwood 3134 KNOTS12 DoubleOverhand 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 knotVictorian Tree Industry Organisation Page 29 of 45 7242010 The Victorian Tree Industry Organisation 421 Eugene Terrace Ringwood 3134 vtioorgau13 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 The Victorian Tree Industry Organisation 421 Eugene Terrace Ringwood 3134 ESSENTIALS14 Closed Climbing System Start by tying a Bowline Knot Knot 1 leaving approximately 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 damageddropped 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 climbVictorian Tree Industry Organisation Page 31 of 45 7242010 The Victorian Tree Industry Organisation 421 Eugene Terrace Ringwood 3134 vtioorgau15 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 ropeVictorian Tree Industry Organisation Page 32 of 45 7242010 The Victorian Tree Industry Organisation 421 Eugene Terrace Ringwood 3134 ATTACHMENT KNOTS16 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 professionals 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 The Victorian Tree Industry Organisation 421 Eugene Terrace Ringwood 3134 vtioorgau17 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 The Victorian Tree Industry Organisation 421 Eugene Terrace Ringwood 3134 vtioorgau18 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 knotVictorian Tree Industry Organisation Page 35 of 45 7242010 The Victorian Tree Industry Organisation 421 Eugene Terrace Ringwood 3134 vtioorgau19 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 24 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 cordVictorian Tree Industry Organisation Page 36 of 45 7242010 The Victorian Tree Industry Organisation 421 Eugene Terrace Ringwood 3134 FRICTION HITCHES20 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 professionals 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 usedVictorian Tree Industry Organisation Page 37 of 45 7242010 The Victorian Tree Industry Organisation 421 Eugene Terrace Ringwood 3134 vtioorgau21 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 fastVictorian Tree Industry Organisation Page 38 of 45 7242010 The Victorian Tree Industry Organisation 421 Eugene Terrace Ringwood 3134 vtioorgau22 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 vtioorgau23 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 vtioorgau24 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 vtioorgau25 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 vtioorgauTUBE TAPETube tape is a useful accessory used to create continuous loops and slings often used as a redirectfor the climbing line as a foot sling to gain purchase in a tree or even in rigging as light weightanchor or speedline stropsThe tube tape is a hollow tube constructed from nylon fibres and range from 12mm 50mm indiameter It has high strength low elongation and low cost Average tensile strength in 25mmtube tape is 2200kgs26 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 vtioorgau27 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 tieVictorian Tree Industry Organisation Page 44 of 45 7242010 The Victorian Tree Industry Organisation 421 Eugene Terrace Ringwood 3134 Arborist Ropes Sampson Ropes 2005The Tree Climbers Companion Jeff Jepson Beaver Tree Publishing 2000Tree Climbers Knot book Dirk Lingens schlauverlag Germany 2006The Ashley Book of Knots Clifford W Ashley Faber Faber London 1993Pocket Guide to Knots Lindsey Philpott New Holland technical information in this book was compiled by Frank Somerville and Scott Sharpe forSwinburne Tafe Department The document was then written by ScottSharpe in June 2008Ropes supplied by ATRAES Australian Tree and Rope Access Equipment Tree Industry Organisation Page 45 of 45 7242010
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