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Knots for Arboriculture



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                         Knots for Arboriculture




Text and illustrations by Scott Sharpe and
Frank Somerville
                                                         The Victorian Tree Industry Organisation
                                                                             4/21 Eugene Terrace,
                                                                                  Ringwood 3134

                                                                                      vtio.org.au




                                          CONTENTS


        Introduction                                                                      5
  1     Ropes for Arboriculture                                                           6
        Overview
        Definition of Rope
        Natural Fibres
        Synthetic Fibres
                 Polyester
                 Nylon
        Hi-Tech 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
                Figure-Eight
                Coiling  Twisted Ropes
                Bagging
        Avoid Kinking and Hockling




Victorian Tree Industry Organisation      Page 2 of 45                                7/24/2010
                                                             The Victorian Tree Industry Organisation
                                                                                 4/21 Eugene Terrace,
                                                                                      Ringwood 3134

                                                                                          vtio.org.au


  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 Fisherman's Knot
                7       Figure-Eight Bend
        Hitches
                8       Running Bowline
                9       Timber Hitch
                10      Cows Hitch




Victorian Tree Industry Organisation        Page 3 of 45                                  7/24/2010
                                                             The Victorian Tree Industry Organisation
                                                                                 4/21 Eugene Terrace,
                                                                                      Ringwood 3134

                                                                                          vtio.org.au


        Midline Knots
                 11      Alpine Butterfly
        Stopper Knots
                 12      Double-Overhand Knot
                 13      Figure- Eight Knot
        Climbing Essentials
                 14      Closed Climbing System
                 15      Munters Hitch
        Life Line Attachment Knots
                 16      Figure-Eight Loop
                 17      Double Bowline
                 18      Bowline with the Yosemite tie off
                 19      Double Fisherman's 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      Acknowledgements                                                                      45




Victorian Tree Industry Organisation        Page 4 of 45                                  7/24/2010
                                                           The Victorian Tree Industry Organisation
                                                                               4/21 Eugene Terrace,
                                                                                    Ringwood 3134

                                                                                        vtio.org.au



INTRODUCTION

Good 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 flat-out lethal at worst.

This document attempts to provide some foundations for understanding the different sorts of rope
used in arboriculture; their construction and intended use. In addition, a large range of knots
commonly 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 cannot
recognise the knot you have tied then you probably have not tied it correctly or as intended.
Make sure it is always tied correctly."

In 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 life-support or for rigging.




Victorian Tree Industry Organisation       Page 5 of 45                                 7/24/2010
                                                             The Victorian Tree Industry Organisation
                                                                                 4/21 Eugene Terrace,
                                                                                      Ringwood 3134

                                                                                          vtio.org.au


1   ROPES FOR ARBORICULTURE

Man has used rope in one form or another since the earliest days. In fact, the use of creepers or
vines as climbing aids arguably pre-dates any other form of tool, taking us back to a time before
the species learned to walk upright or make fire.
In the arboricultural 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 available.
Knowing the types of ropes available allows you to select the best rope for the job to be
undertaken. Important considerations are:
       Strength
       Elasticity(Elongation)
       Weight
       Maintenance

DEFINITION OF ROPE:
A rope is a length of fibres, twisted or braided together to improve strength for pulling and
connecting. It has tensile strength but is too flexible to provide compressive strength (i.e. it can be
used for pulling, not pushing). Rope is thicker and stronger than similarly constructed cord, line,
string or twine.1


NATURAL FIBRES:
Natural fibre rope such as Manila, Sisal, Coir and Hemp/Flax are very rarely used in modern
arboriculture 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 trustworthy
for prolonged use.


SYNTHETIC FIBRES:
Polyester 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 requirements.




Victorian Tree Industry Organisation        Page 6 of 45                                   7/24/2010
                                                            The Victorian Tree Industry Organisation
                                                                                4/21 Eugene Terrace,
                                                                                     Ringwood 3134

                                                                                          vtio.org.au



SYNTHETIC FIBRES (Continued)
Nylon is the strongest of all ropes in common use (excluding hi-tech 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 4-5 times longer than natural fibres
because 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 "U.V. stability".
It 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 rope's construction.
Polypropylene (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 sunlight
deterioration, 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 lowest
melting point of all synthetic ropes (excluding Hi-tech fibres). It is not as strong as nylon or
polyester with 38% extension but it is 2-3 times stronger than manila. Because poly is less
expensive than other fibres, it is the most popular all-purpose 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 concern.


HI-TECH FIBRES:
In recent years developments with synthetic fibres such as Kevlar, Spectra / Dyneema, Technora,
Vectran and selected others have lead to the development and production of Hi-Performance - Hi-
Tech ropes. These synthetic fibres are used by leading rope manufacturers for the possible
replacement of conventional steel wire rope because of the weight to strength ratio. High
performance ropes are used in marine, oilfield, offshore, shipping, mooring, construction,
aerospace applications and arboricultural climbing and rigging operations.

Kevlar is a synthetic fibre primarily used in ropes for high heat resistance, low elasticity and high
strength.

Technora is a synthetic fibre primarily used in ropes for high strength and low elasticity.

Spectra - HMWPE - A high molecular weight polyethylene fibre. A synthetic fibre which is one
of the world's strongest yarns. It provides very high strength to its weight ratio, low moisture
absorption 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 loading.

Dyneema - UHMWPE  An ultra high molecular weight polyethylene fibre. A synthetic fibre
providing 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 fatigue
resistance but a low resistance to heat.



Victorian Tree Industry Organisation        Page 7 of 45                                  7/24/2010
                                                            The Victorian Tree Industry Organisation
                                                                                4/21 Eugene Terrace,
                                                                                     Ringwood 3134

                                                                                          vtio.org.au

ROPE CONSTRUCTION TYPES

There are two broad types of rope: braided rope and twisted rope, each of which has very
different characteristics. In order to optimize a rope's performance and safety, it is important to
select 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 strands.

Twisted 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 non-rotating. 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 alter
characteristics such as strength, elongation, flexibility, and durability. The following is a brief
description 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 complicated
pattern, with or without a filler core in the centre of the rope. Solid braid ropes tend to maintain
their 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 constructions.

Diamond Braid ropes are used extensively in arboriculture as climbing lines and cheaper rigging
lines. 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 constructions. 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 strength.




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                                                              The Victorian Tree Industry Organisation
                                                                                  4/21 Eugene Terrace,
                                                                                       Ringwood 3134

                                                                                           vtio.org.au


Double 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 rope.

Kernmantle 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.
Kernmantle 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 deterioration.

Kernmantle 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 stretch
versions are used to absorb energy if the climber falls. The low stretch versions are used in
rappelling, 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 manufacturing, 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 application.




Victorian Tree Industry Organisation         Page 9 of 45                                   7/24/2010
                                This page courtesy of Samson Cordage

                                                               The Victorian Tree Industry Organisation
                                                                                   4/21 Eugene Terrace,
                                                                                        Ringwood 3134

                                                                                              vtio.org.au


      1.2 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 on-rope `bounce' test.
      Remember that if you are tying off the line at the base, you may be double-loading 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 aren't 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 on-rope 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 time-consuming. 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 difficulty.




Victorian Tree Industry Organisation         Page 10 of 45                                    7/24/2010
                                                       The Victorian Tree Industry Organisation
                                                                           4/21 Eugene Terrace,
                                                                                Ringwood 3134

                                                                                    vtio.org.au




                                              This page courtesy of Samson Cordage
Victorian Tree Industry Organisation   Page 11 of 45                                7/24/2010
                                                      The Victorian Tree Industry Organisation
                                                                          4/21 Eugene Terrace,
                                                                               Ringwood 3134

                                                                                   vtio.org.au




Victorian Tree Industry Organisation   Page 12 of 45
                                                   This                            7/24/2010
                                                          page courtesy of Samson Cordage
                                                       The Victorian Tree Industry Organisation
                                                                           4/21 Eugene Terrace,
                                                                                Ringwood 3134

                                                                                    vtio.org.au




Victorian Tree Industry Organisation   Page 13 of 45                                7/24/2010
                                                               This page courtesy of Samson Cordage
                                                                  The Victorian Tree Industry Organisation
                                                                                      4/21 Eugene Terrace,
                                                                                           Ringwood 3134

                                                                                               vtio.org.au




This page courtesy of Samson Cordage

           Victorian Tree Industry Organisation   Page 14 of 45                                7/24/2010
                                                            The Victorian Tree Industry Organisation
                                                                                4/21 Eugene Terrace,
                                                                                     Ringwood 3134

                                                                                         vtio.org.au




This Victorian Tree Industry
     page courtesy           Organisation
                     of Samson  Cordage     Page 15 of 45                                7/24/2010
                                                              The Victorian Tree Industry Organisation
                                                                                  4/21 Eugene Terrace,
                                                                                       Ringwood 3134

                                                                                           vtio.org.au



   2   KNOTS FOR ARBORICULTURE


   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 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 climbing/rigging 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                                7/24/2010
                                                                 The Victorian Tree Industry Organisation
                                                                                     4/21 Eugene Terrace,
                                                                                          Ringwood 3134

                                                                                              vtio.org.au



THE RULES OF KNOT TYING:
An arborist must know a range of knots and their application for different situations. Arborists
must 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 different
amounts, but allow for a loss of rope strength by as much as 60%. When calculating the Safe
Working Load: (S.W.L.), of a rope with knots, factor this percentage into your calculations.


The 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 through
repetition. 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 intended.
Make sure it is always tied correctly.
Also 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 12.5mm (1/2 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 Fisherman's
Bend (knot #6) and you either stitch or whip the ends to the body of the rope.




Victorian Tree Industry Organisation        Page 17 of 45                                     7/24/2010
                                                            The Victorian Tree Industry Organisation
                                                                                4/21 Eugene Terrace,
                                                                                     Ringwood 3134

                                                                                         vtio.org.au



3      KNOTS ILLUSTRATED

BASIC 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 - #18.




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                                                                 The Victorian Tree Industry Organisation
                                                                                     4/21 Eugene Terrace,
                                                                                          Ringwood 3134

                                                                                                vtio.org.au



2.   Clove Hitch: Also known as the Waterman's 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 #15).




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                                                            The Victorian Tree Industry Organisation
                                                                                4/21 Eugene Terrace,
                                                                                     Ringwood 3134

                                                                                         vtio.org.au



3.   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 end




Victorian Tree Industry Organisation       Page 20 of 45                                 7/24/2010
                                                             The Victorian Tree Industry Organisation
                                                                                 4/21 Eugene Terrace,
                                                                                      Ringwood 3134

                                                                                          vtio.org.au



4.   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 slower.




Victorian Tree Industry Organisation        Page 21 of 45                                 7/24/2010
                                                             The Victorian Tree Industry Organisation
                                                                                 4/21 Eugene Terrace,
                                                                                      Ringwood 3134

                                                                                          vtio.org.au



ROPE 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 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
     Bend).Use 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




 C*




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                                                              The Victorian Tree Industry Organisation
                                                                                  4/21 Eugene Terrace,
                                                                                       Ringwood 3134

                                                                                           vtio.org.au



6.   Double Fisherman's 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 loaded.




Victorian Tree Industry Organisation         Page 23 of 45                                  7/24/2010
                                                             The Victorian Tree Industry Organisation
                                                                                 4/21 Eugene Terrace,
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7.   Figure-Eight 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 time.




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HITCHES:
8.   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 - #18.




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9.   Timber Hitch:
     Uses: The Timber Hitch is used for attaching an anchor sling to the trees trunk/branch 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 one-third 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 this.




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10. Cows Hitch:
    Uses: The Cows Hitch is used for attaching an anchor sling to the tree's 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 Hitch.




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MIDLINE KNOTS
11. Alpine Butterfly: Also known as the Butterfly Knot, Harness Loop, Single Lineman's Loop,
    Lineman's Loop or Artillery Man's 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 midline/inline 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 tie.




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STOPPER KNOTS:
12. Double-Overhand Knot: Also known as Double-Fisherman's Stopper Knot, Blood Knot or
    Multiple-Overhand 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 knot.




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13. Figure-Eight Knot:
    Uses: Stopper knot for use at end of Blake's 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 unattended.




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CLIMBING ESSENTIALS:
14. Closed Climbing System: Start by tying a Bowline Knot (Knot #1) leaving approximately
    1.5m of tail after the knot with the working end of your climbing line. Using the remaining
    1.5m of tail, tie a Blake's 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 Figure-Eight 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 re-tying 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 damaged/dropped your Prussik or you may
    simply need a second re-direct 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 Blake's 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 re-tied every time
    you wish to change limbs resulting in a potentially labour intensive slow climb.




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15. 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 rope.




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LIFELINE ATTACHMENT KNOTS
16. Figure-Eight Loop: One extra turn of the loop gives you an even more secure Figure-Nine
    knot favoured by cave explorers and yet another turn gives you the Figure-Ten 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 Figure-Eight Loop requires practice. The Figure-Eight Loop can be
    difficult to untie once loaded.




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17. 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 deadly.




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18. Bowline with Yosemite-Tie 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 Yosemite-Tie 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 knot.




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19. Double  Fisherman's Loop: also known as the Poacher's knot. One more turn of the
    `working end' gives you a Triple Fisherman's 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 can't be removed first from the
    loop. The tail has a tendency to creep if tied with some rope types such as heat resistant
    Prussik cord.




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CLIMBING FRICTION HITCHES
20. Prussik Knot: also known as the English Prussik.
    Uses: This climber's 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 used.




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21. Blake's 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 1.5m 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 build-up causes damage to the part of rope used to tie the
    hitch if descended on too fast.




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22. 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 can't be tied using a loop; regular `dressing' is required while climbing to
    maintain smooth action. This friction hitch only operates in one direction.




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23. 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 directional.




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24. 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 Climber's Companion, Jepson, p.84) This
    friction hitch only operates in one direction.




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25. 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 direction.




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TUBE 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 speed-line 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 loaded.




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27. Beer Knot:
    Uses: Another knot for joining tube tape together or tying endless slings. Insert at least 25-
    30cm (10-12 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 tie.




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REFERENCES:

Professional 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, 2006

www.yalecordage.com info@yalecordage.com

www.samsonrope.com

Wikipedia


ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS:

The technical information in this book was compiled by Frank Somerville and Scott Sharpe for
Swinburne Tafe Horticulture/Arboriculture Department. The document was then written by Scott
Sharpe in June 2008.

Ropes supplied by ATRAES (Australian Tree and Rope Access Equipment Specialist),
www.atraes.com.au




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