Introduction: Climb Safe With a "Figure 8 Knot"
There are many things that a beginning climber needs to know, including several important knots. Perhaps the most essential knot is the Figure 8 Follow Through. This tutorial will demonstrate how to correctly harness yourself to a rope using a Figure 8 Follow Through knot. This knot is used primarily by rock climbers to provide a life-line. Since this knot is used as a life-line, it is very important to be able to tie it correctly (Your life could depend upon it!).
Don't worry, with this tutorial and about 5 minutes of practice, you can have this knot mastered!
Things you will need:
- Climbing Harness
- Climbing Rope
If you are looking to learn this knot but dont have climbing gear, a belt loop and any rope will do.
Step 1: Dealing With the Rope
Throughout this tutorial, I will be discussing different parts of the rope. To make these instructions as clear as possible, I will define a few terms that I will use throughout the tutorial. The "Anchor End" of the rope will generally be at the top of the images. This is the end that would be anchored to the wall or rock, and does not move. We will not be doing much with the "anchored end". The "Tail End" of the rope is the opposite end that we will be dealing with. I will call this the "tail" for short.
Now that we have some terms to work with, lets get started.
Step 2: Tying the First Figure 8
This knot has several parts to it. The first part of the knot is just tying a basic "figure 8". To tie the first "figure 8", there are four simple steps.
1 - Using the tail, make a loop over the rope (as shown in the first picture), keeping in mind that there should be about 3 ft. of slack on the tail end.
2 - Wrap the tail back, this time go under the anchored end. (As shown in the second picture)
3 - Bring the tail down through the first loop. (As shown in the third picture)
4 - Finally, pull the two ends to make the knot a little bit tighter and easier to deal with. (Shown in the fourth picture)
After these four steps, you should end up with a knot that resembles a "figure 8".
Step 3: Looping Into the Harness
In order to secure the rope to the harness, simply thread the tail end of the rope through the front loop in the harness as shown in the picture below. This step is obviously very important.
To be even more secure, feed the tail end of the rope through leg loop and waist loop rather than the front "tie in loop".
Step 4: Following Back Through the Figure 8
After looping the rope through the harness, you have to thread the tail end of the rope back through the knot, following the first "figure 8". I have divided this process into five smaller steps in order to make it more clear.
1 - Coming form underneath the knot, bring the tail up through the near loop and to the left behind the anchored end of the rope. (Shown in the first picture)
2 - Wrap the tail around the anchored end back to the right, and down through the adjacent loop. (Shown in the second picture)
3 - You simply need to bring the tail back over the top of the knot to the left. (Shown in the third picture)
4 - Bring the tail end up through the far loop following the anchored end. (Shown in the fourth picture)
5 - Finally, pull the knot tight.* (Shown in the fifth picture)
As you can see, the first four pictures are simply tracing the knot back through with the tail end.
*For the last part, while you pull the knot tight, you may want to make small adjustments and rearrange how it all fits together. If the knot does not lay perfectly smooth and tight, it's NOT a big deal.
Step 5: Finishing the Knot
After completing the Figure 8 knot, you will want to secure the tail end of the rope out of the way. There are a couple different ways to do this, the way that I will demonstrate is using what's called a "Stopper Knot". This secondary knot is pretty simple, but I have once again divided this process into several smaller steps.
1 - Start by wrapping the tail end around the anchored end. (As shown in the first picture)
2 - Wrap the tail back underneath the two vertical segments. (As shown in the second picture)
3 - Simply repeat the first two steps, wrapping the tail around again. (As shown in the third picture)
4 - This step in the fourth picture may look complicated, but all you need to do is insert the tail up through the two loops that you have just made.
5 - To finish off the knot, you will want to slowly pull the tail end while gently pushing the bottom of the stopper knot upwards. If you have successfully completed this knot, it should look something like the fifth picture. Ideally, the tail would be a little shorter than what I have shown.
Step 6: Ready to Climb!
Now that you have mastered the Figure 8 knot, you can securely harness yourself into a climbing rope. Remember, there are many other skills that go into setting up an anchor and belaying a climber. This tutorial only covers the figure 8 knot. For more information, there are many great websites that demonstrate how to correctly set up a safe climbing system (I've posted a few below). If you are a beginning climber, I recommend that you read up on a few other climbing techniques. Also, you should probably go to a climbing wall or gym where there are experienced climbers that can "show you the ropes". Hopefully this tutorial has been helpful. Have fun and be safe.
Some useful links: