A Climber's Guide to the Figure Eight Follow Through Knot




Rock climbers usually have an arsenal of knots they know how to tie, but none are as frequently used as the figure eight follow through. The figure eight follow through secures the climber to the rope through their harness and acts as their protection from hitting the ground when falling. This makes the knot very important to learn and tie correctly! No prior knowledge of knots is needed to learn and master this knot, but plenty of practice is recommended. Throughout these instructions you will learn how to appropriately tie a figure eight follow through knot used for climbing. Learning to tie this knot should take between five to ten minutes of practice for a lifetime of memory.

Items Needed:
1. Climbing Harness

2. Climbing Rope

Step 1: Create the Figure Eight

A. Take a length of rope that reaches from your hand to the opposite shoulder. Length may vary depending on arm  length.

B. Create a loop in the rope to begin the figure eight.

C. Wrap the end of the rope back around the fixed end until the rope has completely encircled itself.

D. Insert the end of the rope through the loop created in B. This creates the figure eight

E. Pull the figure eight tight.

These steps create the initial figure eight which is the framework for the knot.

Step 2: Loop Rope Through Harness

Thread the end of the rope up through both the lower and upper tie in points on the harness as shown in the pictures. The rope should not pass through the green belay loop shown in the pictures.

Step 3: Retrace the Figure Eight Knot

Retrace the original figure eight knot created in step 1 as shown in the pictures. This part is like laying train tracks putting in the other line right next to the original.

Step 4: Finish the Knot

A. Arrange the knot so all of the original and retraced steps run parallel to each other and do not cross. This is called dressing the knot.

B. Tighten the knot by pulling on each section of the rope leaving the figure eight.

C. Check to see if the knot has enough tail. The length of the rope leaving the knot should be longer than a fist length, but less than two.

Step 5: Final Notes

Congratulations on tying a figure eight follow through knot! While this knot is simple enough, it is highly recommended to have an experienced climber or climbing wall staff double check your knot prior to climbing. After mastering this knot the next skill to add to your climbing knowledge is belaying. Belay technique is best learned from an experienced climber at your local climbing gym. Best of luck with your future climbing endeavors and remember to climb safe!



    • Beauty Tips Contest

      Beauty Tips Contest
    • Fandom Contest

      Fandom Contest
    • Growing Beyond Earth Maker Contest

      Growing Beyond Earth Maker Contest

    9 Discussions


    5 years ago

    always tie a stopper knot - simple as that - if you need to ask why - tie it anyway. 30 years of climbing talking

    1 reply

    Doing something for 30 years does not mean it is necessary or useful.

    There is nothing wrong with tying a double-fisherman's above your figure 8, or for that matter an overhand, a bow, or anything you like. It certainly won't hurt anything so feel free to do it if you prefer it that way. But it is not necessary. Research, knowledge, and techniques evolve - especially in the span of 30 years.


    5 years ago

    as a long time climber and I wish I could use font size 900 in blinking red (Remember the blink tag) Always tie a stopper knot. Even with many years of climbing it is possible to tie it wrong when distracted the stopper will prevent the rope from going through a half done eight.

    1 reply

    A "stopper knot" is not necessary on a figure 8 follow through. It IS necessary on certain other knots, and it used to be taught as the standard for the figure 8, but research has shown that it does nothing to increase the security of the figure 8 knot which is strong, safe, and secure by itself.

    The idea of a "stopper knot" as a fail-safe for an incorrectly tied figure 8 is horrifying... much better to just tie the figure 8 correctly without a stopper knot. Check your knot, and have your partner double-check, every time you climb.


    5 years ago on Introduction

    The AMGA does not teach a stopper knot as back up for the figure eight.


    6 years ago on Introduction

    A well written and illustrated Instructable!

    However, you don't mention the use of a stopper knot. At most climbing walls/gyms (in the UK/US) you'd fail your entry test if you didn't tie a stopper knot.

    Also, I'd be tempted to put the sentence you use in your last step in your first step. In bold. It's the most important part of this instructable: While this knot is simple enough, it is highly recommended to have an experienced climber or climbing wall staff double check your knot prior to climbing.

    1 reply

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks for the feedback! Bolding that sentence is a great idea.

    While some gyms require a stopper knot, a correctly tied and dressed figure eight should not require a back up knot.


    6 years ago on Introduction

    Well done.

    However a simple bowline is quicker and as effective.