IS the Yosemite Finish a real backup?

11:11 p.m. on January 28, 2003 (EST)
(Guest)

I often tie the Yosemite finish to the fig8 follow-through when leading. But I have thought to myself recently does this finish really back-up the knot the way a fisherman's knot(grapevine, double overhand whatever you'ld call it) does? I'ld love to hear what you folks think plus what some of the guide's associations think about this topic. Thanks.

9:25 a.m. on January 29, 2003 (EST)
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408 forum posts
Kinda sorta maybe nah...

Quote:

I often tie the Yosemite finish to the fig8 follow-through when leading. But I have thought to myself recently does this finish really back-up the knot the way a fisherman's knot(grapevine, double overhand whatever you'ld call it) does? I'ld love to hear what you folks think plus what some of the guide's associations think about this topic. Thanks.

My opinion: a properly tied and tensioned figure eight, with any reasonable amount of tail, needs no back up. Only thing that an overhand or a finish knot on the tail of the rope does is take up the extra slack. Nice thing about a Yosemite finish is that if you're weighting the rope a bunch (ie falling), makes the figure eight easier to untie.

A figure eight on a bight just doesn't either come untied on its own, or fail under a load by the tail end of the rope pulling through. Which is why its the recommended knot for tying in.

I think there's been a ton of testing through the years on this knot. I seem to recall, that even if you didn't finish following through completely (miss the last pass through), the knot still functions (though at a further reduced strength). Ends up looking like your yosemite finish.

Anyhoo, that's my two cents.

Brian in SLC

11:13 p.m. on January 29, 2003 (EST)
(Guest)

I Agree but....

The reason I ask is because most climbing gyms, many state guides tests as well as guide's assn.'s require this knot to be backed-up in certain applications as well as dressed and set. I agree with all of your information on the fig8 knot but I was just curious for the above mentioned reasons. Thanks

10:53 p.m. on February 18, 2003 (EST)
(Guest)

knots

All knots have a standard failure mode. Water knot fails by cyclical lossening, bowline (which IS NOT an acceptable kernmantle knot)fails by untying/loosening, girth hitch/larks foot fails by rupture at bend.

Fig 8 fails at extreme loads by 'rolling' off its tail (or v rarely by rupture at bottom bend of knot). If have enough tail to tie a back-up knot then have enough tail not to need a back-up knot.
Macca

1:34 p.m. on March 13, 2003 (EST)
(Guest)

If you're going to bother tying a backup, tie a real knot. I use the a fishermans as suggested by a friend who guides at J-tree.

12:36 a.m. on May 18, 2003 (EDT)
(Guest)

a.k.a. Chris
Re: Bowline

Quote:

All knots have a standard failure mode. Water knot fails by cyclical lossening, bowline (which IS NOT an acceptable kernmantle knot)fails by untying/loosening, girth hitch/larks foot fails by rupture at bend.

Fig 8 fails at extreme loads by 'rolling' off its tail (or v rarely by rupture at bottom bend of knot). If have enough tail to tie a back-up knot then have enough tail not to need a back-up knot.
Macca

I have used the Double Bowline in sport, single pitch situations. By double I mean the "sport" or two first tied loops bowline. I have always found it backed-up on the tie -in side of the line with a fisherman's knot. What do you make of it?

11:09 p.m. on June 4, 2003 (EDT)
(Guest)

Re: I Agree but....

This whole thread is BS. I doubt if any of the comments are based on actual testing, just repeats of old fables. I have actually done the testing on many occasions with at least two test methods. The figure-8 follow through does not benefit, in terms of strength, from any sort of addition such as a "finish" or "backup" knot (nor does it suffer if the free end is threaded back to make a neater dress as some sport climbers do). I am unaware of any report of failure (due to the knot failing) of a correctly tied simple figure-8 follow through for tie-in. The bowline with Yosemite finish (as in FOH #6) also does not benefit from any additional "finish" knot. If you test by putting a figure-8 follow through (or call it rethreaded fig-8, the common tie-in knot) at one end or a section of rope and a bowline with Yosemite finish at the other, and pull to failure, the figure-8 fails in almost every test. The Yosemite bowline is much easier to untie, especially on a frozen rope after applying body weight. Both knots far exceed the strength requirement for a harness tie-in knot. Your choice. If you want to respond, offer the tests you have personally conducted, not assertions without supporting data that you think you may have read elsewhere. There is a lot of purported wisdom out there that is really just fable passed on and on and on.

11:53 p.m. on June 18, 2003 (EDT)
(Guest)

Wow Tumblemark

Quite the rant, I hope that your are proud of yourself.
In much of climbing lore, humbly passed down, professionally taught or institutionally required in the US a back up knot is required.
This in MHO is intended to recognise the potential of newbes to tie-in incorectly. Novices fall and they fall timidly which allows the rope to slide through an incorrectly tied figure-8. In most "commited" falls the eight chinched on itself, which doesn't allow it to untie if tied incorectly from the start.
But as stated most novices fall gradually, reducing this mechanism.
So for all of us teaching and not taking the establishment for granite, what do you think?
Ps: I know the difference between institutial and private climbing so please respect this Tumblemark.

6:17 p.m. on June 24, 2003 (EDT)
(Guest)

Re: Wow Tumblemark

I didn't see your post, tuclimber, because you posted it as a response to your original. And sorry if my comments came off as a tirade.

Still, it amazes mee that this discussion goes on and on. Many people don't bother to do a google here or on rec.climbing to see what the facts are and make up their minds, they just say something like "You must always back up a fig-8 with an overhand knot; no, with a double overhand; no with a TRIPLE overhand!" The only evidence they offer is "Because some old fart from the Sierra Club said so." Hey, wait, I'm an fart from the Sierra Club--never mind.

There is one basic fact: just about any knot is strong enough without a backup (or finish knot or dress knot or whatever you want to call that useless extra knot). Clyde Soles knows it, Chris Harmston knows it, Brian and Macca know it. Heck, even I know it. BELIEVE IT. The contest is not to the strongest knot; if it were, the Yosemite bowline would win after a few simple tests.

Beyond that, your choice depends on your selection of criteria. Among the objective criteria might be: ease of tying, ability to be tied with one hand, ability to be tied without taking one hand off the rope (or a hold), ease of tying with gloves on, minimum amount of rope consumed, ease of being untied after loading or when frozen, speed of tying and untying, ability to withstand "ring loading" (the loading you would get if you clipped something into the loop formed through your harness). In all of these, the Yosemite bowline wins, too, as test data and my experience have convinced me. If someone disagrees, let them offer the data to support their view.

Then there might be subjective criteria: If you are already familiar with some knot, should you change? If more people are familiar with another, less satisfactory knot, should you use it for that reason alone? Are you more comfortable emotionally with a particular knot because it seems to have passed the test of time when used by others? If others are more familiar with a particular knot, does that make it better because it is more readily inspected (or, on the other hand, does an unusual knot get inspected more, while familiar knots get less notice)?

Then there might be statistical criteria: In actual use, how many failures have there been? So far as I have been able to research, no properly tied knot of any kind has failed when used as a tie in. Certainly not the common knots. The failures I have been able to dig up were either due to improper tying (Lynn Hill), or to ring loading (rethreaded fig-8 and rethreaded overhand are alone in this problem).

Then there are statutory criteria: Does your organization require a particular knot be used, even if they have no objective reasons for doing so? (Sierra Club, for example).

The discussion would be a lot shorter if people would begin by announcing their main criteria up front. Instead, most posters simply repeat what they have read and agree with for subjective reasons, as in "I was always taught that the best (or only) knot is a figure-8 with a double overhand finish" Then people dive in with discussions of what knot they think is best. No one offers a list of their criteria or test data, or even original reference. Thus grows the folklore of climbing.

For me, the most important criteria (several decades ago, when I first made an informed decision on this issue) were objective. I figured I could deal with the subjective criteria as separate issues. I chose the Yosemite bowline (back then it didn't have a name). If someone else begins with different criteria, they may reach a different conclusion. BTW, in a photo in the National Geographic of May 2003 (the one with the famous photo of Ed Hillary on the cover), you can clearly see the tie-in knot in the rope at Hillary's waist that binds him to Tenzing Norgay: it's a bowline!

September 2, 2014
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