clove hitch for tie in's

11:24 a.m. on June 8, 2007 (EDT)
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Okay, I went to senneca to climb last weekend and I am seeing more climbers use the clove hitch for a tie in point. I had talked with the climbers that were using the clove hitch and they liked it for it was easy adjusted. I had done some reading on it and looked at some other fourms. Is anyone on this forum using the clove hitch for a tie point?. I was hoping for a discussion on the pro's and cons. I tried it last night on my home climbing wall and it held my weight. But it still scares me. I prefer the figure eight or the bow line with a Yosemite back up. Your thoughts.

1:01 p.m. on June 8, 2007 (EDT)
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I assume you mean tying into the anchor, not tying the rope to your harness. Yes, this is pretty much a standard for tying into an anchor. Take a look at Craig Leubben's and John Long's books on climbing anchors for discussions of knots and their strength. You may find some of the latest testing results of various knots and anchoring techniques to be a bit surprising. The knot holds well, plus it is very rapidly adjustable and rapid to tie. 8 on a bight is quick to tie as well and used when there will be no need to do adjustments. One of the advantages of the clove hitch is that it can be quickly converted to a Munter, if needed.

2:28 p.m. on June 8, 2007 (EDT)
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Bill: You are correct. I am talking about a tie in to a power point or anchor point.

I had seen it in Freedom of the Hills and not in Bruce Smiths On Rope. I had been climbing for 20 years, TRing, sport and trad and until my senneca trip, I havent really seen a lot of climbers use a hitch for a tie in point. I wouldnt really call it a standard. I did take a class with Craig when he was with Adam Fox and I didnt use a clove hitch for anything in his class. From my experiance, a clove hitch is a Boy Scout knot used for lashings. It seems to me that the hitch could "cycle" back and forth and become loose, where as a knot such as a yosemite bowline or figure 8 is unlikely to come loose during cycling of the rope. And where is the back up knot on a clove hitch. Even my munter has a back up for a tie in.

Why would you want to convert a tie in point into a munter hitch? If you would be using a tie in point as a safety lowering tie in (such as taking beginners and they need lowered off) why not use a munter mule?

6:29 p.m. on June 8, 2007 (EDT)
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I use it all the time. Leubbin's book has it, and, I think both the AMGA and UIAGM guides teach it as a tie in to a master point. Long doesn't much care for it (was a thread on rockclimbing.com where he talked about it a tad, I seem to recall. Thread title is "one clove hitch on two biners" or some such).

>And where is the back up knot on a clove hitch. Even my munter has a back up for a tie in.

Back up for a munter? I'm confused.

Anyhoo, reasonably commonly done. I like it as its quick, easy to tie (one handed), untie, and I can quickly get tie off to individual pieces of gear. Saves me some time. Doesn't take much rope.

Doesn't need a back up? Not sure how you would, but, I never back it up, except maybe by using another clove hitch on another piece of gear.

Does take up room in a smaller power point biner, especially if you need to clip a partner in.

Easy to adjust without removing from biner.

Nice to use for soloing...

-Brian in SLC

9:47 p.m. on June 8, 2007 (EDT)
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Brain: The back up for a munter hitch is a mule knot. I use the munter as a power point tie in. As I am sure you know, the munter is used for belaying and rapping. I use it as a power point tie in knot also with a mule knot. This way, if a beginner climber is stuck on a rappel or climb, you are able to lower the climber down without having to go down after the climber. For belaying, it is easy to tie a mule knot above the munter and escape a belay if needed.

Back to the clove hitch. I searched in several books that I have, On Rope, Freedom of the Hill, Self Rescue (Falcon book) and a TRSM book and the only thing I found for usage on a clove hitch was on pg. 173 in Freedom of the Hills. There was some small mention in the other books on tying the knot. There is a picture in Freedom of the Hills book showing a BELAYER tie in. I have done this many times before and I am comfortable with this. I am tied in and am hanging over the edge so that I can see my climber. In this senerio, the hitch is tensioned and I can see the hitch at all times. This is acceptable. However, my climber is anchored to either two draws, two slings equalized or a cordellete. What I am quesioning here is not the strength of the hitch but that the "cycling" of the rope could loosen up the hitches as a climber advances up.

I did call Adam Fox after I posted this and it was suggested that the clove hitch should be used for in situations as litter packaging, belay stations and places where it can be minded and under tension.

8:43 p.m. on June 10, 2007 (EDT)
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I got this letter via e-mail from a friend of mine. Its titled abuses of the clove hitch.

Over the last few years at courses and exams there has been considerable discussion over the use of the clove hitch. Reported, but unconfirmed, testing by the Department of Defense indicated that it was possible for the knot to slip at 700 to 1200 pounds of load and for sheath destruction and core damage to occur at 1200-1400 pounds. Consequently some guides felt that there was little point in having a secrue bomberproof anchor if the attachment to it was the weakest point of the system - it was better to use an alternative knot in all circumstances. The UIAA recommends use of the Munter hitch in the same configuration with load next to the spine to maintain crabiner stength. However, Bill Griggers of Bluewater rope considers incorrectly tied clove hitches to be of far more concern that rope slippage or melting, and all users, professional and recreational, would be advised to note this and to tie the knot correctly. Incorectly tied, carabiner failure becomes a real possibility.

I think that I will just stick to my cordelletes, and webbing for building anchors.

11:10 p.m. on June 10, 2007 (EDT)
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Not sure if I understand what you mean by "cycling" of the rope.

Suppose I lead a pitch, arrive at a stance and create a standard three piece gear anchor with a single power point in the form of a locking biner. Then I tie into this power point with a clove hitch, weight it, take my partner off belay, pull in the slack and bring him up. Where is the "cycling" you mention?

(I generally tie in with an eight-on-a-bight in this situation, but I don't see anything wrong with the clove, which makes me wonder what I'm missing...)

7:40 a.m. on June 11, 2007 (EDT)
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Tokyo Bill wrote:

"arrive at a stance and create a standard three piece gear anchor with a single power point in the form of a locking biner".

Here in lays the problem. What I had seen was not a typical two or three piece cordellte or webbing into the pro with a single power point as you stated above. These guys went directly into the pro with the clove hitch. They had thier cams placed, a biner off the cam and THEN a clove hitch on the biner which was thier anchors. They were using ATC's as a belay device. They had three pieces placed. Two for the climber and one for the belayer. All three pieces had a clove hitch using a single rope.

The cycling of the rope comes into play when you pull the slack out of the rope as your second advances.

12:36 p.m. on June 11, 2007 (EDT)
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FMD -
I can't quite picture the direct to 3 cams scenario you describe, but it does sound a bit strange. I'd like to see a photo, except we can't (yet) post photos here.

8:14 p.m. on June 11, 2007 (EDT)
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FMD -
After re-reading your comments several times, I am getting the impression that you are talking about somehow using the clove hitch on a carabiner as a belay device. I get this from your comments about "The UIAA recommends use of the Munter hitch in the same configuration with load next to the spine to maintain crabiner stength", plus your post 2 above this one where you say "The cycling of the rope comes into play when you pull the slack out of the rope as your second advances", plus some other comments. What Brian, tokyo bill, and I are referring to, and what you will see in Leubben's and Long's books is using the clove hitch as an adjustable knot to tie into the anchor. As an anchor knot, there will be no "cycling", since the knot is snugged down and used statically. It sounds from your comments that I quoted that the people you observed were somehow feeding the rope through the clove hitch in a manner similar to the way one might feed the rope through a tube device or as you would feed the rope through a Munter hitch. If so, then the clove hitch would be loosened and tightened many time as the climber advanced and might well be loose at the time of a fall. But as Brian and I were talking about it, the hitch would only be loosened as you were setting up the anchor or adjusting the length. During the time the other climber is moving, the clove hitch on the master point is always tightened down, and the belaying of the climber would not be via a clove hitch, but would be via a belay device, such as an ATC or Sticht plate, or perhaps a munter on an HMS carabiner.

You also referred to lowering a rappeller via a muled munter. I believe you are referring to the standard releasable rappel setup that many of us who work with youth groups use when running rappel stations (kids get T-shirts and hair caught in their rappel devices all too often). But there is a bit more to it than you included in your brief aside. Yes, it is an excellent way to avoid the very risky maneuver of having someone rappel down to the stuck kid to try to untangle them, and yes, a muled munter is used as part of the setup. But the rappeller is belayed on a separate top rope as well. There isn't enough room to go into the details here, but you can look on E. C. Joe's website for an illustrated explanation vertical20.com. The releasable rappel discussion is at http://vertical20.com/uploads/ReleasableRappelGuidedActivity.pdf with the illustration of the muled munter at http://vertical20.com/images/selfres1_s2e1.jpg

I think you are talking about two different uses, with the tie-in to the anchor being the standard, common use that we were referring to and apparently use as a belaying knot being the other. If you were referring to use as a belaying knot while the climber is moving, I can see plenty of reason to be concerned. I will say that sometimes out at the crags, I see people using gear and ropes in strange ways, even including groups running "adventure courses" for kids.

3:37 a.m. on June 12, 2007 (EDT)
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I believe that it happens, since like Bill S (despite many fewer years of experience) I've seen some pretty odd things at the crags). However, I've never actually seen anyone bring up a second by belaying him with a clove hitch tied directly to one or more anchor pieces. (It's fairly common to see a munter used in that way in Europe, I believe, although in that case I think the belayer is typically in on a power point and the the munter is rigged to a separate supplementary power point.)

If I ever did see such a thing, I think my reaction would be the same as FMD's, namely: "Yikes, what the heck is THAT??"

11:30 a.m. on June 12, 2007 (EDT)
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Bill: I think you are getting at what I am trying to describe with the clove hitch. I wish that there were a way to import pictures.

Also, I made a brief mention of the munter mule because of a comment that Brain SLC made about backing up a mule knot.

I looked at your link on the munter mule releasable rappel. On step number two it states" place a mule knot with back up on belay device on the belay rope". So I am thinking how this is worded with "belay device" that you arent belaying off a munter hitch. If you are using a belay device, you should first "lock off" the belay device before tying a mule knot. If you are using a tube device such as an ATC, bring the rope on the brake hand between the biner and ATC and then then back up to tie your munter mule along with the stopper knot.

1:07 p.m. on June 12, 2007 (EDT)
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Eddie intended to cover several situations in that discussion. You can use a mule knot to lock off a munter or most belay devices - figure 8 (anybody still use these?), Sticht, ATC, other tube devices, Grigri, Gigi (hmmm, wonder how many out there are familiar with this very useful device), Cinch, or even ascenders. Leubben's and Long's books illustrate this, as do many of the self-rescue books. If you look in those books or go back to Eddie's index pages, you will see that using a mule knot is useful in belay, rescue, and rappel situations, and not just on a munter. A munter on an HMS carabiner is basically just another variation on a belay/rappel device. If you do much beyond basic bouldering or sport climbing, I believe it is good to have as many techniques, tools, and skills in your quiver as you can. You never know when something will come in handy. Of course, that includes knowing the limitations as well. There are times when the old rock-in-the-crack improvised chock or jammed knot-on-a-sling might save your tail, even though they are really sketchy and scarey.

2:17 p.m. on June 12, 2007 (EDT)
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Bill: I agree with you that a mule knot can be used on many different devices. But when you tie the mule knot to the sticht plates and tube device, the rope should be ran under the ATC or Sticht plate to "lock" the rope down and then bring the rope up to tie a mule knot along with its approriate back up. What I was mentioning on my last post was on step # 2, it didnt mentioned to lock off the device. It just said to place a mule knot w/back up on belay device on the belay rope. Of course this is IF you are not belaying with a munter. Step #2 mentions belay device, so I am assumming that you are belaying with something other than a munter.


I dont own a figure eight personally. Too heavy, too slick. I prefer the reverso and ATC guides when I am trad climbing. They are light, easy to use and are auto locking. When I am at our local crag for TRing, I use a munter to belay.

I personally dont use ascenders and grigri's for belaying for these are more of a static device and its prefered to use something more of a dynamic to belay. I see people quite a bit using grigri's belaying on trad climbs, but personally, I would stick to a grigri on Tring only and only with a experianced belayer to ensure there is little slack.

6:24 p.m. on June 12, 2007 (EDT)
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>The back up for a munter hitch is a mule knot. I use the munter as a power point tie in.

Interesting. Never heard of anyone tying off with a munter mule as a climber.

When I've used a munter hitch climbing, its for, as you've mentioned, belaying or rappelling especially when I've forgot my ATC (etc). Or, I'll use a munter hitch on a leg loop of my harness to augment the friction of an ATC if I'm rappelling single on a slippery, skinny cord. But as a tie off? Not sure why you'd do that.

>As I am sure you know, the munter is used for belaying and rapping. I use it as a power point tie in knot also with a mule knot. This way, if a beginner climber is stuck on a rappel or climb, you are able to lower the climber down without having to go down after the climber. For belaying, it is easy to tie a mule knot above the munter and escape a belay if needed.

Ditto with an ATC (mule knot off and escape, same same). What I'm curious about, though, is what advantage a munter/mule gives you as a tie in? You'd be lowering a stuck climber off your belay, not your anchor tie in?

Munter/mule is very commonly done by the wet water canyoneers as a contingency anchor. Releasable if someone were to get stuck on rappel. Although, most folks have gone to a figure eight tied off (slick method apparently developed by Stephen Hoffman and is in his canyon techniques book only available in German, methinks).

Strength of clove hitch tested here:
******
www.xmission.com/~tmoyer/testing/pull_tests_11_98.html
11/23 Test #6
Pull a clove hitch to failure. The clove hitch was tied around the shackle on the load cell. The other end of the rope was tied with a figure eight on a bight. New 11 mm Blue Water Rope was used.
Result: Material failure at the clove hitch at 5110 lbs.
Discussion: The clove hitch did not slip! We were all very surprised at this. Before drawing any further conclusions, I would like to test this again - on a carabiner instead of the shackle. I suspect the rough surface of the shackle added extra friction to the knot.
********

If you look at the book, "Yosemite Climber", you'll see a picture of Dale Bard jugging up and looking at the infamous rurp belay created by Jim Bridwell. Clove hitch on successive rurps.

Anyhoo, sometimes I daisy chain pieces with clove hitches at a belay, for the anchor. Fast and easy. Easy to break down and clean. Easy to take apart when weighted.

Common to see a clove hitch used as an anchoring method to a power point, or, multiple pieces of gear.

I think I recall seeing clove hitches mentioned in the Flourine speed climbing books as the preferred knot for those folks, too. They jug off one, get to the anchor, pop it out, etc. Easy, fast. Have to look at the book again...

Anyhoo...

-Brian in SLC

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