• Almost every aspect of tree work involves the use of rope. It is critical to be
able to use knots to employ the rope, and is therefore vital to be able to tie
knots correctly, confidently and sometimes quickly.
• Knots pre-date human history. In 1923, a fishing net was found in a peat bog
in Finland that was shown to be from 7200 BC. Complex knots were used by
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the ancient Egyptians, Romans and Greeks for everything from construction
to surgery and sorcery.
• Knots, hitches and bends are generally assumed to have been the specialty
of deep-water sailors because early books that featured knots were often
• In reality, as much rope work was done ashore as offshore. In the past, there
have been anglers’ knots, builders’ knots, packers’ knots, waggoners’ knots,
steeplejacks’ knots, farmers’ knots and cowboys’ knots.
• The most important thing to remember is that knots are usually developed in
response to a particular need. Context, scale, purpose and materials combine
to call for appropriate knots.
• If you think about the needs that a particular knot responds to, it will be
easier to understand why a knot is structured in a certain way and make tying
the knot more natural.
• There are thousands of knots, but only a few are sufficiently versatile,
trustworthy and easily understood to be generally useful.
e en number sho ld learned; ill
• An even smaller n mber of “core” knots should be learned these will be
used almost 90% or more of the time in your rope work.
• “A knot is never nearly right; it is either hopelessly wrong, one or the other;
there is nothing in between ” – Clifford Ashley
• Tie, dress and set (TDS). A loose knot can capsize under load.
• When climbing, periodically check your knots and always make sure that
you can TDS a knot correctly on the ground before tying it while aloft.
• A good knot is easy to tie, inspect, untie after loading and is strong and
The Butterfly Knot
The Double Constrictor: A