Knowing how to tie and apply knots is very helpful in many outdoor activities including backpacking, and mountaineering of all types.

Click here to see Bob's List of Climbing Knots and How to Tie Them.

Basic Definitions


Knot is often used generically to refer to all knots including hitches and bends. Technically, a knot when tied in a rope will maintain its own form. Examples include the Overhand knot, Figure of Eight knot, Figure of Eight Loop and an Alpine Butterfly.


A bend is used to join two rope ends. Examples include the double fisherman's bend, reef knot (reef bend), sheet bend, and overhand bend (water knot).


A hitch attaches a rope to an object. When a hitch is tied around an object and the object is removed, the hitch falls apart. Examples include the girth hitch and Prusik hitch.


A bight is formed by doubling back a length of the rope against itself to form a U.


A closed curve or circle of rope.


A loop around an object.

Round Turn

Formed by two passes of the rope around an object.

Standing End
The long part of the rope that is not active while tying your knot.
Working End
The short end of the rope that you’re actively using to tie your knot. It is also called the running end.