Fig8 vs Bowline

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Knot of choice

Figure 8 - sport
28
35%
Bowline - sport
5
6%
Double Bowline - sport
10
13%
Granny - sport
0
No votes
Figure 8 - trad
32
41%
Bowline - trad
1
1%
Double Bowline - trad
3
4%
Granny - trad
0
No votes
 
Total votes: 79

Dudeguy
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Bowline or Fig 8

Postby Dudeguy » Thu Jun 11, 2009 9:40 pm

I went climbing in Belgium a few years ago and the guy I climbed with used a bowline to tie in as apposed to a fig 8. I prefer a bowline because I find it quicker to tie and its easier to undo after a big fall or pumped fingers. Any body got any idea why its not used much here?

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brianweaver
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Re: Bowline or Fig 8

Postby brianweaver » Thu Jun 11, 2009 9:58 pm

A figure 8 is considered to be a better knot as it is harder to untie and it seats much more firmly than a bowline. Personally I use a bowline for the same reason as you. As long as you properly back it up then there isn't any problem with it. However, if you were to forget to back up your knot properly, it is highly probable that the knot will come undone while you're climbing thus leading to your impending doom. That is possibly why it is less commonly used.
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Justin
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Re: Bowline or Fig 8

Postby Justin » Thu Jun 11, 2009 10:27 pm

Bowline for sport (I use a Yosemite Bowline) comes undone easier
and
Figure of Eight for Trad (less likely to work loose)
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Marshall1
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Re: Bowline or Fig 8

Postby Marshall1 » Fri Jun 12, 2009 6:54 am

Fig 8 is a simpler knot that everybody knows. All climbers can check your knot, even at a distance. Lots of climbers couldn't tell if a bowline is good or bad.

I wasn't aware that you had to "properly back up" a bowline.

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brianweaver
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Re: Bowline or Fig 8

Postby brianweaver » Fri Jun 12, 2009 7:01 am

If you use a single bowline, even a double bowline, it is very necessary to tie a fisherman's knot to prevent the bowline from working its way loose while you climb. This way you can pull the bowline tight, then back it up and have a solid knot the whole time for worry-free climbing.
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MarkM
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Re: Bowline or Fig 8

Postby MarkM » Fri Jun 12, 2009 7:35 am

I've been using the double bow line with a bowline backup for a couple of years now. The knot never locks up and you never have to worry about the bowline working loose.
See how to tie it here : https://netfiles.uiuc.edu/ro/www/ClimbingClubatUIUC/bowline.html

That said I still use figure-8's when I head out tradding, since I figure that the knot absorbs a bit more energy than the bowline. I'm pretty sure that the actual energy absorbed it tiny and it's all in my head, but that's just the way it is.
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bergie
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Re: Bowline or Fig 8

Postby bergie » Fri Jun 12, 2009 8:27 am

Why would you even consider using a knot that might work loose? With a back up knot or not? Some of you guys are using the fig8 for trad and bowline for sport. Why? You are using the knot that has a chance of working its way loose in sport where you have the most chance of falling and using the fig8 which will never come loose in trad where you do everything not to fall. Fig8 is easy and simple, bowline is more complicated and leaves the possibilty of doing it wrong. Why run the risk???

illona
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Re: Bowline or Fig 8

Postby illona » Fri Jun 12, 2009 8:46 am

I use a bowline with a back-up knot.
Why use a knot that might come loose? Because I have seen a figure 8 become absolutely impossible to undo once someone has taken a bail on it. Even little girls with their seemingly non-existant weight can make this knot lock up badly.
I started using the bowline because of the need to have a quick and easy knot to tie and untie during comps and I've carried on using it because it works. That answer your question?

garvinj
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Re: Bowline or Fig 8

Postby garvinj » Fri Jun 12, 2009 10:07 am

This conversation sounds like some is bored and "soeking". If nether has caused any harm whats the piont?
But if we must the I'd say Bowline people seem to be a little better than the rest of us, Or is that my low self esteem talking.

I had F.Van Geijsen( about100 KG at the time) fall 4m 3 bolts of the groud and he undid his fig8 just fine. Oh if your thinking it Yes he did "klap" an ankle on the ground.

My conclusion, its an ego thing.

Garvin

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proze
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Re: Bowline or Fig 8

Postby proze » Fri Jun 12, 2009 10:42 am

How hard a figure 8 is to undo depends a lot on how neatly it was tied and the rope you're using. But they're normally not too crazy to untie. I'm so used to them I can't see myself changing.

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Re: Bowline or Fig 8

Postby MarkM » Fri Jun 12, 2009 10:53 am

Ego thing... :lol:

Climb on what ever you are comfortable with.
If you're happy wrestling with a figure 8 go for it. It's a good, fail safe knot that's been used forever and proven its worth.
Garvin, perhaps the ground took some of that energy :?: that allowed the knot to be untied with relative ease.

I guess it comes down to personal preference. I'm comfortable on the bowline (backed up) and I reckon it's a bombproof easily untied knot.

Now for the next can of worms, what do people tend to rap on?
The tried and tested (tough to untie) double fisherman's OR the uber-simple overhand (AKA the Euro death knot)?
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Nic Le Maitre
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Re: Bowline or Fig 8

Postby Nic Le Maitre » Fri Jun 12, 2009 10:54 am

If you are worried about being unable to untie the fig-8 tie a fig-9 (just pass the rope around itself once more than for a fig-8), it releases much easier
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Nic Le Maitre
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Re: Bowline or Fig 8

Postby Nic Le Maitre » Fri Jun 12, 2009 10:57 am

To rap on... I usually join the ropes using a (reverse) rethreaded fig-8 with the ends tied off using fishermans or overhands. Quite a nice neat flat knot that tends not to snag or be difficult to release.
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shorti
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Re: Bowline or Fig 8

Postby shorti » Fri Jun 12, 2009 11:14 am

single bowline with fisherman backup on fuzzy thick ropes, but I tend to prefer figure 8's on my jokers, no real reason for that. I used to use 8 on my roca but it started getting more and more difficult to untie after falls until one day I was pretty damn close to cutting the friggen knot off. Back in the day my dad and his friends tested knots (in a lab) and found the 8 was least likely to break, not that any of them broke easily. For abseil I use the overhand knot. You can tie another one behind it and you will be all right. The EDK is when you tie a figure 8 instead of the overhand. It will only be a problem when the knot is not tight enough, the rope is wet and you apply a LOT of pull. The knot kan climb over itself repeatedly until it runs out of rope. It is theoretically possible with the overhand (with lots more pull) but by simply tying two of them it can't happen. Also make sure to tie a kneat not!

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Gustav
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Re: Bowline or Fig 8

Postby Gustav » Fri Jun 12, 2009 11:17 am

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Lowry
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Re: Bowline or Fig 8

Postby Lowry » Fri Jun 12, 2009 11:27 am

I climb with the "uber-simple overhand (AKA the Euro death knot)" Obviously threaded back into itself.
Easy to untie and fits snuggly onto your harness! :thumright

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pierre.joubert
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Re: Bowline or Fig 8

Postby pierre.joubert » Fri Jun 12, 2009 12:31 pm

Tie-in: A bowline with the tail secured to the loop by a fishermans' knot.
Ab: Image

Read this: http://www.psychovertical.com/?abseilknot

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XMod
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Re: Bowline or Fig 8

Postby XMod » Fri Jun 12, 2009 12:47 pm

Im with Lowry, its called a water knot, so quick and easy, just make sure its tied right and snugged up properly or you gonna die - not the knot 4 beginners!!

For rap a single overhand snugged tight with long tails is perfect. (only works on ropes of the same size.) For largely different sized ropes you need to tie a sheet bend with the ends secured by single fishermans.

Hector
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Re: Bowline or Fig 8

Postby Hector » Fri Jun 12, 2009 1:00 pm

Tie-in: Figure 8
Rap: Death overhand knot with very long tails. Think I'll start using the double now, thanks Pierre

Anyone had any close shaves with poorly tied knots?

At the last Blouberg rescue the guy who'd fallen (broken vertabrae, bust ribs, concussion etc.) started freaking and shouting at us when we cut his rope. He'd taken a 20m almost factor 2 fall on a figure-8 knot so there was no ways we'd get it undone. We were quite relieved cos if he's that worried about his rope then his injuries couldnt be too bad...

BAbycoat
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Re: Bowline or Fig 8

Postby BAbycoat » Fri Jun 12, 2009 1:30 pm

Tie-in: dog-eared bowline. Tie a simple bowline, then re-thread completely. Looks like this when finished, but tied slightly differently. Releases like a dream. Never works loose. Much snugger than a Fig8.

Rap: backed-up EDK (thanks for the pics, pierre!).

PS - worth mentioning, for the small minority who aren't already aware, that a replacing the overhand knot in an EDK with a figure8 will make the knot (1) more liable to rotate through itself, and (2) will displace further each rotation, becoming much more dangerous.

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Re: Bowline or Fig 8

Postby MarkM » Fri Jun 12, 2009 2:32 pm

I rap on the EDK and then tie one of the lines in a second overhand knot, that sits snug against the main knot. The second knot, just prevents the main knot from 'rolling' and failing. The neat thing with just using the one knot, is that it kind of sits right behind the main knot so there is no additional snag potential.

Rapping on an over-hand figure 8 style knot is a big no-no.

Check out http://www.xmission.com/~tmoyer/testing/EDK.html for some testing that was done on these knots.

My only dodgey incident with knots was early on when I had got to and anchor, had half untied and then someone else said they would do the route. I unclipped and sat back, but just before I let go, I heard the the rope pull a bit through my harness, looked down and saw I hadn't re-tied back in. I think it was cos I was still climbing on a figure-8 :wink:
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XMod
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Re: Bowline or Fig 8

Postby XMod » Fri Jun 12, 2009 4:33 pm

YAWNN! I hate rainy days and boring gear talk......dumdideedideedum.......... :mrgreen:
Last edited by XMod on Sat Jun 13, 2009 6:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Skyjuggler
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Re: Bowline or Fig 8

Postby Skyjuggler » Fri Jun 12, 2009 4:59 pm

I stand together with Lowry and Xmod on this one.

Many years ago I was shown the EDK, which was then referred to as the "A" knot. As Xmod rightly said, it's a one turn water-knot or ring-bend that is NOT for beginners. I find the benefits of such a knot are that it sit's snugly against your harness, easy to undo after a whipper and the tail end points towards you and can be neatly tucked away.

The danger of the knot is that if you're not aware of what you're doing, it could be threaded the wrong way resulting in simply being tied in to a simple over-hand knot. BAD JUJU!!!

As for rappelling, I became a believer of the overhand knot for joining ropes years ago as a well known and respected SA climber told me he had faith in it.

Important note though; this know should only be used when the two ropes have an equal diameter. Otherwise, the double fisherman's knot... :thumright
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Justin
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Re: Bowline or Fig 8

Postby Justin » Fri Jun 12, 2009 5:54 pm

The 'Euro Death Knot' has that name for a reason I presume! I've used it for tying into before and don't it beneficial at all (you can get a bowline against your harness just as easy). I heard a rumour once that knot can turn inside out!?

For many many many years I used the figure of Eight to tie into, it was only last year that I switched to the Yosemite Bowline.
The reason I changed: It is easier to untie the knot and it can be positioned up against the harness nicely (makes working a route easier sometimes because it keeps you closer to the rock)

The figure of Eight (as Marshall points out) is the safest knot to use, its stronger, will never come undone and can be recognised the easiest by yourself and others + if you tie it wrong it will most likely still hold a fall.

The bowline is not as strong as the Figure of Eight, however for Sport Climbing I believe its fine.
Yes, it is more likely to come undone (this would take a long long time though)

The Bowline is the only knot that you can pick up a maximum load (e.g. a Caterpillar) and still undo the knot.

RE: Hectors story about the guy getting upset with the rescue team cutting his rope - :lol:

Image below comes from jos47 on flickr.com
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Yosemite Bowline image
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Skyjuggler
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Re: Bowline or Fig 8

Postby Skyjuggler » Fri Jun 12, 2009 10:26 pm

Following Justin's post, I tried to do some more research on this knot. for the benefit of both myself and others. Unfortunately, as is a sign of the times, everything is subject to interpretation as most of it is gleaned from forums and the likes off the net.

It's apparently named the Euro Death Knot purely because it LOOKS scary, or to quote Wiki, it has American origins since if there isn't enough "tail" left, it may turn over on itself resulting in catastrophic failure.

I've also spent the last 10 minutes working on the EDK I use trying to get it to turn inside out. (Not because I'm calling Justin a liar, but because if it's possible, I'd D@MN well like to know about it :thumleft: ) I have yet to succeed, short of leaving it ridiculously loose with no tail. Once again however, the bowline itself can turn inside out in a perfect set of circumstances...

Having said all this, that Yosemite bowline looks wicked cool. I'm going to give it a bash this weekend. Thanks for the pic! (The info about the loading and breaking of the knot was also interesting)

Most importantly however for climbers or even beginners reading this forum. Stick to what's tried and tested. If you're not sure, ask someone that is. It's unwise to go fiddling with ideas if you're not 100% certain of what you're doing. If you're wrong, you or a loved one may pay the ultimate price.

Climb safe :thumright
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Justin
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Re: Bowline or Fig 8

Postby Justin » Sat Jun 13, 2009 2:36 am

From xmission.com:
The failure mode of this knot is to invert (flip / capsize / roll). This leaves topologically the exact same knot, just with shorter tails. You can observe this yourself. Tie a loose figure-eight knot and pull (using a figure-eight makes it easier to flip). You'll have to help flip it around with your hands. If you do this enough times, you can make the knot roll all the way off the ends of the ropes, and you've got a failure.


Note by Justin: Slightly different when using the knot to tie in for rock climbing, however it would eventually roll over the one end (resulting in failure). Given enough weight/force on the rope, this should occur.

For more information continue reading on xmission.com

Let us know what you think about the bowline.
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XMod
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Re: Bowline or Fig 8

Postby XMod » Sat Jun 13, 2009 11:01 am

:pukel: -X- :puker:

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DiabolicDassie
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Re: Bowline or Fig 8

Postby DiabolicDassie » Mon Jun 15, 2009 9:48 am

Any knot is as safe as you make it,make a choice and deal with it :thumright

illona
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Re: Bowline or Fig 8

Postby illona » Mon Jun 15, 2009 11:02 am

Well said.
But at the same time its the responsibility of more experienced climbers to let newbies know the ins and outs of each knot so that they can make an informed decision.

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Skyjuggler
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Re: Bowline or Fig 8

Postby Skyjuggler » Mon Jun 15, 2009 3:07 pm

As promised, I gave the Yosemite Bowline a go this weekend.
All the comments are entirely personal...
Pros: Sits nicely against the harness, easy to undo and looks pretty cool
Cons: The tail sticks out the wrong way for me. I also found that if you mis-tie the knot, or pull the tail to tighten it too soon, the one bight slips under the other, resulting in an unstable knot that I wouldn't trust.
As shown in the pic, fiddle and allow the blue part to slip above the red... A little scary,

But if tightened and tied properly it seems pretty good.
Image
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