Not Knots!! Who's There?? – Cave Exploring Elective for the Ranger Award

There are a few knots that are commonly used for caving. These also happen to be the same as the knots used for climbing. So if you’ve done some climbing you may be familiar with these already.
Learning knots can be confusing. Animated Knots by Grog is a good web site, which shows these in animated graphics.

The most generally used knot is the Figure eight. It is the basis for type several other commonly used knots. One is the Figure Eight Follow Through, or also known as a Figure Eight on a Bight. This should be backed up by a Stopper Knot.
The Bowline is another looped-end knot. It’s not used as commonly as the figure, but it is useful. It too should have a stopper knot.

If you need to clip into a loop in the middle of a line that could be anchored at either or both ends you can use a bowline, but a Butterfly Knot is your best bet. It takes less rope, and even after it’s loaded can be untied relatively easy.

Joining two ends of rope together is also a very common task. You could be tying two ends of the same rope or webbing making a loop. Or you can be joining together to different pieces of rope or webbing. A Double Fisherman’s Knot is usually used for tying two rope ends together a Water Knot is usually used for tying two pieces of webbing together
A friction knot can be used to ascend or descend a rope. The Prusik knot is just what that’s for.
These are just the basic knots you should know before attempting to learn vertical caving techniques. There are variations of these and other knots for other purposes. But these are the standards that you will use throughout your caving career.


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