Field Trip 1: Knots

EQUIPMENT:      Please bring your harness, belay device, cordelette, personal anchor, belay glove, prusik slings, chest harness and a few carabiners.  Street clothes are fine, but bring sturdy soled shoes suitable for prusiking.


1.  Knots:  

Students are instructed to have their webbing and Perlon cut precisely using an electric rope cutter at the store where they purchase it.  Please check to determine that the lengths are correct, and that the Perlon is 6mm diameter.

Below is what the students have been instructed to purchase for this fieldtrip. 

9/16" or 1" tubular webbing as follows: 

  • (2)  9-foot runners of one color
  • (3)  5-foot runners of a second color
  • (1)  8-foot runner of a third color

5mm or 6mm Perlon/nylon (not Kevlar) accessory cord as follows:

         Climber's Height            Prusik Sling #1, 1st color        Tie-off Loop 1st color          Prusik Sling #2, 2nd color

6’6”                                         13’0”                                             4 feet                                       6’6”

6’0”                                         12’0”                                             4 feet                                       6’0”

5’6”                                         11’6”                                             4 feet                                       5’6”

5’0”                                         11’0”                                             4 feet                                       5’0”

Have the students tie their webbing into runners, and tie the 4 foot Perlon into a tie-off (hero) loop.  Emphasize the necessity of having 2+ inch ends extending out from the water knot, and the need to check the water knots regularly during use.

Have the students demonstrate their ability to tie all the knots listed below:

  • overhand knot (fig. 9-4)
  • water knot (fig. 9-7)
  • slip knot (fig. 9-21)
  • clove hitch (fig. 9-18)
  • Münter hitch on pear-shaped carabiner (fig. 9-25)
  • girth hitch (fig. 9-20)
  • Prusik Hitch (fig. 9-22)
  • Mule Knot (Refer to Mule Knot hand out)
  • Butterfly Knot (fig. 9-17)
  • double fisherman (fig. 9-10)
  • figure 8 knot, loop (fig. 9-12)
  • figure 8 knot, rewoven (fig. 9-13)
  • single bowline on a fixed anchor (fig. 9-14)
  • double bowline (on a bight), middle person tie-in (fig. 9-15)
  • butterfly coil (fig. 9-3)
  • Mountaineer coil (fig. 9-2)

2.  Belay:   In the Belay area the students will learn the ABC’s of a belay system (A: Anchor, B: Belay, C: Climber).  They will learn setting up an anchor, choosing a correct stance, belay device setup, Münter hitch setup and rope handling.  They will also learn about using a personal anchor. After a demonstration by an instructor, and some practice, we want them to demonstrate their ability to set up and handle a belay.  They are NOT expected to be highly proficient, but have the basics understood and performed with minimal prompting.  

3.  Prusik:  We will have ropes setup for students to prusik up and down.  You may need to help them tie their prusik slings first, then demonstrate how to prusik.   Also, you will need to have students explain their physical conditioning plan to you and discuss if needed.



FT1 is not a “Pass/Fail” fieldtrip.  If students need additional practice to become proficient, they should be marked as “Needs Improvement” so that they can follow up with their SIG leader for additional preparation.  Please note the specific skills/problems the student needs practice on so that they may target that area for improvement with their SIG group.

Knot tying is a critical skill for competent and safe climbing.  At future field trips, the student must demonstrate proficiency in order to continue in the course. We want students to do well.  Good instruction and feedback at the Knots Field Trip sets the stage for student performance in the future.


While this is a practice session and not a pass/fail fieldtrip for students to show mastery of knot tying, it is expected that the students will have learned the basics of each of these knots by the time they leave this fieldtrip.  If you have any specific areas of improvement for the student to concentrate on, please make sure to note it on the grade card and discuss it with the student as well.

Please write your name legibly on the grade card and initial each skill, so that you can be contacted in the event that there are any questions.

Thank you for volunteering your time and sharing your enthusiasm for mountaineering!!