In an effort to grow the Skill Zone of Northeast Alpine Start I’m going to start posting a tech tip every Tuesday. I’ll share some personal tips & tricks but I’ll also be highlighting lots of content around the web from other blogs, companies, fellow guides, etc. For our first weekly Tech Tip we are going to take a look at the one-handed clove hitch (and to a lesser extent the one-handed munter hitch).
But why one-handed you ask?
Without question I tie more clove hitches rock and ice climbing than any other knot. On a nine pitch route it would not be uncommon to tie the clove hitch more than a dozen times. There’s a few advantages to mastering this method of tying starting with the most important;
Climbers have slipped while building anchors in all aspects of climbing. The ability to hold onto the rock (or your ice axe) with one hand while tying a clove hitch with the other increases your security when on an exposed stance at the end of a pumpy pitch. Ice climbers should especially master this skill as being able to clove into an ice screw with one hand beats taking a whipper while ice climbing (but try to stay within your ability!)
Learning to tie both these hitches directly onto the carabiner is faster than tying them any other way. For the clove hitch start by pulling the rope snug from your tie-in. This not only makes it easy to start the hitch but when you arr finished you should be at the perfect length from the master point. For the munter hitch, assuming you’re using it to belay your second, clip the first strand as soon as you are off belay. You can pull the rest of the unused rope up faster this way and when it comes tight on your partner a quick twist of the rope is added to the carabiner and your partner is on belay! Great for icy ropes!
It just looks cool. And climbing is all about looking cool.
Before heading out to the cliff to shoot a quick video of the process I did a quick search to see if anyone else had made a video on tying one-handed clove hitches. Well lo and behold this is a hot topic! So instead of adding to the insane amount of how-to videos on this skill I’ll just share them with you all here with my personal favorite first, these guys are funny!
Did I miss your video? Let me know I’ll add it 😉
That’s it for this week’s Tech Tip. Stay tuned for a new one every Tuesday… well, almost every Tuesday.
Like this tip? Got a tip you think I should share? Let me know in the comments below and see you in the mountains!