Tech Tip: Buntline Hitch

rock climbing tech tip Buntline Hitch

There are many situations in climbing where it makes sense to construct your anchor from the climbing rope you are already attached to versus reaching for a sling or cordelette; most notably when swinging leads or finishing a climb with a tree anchor followed by a walk-off. In recent years the Connecticut Tree Hitch (CTH) has gained popularity among both professional climbing guides and savvy recreational climbers.

The Buntline Hitch is also a suitable option that has a few distinct advantages over the CTH.

  1. The hitch does not require a locking carabiner
  2. The hitch forms a suitable master point for belaying your second (when using a CTH you must tie another bight knot to create a master point).
  3. If tied incorrectly it forms either two half-hitches or a clove-hitch which have a high enough slip strength. The CTH tied incorrectly will catastrophically fail.
  4. It is fast to tie and untie

Credit: Big thanks to Derek DeBruin for sharing this hitch with in the AMGA Professional Facebook Forum and for his continued work disseminating quality information. EDIT: Derek credits Richard Goldstone for teaching him this method.

Disclaimer: Climbing is dangerous. Practice new skills on the ground and seek qualified instruction.

See you in the mountains,

Northeast Alpine Start

2 thoughts on “Tech Tip: Buntline Hitch

  1. One thing I’m not sure about is using the loop formed by the free-end bight for a plaquette. (As an old-school climber I rarely use the plaquette and have never used the free-end loop for that purpose,) It’s probably ok, but the BH is a slip knot and pulling on that loop would tend to slide the knot along the main strand and away from the tree. What prevents this from happening or if so from travelling very far is the ability of the knot to act a bit like a prusik, friction around the tree, and finally tension in the anchor strand to the belayer. Still, I think it would be a good idea to do bit of testing with a nice heavy belay load and perhaps to be wary of small-diameter trees with very smooth bark. When in doubt, one can always tie a separate loop as with the CH.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Interesting… in my light testing it appears pulling on that bight has a greater chance of just tightening the loop around the tree… like cinching a Windsor knot down on a tie… I’ll play around with it a bit more today.


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