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The Climbing Club • View topic - Figure eight follow-through versus Yosemite bowline

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 17, 2010 6:27 pm 
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Tenacious Lee
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When I first started climbing I was taught to tie in with the classic figure eight follow-through, as I'm sure many of you were as well. Since then I've read about the Yosemite bowline, which some claim to be a superior knot for its ease of tying and untying after being loaded (ease of untying not always being a desirable quality in climbing knots you're trusting your life with...); I've also read that it's stronger than the figure eight, but there seem to be conflicting reports on this front. Personally, I've used the Yosemite bowline a few times and found that it is a lot easier to manage than the figure eight, and that the only real disadvantage is that not many people are familiar with it, which makes double-checking your partner's knot problematic. For reference, here's how to tie it:

Image

Are there any strong opinions on this subject either way?


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 17, 2010 9:35 pm 
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Cap'n Wingspan
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From what I've read about the relative merits of each knot, it seems that there have been a number of deaths attributed to the knot failure for climbers using the yosemite bowline. The problem is not that the knot broke, but rather, that it became undone while climbing. There was an article discussing this problem in either Climbing or Rock and Ice sometime in the last year.


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 17, 2010 11:36 pm 
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Longshanks
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Modern climbing ropes are so overbuilt that "knot strength" (how much it weakens the rope) is an entirely moot point. I don't have any personal experience with the YSB, so I can't comment further. Sounds like a knot for sport and gym climbing though. On any multipitch route you only untie once, so how easy or hard the knot is to undo doesn't really matter. Maybe if you're into taking monster whippers every ten seconds on your 5.stupid project it'd be worth considering.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 18, 2010 8:17 am 
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Dr. Crevasse
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 18, 2010 11:29 am 
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UW Climber
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many people prefer the bowline, but as has already been pointed out it should always be backed up properly. The safety knot is much more important with the bowline precisely because the knot itself doesn't tighten. I used it for a while but then it started to bother me that my partners could never check my knot adequately so I reverted to the figure 8. I found that if I had lingering worries about safety I just couldn't climb well... and then it didn't really matter which knot I was using, because I ended up feeling frustrated. Personally, I sometimes like taking whippers on sport projects and untying the fig 8 has never been impossible... if I'm too pumped to do it, there is always my belayer :)


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 18, 2010 12:25 pm 
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There have been lots of articles on the bowline and accidents (I've never heard it called the Yosemite bowline, news to me!). Most recently in the fall (maybe winter) issue of R&I there was an accident report about a bowline. It gives a good summary. Basically they say this: they've had plenty of reports of accidents with the bowline, none with the figure 8. You do the math. Most newbies can't check a bowline, and it's harder to check even if you've checked it many times (versus figure 8). I climb with lots of peeps that use them in the gym (easier to untie), but wouldn't ever recommend it.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 18, 2010 1:45 pm 
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Longshanks
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 18, 2010 2:06 pm 
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Cap'n Posthole
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 18, 2010 2:49 pm 
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Dr. Crevasse
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"It's not safe out here. It's wondrous, with treasures to satiate desires both subtle and gross. But it's not for the timid." Q


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 18, 2010 2:53 pm 
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Longshanks
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Last edited by Obadiah Reid on Thu Feb 18, 2010 9:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 18, 2010 3:05 pm 
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Dr. Crevasse
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And the chemist in Obadiah shines through again. :D

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 18, 2010 5:46 pm 
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UW Climber
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 18, 2010 6:00 pm 
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The Pub Czar
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 18, 2010 6:24 pm 
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Longshanks
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Hmm. Yes, you're right. My statement of "entropy" was incorrect. What I computed is the ratio of degeneracies for the state "dead" to the total system entropy: S_dead/S_total.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 18, 2010 8:46 pm 
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Cap'n Posthole
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..... that really clears things up :? ....


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