Clove Hitch &

Triple Clove Hitch

Remember from our "Rope Terminology" learning module, that the word "hitch" means to tie a rope into an object.  Why might you do that - tie a rope to an object?  In canyoneering, we tie into a lot of "objects" so that we can rappel, build anchors, and even belay people.

The Clove Hitch is primarily used for forming the famous "biner (pronounced "bean-er") block". 

 

This is used when we want to rappel single-strand (also called SRT (Single-Rope Technique) but we need to create a "block" so that we can retrieve our ropes when we touch the bottom.  This allows us at the anchor point to rappel off one-side of the rope strand and NOT the other.  If NEED to rappel off the blocked strand.  If you rappel on the other strand, you fall all the way to ground with no resistance.  There have been a few accident reports of people becoming complacent, or they didn't know what they were doing, and did this exact same thing!  One person is very lucky to survive especially as the person fell 90+ ft off a free-hang straight into the sand below.  Others have not been so lucky and ended up losing their life.  YOU MUST pay attention, every time, at every rappel, to make sure that everyone is rappelling on the correct strand of the rope.

There has been some reports of the clove hitch moving or unraveling due to an incorrect tying, using extreme force, not dressing the knot, and not subsequently "testing" (or loading the rappel) before a person rappels.

Since those reports have come out, the canyoneering community has now suggested moving to what's called the "Triple-Clove Hitch".  This will ensure that knot cannot come undone, all while keeping it still easy to tie.  All you add is another bight to the standard clove hitch with the carabiner going through all 3 bights.

Pros:

  • Easy to tie/untie

  • Easy to memorize

  • Can be tied with one hand

  • If not dressed properly, the knot can capsize or undo itself!

Cons:

  • Does not allow for a lowering method if the rappeller was to become stuck for whatever reason.  This is where having a second rappelling rope would be crucial.

  • If not tied correctly, you can tie the Munter Hitch instead which is not a stopping knot.

Caution:

  • After hearing a report of the clove hitch coming undone (because it wasn't dressed properly), the community in response to keep beginners more safe are recommending the "Triple Clove".  This is tied by simply adding one more loop (or twist) in the rope and having the carabiner go through all three loops.

Canyoneering Usage Examples:

Additional Reading:

Below, I show you three ways on how to tie the knot, via:

1) Pictures

2) GIF (animated picture that repeats itself with no-end)

3) Video (from Canyoneering101 YouTube Channel)

How to tie (pictures):

1st Step:

2nd Step:

3rd Step:

4th Step:

5th Step:

6th Step:

7th Step:

Triple-Clove Hitch

1st Step:

2nd Step:

3rd Step:

4th Step:

How to tie (GIF):

How to tie (YouTube vid):

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© 2020 Brett Johnson. Canyoneering101.com