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Knot List: Blake's Hitch ‐ Step-by-Step

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Blake's Hitch, Animated Knots
Blake's Hitch, Step-by-Step Animation

Blake's Hitch Tying

Wrap the end of the line four times around the climbing rope. Bring the end back down, around itself, and tuck it behind the climbing rope and under the first two turns so that it exits in the middle. Tighten to achieve a tight, neat, knot.
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Blake's Hitch Details

Uses: Blake's Hitch is a Friction, or Slide and Grip, hitch. It is used by arborists for ascent and descent. Like other Slide and Grip Knots, the strain should only be taken on the line below the hitch. Blake's Hitch itself should not be used for traction because pulling directly on the hitch loosens it and allows descent – unexpected and uncontrolled.

Tying It: In practice it is an advantage to wind the first two turns while your thumb is inserted up alongside the climbing rope. This maintains a pathway to make it easier to thread the line. Note: This final threading must pass behind the main rope as shown.

Additional Security: For photography, the free end has been kept short. However, in practice the end should be kept long. Some writers used to suggest the addition of a stopper knot for security, e.g., a Double Overhand or a Figure 8.

History: Blake's Hitch was first described by Heinz Prohaska in an Austrian Guides Periodical in 1981 and then again in the Nylon Highway #30 in May 1990. However Jason Blake described it in a letter to the Arbor Age in 1994. It is now widely known as Blake's Hitch and this name is used here.

Pros and Cons: Like the Rolling Hitch, Blake's has the advantage that it can be tied in the end of a piece of rope instead of requiring a Prusik Loop. In practice it is a stable knot which does not creep or roll along the rope.

Disclaimer: Any activity that involves ropes is potentially hazardous. Lives may be at risk - possibly your own. Considerable attention and effort have been made to ensure that these descriptions are accurate. However, many critical factors cannot be controlled, including: the choice of materials; the age, size, and condition of ropes; and the accuracy with which these descriptions have been followed. No responsibility is accepted for incidents arising from the use of this material.

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