Knot List: Highwayman's Hitch ‐ Step-by-Step
Home Page Essential Knots References Which Rope Thanks Grog Story
Knots by Name Terminology Safety Rope Properties About Contact Knot Store
Use Arrow Keys
Highwayman's Hitch TyingHold an initial bight of the rope against the pole. Place a second bight behind the pole and around the initial bight. Pass a bight of the tail in front of the pole through the first bight. Tighten to secure the knot and take the load. Pull the tail to release.
Highwayman's Hitch Details
Origin: Apocryphally, robbers were said to use the Highwayman's Hitch for a quick escape on horseback and it has probably survived because of this tantalizing name.
Tying it: For easy comparison with the Tumble Hitch, the animation uses the standing end to make the initial bight and then remains passive while the second bight wraps around it. It is more common to position the wrapping loop first, and then pass a bight of the standing end through it.
Real Danger: Quick release hitches share a major fault: entanglement of the free tail with the moving load can trigger abrupt release. A climber, frightened by a sudden slip or jerk, might grab at the adjacent line and trigger a fatal fall. Quick release knots should not be used for retrieving a climbing rope because there are recommended alternatives: 1, 2, 3, 4.
Uses: It might be reasonable to use a Highwayman's Hitch to briefly tie up a kayak while getting into it. However, it makes more sense to learn and use the Tumble Hitch which is more trustworthy.
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.