Knots and Setups

Knots and Setups

Below are descriptions of the primary knots we use in climbing, and on the climbing tower and COPE course at Durant. Thanks go to the Animated Knots by Grog website for links to tremendously helpful animated knot tying demonstrations.

Knots for Climbing

Figure 8 Follow Through
The Figure 8 Follow Through knot is used to tie climbers into a belay line for both the tower and the COPE high course. Ensure that the tail passes through both the leg cross piece and the waist of the wearer’s harness. Also, always use a double fisherman knot as a stopper knot on the tail of the figure 8 follow through knot when tying a climber in. Make sure that the stopper knot is below the climber’s face so that it doesn’t impede climbing in any way.

Butterfly Knot
Use a Butterfly knot to create a loop in a rope line where you can clip in equipment or lobster claws. We use this knot as part of the climber tie-in setup for the high ropes course.

Water Knot
Use a Water knot to connect two pieces or two ends of tubular webbing to create secure knot that will not slip. Be sure to match the pattern on the webbing – plain side to plain side, and dashed line side to dashed line side. And be sure to leave tails on either side of the completed, tightened water knot in order to create a safety knot on each side (a simple overhand knot will be sufficient). 

Super 8 Knot
The Super 8 knot, also known as the Double Figure 8 Loop, is a commonly used knot.

Setting Up the Tower

Lifting equipment to the top of the tower – It’s much easier to hoist the ropes, screamers, safety bags and gloves to the top of the tower than it is to carry them up the ladder. Working with one person on the tower and one person on the ground, use a bowline knot to secure your loads and haul away.

Tower Rope Setup – There are four sheer reduction devices permanently installed on steel cables on top of the tower – two on each climbing side. Feed the climbing rope through to the midpoint of the rope and drop the rest of the rope line. The line the lays against the tower is the line you will use to tie in climbers. The other line goes to the belayer’s station.

Screamer Setup – Everyone who is on the tower must be secured to a safety line with a locking carabiner.  We use a setup called a “screamer” that is made up of webbing, two carabiners and additional safety line packed into a soft plastic casing. If someone falls, the safety line will pop out of the casing, providing enough dynamic stretch to safely stop the faller (although there will be screaming, hence the name). The carabiner attached to the soft plastic casing side of the screamer should be attached to the rappel loop on a climber’s harness. The other carabiner should be secured to one of the climbing route steel cables, in between the two friction reduction devices. Be sure to clip, flip and screw down each carabiner.

Setting up the rappel lines on the tower - We use a releasable rappel with an independent belay line for rappelling. We use rescue 8 hardware for both the rappel and belay lines. Our procedure is to lock the rescue 8 off twice, pull the link through the rescue 8, and then tie a mule knot. On the helicopter rappel side of the tower, we use two woven 3' straps over the pipe to secure the lines. On the standard rappel side of the tower, we use locking carabiners to attach the rescue 8s to the steel cable.

Setting up the Zipline

There are two trolley systems for the COPE zipline that are used in rotation. The setup is similar for both models. The order for clipping in various rope elements is as follows: safety line, main climber line, and the hand holds. 

The ladder for the zipline is stored under The Wall element of the COPE low course. The ladder is laid on its side until the zip line rider has come to a complete stop. Then the ladder is set upright, a line is tossed to the zipline rider, and he/she is pulled towards the ladder. A spotter must hold the ladder while the zipline rider disconnects from the zipline trolley.