Sunday, November 20, 2011

Use the Blakes Hitch Instead of the Taut-line

The taut-line is a friction hitch knot traditionally taught in scouts.  A common use is to tie tent guy lines for the purpose of adding tension.  The benefit is that the tent is held tight and secure.  Unfortunately, this knot easily loosens and fails.  I've climbed on this knot; I know.  I've spoken to scouts who took turns through a stormy night re-securing their taut-line hitches.

The Blakes hitch provides the same functionality, yet it incredibly more stable than the taut-line.  The coil construction of the Blakes provides this improvement.  For the simple fact that the Blakes hitch has more coil, that's enough merit  to prefer it.  Coils add friction and friction yields stability.

Even consider the the Prusik to replace the taut-line.  It's the gold standard on holding a position.

Here's the taut-line.  Keeping with our tent application, the loop goes around the ground steak.  The upper line connects to the tent.  Tension is created by advancing the knot up.
Here's the more stable Blakes hitch tied in a manner used to add tension to a guy wire.
This depicts a system where the connection is established with a buntline knot (top of image).  The buntline captures the object to be pulled (like a grommet of tarp or tent).  The loop formed beneath the Blakes hitch would capture an anchor (like a tent stake).
Here's the rock solid Prusik loop. It could readily replace the Blakes hitch.  To form the Prusik loop a double fisherman's knot was tied.  The Prusik attaches to the line, which acts as the guy-wire.  There's a feature here.  The guy-wire beneath the Prusik remains loose.  This loose strand could have a back-up knot added (e.g. slip knot).

In case a climber familiar with the traditional arborist climbing system comes along, there's some explaining warranted on the Blakes hitch.  Below is the ubiquitous Blakes hitch application for climbing a tree on double rope.  The guy line application above requires that the Blakes hitch be tied upside down.  This is a great meditative moment for the arborist to compare the two.

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