History of Mountaineering
Philippine Mountains
Environmental Awareness
Climb Ethics
Climb Organization
Climb Preparation
 ¤ Physical and Mental Preparation
 ¤ Gears and Equipment
 ¤ Meal Planning
 ¤ Backpack Loading
Climb Proper
 ¤ Trail Movement
 ¤ Camp Management
Other Mountaineering Knowledge and Skills
 ¤ Land Navigation
 ¤ Ropemanship
 ¤ Rock Climbing
 ¤ High Altitude Climbing
Prevention, First Aid and Emergency Care
 ¤ Sequence of actions for adult Basic Life Support
Group Scribe's Report Form
Gear and Equipment Checklist
Physical Fitness Assessment Form
Sample BMC Final Exam
Sample First Aid Final Exam

AMCI Basic Mountaineering Course (BMC) 2004



Kernmantle Rope

A large number of filaments running the whole length of the rope are contained in a braided sheath. This construction gives it a high tensile strength, protection against abrasion and comparative freedom from twisting. Kermantle ropes are commonly available from a diameter of 2mm to 11 mm. The smaller sizes are used for a variety of ways while the bigger ones (10 – 11 mm) are used for climbing.

Laid Rope

Natural synthetic fibers are twisted into yarns into strands, and the strands twisted into ropes. "Hawser-laid" rope with a diameter of 11 mm, made of strong nylon, may be used as a mountaineering rope.

Woven Rope

Synthetic fibers are woven or braided into line or rope in small diameters. This type of rope is inferior to the above types and should not be used as a climbing rope.


A knot is any lump in the rope.

A bend is a knot joining two ropes.

A hitch is a knot joining a rope to something else.

A loop is a knot joining a rope to itself.

overhand Overhand. (Thumb Knot) A knot used to secure loose rope ends after another knot has been tied.
The simplest of all knots, formed by passing one end of a rope over and around the other end. The overhand knot is the basis for a wide variety of more complicated knots. It is commonly used to temporarily "stop" the end of a fraying rope.
  • Tips. The Thumb knot jams easily so it is far better to use a Figure of Eight knot to stop the end of a fraying rope.
bowline Bowline. This is most often used to tie a climbing rope around your waist when conditions warrant the need for a safety rope. It is used for making a fixed loop that will not jam or slip. It is made by forming a loop in the rope some distance from the end and then passing the end of the rope through the loop, around the standing part, and back through the loop. The bowline has been called the king of knots; it will hold under tension, will never jam, and can be easily untied.
  • A chant used by many to remember this knot is "The rabbit comes out of the hole, round the tree, and back down the hole again", where the hole is the small loop, and the rabbit is the running end of the rope.
  • In the same way that a Left Handed Sheet bend is a Sheet bend that has the running end of the rope coming out of the wrong side of the knot, a cowboy bowline is a bowline that also has the running end of the rope coming out of the wrong side of the knot. It suffers the same problems as the left handed sheet bend.
  • Tips. Don't be afraid to use this knot to form a loop of any size in rope.
    - To quickly identify if you have tied the Bowline normal or left handed, check to see that the running end exits the knot on the inside of the loop.
    - For added security, finish the knot with a stop knot such as a Figure of Eight knot to remove any possibility of the Bowline slipping.
    - If you use this knot in a man carrying situation - perhaps a rescue where a harness is unavailable - then you MUST use a stop knot as mentioned above.
Slip knot. A quick-release modification.
In contrast to the bowline, is the running eye knot, the simplest form of sliding knot or slip knot. The running eye knot is made by tying a simple overhand knot around the body of the rope. The loop formed by the running eye knot can be made smaller by pulling on the standing part of the rope.
Half-hitch. A knot used for fastening. Formed by making a loop in the rope with the end portion under the standing part.
Two half hitches. Good for fastening a rope to a post or a ring.
Two half-hitches placed one on top of the other are frequently used to fasten a rope to a spar or other object.
sheepshank Sheepshank. Used to shorten a rope temporarily. It is made by doubling a portion of the central part of the rope over on itself one or more times. At each end of the doubled-over portion a half-hitch is taken over the looped ends with the standing part of the rope. The half-hitches hold the doubled-over part of the rope in place.
clove hitch Clove hitch. Often used to tie a rope around a post or peg. Since the knot does not slip, it is used to tie the guy lines of a tent to the peg. It rarely jams, and can in fact suffer from the hitch unrolling under tension if the pole can turn. Often used to start and finish lashings. With practice, this can be easily tied with one hand - especially useful for sailors!
  • Tips. If you are in a situation where the clove hitch may unroll, add a couple of half hitches with the running end to the standing end of the knot, turning it into a "Clove Hitch and Two Half Hitches"!
    - When pioneering, use the Round turn and two half hitches to start and finish your lashings instead of the Clove Hitch. It won't unroll, and is easier to finish tying off. It just does not look so neat!
cow hitch
Tautline hitch. Primarily used to attach a guy line to a tent. The tightness of the rope can be adjusted by sliding the hitch.
Timber hitch Timber hitch. This knot is used for tying a rope to a log, or where security is not an issue. Like the clove hitch, it is used in bushcraft. This knot tightens under strain, but comes undone extremely easily when the rope is slack.
Wrap the rope around the log, then pass the running end around the standing part of the rope. Finally twist the running end around itself three or four times. (Note: this is only shown twice in the animation.)
  • Tip: Jolly useful for dragging logs back to the camp fire!
Sheet bend. This is often used for joining two ropes of different thickness or diameter. Resembling a bowline, its end is tied to the bight of another rope instead of its own.
square Square knot. This is used for tying two thin ropes of equal size together, and also for tying bandages in first aid.
Also known as the reef knot because of its use in tying reefs in ships' sails (that is, reducing the area of the sail), it is believed to be the oldest of all practical knots and is one of the most useful. It is strong and easily tied and untied. It is formed by tying two overhand knots, one on top of the other, in opposite directions, which brings the rope ends out of the knot at either end on the same side of the loop.
granny Granny knot. If two overhand knots are tied in the same direction, the result is a granny knot, in which the rope ends come out of the knot on different sides of the loops. The granny is less secure than the square knot and is more likely to jam if tension is applied to one end.
Another variant on this simple knot is the fool's knot or thief knot, which is similar to the square knot except that the loose ends emerge diagonally from opposite corners of the knot. This kind of knot will slip if the slightest tension is placed on it.
bow Bow knot. In its simplest form, is a modification of the square knot. The first overhand knot is tied with the ends of the rope as in the square knot, but in tying the second overhand knot the ends are doubled into loops and the knot is tied with the loops rather than the ends. The bow knot is simpler to untie than the square knot, because it can be loosened by pulling on the ends. It is also more decorative and is frequently used for tying neckties, shoelaces, and packages.
The bow knot can be tied either in square or granny form. The loops of the square bow knot are parallel to the standing part of the knot, whereas the loops of the granny bow knot are perpendicular to the standing part. The square bow knot is less likely to slip or to jam than the granny bow knot.
Fisherman's Fisherman’s knot. (Angler's knot, English knot, Englishman's bend, Halibut knot, True Lover's bend, Waterman's knot) This is used for tying two ropes of equal diameter together. It has been replaced to a large degree by the double fisherman’s knot. It is also the best knot for joining fine lines together. It is used by fishermen to join fishing line, and is very effective with small diameter strings and twines.
  • Tie a Thumb knot, in the running end of the first rope around the second rope. Then tie a thumb knot in the second rope, around the first rope. Note the Thumb knots are tied such they lie snugly against each other when the standing ends are pulled.
  • When tying knots in monofilament line, moisten the line before pulling the knot tight. This helps to stop the line heating up with friction, which weakens it.
Double fisherman’s knot. Also known as a grapevine knot, this is the most secure and preferred knot for tying the ends of two ropes together for rappell.
Figure-of-8 Figure of 8 knot. (Flemish Knot, Savoy Knot) A strong knot that can be readily untied after being under load.
It is made by doubling the end of a rope to form a loop and passing the free end around and under the standing part and then through the loop. It is the most decorative of all simple knots. Its practical use is confined to stopper knots on the ends of lines, but it is frequently incorporated into decorative rope designs.
  • Tips: The Figure of Eight is useful to temporarily stop the ends of a rope fraying, before it is whipped.
cat's paw


  1. Do not step on the rope.
  2. Always carry the rope coiled slung around your shoulder or stuffed inside a pack.
  3. Do not leave the rope on the ground.
  4. When not in use, rope should be kept in a bag to protect it from grease and dirt.
  5. Wash off dirt and grit from the rope.
  6. Do not leave a wet rope in a tight coil. Hang it in a loose coil away from direct heat.
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