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Beginning Rock Climbing 

Welcome to our new section for the aspiring climber. Over the coming months, MountainWeb.com will be providing insightful articles, tips, photos, video and more to help you learn to climb safely and proficiently. We do not intend for this to replace actual hands-on training, but to supplement many of the things that you will learn over time. If you would like professional training, hire a guide.

The first and one of the most elemental things to learn in rock climbing is how to tie the most commonly used knots. The following photos illustrate the different knots and their most common uses. Many of the images can be clicked on to see an up-close view.

. The Overhand Knot
The overhand knot is probably the most widely used knot in the world and you probably learned it as a kid when you tied your sister's hair in one. This is a simple knot to tie, simply make a loop in the rope and pass the end through the loop. This knot has many uses in climbing, but is often replaced by the Figure-8 because it is more difficult to untie once it has been weighted.
The Figure-8
If you know no other knots, know this one. This is the knot most often used to tie into your harness and is your only link between safety and death. The knot is tied the same as an overhand knot, except you wrap the end of the rope around once more and then pass it through the loop. 

The Water Knot
These three illustrations show how to tie a water knot. Basically, the water knot is two overhand knots, with the second being tied on top of the first. This knot is used for securing the ends of runners together. It is a "must-know" knot and you must feel comfortable tying and un-tying it out in the field, as you will use it often. Work with it until you can tie it with your eyes closed.

Step 1  Step 2

Step 3

. The Double Fisherman's Knot
The double fisherman's knot is most commonly used for securing two ropes together as for a rappel. It is often commonly used in for tying pieces of cord or rope together for use in climbing pro, as illustrated here. The knot is a tough one to tie at first, but you'll get the hang of it with a little practice. To tie it, place the rope ends side by side. Start with one end and wrap it around both ropes twice and then pull it through the two loops you have just created. Do the same with other side and you got it!

These four knots will get you a head-start in the climbing world, so master them before you head to the crags. If you feel you're ready to move on, click here to learn about the different types of gear used in climbing.