Author Topic: A bowline variant: I have been using to tie into climbing ropes, comments pls!  (Read 8266 times)

DubDom

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Hi
I was looking at the PDF document that Mark at "PACI" was developing on the different variations of the bowline, which came to my attention through a thread on the ukclimbing.com forums. I couldn't see the knot that I have been using to tie into my harness for the last fifteen years or so. Fundamentally it is a water bowline combined with a janus bowline. It has some resemblance to the mirror bowline (although fellow climbers have commented on its resemblance to a "bag of knitting").
here's a picture of the finished knot

and here is the back of the knot

I found that the water bowline was effective at overcoming the tendency for bowlines to become worryingly loose in modern low friction climbing ropes, but until I discovered the janus bowline, I was a bit concerned at the way in which the two turns of the clove hitch element of the water bowline separated a bit when I fell.
I would be keen to hear your feedback on this knot, as I have said, I have been using it for a long time now, hopefully not naively risking my safety!
This knot definitely tightens more than a standard bowline, but nowhere near as much as a figure of eight, in fact, even after a big fall I can easily untie, but once dressed, it stays put. I have found that it is pretty easy to tie every time using one of the "one hand tie" techniques for making a bowline.
Here is a video of me tying it. I was using an off cut of a length of very fat rope for the video for clarity, but it makes the act of tying slightly less smooth and speedy than normal:-
https://youtu.be/vFtF76D6nCY
Your comments are most welcome
thanks
Dom

xarax

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   ALL the double nipping loop (= two nipping loops/turns ) + double collar ( = two collars, a "high" and a "low" one, the "higher" encircling the Standing End, and, oftentimes, the Tail End as well, and the "lower" encircling the one or both eyelegs ) bowlines, are completely secure and safe loops, under all circumstances.   
   To use it as a double nipping loop, one can chose a Clove hitch, as you do, or a Girth hitch, as in the Mirrored bowline - which looks more "mirrored"/symmetric to me, so I believe it can also be inspected more easily : its lines follow more "simple" paths. One can also chose the "reversed"/upside down forms of those knots, or more complex knots, as the Pretzel knot, the Constrictor, etc. See some pictures of the Clove-hitch-based mirrored bowline at (1), where it has been dressed so it presents the most "mirrored"/symmetric and easily inspected form.
   My question is this : Have you ever seen the two turns of the Clove hitch separate, as it happens in the "Water bowline" ? If/when this happens, is it a cause of concern for the climber ?

1. http://igkt.net/sm/index.php?topic=4306.msg26951#msg26951
« Last Edit: August 30, 2015, 11:01:00 PM by xarax »
This is not a knot.

DubDom

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I take your point about inspection, it is less visually elegant than a proper mirrored bowline. I find that the logic of this knot lies in the action and method of its tying for me, hence the video. The action of tying has an rhythm and tactile satisfaction to it, which I believe to be an important component to the ritual of tying on to the lead rope, although that might not be so clear from the video in which I have used a thicker rope (as well as lying the whole arrangement on a surface!).

On the point of the water bowline separating, I'll load a straight water bowline and show you what I mean, it's usually apparent after taking a proper "whipper" of a fall. I don't think that it presents a serious risk to the climber unless you haven't left enough tail, but the whole structure of the knot does tend to elongate or spread out as the knot is shock loaded.
The image of a water bowline on page22 in the document I think I have referred to:-
http://www.paci.com.au/downloads_public/knots/Bowlines_Analysis.pdf
...illustrates the phenomenon.

 - I suppose the water bowline wasn't originally adopted for the use of falling onto, more for knots that lie in the water, where movement can loosen a traditional bowline. This phenomenon is dramatically improved with the janus finish. One thing that I haven't included in my pictures is that I always tie a half fisherman's with the tail - very belt 'n braces, I know, but a habit I have carried over from years of climbing prior to adopting this knot.

I like the fact that the janus finish fattens the radius of the nipping loops too, which was one of the main reasons that I started using it, banking on that addition reducing the weakening factor of the knot.

Apart from the "bag of knitting, it has been called the "green" bowline, after its user!
I would also add that it lies reasonably flat which is an issue when climbing with double ropes on a rock type such as gritstone.


I have no means of testing its maximum strength, I would be curious to know if there is an appreciable difference between these knots and a conventional bowline.

cheers

D

xarax

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  I don't think that it presents a serious risk to the climber 

  Certainly it does not - but I am asking from you to report your personal experiences on that matter, because I believe that the pure psychological factor ( for climbers in demanding and dangerous situations ), does play a role : if they just f e a r it could present a danger, this would attract some of their attention, which should be focused on other issues...
  ( I also do not know if the two parts/nipping loops of the Clove-hitch-based Mirrored bowline separate more or less than the two parts of the Girth-hitch-based one... )
« Last Edit: August 31, 2015, 12:03:44 PM by xarax »
This is not a knot.

DubDom

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Yes, for sure, I appreciate what you are saying.
My impressions:
I did find it a bit unnerving when I used a pure water bowline for the first few times. I don't know if dynamic ropes (10% stretch) are more prone to this.
I habitually finish any knot when climbing with a "stopper" knot (as it was termed when I learned to climb), water bowline or otherwise. Climbing being such a mental game, any such changes to the "system" are best eliminated from the peace of mind point of view - just as you have said Xarax.
I was much happier when I adopted the janus finish, it stays the same shape when fallen on. I don't think that I would go back to the water bowline on its own.

roo

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I don't think that I would go back to the water bowline on its own.
You may also be interested in the Monsoon Bowline:

http://notableknotindex.webs.com/monsoonbowline.html

(or http://notableknotindex.webs.com/gnathitch.html)
« Last Edit: October 19, 2017, 09:44:03 PM by roo »
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DubDom

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The monsoon bowline looks good but the problem I have with tying in with it for climbing would be that chasing the tail just through the bottom nipping loop alone might mean that the issue of the clove hitch element of the water bowline being able to open up when shock loaded by a lead fall whilst climbing could still happen.
The way that the tail emerges from the top of the knot that I use may be what helps keep everything together nicely. I don't know if the stopper knot is the active element keeping the knot's shape; I would like to test it, but to be honest I find lead falling exciting enough without speculating on the integrity of the method of tying on. I would need to create a proper testing rig other than jumping off! Does anyone have any suggestions?

One observation. The pdf that I referred to above identified how ring loading can cause a standard bowline to fail. I imagine that all of these variant prevent this?

roo

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The monsoon bowline looks good but the problem I have with tying in with it for climbing would be that chasing the tail just through the bottom nipping loop alone might mean that the issue of the clove hitch element of the water bowline being able to open up when shock loaded by a lead fall whilst climbing could still happen.
The way the tail interlaces with the bottom section of the clove prevents this quite effectively in the Monsoon Bowline.  The upper section of the clove has nowhere to go.
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Dan_Lehman

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Quote
the knot that I have been using to tie into my harness
for the last fifteen years or so.
A decade & a half!  I'm pretty sure that that precedes
my discovery of the similar, mirrored bowline by several
years, then --good show!

The congregation of material in these knots seems to give
enough resistance to rope movement so as to be secure
when slack.  Beyond that, there might be some small
benefit in the three vs. two diameters/strands of rope
around which the main turn of the S.Part compresses.

The "Janus" (my term --maybe not ideal) aspect was presented
by Wright & Magowan in the Alpine Journal in 1928, but
clearly didn't take hold in the knotting world.  Some things
deserve a second chance!


--dl*
====

xarax

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   The "Janus" term is not ideal, in that the god Janus was mostly a deity of temporal rather than spatial transitions ( a god of beginnings, transitions and passages, of change and time ) - and what was supposed to signify as an adjective in the case of the double/two collar bowlines was the later more than the former, I believe.
   I copy from the very good, worth reading article of Wikipedia  (1) :
  <The name> derives from the Indo-European root meaning transitional movement (cf. Sanskrit "yana-" or Avestan "yah-", likewise with Latin "i-" and Greek "ei-".). Iānus would then be an action name expressing the idea of going, passing, formed on the root *yā- < *y-e?2- theme II of the root *ey- go from which eō, ειμι.
   However, in a sense, Janus was also the god of spatial transitions, connected with passages. From the same article : 
   Janus was also involved in spatial transitions, presiding over home doors, city gates and boundaries.
   Janus was the protector of doors, gates and roadways in general, as is shown by his two symbols, the key and the staff.

   1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Janus
This is not a knot.

DubDom

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Very interesting Dan, I did wonder where the name Janus came from. I found reference to it in a british caving rope manual some time ago, the origins of which I am afraid are long forgotten. ( I am not a caver - just a climber; cavers are much more rope-work savvy).
"The congregation of material" would be a great way of describing this knot!! I prefer it to "bag of knitting"!
Although I do find that this knot has its own "quare logic" (to quote the ubiquitous 'oul' fella' that I used to occasionally see sitting on the rocks at Bullock Harbour in South Dublin)!
 Specifically, the 'twist o' the hand' method of creating the two nipping loop(s) - as you might see in the video I linked to, I find makes it very intuitive to tie.
I like the symmetry of the mirrored bowline for sure - it has an elegance to it, which is a credit to its originator! I can't say the same for my conflagration.

Xarax, I think you have identified the possibility that the average British alpinist of the 1920's was an inattentive classics scholar. Either that, or it was the two faces by which Janus was depicted resembling the two opposing loops in the structure of the knot?

best

Dom
 

DubDom

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Oh, and Roo, I forgot to comment, I should have a go at taking a fall on the monsoon bowline. I typically use doulbe ropes over here in the UK due to the routes taking somewhat devious lines up the faces in this part of the world.

Thanks to everyone for the input by the way!

D

alpineer

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The simplest way to prevent the Water Bowline's nipping loops from separating, in the event of a leader fall, is to feed the tail directly back through the collar alongside the standing part. Have you tried this? Should this work, it has the advantages of using the least amount of extra material (= a less bulky affair than otherwise), is still eminently recognizable as a W.Bowl., and satisfies xarax's penchant for TIBness.   
« Last Edit: September 08, 2015, 08:58:57 PM by alpineer »

xarax

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   The TIB double collar Water bowline ( Clove-hitch-based ), is shown here :
   http://igkt.net/sm/index.php?topic=4695.msg32103#msg32103
   The similar Girth-hitch-based one, is shown here :
   http://igkt.net/sm/index.php?topic=4695.msg31708#msg31708
   
   However :
   
...although it has also two collars, this Girth hitch TIB bowline differs substantially from the not more convoluted, but perhaps more strong Mirrored bowline, in that each of the two nipping loops of the Girth hitch encircles two segments of rope, not three. I have no idea about how stronger the Mirrored bowline would be ( if it would be stronger ), and how the fact that the Girth hitch TIB bowline is more versatile ( as it can be tied in -the-end AND/OR in-the-bight ) can influence our decision to use it more often than the Mirrored bowline. 
   
   The advantages of the general TIB tying method of those bowlines are explained here :
   http://igkt.net/sm/index.php?topic=4695.msg33927#msg33927
   
   
This is not a knot.

DubDom

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alpineer

Thanks - I am sure you're right. I guess I have got a bit stuck in my ways, although I can't see how to form that knot with the third strand passing though the nipping loops, although I might be missing it - I haven't yet taken the time to get out a bit of rope and try it.
I know that my way of tying on doesn't allow for TIB but, I must admit that I have regarded it as being quite specific in its application, i.e tying on to lead ropes for climbing, for which TIB is less of an issue. That said, I think I will be teaching myself a TIB variant in addition.
So, just as a quick poll, does the "green bowline"/bag o' knitting get any votes as a valid knot?!
D