Edwards Bowline

Disclaimer: I’d like to make sure it’s understood that these are in no way to be taken as qualified instruction. I suppose that technically I should classify these as ‘reminders’, but it is possible to learn from them… Just make sure you check with someone that actually knows what they’re doing before you try and do them halfway up a cliff.

Extra disclaimer: The bowline is a potentially dangerous knot; if tied incorrectly, it will not work at all. The reason we teach the figure of 8 for tying in is that it’s absolutely bombproof. Even if you get it slightly wrong, it’ll almost certainly still function. If you ever use this knot, be sure you’ve tied it right before you commit to it.

The Edwards bowline is a slightly more complicated re-threading of the bowline than the Yosemite, but it does have certain advantages: chiefly, it doesn’t ‘undo’ part of the knot, and it doesn’t require a stopper knot, because of the way it’s re-threaded. On the other hand, it’s much harder to check that you’ve done it right at a glance (and even at a stare), most people have no clue what it looks like and can’t check it for you, and it looks like a figure of 8 done wrong, especially to the un-initiated. (Having said that, I personally tie in with this knot.)

Start by tying a left-handed bowline. I use the fast method for this; simply pass the tail up through the bottom the bight, rather than down through the top.

Pinch and pull the opposite lines, as for the normal fast method.

Pass the tail through the rope loop from the back and back over the top.

Here comes the hard bit: pass the tail up through the loop at the top of the bowline, then around TO THE LEFT of the main line and behind.

Now, the tail goes back down through BOTH of the turns at the base of the knot.

And that’s it. Tie a stopper if you want, but it doesn’t really need one.