Figure of Eight

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.

On to the first knot – the figure of 8, what you use for tying in.

First of all, take a bight (a loop that doesn’t cross itself, loosely speaking) of rope (about 1m from the end), and pass the end underneath main length of rope.

Next, pass the end back over the top of the main length.

Now, pass the end through the eye of the loop at the top (the pictures got reversed here somehow…)

And there you have your figure of 8!

For tying in, you’ll want it a bit further from the end, and pulled a bit tighter:

Now, pass the end through the small loops at the top and bottom of the belay loop on your harness (or, if you’re tying this through a fixed ring/around a tree/boulder/whatever, through/around that), and then pass it back up trough the outside of the bottom of the knot, following the line coming out the ways.

Continue following the knot around, up behind the main part of the rope.

Keep following the knot though the gap.

Come back around the front and up through the last gap.

And now to finish off with a stopper knot (a fisherman’s knot, strictly speaking). Start by going over the main rope, then underneath it, but BELOW the turn going over the top, and then passing it back over to form a crossing point.

Repeat this, again making sure to go below the first turn.

Pass the tail up through the two turns, AFTER the crossing point (otherwise one of the turns will disappear when you pull it tight).

Finally, pull the stopper tight. It helps to pull down on the top of the knot as you pull up on the tail.


If you want to tie a figure of 8 in the middle of a rope, it’s pretty much the same as how you tie a normal one, but with a bight, rather than just a tail.

Start by passing the end of the bight over the two lines (any sailors will probably get annoyed with me for that misuse of terminology…).

Pass the end of the bight back underneath them again.

And back up and down through the eye at the top.

Pull it tight, and you’re done.