We recently took a closer look at figure eight knots and double bulins as tie-in knots and showed their advantages and disadvantages. Today, climbing pros like Jacopo Larcher, Babsi Zangerl, Seb Bouin, Connor Herson or Carlos Traversi will tell you why they prefer which knot.
Conventional wisdom has it that the figure eight knot is easier to visually check, making it safer, while the double bulin is easier to untie after a fall. But is the double bulin really the knot of choice for ambitious sport climbers, while the figure eight knot remains the standard knot for everyone else? This is what the climbing pros say about it:
Connor Herson made a name for itself in 2022 with a spectacular Trad inspection. The versatile up-and-coming climber is perhaps best known for redpointing the famous big wall route The Nose at El Cap at the age of 15 and the route shortly thereafter Trad-style Empath (5.14d) climbed. Coming from a climbing family, Connor embodies old school style with a modern twist.
The competitive climber Natalia Grossman clinched the world title in bouldering at the 2021 IFSC World Championships and became America's new competitive superstar. In 2022, she clinched the title again. She is also one of the top climbers in lead climbing and has already scored an 8c outdoors.
With which knot do you think Natalia, the epitome of the new school, ties herself? "Figure XNUMX knot because I've never learned anything else." And she adds: "In addition, double bulin is not allowed in competitions."
For Carlo Traversi, who scored 9b in sport climbing last year and managed a 9a in trad climbing, the figure eight knot is also the first choice. However, Carlo was not always part of the eight-knot team: “I used to use a double bulin for a few years when I was younger. But I found it was harder to check and sometimes loosened up more than I would have liked."
Also Jacopo Larcher and Babsi Zangerl, one of the most successful big wall teams, give their opinion on their knots of choice. Jacopo is the first to speak up: "Well, I actually use both: I tie in with the double bulin for single pitches (sport and trad), for multi-pitch routes, big walls or for half ropes I use the figure eight knot."
Now he no longer uses it because it's cool, but because it's much easier to release after a long fall and protects the tie-in loop of the climbing harness. As for the figure-of-eight knot, he says: “I use the figure-of-eight knot for half ropes because the tie-in loop is too small for two double bulins. For big walls, I also use the figure eight knot for the same reason, since I usually also have a daisy chain on my harness. Also, I'm worried that the bulin might partially come off when I'm walking that long in the wall (especially when hauling).»
“I use the figure eight knot,” says Babsi, who has relevant climbing experience on El Cap and who Flash ascent of the cult route Eternal Flame at the Nameless Tower. «This is the knot my brother showed me on my first day of climbing when I was 14 years old. When Jacopo and I got together, I switched to the Bulin. But then I had a bad experience with it on a big wall, so I went back to the figure eight knot."
Seb Bouin, one of the best sport climbers in the world and known for Routes in the upper ninth degree (9b), is a purist when it comes to his climbing style. This means that he is solely focused on drilling and climbing the toughest and best routes in the world.
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Credits: Text and Cover Photo: Black Diamond