Blake's hitch

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Blake's hitch
Blakes hitch knot retouched.png
Category Hitch
Origin Heinz Prohaska
Related Prusik knot, Sailor's hitch Bachmann knot, Klemheist knot
Typical use Climbing

The Blake's Hitch is a friction hitch commonly used by arborists and tree climbers as an ascending knot. Unlike other common climbing hitches, which often use a loop of cord, the Blake's hitch is formed using the end of a rope. Although it is a stable knot, it is often backed up with a stopper knot, such as a figure-of-eight knot, for safety. It is used for both ascending and descending, and is preferred by many arborists over other hitches, such as the taut-line hitch, as it is less prone to binding.


The first known presentation of this knot was made by Heinz Prohaska in an Austrian guides periodical in 1981; in 1990, he presented it in a caving journal, Nylon Highway. Separately, Jason Blake discovered the knot for himself and presented it to the arborist community in a letter to Arbor Age in 1994, after which it was enthusiastically adopted by arborists. It has since become well known under the name "Blake's Hitch".


If the hitch does not hold securely due to slickness of the standing line, an extra turn should be made around the line, with the end still tucked only under two; if the hitching line has trouble gripping because it is relatively stiff, an extra turn should be made and the end tucked under it (which gives more thickness for the stiff rope to compress).


In practice it helps to insert your thumb under the first two turns. This facilitates threading the end later. After passing the tail round the standing end, the tail then must pass back behind the standing line. A stopper knot is added to prevent the free end from working its way back through the hitch.

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