Mountaineer's coil

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Self-portrait of Erwin Merlet with a mountaineer's coil slung over his shoulder and the Sella Towers in the background.

The mountaineer's coil (also alpine coil, climber's coil, lap coil, or standing coil[1]) is a traditional method used by climbers to store and transport a climbing rope.[2] This older style coil is noted as being more prone to twists and tangles than the butterfly coil, and care must be taken upon uncoiling to avoid these problems.[1][2][3]

Tying Method[edit]

Begin by taking hold of the rope in one hand with its end facing you. Coil the rope in arm's length sections with your free hand (extending it away from the other as far as it will reach to ensure each segment is of equal length as it is gathered). Alternate tucking the new gather in front and behind the previous coil to avoid putting a half-turn in the rope with each coil.[3]

When the last segment is reached form a short bight atop the gathered rope with its standing end. Grasp the working end and pass it over the bight and back through the center of the coiled rope in a round turn several times, making each new wrap closer to the bight until only a short tail remains. Pass this tail through the bight then grasp the standing end and pull it away from the bight until it is cinched tight around the working end.[3][4]

For added security, ensure both ends are sufficiently long to tie them into a reef knot.[2]

Coil the rope until its ends are reached
Make a bight in one end (the standing end)
Wrap the opposite end (the working end) around the coil in a round turn
Make several additional round turns then insert the working end through the bight
Pull the standing end to tighten the bight and complete the knot
Forming the coil

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Soles, Clyde (2004), The Outdoor Knot Book, Seattle: The Mountaineers Books, pp. 67–69, ISBN 978-0-89886-962-0 
  2. ^ a b c Eng, Ronald C., ed. (2010). Mountaineering - Freedom of the Hills (8th ed.). Seattle: The Mountaineers Books. p. 137. 
  3. ^ a b c "Coiling Unattached Rope". Grog LLC. Retrieved 2012-03-13. 
  4. ^ "Coil Your Rope for Imminent Use". ITS Tactical. 2009-12-21. Retrieved 2012-03-13.