The figure of eight is commonly used to attach a rope to a climbing harness.
Being able to tie a figure of eight knot properly is an essential climbing skill. If the climbing rope is attached incorrectly to the harness, the consequences could be fatal.
One of the BMC's first good practice posters was titled 'Check or Deck'. Produced in 1998, it featured a climber falling from high on a cliff, the rope unattached to his harness. The eponymous title was conjured up by Dave Turnbull, the BMC CEO. Another one in the running at the time was 'Tie or Die', but that was maybe a bit too blunt!
The BMC Check or Deck poster can be purchased from the BMC Publications section of our online shop. Also available from our office are check your knot and check your harness signs for climbing walls.
A figure of eight is not a complicated knot, and the web film will help if you're unsure how best to tie one.
Whenever tying a figure of eight avoid being distracted by other climbers. Lynn Hill, one of the world's most talented climbers, almost ended her career when she forgot to tie her knot correctly. Read more about her experiences here.
Lynn survived a 25 metre ground fall and went on to make the first free ascent of The Nose on El Capitan in 1993. A feat not repeated by another climbing until 2005.