Really big stopper knot

-- Last Updated: Dec-23-07 8:16 PM EST --

I re-did my North Water tow rig, replacing the 1/4" line that came with the rig, with 3/16" Spectra Line so that it would pack smaller in the bag. Using the thinner line, a figure 8 knot no longer made a good stopper knot for passing about 4 ft of the line through the eyelet in the back of the bag. The figure 8 slides right through the eyelet. I added a single overhand knot to the figure 8 and it made a pretty big, though ugly, knot. That does work.

I googled 'stopper knots' and also found the oysterman's knot. That also works. Not as big as the figure 8 with the sing overhand over it. The double overhand knot wasn't big enough.

My immediate problem is reasonably well solved, but this made me wonder, any other really big stopper knots out there?


Edit: Some may be interested in the details of the Spectra line. I bought it from someone who bought a 600 ft spool. Not absolutely sure about the source, but I think this is it. It does float.

Monkey fist
can you put a monkey fist in? That is a SWEET knot when you tie it all up nice.


I’d probably use an Ashley stopper.

Rescue figure eight
will be a bigger than standard. Be careful with spectra, as it does NOT want to hold knots.

That’s what I used.
AKA Oysterman’s knot. It would help if the knot were a little bigger though, for my purpose.


Double the end and do a figure-8 on a bight?

That looks like a cool knot.
Just found it today. I didn’t leave enough line for that. Also a booger to tighten up. Maybe I don’t know the trick to it. Thanks for mentioning it. Caused me to try tying it a few times.



– Last Updated: Dec-23-07 10:33 PM EST –

Not a knot answer, but probably the best solution if you really want to trust it. Some sort of donut/washer/bead thing with smaller hole for the thinner rope.


Double figure 8?, and source for line.
Is that what you mean by a rescue figure eight?

Also, thanks for the heads up on Spectra line not holding a knot well. Yeah, the line is soft and the outer sheath a little loose. Not like the original line that came with the North Water. I think the Spectra will be ok though.

Anyone know the name and a general source, other than North Water, for the original line? A little late to be asking, but I wonder if the original line is available, but in 3/16" dia.?


Yeah, I like that.
I think that’s what Salty and Onno are talking about, too. Leaves a little loop at the knot. I suppose the loop could have a use some day too though.


I think…
I think an overhand on a bight might work.

If not, I’d use the larger figure eight on a bight.

If you can get away with using the overhand on a bight, I’d use that; it will leave you more length in the working end of your rope.

Either one will provide a nice loop to tie into, or attach a caribiner too.

If put under tension, the figure eight on a bight will be easier to untie, if you ever have a reason to do so.


Why would you use spectra in a tow rig?
Almost no stretch. Seems it would make for a rough tow.

The Monkey Fist…

Good question
Short answer: A couple advanced paddlers around here were using it. I liked that it packed tight, and knew that it would float. I jumped on it without much investigation.

Longer answer: Strong, light, floats, relatively inexpensive ($0.50/ft.)

Springy would be an advantage. Just stretch may not. I have 50 ft of it in the bag, half of that daisy chained, which should add some spring. (The 50 ft of 3/16" Spectra easily packs a lot tighter than the 35 ft of the original line.) I also have some bungee that I can put inline if I need it.

The couple guys who use it, and me too, are over 200 lbs. They may not feel the tug.

In hind sight, I should have investigated further before buying. There’s probably something better. On the other hand, aside from my wife getting annoyed when she sees another bill, sometimes it’s easiest to just jump in and try something and get some experience. Then I know what I want, can do it again, and get more experience. I’ve enjoyed re-doing my rig unhindered by analysis paralysis, learning more about knots, whipping, different beaners, etc. I went with an aluminum beaner this time, no float, no bungee, like the EE rig. We’ll see how it works. If I don’t like it, I’ll change it up again.

Agree though, springy would be better.


I switched to the overhand on a bight …
that Bob mentioned.

Others who mentioned the figure eight on a bight got me on the right track. I was thinking originally that I didn’t want the loop that would result. But the loop doesn’t hurt and may have some utility some day.

Yeah, the monkey fist wins as the really big stopper knot. I didn’t leave enough line though, it’s not very simple, and I haven’t yet figured out how to tighten it well.

Thanks everyone. I learned a lot.


Rescue figure eight
what we used in glacial crevasse rescue in the Alaska Range. Whenever you make a bight or loop in rope you effectively cut the strength in half. The rescue figure eight almost restores full strength.

Make a big bight in the line. Take that bight and make a bight of it! Now, wrap your figure eight, but rather than pulling the “loop” through finally, make another bight, and push the bight through the last stage. Now, take the loop formed below and pull it up and over the twin loops formed by the bight…all the way over and nestle at the base of the knot. Pull the twin loops snug, and you have a figure eight that has twin anchor loops.

This will be bigger, and will not untie.

Now for a trivia question: What do you use at -50 when your ascenders are frozen up, and a prussik will not work on an iced up rope? Hint, it’s an Egyptian knot!

nylon sinks
it’s the only line with lots of stretch

OK, figure 8 double loop.
This one

On the trivia question, I’m not a climber, but I wonder if it’s a Bachmann knot, as it includes a beaner and may grab better on an iced up rope. Don’t know if the Bachmann is an egyptian knot though.


Correct on first question. I was taught the knot in alpine rescue work where it was referred to as a rescue figure eight. Entire systems focused on either the bowline or the figure eight knot. I like them both, but prefer the double bowline for tie in.

The trivia knot is one VERY few people have seen or used, but it is amazing on an iced up or muddy rope.

Dog-n-tail: Take a piece of 7mm or similar perlon etc., about 40 in. long. Make a bight in the center and tie a rescue figure eight. You now have a rescue figure eight and two equal length strands. Now, place the figure eight against any rope you wish to cam (fix / pull)on.

Take the strands / one in each hand, and wrap / weave them around the rope criss crossing down the rope. Important: choose a hand and always make that line touches the rope first! As you near the end of the strands, simply tie an overhand knot.

You now have a double figure eight to clip into, which takes your strength back to near 100% of the 7mm or sim. As you load the knot it will grip the rope very well, and spread the load out sequentially. Load it hard, then unload it and slide it effortlessly either way!

I like knots…