Double bowline

A double bowline (or round turn bowline) is a type of loop knot. Instead of the single turn of the regular bowline, the double bowline uses a round turn. This forms a more secure loop than a standard bowline.[1]

Double bowline
NamesDouble bowline, Round Turn Bowline, Double-Knotted Bowline
RelatedBowline, Water bowline, Double sheet bend, Bowline on a bight
Typical useclimbing


Though called "double bowline" by Clifford Ashley, this name is also reasonably descriptive of a different knot: the bowline on a bight. Because of this ambiguity some sources differentiate by using one of the alternate names above. And at least one other source uses the name "double bowline" for a mid-line loop knot made by tying a basic bowline with a bight of rope instead of the end.[2]


First, learn to tie the bowline by laying the working end on the standing part and twisting to form a loop (the "hole" that the rabbit comes out of). Wrap the loop once more around the working end. Then pass the working end behind the standing part and back down through the double loop.


The double bowline is one of the typical tie-in knots used in climbing, along with the figure eight follow through[3][4] and the Yosemite bowline.[5] The advantage of the double bowline over the figure 8 is that it is easier to untie after being weighted in a fall,[3][4] and so is used by sport climbers who take multiple lead falls and then have trouble untying their figure eights.[3][4] The disadvantages of the double bowline are that it is less secure than a figure eight knot, takes longer to tie, and is not as easy to check.[3][4] Unlike the figure eight, there are many variations of the bowline, with ambiguous names, and some are not safe for climbing.[6][7][8][9]

The Bowline on a bight, when re-threaded instead of being tied on a bight, can also be used for tying into a climbing harness and provides more strength and security than the double bowline.

See also


  1. Ashley, Clifford W (1944). The Ashley Book of Knots. New York: Doubleday. p. 186. ISBN 978-0-385-04025-9. OCLC 156951323.
  2. Cox, Steven M.; Fulsaas, Kris, eds. (2003). Mountaineering: The Freedom of the Hills (7th ed.). The Mountaineers Books. p. 119. ISBN 978-0-89886-827-2.
  3. Luebben, Craig (2004). Rock Climbing: Mastering Basic Skills. Seattle, WA: Mountaineers Books. p. 301. ISBN 978-0-89886-743-5.
  4. Green, Stewart M; Ian, Spencer-Green; Mark, Doolittle (2010). Knack Rock Climbing: A Beginner's Guide: From the Gym to the Rocks. Guilford, Connecticut: Globe Pequot. p. 256. ISBN 978-1-59921-852-6.
  5. Kidd, Timothy W.; Hazelrigs, Jennifer (2009). Rock Climbing. Human Kinetics. p. 136. ISBN 9781450409001. Retrieved 12 October 2014.
  6. Heise-Flecken, Detlef; Flecken, Gabi (2016-03-28). Rock Climbing: Technique | Equipment | Safety – With an Introduction to Indoor Climbing. Meyer & Meyer Verlag. p. 20. ISBN 9781782550358. double bowline is more complicated than the Figure Eight and partner checks are harder to verify. ... single bowline is not safe while the double bowline is difficult to tie but is easier to undo after taking strain
  7. "Incident: Climber's Bowline Came Untied While Climbing at Rifle". Mountain Project. Retrieved 2018-07-14. there are many versions of the bowline, some of which are unsafe for climbing ... Bowline on a Bight, Retraced Through Harness w/ Yosemite Finish ... is the safest option
  8. Rock Climbing. Human Kinetics. ISBN 9781450409001. Because this knot unties so easily, sometimes even by simply rubbing against your body
  9. Tilton, Buck (2008-09-02). Knack Knots You Need: Step-by-Step instructions for More Than 100 of the Best Sailing, Fishing, Climbing, Camping and Decorative Knots. Rowman & Littlefield. ISBN 9781599217598. A knot that can be shaken loose to spill of its own accord, such as the bowline ... is an insecure knot.

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