Activities The Great Outdoors How to Tie a Figure-8 Follow-Through Knot Share PINTEREST Email Print The Great Outdoors Climbing Basics Gear Health & Safety Highest Mountains Hiking Skiing Snowboarding Surfing Paddling Fishing Sailing Scuba Diving & Snorkeling Learn More By Stewart Green Stewart M. Green is a lifelong climber from Colorado who has written more than 20 books about hiking and rock climbing. our editorial process Stewart Green Updated January 06, 2018 01 of 04 Step 1: Tie a Single Figure-8 Knot First tie a single Figure-8 knot in a loose end of the climbing rope. Photograph © Stewart M. Green The Figure-8 Follow-Through also called the Flemish Bend and Figure-8 Trace knot is the most important knot to learn as a climber. This is the best knot to tie the rope into your harness since it is the strongest climbing knot. It is also easy to check visually to make sure it is tied correctly since each side is a clone of the other. You can tell at a glance if it is tied correctly. Climbers use this essential knot to tie into the end of the rope because it won’t come untied and only gets tighter when the rope is weighted. To begin, pick up a loose end of the rope. Tie a single Figure 8 knot between two and three feet from the rope's end. 02 of 04 Step 2: How to Tie a Figure-8 Follow-Through Knot After tying the first Figure-8, thread the end of the rope through the harness loop between your leg loops and pass it up through the harness tie-in point on the waist belt (same waist loop that the belay loop is attached to). Snug the Figure-8 against the leg loops. Consult your harness instructions for the exact tie-in points on the climbing harness. 03 of 04 Step 3: How to Tie a Figure-8 Follow-Through Knot for Climbing Next completely retrace the original Figure-8 knot, carefully following the rope strands to make an exact clone of the original knot. Photograph © Stewart M. Green Retrace the original Figure-8 with the loose end of the climbing rope, carefully following each part of the original knot. Afterward, tighten and dress the knot by neatening the separate parallel strands and making sure they don’t cross over each other. You should have a leftover tail of about 18 inches for tying a backup knot. If you don’t tie a backup knot, make sure you have a floppy tail of at least 12 inches so the knot will not undo under load. 04 of 04 Step 4: How to Tie a Figure-8 Follow-Through Knot Lastly, use the leftover rope tail to tie a Fisherman's Backup Knot. The knot is shown here away from the main knot for illustration purposes. After tying it, snug the backup knot down against the Figure-8. Photograph © Stewart M. Green After retracing the Figure-8, you should have 15 to 20 inches of rope left. Now you will tie a Fisherman’s Backup knot. This is not a safety knot but a way to keep the original Figure-8 Follow-Through knot tight. The Fisherman’s Backup is the superior backup knot to use because it cinches tight if tied correctly. First, make sure you have about 18 free inches of tail left after tying the Figure-8. Wrap the tail rope twice around the climbing rope, then pass the free end through the coils. Tighten it against the Figure-8. You should have a three-inch tail left. Lastly, double-check your entire knot and your partners. Now you’re tied in and ready to climb!