I didn’t expect Arctic skills training to involve learning to tie knots. I naively thought that knowing how to tie my shoe laces would get me through. But, as I discovered, each knot must be fit for purpose and the double-bow used on my shoes will not prevent a tent blowing away in a gale.
Tying knots is one of the most frustrating skills to learn. Especially when wearing puffed-up down mitts, it’s like trying to thread a needle while wearing oven gloves. It took me a good while before I could do an Alpine Butterfly (shown below) without turning the air blue.
Despite my initial anger, tying knots, and rope work in general, has become an activity that brings great satisfaction, when done correctly. I do love a good Munter.
Here are the knots we use along with their purpose.
Round turn and two half-hitches
Two more that we use less often are the pesky Alpine Butterfly and the Thompson knot. The Butterfly makes a loop that won’t slip, handy if we needed to connect a group of people together, in a white-out for example. The Thompson we use for making an emergency harness from a length of rope
When my one-stop resource for everything sub-zero and outdoors, Jim McNeill, is not available I use a great app, Knots by Grog. It uses animations and pictures that take you through each knot step-by-step. It’ll even show you how to do a bow-tie!
Remember folks, it’s not too late to buy me a beer and help get me to the Arctic Pole of Inaccessibility!