Episode 5 – Are bowlines safe enough for rope rescue?

 Contributors in this Episode


In this episode we discuss the question, “Are bowlines safe enough for rope rescue?” in a round table discussion hosted by Kelly Byrne with guests John McKently, LeRoy Harbach and Wayne Chapman.

Topics Discussed:

0:20 Are bowlines safe enough for rope rescue?

4:00 What makes a rescue knot a good knot?

7:30 What testing has been done and how strong are bowlines?

12:35 How do you define a bowline?

14:30 Is there a standard test for knots for cyclic loading?

16:40 Difference between a climbing knot and a rope rescue knot?

17:15 Anecdotal story of a bowline on a coil slipping without a safety knot.

19:17 Safety knots.

24:40 Organizational alignment.

26:50 Standardized and reproducible testing.

34:40 Mis-tied bowlines.

35:40 Why do we call it a bowline on a coil?


1:11 Kelly Byrne, ITRS 2019, Boutique Bowlines

12:40 Mike Gommers, Analysis of Bowlines

13:30 International Guild of Knot Tyers IGKT

37:15 Ashley’s Book of Knots

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Important Warning

  • Many of the activities discussed in this podcast pose a very substantial risk of serious injury or death.
  • Products and techniques discussed in this podcast are intended for use by specially trained professionals.
  • Technical rescue, rappelling, climbing and the training involved are very hazardous activities. Each situation has its own unique conditions and must be evaluated by those present. Effective risk management comes from experience, proper training and good personal judgment.
  • CMC is not liable for any damages arising from abuse or improper use of the techniques or equipment discussed in this podcast.
  • Topics discussed are the ideas and opinions of each individual.
  • Department protocol and regulations should always take precedent.
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