I carry a cheap folding knife with me while climbing, particularly if I know there is a chance of stuck ropes, grubby anchors, or we are in the backcountry. The knife is held shut with a loop of cord, but I've been hoping to find a safer, cleaner solution.

I know Trango makes a couple knives (one attached to a nut tool), and so does Petzl. What are the advantages and disadvantages of each? Does anyone have personal experience with a particular model? Ideally the knife should be wearable on my harness.

Edit: I'm really looking for a broader answer that references advantages and disadvantages, though the information about the specific knives so far is awesome.

  • 2
    What are you looking to cut while climbing? Is this for opening dried food packs while on a porta-ledge, or for cutting rope? I'm not sure I understand. Feb 7, 2013 at 4:23

3 Answers 3


Personally, I like the hilted CRKT Special Forces M16-13SFG - it has Veff serrations that cut better than normal serrations & has an extremely tight clip that is made to attach to all kinds of things, from webbing to pockets to even climbing harnesses.

From the description:

All knives in this series are equipped with clip options that allow four-position carry on belts or webbing.

The clip may look short, but it is extremely stiff.

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The Camillus Rescue Heat is nice, if you can find one.

The link above is to a video review on YouTube. It covers things pretty well, but my own summary:

  • Non-stabbing thick blunt tip is useful for prying and more safe
  • The fully serrated blade works much better than the serrated part of a combo edge
  • A recurve helps you cut rope at arms length (though not as well as a full hawkbill)
  • Square, hand-filling grip stays in the hand, without being rough to snag fabric
  • Fast and easy one handed opening (though "assisted opening" is overrated)

Surely there are other knives that fit the task, but I got each of mine for $20 on clearance. Fit and finish could be better, but it's sturdy enough.

enter image description here


Have you thought about using a dedicated rope/clothing/harness cutter like one of the Benchmade rescue hooks? I carry around the 8 model which is pretty good with insulating gloves but for rock there's the model 5 which is a ring handle and has a hard sheath/necklace method for wear.

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  • I added links and images, but can you also go into more detail about the superiority of a hook over a knife? Feb 23, 2012 at 22:16
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    Can you describe to me a climbing situation in which you need to cut rope? This is not something I have run into. Feb 7, 2013 at 4:22
  • 2
    The only common scenario is when you are setting up your own rappel anchors. Generally a team on a long route will carry a few metres of 6 or 7mm cord for this, and you don't want to use all of it at once.
    – AlanL
    Aug 6, 2013 at 8:34

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