I would like to switch to the Yosemite bowline knot. I don't want to compare the pros and cons of figure 8, double bowline and Yosemite bowline.

I am interested in single-pitch climbs and gained some experience with the figure 8 and the bowline on a bight knot as tie-in knots. With both knots I am comfortable with omitting the stopper knot - because after several month of usage I never experienced the knots to get loose or untied. I don't want to discuss if adding a stopper knot adds more safety to your tie-in system - that seems clear to me. However, omitting the stopper knot also has some advantages I don't want to go into.

If the Yosemite bowline is properly executed, is it likely to get loose or is it likely that the two loops that you should not mix up (not properly tied Yosemite bowline) do mix up themselves? How susceptible is the properly tied Yosemite bowline to shaking/movement for a short period of time (20 minutes)? Can someone share his experience?

Are there famous climbers who do the Yosemite bowline without a stopper knot?

Edit: I confused the double bowline with a bowline on a bight.

  • I have no experience with this variant, so I can't give an actual answer, but it seems to me that you need to be precise in your tying every time and tighten in the right order or it will fail. I suspect because of that it will be less safe than a regular bowline or the double bowline.
    – bob1
    May 21, 2020 at 21:22
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    Also - I can't let it go past - omitting the stopper knot is foolish - yes, it only accounts for about 0.4% of accidents, but it only takes the 1 time. The saying is: there are old climbers and there are bold climbers, but no old-bold climbers. Do the proper safety things every time!
    – bob1
    May 21, 2020 at 21:47
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    As a note on stopper knots. Any knot requires a minimum amount of tail to be safe, even if the stopper knot isn't technically required, the requirement to always have one regardless ensures that you always have the minimum amout of tail for the knot to be safe. Always tie the stopper.
    – Separatrix
    May 22, 2020 at 12:32
  • The stopper knot does nothing on the Figure 8, but is mandatory on the double bowline. Don't assume that one is useless because the other is useless.
    – endolith
    May 22, 2020 at 22:05
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    @endolith : I confused it with the bowline on a bight. Still it seems that also there the stopper knot is mandatory, so I will stick to it in the future
    – cerv21
    May 23, 2020 at 7:43

1 Answer 1


The Yosemite bowline is just a simple bowline with a Yosemite finish. This finish can also be used with other knots, such as the figure 8. It is fail-proof for the figure 8 case, meaning that if you make it wrong the knot will compensate your mistake by tightening the rope on the correct spots. It is not fail-proof when used together with the bowline, as can be clear seen here (I don't agree with the title of this video, btw).

That said, one must keep in mind that you are a beginner. This is clear in the sentence

With both knots I am comfortable with omitting the stopper knot - because after several month of usage I never experienced the knots to get loose or untied.

Several months of usage is nothing in climbing. I have been climbing for many years and I have seen weird stuff happening that I would never, ever in my life considered possible. I have unclimped the top biner from a bolt while clipping the rope to the bottom one; I have tied in with a wrong knot, even though I have done it thousands of times before; I have seen a friend almost die because his jumar didn't bite the rope, and the list goes on. You have absolutely no idea of what awaits you with regards to fail-proof procedures simply failing! Your months of experience are not a parameter, and even if they were years or decades, you could still be wrong. Do not rely on anedoctal evidence, or you will eventually hurt yourself doing something completely avoidable.

When choosing a knot, I have always been in favor of choosing the best knot. For many years this was the figure 8 or a double bowline with a stopper knot. Nowadays, I don't believe this anymore. The EBSB knot is, according to my own personal view developed after several tests (some can be found here), the safest knot there is. However, if you are a beginner I would definitely recommend you sticking with the figure 8 for a while. The EBSB does not require a stopper knot, but I still almost always do one. However, I know that if I forget it, this is a knot with an extremely small probability of untying, as has been demonstrated several times.

Do not, ever, use a Yosemite finish without a stopper knot. You will probably die if the knot fails. Regarding the simple bowline, if gets loose quite easily without a stopper knot. Sometimes even a double bowline can get loose. If you do not like stopper knots, use a double bowline with an in-loop stopper knot, which you tie in the loop itself and doesn't bother you when pulling the rope to clip (if that's a problem for you). If you insist on not using a stopper knot, then use the EBSB bowline or a figure 8.

  • 1
    Thanks, I hoped for such a nice answer! In my question I confused the double bowline with the Bowline on a bight. But still, according to the paci webpage you linked, it didn't say it is inherently safe, so in the future when using that knot I will stick to the stopper knot. Thank you for suggesting the EBSB; on the Bowline analysis pdf from paci they list 5 bowlines which are inherently safe. I will probably stick to Lee's locked Yosemite Bowline, since I find it straight forward to check and easy to tie. For the beginning I will make a stopper knot to see how it behaves.
    – cerv21
    May 23, 2020 at 7:42
  • Thanks for sharing the things that happen to you in your climbing career. To add a point to your list from my side: I managed to get a figure 8 knot loose (not yet fully untied) after a >5 hours glacier walk. So on longer timescales > 1 hour, I always stick to stopper knots
    – cerv21
    May 23, 2020 at 7:50

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