I have made myself a pair of wrecking balls from a cricket ball and 6mm accessory cord for pinch grip pullups and I am currently debating what is the best way to create a knot to hang them. Currently one of them looks as follows:

Monkey's fist round a cricket ball with 6mm accessory cord

The objective is to be able to tie these anywhere that has a bar element, from gym, to tree, to home suspension beam or a simple hook.

My original idea was to simply tie the remaining cord to the carabiner and attach that to the nylon straps of my rings. However it would be much sweeter to use a knot that can self hook (i.e. attach onto itself) with some adjustability (terrain is never perfect).

My idea would be to throw the carabiner over and hook it back onto the cords which could use a ladder knot. I put this query to the more experienced climbers / rope savvied folk to see if there is a better option than my idea.

If this is of relevance, the remaining cord available is 1.5m at least on both ends.

  • 1
    That's a nice neat monkey fist
    – user2766
    Jul 18, 2014 at 14:11
  • 1
    what do you mean by self hook?
    – user2766
    Jul 18, 2014 at 14:12
  • Thank you, it does give an odd sense of satisfaction doesn't it :) took an hour to make but it was worth it. 8 turns was the right amount
    – Fiztban
    Jul 18, 2014 at 14:12
  • By self hook I mean that you just wrap it round say a branch and hook the carabiner back onto the cord. Is there a better term for this?
    – Fiztban
    Jul 18, 2014 at 14:13
  • 1
    What did you use inside the fist for shape/size?
    – Rory Alsop
    Jul 18, 2014 at 14:24

3 Answers 3


The clove hitch is probably what you're looking for. You can even tie it directly on the branch/beam/bar without worrying about adding a carabiner. You could also tie it to the carabiner, adjust the length, and clip the carabiner to something else.

The clove hitch is one of the most under-utilized climbing knots out there. It's infinitely adjustable because you're directly using the rope/cord, and you can tie it on any number of things.

  • 1
    I wouldn't say it was under utilised (the clove hitch that is), second knot most people learn (when climbing)!
    – user2766
    Jul 18, 2014 at 15:35
  • You might have problems getting two clove hitches onto a carabiner and hooking it onto something. That rope is quite thick compared to the carabiner. Not a bad suggestion though.
    – nivag
    Jul 18, 2014 at 15:49
  • 2
    That carabiner looks like it would hold up exactly once, I'm sure the OP will figure that out and replace it with a proper-sized carabiner :)
    – Felix
    Jul 18, 2014 at 17:40
  • You can even tie it directly on the branch/beam/bar without worrying about adding a carabiner. This is a dangerous habit to get into. A clove hitch will fail when the diameter of the post is too large compared to the diameter of the rope. To see this in action, try tying a clove hitch around a pencil using sewing thread; it will fail.
    – user2169
    Jul 18, 2014 at 18:26
  • 1
    @Felix Thank you for your reply, I have tried the clove hitch, a knot known to me, and it works quite well, it's a little hard to utilise if say the bar is slightly out of reach, otherwise 1 single turn is enough to hold. It's unusual how it's, as you say, underrated in climbing as in sailing (more my area) it's a basic and essential knot!
    – Fiztban
    Jul 21, 2014 at 14:14

Unless I'm missing something you could just throw the rope over the bar and tie the two ends together with figure eight bend/sheet bend/reef knot.

If you're worried about it moving too much you could give it a couple of turns round the bar or even tie directly to the bar with two clove hitches (as Felix suggested) or round turns & two half hitches which IMHO are easier to tie to a closed bar.

If you want more adjustability you can make a simple ratchet system. Tie two figure of eight loops, one near the end of the rope leaving at least one with a fairly long end after the loop. Loop your long end over the bar then through the loop on the other rope. Back through the first loop and finish with a couple of half hitches. The second loop isn't strictly necessary but helps tidy away your excess rope.

  • Thank you for your suggestion, I believe that it will be useful to use your suggested ratchet method in situations where the bar is out of my reach so that I may simply lob one line over and then tie it back onto the other one. When the bar is within reach then a clove hitch is very convenient, although I have to anticipate how much it slides by :). I will give the ratchet system a go next time I train and test it out!
    – Fiztban
    Jul 21, 2014 at 14:28

You could probably tie a sheetbend using the carabiner as one of the "lines". It's easily adjustable and can be doubled for more holding strength.

Back when I started climbing in the '70's we used to use a double carabiner brake to rappel (abseil) back down the face. We didn't have descending 8's or any other specialized gear for rappeling, and they still taught the dolfersitz method.

If you wanted to, it was quite easy to lock off the line so you could stop mid-rappel to enjoy the view or take a break. To do so, you'd simply pull the standing end of the rope (the part dangling behind your brake hand) up over the top of and pop behind the working end (the part above any of your hardware except the anchor) where it entered the brake. I think you could use this method to lock off your monkey's fist.

I don't have access to a camera to show what it looks like and haven't been able to find one on the 'net. You would need a regular sized carabiner to do this probably, I think the one shown in your photograph would be too small.

  • Thank you for sharing your experience. I reckon the double carabiner brake is an essential knot to know in case you ever lose a bug while rapelling! Using the sheetband trough a carabiner is a good alternative when using an out of reach beam, the double carabiner brake may be a bit much, I will try it out next time I go train, today was the first day I got to test run them and I used a simple clove hitch with both lines. It wasn't very stable but I think it's more to do with the way the lines come out the monkey's fist than how the knot was made.
    – Fiztban
    Jul 21, 2014 at 14:25
  • I wondered about that. You might try whipping the ends of the monkey's fist together about 5-10 cm from the ball. This would effectively give you a single (doubled) strand to work with. I'm not sure how the whipping would hold up to your body weight hanging on it, but I use a very similar setup on my sailboat to redirect my reefing lines into the boom of my mainsail and I've never had any problems. I just don't know what the static load on the lines are. Actually now that I think about it, you could simply use a doubled figure 8 which should work admirably.
    – delliottg
    Jul 21, 2014 at 14:35

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