I follow Andy Kirkpatrick(Hull's second best climber) on instagram. He rencently posted this photo:

enter image description here

with the comment:

Teaching self rescue...(how to belay with a broken arm)

It looks like a munter hitch with a crab in it for some reason.

What is this technique and how does it help with a broken arm?

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    "Hull's second best climber" (emphasis by me)? Then Hull's best climber must be you, right? ;-) Commented Dec 19, 2014 at 15:58
  • ha ha No, I'm not from hull @BenediktBauer. It's what he calls himself. I think eluding to the fact that there are quite a few good climbers form hull
    – user2766
    Commented Dec 19, 2014 at 16:03
  • The best (according to Andy Kirkpatrick) is John Redhead
    – user2766
    Commented Dec 19, 2014 at 16:06
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    What's a crab? The only crab I find here is on your avatars head :p
    – Wills
    Commented Dec 19, 2014 at 16:22
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    It is actually a Clove Hitch.
    – Paul Lydon
    Commented Dec 19, 2014 at 16:44

2 Answers 2


This is simply a Clove Hitch on the belay loop. It could be quite effective to use instead of a belay plate if you can only use one hand because it doesn't require you to hold either side of the rope - it simply tightens and locks up in the event of a fall.

The biner is placed where it is to make it easier to loosen the rope with one hand in-case it locks up. Once slightly loosened, you can simply pull the loop (coming from the tail side of the clove) through, and feed it back out to the leader. The reverse is also true if top-roping or using a redirected belay.

Having tried this method in the past, I will attest to it being secure; even if a leader falls with slack in one of the loops of the clove, it will lock up appropriately.

That said, if you ever need to use this method, I would highly recommend a 3 motion locking biner, or one that doesn't just twist lock. The issue with slack in the clove is the potential for the rope to run along the gate or spine when loaded, possibly cross-loading the biner or unlocking the gate entirely (depending on orientation) and ending up like so:

Opened Clove

It's not very fluid either, and you'll likely find it very difficult to keep up with your climber.

In this scenario, (needing to belay with a broken hand), there is also an auto-locking munter hitch variation, which I actually think is a lot more appropriate. I have seen it set up incorrectly a number of times though, so if in doubt, clove it out.

The munter hitch method places a biner on the load side of the rope, and prevents the hitch from flipping around, thus making it auto-locking. Climbing.com has a good write-up on that method here: http://www.climbing.com/skill/munter-magic/

Locked Munter

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    I think you are confusing the Clove Hitch with the Munter Hitch, which you show in your answer. A Clove Hitch will be of no use to belay a climbing climber as it is not designed to allow the rope to move through, but would be used to belay the climber who is doing the belaying, to an anchor. The rope cannot be fed through a Clove Hitch. Andy was demonstrating the use of a Clove Hitch to belay yourself to an anchor and how to tie one with one hand should you for example have a broken arm. Clove Hitches are commonly used when belaying to an anchor as they are easy to tie and easy to adjust.
    – Paul Lydon
    Commented Dec 19, 2014 at 22:00
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    For more details on these knots please see en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clove_hitch and en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Munter_hitch
    – Paul Lydon
    Commented Dec 19, 2014 at 22:11
  • I can imagine u could belay using a clove hitch? Though as u say it'd be painfully slow.
    – user2766
    Commented Dec 20, 2014 at 10:01
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    Andy is talking about using the Clove Hitch to tie yourself to the rope while climbing solo so that if you did fall, it would tighten and catch you. The Munter hitch would normally be used when belaying another climber if you didn't have a mechanical belay device such as a Belay Plate. See Andy's website at andy-kirkpatrick.com/articles/view/rope_soloing_101_part_1 for more information.
    – Paul Lydon
    Commented Dec 20, 2014 at 14:49
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    You absolutely can belay with a clove by feeding the rope through it. If you notice in the article you posted Andy Kirkpatrick talks about doing exactly that to self belay while aid climbing.
    – Raz Peel
    Commented Dec 21, 2014 at 17:31

He was demonstrating how to tie a Clove Hitch one-handed for setting up a belay when one arm is broken. The karabiner in the knot is to help release and untie it afterwards.

  • Ah! I'd presumed it was to aid belaying
    – user2766
    Commented Dec 19, 2014 at 18:08

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