There are knots that have similar sort of a structure or a look-alike looping which can easily confuse someone who is not seasoned in knots and safety associated with them.

As a thumb rule, beginners are always advised to get their knots inspected by a veteran before they bank their safety upon it.

But, yet, Can we list out knots that stand a chance to jeopardize the safety due to a minor mistake? Well, a minor mistake in any knot puts the safety into a jeopardy, but still.

What are similar-looking knots which are not an alternative to each-other?

For example, a Butterfly knot and a False butterfly. Or a Reef knot and a Granny knot or a Grief knot.

  • 2
    I don't think the issue is getting knots confused, the problem is tying a knot incorrectly. The bowline is a good example of a very safe knot but if tied incorrectly it's difficult to check. That's why climbers use a figure of eight instead, as it's easy to confirm that it's tied correctly.
    – user2766
    Oct 14, 2015 at 9:39
  • @liam: Of course, I agree. As a seasoned climber, you are seeing this in perspective of inspecting a knot, I am referring to a perspective that deals with the situation that what mistakes can a rookie do when he/she ties a knot and end up making a different knot which is identified and named, but not usable.
    – WedaPashi
    Oct 14, 2015 at 13:20

1 Answer 1


I believe the better way is a list of easy to tie, easy to inspect, reliable must know knots.

My advise to beginners is master just one way to tie each knot, and only a few knots (3 or 4 is all you need to climb safely). Ignore alternate ways to tie the same knot and ignore people who tell you there is a better knot for that job till you have mastered each of those knots

Climbing I teach a figure of eight to students, mention the bowline as "An alternate that suits some situations, you should learn it when you can tie a figure of 8 in 5 seconds, into a frozen rope, blindfolded, hanging from a cliff by one hand with a frost bitten fingers". Often other knots are bought up - Alpine butterfly - use a Fig8, when I have seen you tie it blindfolded....., I will teach you the AB.

My starting list of knots that must be mastered by a beginner (for Climbing) is Fig8 (on a bite and follow through), Clove Hitch, Munter Hitch, Prussik. With only those four, you can get yourself out of 99.999% of the trouble a climber can get into.

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