Jul 8, 2008 at 4:30 pm #1230065
Companion forum thread to:Jul 8, 2008 at 5:17 pm #1442065
Excellent knot info. Great artwork.
Innovative and thought provoking.
Will give alternative anchors a try.Jul 8, 2008 at 5:32 pm #1442069
Super informative read! Knots are something that I wish I knew better (and should know better considering I am a boy scout). I think this is the first article I have seen before on alternative anchoring. Your drawings are SO helpful (and beautiful) in all of your articles. Your expertise makes me want to sign up for NOLS.Jul 8, 2008 at 6:16 pm #1442078
@jkrew81Locale: White Mtns
awesome articles Mike.Jul 8, 2008 at 7:46 pm #1442081
@rcaffinLocale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Most impressive. I have used many of the techniques you illustrate, but some were new to me. I haven't camped on a glacier yet …
Just one comment though: I am not sure the illustration for the Line-Lok or Clam Cleat is technically correct. I have used them myself, and I think the diagram in the article has the device itself reversed. It should look more like this:
It doesn't really matter though – most times when you buy them they come with this diagram anyhow.
RogerJul 8, 2008 at 8:07 pm #1442083
Your article was extremely helpful and insightful. My hat's off to you!
Thanks a ton!Jul 8, 2008 at 9:43 pm #1442090
@sharaldsLocale: Gallatin Range
Excellent diagrams (as always) and wonderfully-worded grammar. I especially liked,
"Never be a buzz-kill to someone else's sense of backcountry grooviness!"
I imagine your students either love you or hate you for your laid back style of teaching. If it was me, I'd love it.
– SamJul 8, 2008 at 11:07 pm #1442096
Most impressive. Best drawings yet IMO, including Mike's books.
My favorite line was "flossing the ice deadperson". And just the term "deadperson"… that's great – PC is downright hilarious when done by Clelland!
I've learned a few of these tricks the hard way, but it seems I am going to have to find a glacier to sleep on now. Maybe a snowfield will do – I plan to mountain bike and hike up to the Hellroaring Plateau in the Beartooths the end of this week. Guess I'll bring some stuff sacks and a closed cell foam pad.Jul 9, 2008 at 12:30 am #1442102
@holdfastLocale: Bergen, Norway
Informative article and some of the best, clearest illustrations I've ever seen.Jul 9, 2008 at 4:00 am #1442117
@cmcrookerLocale: Desert Southwest, USA
Mike Clelland! is famous! He is the Mike of "Allen & Mike's Really Cool" book series. I first heard of him when I wanted to take my first winter camping trip. "Allen & Mike's Really Cool Backcountry Ski Book" was my bible. They say a picture is worth a thousand words – and that is the case for Mike's drawings. The book is only 113 pages long, and a third of the book is about skiing which didn't apply to my trip, but I got nearly all the info from the book that I needed to make my first snow camping adventure (5 days solo in the Sierras with lows to zero) a blast.
Mike is also the illustrator of another fine book – Lighten Up! A complete handbook for light and ultralight backpacking – available here on BPL.Jul 9, 2008 at 4:50 am #1442122
@mlarsonLocale: Southeast USA
Great illustrations and a great narrative. This is really helpful. Thanks, Mike!Jul 9, 2008 at 5:32 am #1442126
carlos fernandez rivasParticipant
@pitagorinLocale: Galicia -Spain
Please mike …. wee need more articles like this one …..;-)Jul 9, 2008 at 7:04 am #1442136
@foodLocale: Colorado Rockies
Great article. This is the reason I maintain my subscription.
I use a different technique.
I put the tensioner hardware or knot on the tarp side of the guyline. At my age it is nice that I do not have to bend as low to tighten the guylines.
A mooring hitch is great to anchor to vegetation. It limits the sawing effect of pulling the cord across the bark. The mooring hitch is also used to tie to stick anchors in snow.
For rock anchors I tie a clove hitch around an Easton stake and place the rocks as you described.Jul 9, 2008 at 9:26 am #1442149
@tpeterson1959Locale: Pacific Northwest
Very informative and well planned. Thanks!Jul 9, 2008 at 12:49 pm #1442187
@cuzzettjLocale: NorCal - South Bay
Wow. One of the best articles yet. The descriptions were superb. Thank you!!!Jul 9, 2008 at 1:05 pm #1442189
Great knot illustrations, though I must confess I've never been a big fan of knotting guylines, especially when using the newer, thin Spectra-based cords. Tying and untying, especially with wet or cold hands and/or frozen lines can be a royal pain.
Likewise, I think the cam-style tensioners that BPL and Hilleberg sell are confusing to use and limited in their application, since they generally require pre-formed cord loops, which makes them (for example) inconvenient for use on trees.
Instead, for many years, I've been using end-style tensioners like the one (made by Exped) shown below.
This tensioner is tied permanently (through the bottom hole) to the free end of the guyline. When it's time to tighten the line, the free end can be looped around most anything (tree, stake, etc.) then slipped back over the line through the tensioner grooves.
As far as I know, the Exped tensioner shown above is the only one of this type currently available that holds well when using thin Spectra guylines such as Ketly Triptease or AirCore PRO Dyneema guyline sold by BPL. And unlike the metal (closed-end) tensioners sold by MSR or the "Figure 9" tensioners sold by Nite Ize, these plastic tensioners are easy on guylines and won't chew them up with extended use.
Sierra Designs used to sell this type of tensioner (for small lines), but apparently doesn't offer them anymore. Likewise, REI sells larger tensioners of a similar design but they work only with fairly thick lines.
BTW, the Exped product is available from Moosejaw and other online retailers for about $4.00 (package of 8 tensioners).Jul 9, 2008 at 1:07 pm #1442190
@mikeclellandLocale: The Tetons (via Idaho)
Hey – Huge thanks for all the nice compliments on this article.
It's curious how much I actually managed to write (and draw) about NOT using tent stakes.
But — Just so everybody knows. I actually DO use tent stakes! I have a nice set of titanium skewers. I use 'em tarp camping and when I camp with a tent in the summer. So don't be mislead by the title.
In the summer in Alaska (on glaciers) I do NOT take stakes, and instead use stuff sacks. In the winter in the Rockies (on snow) I do NOT take stakes, and instead use sticks as dead-persons.Jul 9, 2008 at 1:18 pm #1442193
Again, This is BPL and why I subscribe.Jul 9, 2008 at 2:10 pm #1442205
re: exped tensioners
Those look useful … except that like tautline hitches and most other adjustable tensioners, they can only adjust from near full length of the line to near half of it's length.
Which is why I've liked this solution, or more recently linelocs.
But Mike C points out that linelocs etc are not as convenient when you need to wrap around a shrub or tree.
But combine linelocs or my tautline adaptation with exped tensionser and I may have found guy line nirvana!
But don't bother going to Moosejaw today … I just bought their last set of 8. Would have got more for BSA door prizes if they had them. Hopefully they'll restock.Jul 9, 2008 at 3:21 pm #1442216
I've used many of these techniques myself over the years and am glad to see everyone appreciates them and the diagrams.Jul 9, 2008 at 6:16 pm #1442250
@bleanLocale: San Jose -- too far from Sierras
You make a good point about making a slippery version of some knots. I fact, you can make a "slipped" or "slippery" version of just about any knot where you put the end of the line through — just fold the end and put the resulting bight through instead. Makes untying the knot a *lot* easier.
For example, take the common shoe knot — when you think about it, the common shoe knot is a double-slipped square knot (or else a double-slipped granny knot, which does not hold so well).
I like sheet bend style knots in general — i.e. an intersecting bight and loop. They are secure and their slipped versions are easy to untie. For example, I rarely use a square knot — I much prefer a slipped sheet bend. The sheet bend also works with different size cords (make the thicker be the bight) — while a square knot will not work at all if there is much size difference in the cords (the square not will just capsize).
As to the trucker's hitch — I know that it is usually drawn, as the article did, ending with some form of half hitch(es) or slippery half hitch. Personally I strongly prefer to take the slip knot loop as the bight of a sheet bend, and tie it off as a slipped sheet bend — I believe that to be a stronger and more secure way to tie it, while being at least as easy to untie.
Tautline hitches — I have been meaning to bring that up for some time — why ever tie a tautline hitch? Instead, use a slipped trucker's hitch. True, it needs to be retied to adjust, however once tied it will not slip (unlike a tautline hitch)it is trivial to until (also unlike a tautline hitch, in some conditions), and it is easy to make it as tight as you like. I even prefer the slipped trucker's hitch to having mechanical line tightening gadgets.
— BobJul 9, 2008 at 8:01 pm #1442268
@mikemartinLocale: North Idaho
Jim Colten writes:
>> But combine linelocs or my tautline adaptation with exped tensionser and I may have found guy line nirvana!
If you like tensioners, take a look at the Night Ize Figure 9 tensioner. It solves the problem of needing a loop that can't be tied around fixed objects.
-MikeJul 9, 2008 at 8:13 pm #1442272
as usual I had to scroll down and look at all of your illustrations before I started reading the article. In my trade we push the "a picture is worth a thousand words" quote ( a self serving jingle similar to the "a diamond is forever" used by stone peddlers) but I would find it very hard to post a photograph that comes even close to what you manage to convey with your drawings, beside they are always a lot of fun.
Great information made so much better by those easy to remember illustrations.
FrancoJul 10, 2008 at 12:23 am #1442302
A plethora of insightful and informative information. I am going to try it this weekend. Great illustrations!Jul 10, 2008 at 8:31 am #1442329
@mikeclellandLocale: The Tetons (via Idaho)
Here's how I use stakes:
I did a quick cartoon showing how I tie off the ridge points on my tarp (the NOSE and TAIL).
I use a titanium nail stake:
I use a slippery half-hitch. It's tidy and fast.
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