My brain is a mush. Full of safety processes and knots from my first lead climbing day. It taught me one big thing. When I lose focus I forget how to tie knots. I’m hoping this is because they are all so new to me, rather than me having an innate ability to forget knots mid-climb. It all happened when I tried to clean my route yesterday, Strapped in with my personal anchor system I had to re-tie my figure of eight knot twice. The first time I didn’t have enough rope to tie myself in. The second time too much slack to efficiently tie the knots and pull everything through. It was a mess. I was up there for 10 minutes, maybe even 15. I finally got everything sorted out and managed to descend. It was painful for my climbing partner and me.
A little later into the trip and it was suggested that maybe I should practice the knots in a perfectly safe environment, like sitting at my desk at work. Problem with this (other than my boss wondering why I’m not working) is that half of them I can never remember the sequences for. Out comes the trusty iPhone, we all know there is an app for everything. Here are my five favourites.
- What knot to do (in the greater outdoors) from Columbia- FREE (no adverts, no upgrades)
This is my favorite knot app. For one it is free, completely. You can search for one of the 72 different knots dependent on the category or by name and add ones you use often to a favorites list. Each knot gets a brief description and a step-by-step guide for how to tie it with written instructions. I like the info section, which shows you how to identify the different parts of the rope and has a glossary of all the terms you might encounter. Super useful.
- Animated Knots from Grog (£2.49)
I feel I should explain that although this app is titled Animated Knots it is actually animated through a series of pictures, I like this. The knots are searchable by categories, an alphabetical list and can be easily saved into favorites. The safety section is great giving you tips on control, information on how knots weaken ropes and knowledge on how different loads can further effect. In the ‘More’ part of this app there is that handy terminology section that helps all us newbies. A great app- even if you do have to pay for it!
- Knot Guide from Winkpass Creations, Inc.- FREE (£2.49 to upgrade and remove adverts)
A pretty app that flows well. The categories are similar to the Columbia app and you can also search by name and create a favorites list. Winkpass Creations app also offers a ‘Knot Lingo’ section and a rope parts section that goes one step deeper and gives you definitions if you click on the word. Should you get this app? If you aren’t offended by adverts then it’s a great solution for all your rope tying needs. I’d probably opt for the Columbia one though.
- Knots Free from Inner Four- FREE
Ok, this app only has 10 knots, but enough that you could start to learn these and then move onto a more comprehensive app. Each knot has a good step-by-step guide with the occasional spelling mistake, which for some reason I find charming rather than annoying. Simple to use and does what it says on the tin- really you cant go wrong.
- The Knots from Aymeric Affouard- FREE (offers three in-app purchases to complete the knot sets- prices from £0.69 to £1.49- sorry my iTunes account is set to the UK at the moment!)
I’ve never been a fan of apps that mascaraed themselves as being free, but then offer in-app purchases. This app is well organized though. You can either search through a list of all of the knots, areas- such as sailing, fishing, climbing or even your tie, or by families such as running knots, stopper knots etc. Offered in either English or French it is perfect for all you Canadians who are use to seeing everything in two difference languages. To receive all of the knots you will need to purchase three different extension packs, with number two being the most expensive at £1.49 eventually you do end up with over 100 knots to learn.
Once you get into the individual knot pages you get a description of the use of the knot and then step-by-step pictures showing the tying sequence, not a text description. Is this needed? I guess that depends on the sort of person you are. Could be useful though.
So there you have it. Five iPhone apps to help you learn climbing knots… Who said life couldn’t be about having fun!