Learn This: One Handed Munter and Clove Hitches

By Julie Ellison ,

The crucial equation in alpine climbing—efficiency equals speed, which equals safety—means that every second saved at a belay transition is another second spent getting to the top. One simple (and pretty suave) time saver is tying two often-used hitches—the Munter and the clove—with one hand. You might be at a sketchy stance with one hand on the rock for balance while you build the anchor and clove yourself in, or you might be simul-climbing and suddenly need to put your partner on belay quickly with a Munter. Whatever the scenario, learning to tie both hitches one-handed will help improve your overall efficiency on long routes (and impress your friends to boot). Plus, they’re easy to learn and will quickly become muscle memory.

How to Tie a One-Handed Clove Hitch

This hitch is used most often as a way to connect yourself to the anchor. Not only is the clove hitch easy to tie (one- or two-handed), but the beauty of it is that you can adjust the length of the rope on either side of the hitch without untying it.

Photo: Julie Ellison

1. Clip into the carabiner like you would when leading, with your side of the rope on top—coming up through the biner and away from the wall.

Photo: Julie Ellison

2. Reach across your rope and grab the bottom strand. Pull it up slightly and create a small loop, with the bottom part of the rope on top.

Photo: Julie Ellison

3. Bring the loop across your rope and, with palm facing gate, clip on the biner.

Photo: Julie Ellison

4. Pull on each strand to tighten it up, and you’ve got a clove hitch.

  • Want to learn to trad climb? Internationally certified mountain guides Rob Coppolillo and Marc Chauvin will teach you the fundamentals of trad climbing in our 8-week online course: Intro to Trad Climbing. From placing/removing gear and proper belay techniques, to how to make an anchor and manage a stuck rope, Intro to Trad Climbing takes the guesswork out of exploring traditionally protected climbs.

How to Tie a One-Handed Munter Hitch

Every climber should be able to quickly tie a Munter; you can use it to belay or rappel if you drop your belay device. Plus, it’s good for de-icing the rope in frozen conditions. However, it will kink your rope much more than a standard belay device.

Photo: Julie Ellison

1. Start the same way as the clove hitch, with your rope coming up through the biner and away from the wall.

Photo: Julie Ellison

2. Grab the strand behind the biner with your hand palm up and flick your wrist toward the biner to create a loop (bottom section of rope on top).

Photo: Julie Ellison

3. Turn that loop so your knuckles are facing the biner and clip it on.

Photo: Julie Ellison

4. Pull on each strand to tighten; the Munter should flip through the biner.

Join the Conversation