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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.
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.
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.
3. Bring the loop across your rope and, with palm facing gate, clip on the biner.
4. Pull on each strand to tighten it up, and you’ve got a clove hitch.
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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.
1. Start the same way as the clove hitch, with your rope coming up through the biner and away from the wall.
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).
3. Turn that loop so your knuckles are facing the biner and clip it on.
4. Pull on each strand to tighten; the Munter should flip through the biner.