Critical Knots

A knot is a primitive method of securing a line in an attempt to protect a load.  Designed to hold strong in times of stress when pressure is great, a slip results in unpredicted damage and catastrophic events.  As a Boy Scout, I learned many knots and mastered most.  My objective was not a matter of securing cargo, but merely of mastery.  Of them all, it was the square knot that became my greatest challenge.  Performed in two efforts, the latter created my test: fold left or fold right?

Even today I’m not quite sure if it left first or right first.  It is a small action, but one with powerful results.  Performed wrongly it will still hold adequately for light loads, and only when great masses are imposed does the importance of the exactness of the procedure reveal itself.  Then and only then, when time is of the essence, does the significance of the final fold come to bear.  It’s during times of relative ease when the lines must be checked and the bindings secured, not in the midst of a ruinous circumstance.  Timely maintenance of critical knots ensures safety during periods of stress where outcomes are critical.

What critical knots do you need to secure now to avoid future damage?

Originally posted on November 1, 2011 on