The “Not a Knot” Knot

Personal Reflection: Believing in the importance of knot tying for survival purposes, Gerald describes one knot that’s simple for anyone. It’s another one of his fictionalized notes from Karl to his friend George.


How can there be a tale if there ain’t no tail? That’s what Uncle Remus said.

Dear G,

Haven’t heard back from you about the rope access retreat sites.

I would like to tell you about an easy anchor, that is totally easy to tie, as strong as the rope itself, and quick to set up. Again this frustrated would-be fireman, Randy. Someone said he couldn’t pass the physical requirements test. He showed us a book on how firemen use ropes in their work.

The knot I want to tell you about is not a knot, and is so easy to set up you won’t believe it. My knot tying I.Q. is about twenty three. So I asked Randy, “How easy?” He said his dog used to make one every time he was tied out. (Where they live now, his dog runs free.)

He showed us a rope wrapped around a pole, looked like about five times. The end had a carabiner tied to it and was clipped to the long end, just limply hanging there. That’s it. Because there are no sharp bends in it, the rope retains all its strength. You can make a wrap in the dark, when you are under stress, and so forth. It doesn’t even harm the tree.

G, I have a question for you. Why do so many equate survival preparation with selfishness? I mean, if you get out of a disaster zone and go to your own place and eat your own food, doesn’t that mean you are one less person somebody else has to take care of? And who says your preparation and supplies are only for yourself? Two or more can go together, a neighbor or a friend. But that would mean it is even more important to prepare ahead of time.

Got to tell you- someone asked Randy, “Wouldn’t a wrap around a square post or beam weaken the rope?” Randy tried to be patient with the guy. “With the three thousand pound test line I use I could afford to lose a little strength I guess. Anyway, where I am heading I haven’t seen any square trees.”



P. S. Since you asked, Randy showed us a really good drawing of this tensionless anchor or hitch on page 123 in Rope Rescue for Firefighting, by Ken Brennan. Randy says he can’t say enough about it, and that it’s a truly interesting and clearly illustrated book by an extremely experienced expert.

Author: Gerald Franz

Gerald Franz (1935-2014) was like a second father to me in the 27 years I knew him. Brilliant and eccentric, with a wide array of interests, he fit the definition of being gifted. He strove to shake people loose from their conventional thinking. As a Bible believing Christian, his favorite and most studied Bible subject was prophecy. Writing became a means of teaching in his later years. See more about Gerald here.