Help with knot info - Mountain Buzz
 



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Old 02-28-2017   #1
 
San JOse, California
Join Date: Feb 2017
Posts: 16
Help with knot info

Hi, I'm a noob here, a writer in search of some help for a mystery I'm working on, set in the Grand Canyon.


I need some techy help regarding ropes and knots and mooring a raft.
I don't know much about river rafting, save having been a passenger on a motorized trip through the GC. That, plus a lot of googling, has educated me to some extent on the techy side, but not enough to answer my questions.


So, if anyone is still with me, here is the setup for the problematic scene, followed by my question. (I apologize for the long-winded description—trying to give enough info and hopefully not TMI)


Setup: a private rafting party of six, on a motorized raft about 14 feet, stops for a brief time and anchors to a cliff face at the river. The anchorage is a small outcrop from the cliff, think the size of a fire hydrant (size could be bigger or smaller if need be).


Everybody is staying on the raft.
The water is fairly calm, light currents.
The boatman loops the bowline around the outcrop and secures it with a knot.


The rafters go about their business. And then something alarming occurs, and they panic. In their rush to get away from the area, one of them flips the bowlineline up and down—trying to dislodge it from the outcrop. That is, doesn't follow the standard procedure (whatever that would be) to untie and retrieve the bowline.
Finally, the flipping does dislodge the bowline.
However, the bowline is still in a loop and it catches on a nubbin of rock on the outcrop. Now the panicked rafter yanks on the line—and that tightens the loop down to the nubbin, where the knot catches (and picks up a pebble).
So, the final bowline loop is quite small, with the pebble embedded in the knot.


My question: is this scenario possible? And if so, what kind of a knot would be used? A bowline hitch?

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Old 02-28-2017   #2
 
Andy H.'s Avatar
 
Wheat Ridge, Colorado
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A couple of things:

1) Typically we'd pull our rescue knife and just cut the rope if we needed to get away from something the raft was tied to.

2) Rafters don't panic.

I'm sure someone else will have better info.

Good luck with your writing,

-AH
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Old 02-28-2017   #3
 
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lafayette or Grand Lake, Depends on mood, Colorado
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No, unless you tease bigfoot and piss him off. Don't tease bigfoot!
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Old 02-28-2017   #4
 
Rosa, At the bottom of the Lake
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A bowline properly tied will not cinch down after being properly dressed and tightened. A clove hitch will not to anything but tighten up if flopped around and if it were to come dislodged it would then fall apart. Very few loop knots will loosen once taught after flipping and flopping on the standing end of the rope.

Not to argue with the silverbacks but of all the boaters I have been around rafters of the commercial and private sectors panic more than any other I have witnessed, expect for maybe the meth and diesel commercial fisherman crowd.

Maybe it is my limited exposure...

Animatedknots.com for all your knot tying puzzles...

Why did you ask this again?
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Old 02-28-2017   #5
 
San JOse, California
Join Date: Feb 2017
Posts: 16
Thanks for the replies.


Andy, makes total sense that you'd use a knife to cut the line. However, the rafters aren't acting sensibly. Hence, the line flipping and yanking. I can guarantee that the situation will panic the rafters; would panic even Seal Team 6
Thanks for the good wishes!


Bighorn: well if I come across Bigfoot I will be sure not to tease
So, uh, did your 'no' refer to my scenario, as in the yanking of the line would NOT pull the knot—and hence the loop—down to a smaller circumference?


Gila, well that lets out the bowline and the clove. Darn. Thanks for the link; I'll check it out. I asked because it's a rather crucial plot point. I don't mind taking dramatic license but I don't want to write something that just can't happen.



Are there ANY suggestions anybody could make about how to achieve my scenario?
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Old 02-28-2017   #6
 
Colo Springs, Colorado
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Six people on a 14 foot motorized raft doesn't sound right, unless it's just a day trip with minimal gear on the boat. You might want to have them on a bigger boat.
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Old 02-28-2017   #7
 
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'Two half hitches' should do what you describe and is commonly used to tie off boats.
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Old 02-28-2017   #8
 
San JOse, California
Join Date: Feb 2017
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Thanks for the further replies!


David, how big a raft would be required? The trip lasts several days.


Jbolson, excellent!! I will go search to see what that two-half-hitch knot looks like....


And I'm thinking I should explain precisely what I need and why. Some time after this incident the raft is found with nobody aboard. And the S&R team is trying to figure what happened, where it happened, where are the rafters, etc. The searchers find the bowline tangled aboard, with the smaller loop, and the pebble caught in the knot.


1. I need the pebble caught in the knot to help identify where the raft was tied off.
2. I need the smaller loop so that it is not immediately apparent what the size of the anchorage was. In fact, the searchers at first think the knot/loop was tied to a sand stake. Not until later will they realize the loop could have been larger, and thus the anchorage larger.


So again, if that two-half-hitch knot will do the above, I'm in business.
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Old 02-28-2017   #9
 
laramie, wy
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Is this for a novel or short story? you should definitely post the link here to buy it on amazon when it's published. I love river/whitewater stories! Has anyone read Phil Coleman's The Sand Tower?
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Old 02-28-2017   #10
 
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My no was to your (is this scenario possible?)
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