Favorite Pioneering Knots: Draw Hitch

VIEW VIDEO: How to Tie a Draw Hitch

Highwayman's Hitch
Highwayman’s Hitch

This is a neat quick-release knot that can hold a considerable strain. It’s also known as the Fireman’s Hitch and the Highwayman’s Hitch. Though there is no verifiable evidence that it was ever used by robbers on horseback to unhitch their horses for a quick getaway, it is ideal for reliably securing a boat to a mooring (or horse to a hitching post) with the assurance that you can easily release the knot with a simple tug and quickly be on your way. And all you need is one hand to do it. In Scout Pioneering, John Sweet describes the draw hitch as “definitely a fun knot—fun to make and use.”

In addition to securing the end of a line to a fixed point, the draw hitch can be tied in the middle of the line resulting in two ends of the rope hanging down equally. This way, a climber can lower himself down using one end (standing part), and have the ability to retrieve the rope by tugging on the other end (free end).

Pioneering Use:  When hoisting a large structure that is not intended for climbing, e.g. a tall gateway, and the lines you’re using for lifting and preventing over-pulling are not guylines, tie the middle of the hoisting ropes to the structure with draw hitches. Then, when the structure is standing, these lines can be easily removed with a simple tug on the free end.

The following photos illustrate the draw hitch being tied starting from the left and ending on the right, i.e. the part of the line that will be holding the strain is on the left, and the part of the line that will be pulled to release the rope is on the right. The draw hitch can be tied just as easily proceeding from right to left. Click on the photos for a larger view:

Place a large bight in the desired part of the line, behind the spar. Form a small bight on the left side, under the spar, and carry it over the front. Pass this left side bight through the top of the large bight. Tighten this by pulling up on the left  side bight and down on the right side. Form a small bight on the right side, under the spar, and carry it over the front. Pass this right side bight through the left side bight. Tighten this by pulling up on the right side bight and down on the left side. Apply stress by pulling on the left. Release the knot by pulling on the right.
The draw hitch can be used for hoisting a tall pioneering structure and retrieving the hoisting rope with a simple tug.

One thought on “Favorite Pioneering Knots: Draw Hitch”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s