When using ropes, understanding basic terminology is important. The terms explained in this section are the most commonly used in military mountaineering. (Figure 4-2, page 4-4, illustrates some of these terms.)

a. Bight. A bight of rope is a simple bend of rope in which the rope does not cross itself.

b. Loop. A loop is a bend of a rope in which the rope does cross itself.

c. Half Hitch. A half hitch is a loop that runs around an object in such a manner as to lock or secure itself.

d. Turn. A turn wraps around an object, providing 360-degree contact.

e. Round Turn. A round turn wraps around an object one and one-half times. A round turn is used to distribute the load over a small diameter anchor (3 inches or less). It may also be used around larger diameter anchors to reduce the tension on the knot, or provide added friction.

f. Running End. A running end is the loose or working end of the rope.

g. Standing Part. The standing part is the static, stationary, or nonworking end of the rope.

h. Lay. The lay is the direction of twist used in construction of the rope.

i. Pigtail. The pigtail (tail) is the portion of the running end of the rope between the safety knot and the end of the rope.

j. Dress. Dress is the proper arrangement of all the knot parts, removing unnecessary kinks, twists, and slack so that all rope parts of the knot make contact.

Tensionless Anchor
Figure 4-2. Examples of roping terminology.
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