What’s the difference: Sheet Bend compared to a Bowline Knot

A knot that drives you around the bend

Updated and revised by Grant Prattley, OTE Rescue 2014. Based on original work by SARINZ Trust 2008, A knot that drives you around the bend. Article for Tomo Times, NZ Speleological Society, Waitomo, New Zealand.

On a cave excursion through Bulmer cave system (New Zealand) I noticed, on two occasions, a single sheet bend rigged at the top of a fixed handline but being used as if it was a bowline knot. I suspect the person rigging these handlines meant to tie a bowline knot but got it wrong. As a result of this, we undertook some testing on the sheet bend to see how it would behave being pulled as a knot.