1950 Viking Rope Booklet
Vertical Archaeology presents thisViking rope booklet for historical purposes only. The techniques presented, although sound, are dated and many are specific to the type of rope and equipment in use at the time. Ken Tarbuck developed his namesake knot (page 10) to increase the amount of “give” in the rope system to compensate for the weaker ropes of the era. The widespread availability of stronger and more dynamic Kernmantle ropes changed the approach to belaying and even the knot systems used.
During my research on Mr. Tarbuck and on Viking Ropes I tried to determine when he first developed the knot and if it was a specific reaction to the ropes, which were sometimes referred to as “half-weight” ropes depending on the diameter, and to their inherent limitations. The Scottish Mountain Heritage Site has some great background information and mentions they believe Tarbuck developed the knot around 1952. I have found some evidence to suggest it may have been a few years earlier and feel confident saying it was becoming known in the climbing community in the mid to late 1940s.
We do have a Viking Rope in our archives and hope to publish it soon.