Considerations when upgrading from wire to synthetic rope


Thanks for the story R.B.

In the event that a synthetic line does snap, what's the best knot for a trail repair?
Nothing is likely to fit back through your fairlead, but knots can further compromise strength - so which is best to get you un-stuck and out of the woods?

I imagine synthetic line to behave a bit like fishing line, so I'm inclined to splice like you would with leaders/tippet using J splice/double surgeons knot. Like this.
Could be a pain if your line broke near the winch end on a long pull, because you need to pull the other end back through the knot.

Who knows better??
To be honest I think you can splice synthetic line but I'm not sure so don't take my word on it. In regards to a knot I'm sure you could fashion something that would work but depending on where it breaks it could be a one shot use.

The major benefit to synthetic line is the safety, when the line snapped it literally just fell to the ground without causing any damage whatsoever. The best bet would be to just carry a spare line, which I do now, so if your synthetic line fails then you can just spool on another one on the trail.

LR Max

Local Oaf
I just tied a bowline on the end of mine (mine broke about 5 ft from the hook, broke because of extreme negligence, apparently synthetic doesn't do so well being ground into asphalt). Its been like that for at least 5 years. Its fine.

Getting it spliced all nice is the way to go but a bowline will get you off the trail. If you need to connect two pieces together, I'd suspect either a sheet bend or square knot would be good. However a knot might be difficult going into the fairlead and on the drum. Either way, better than nothing.


I'm likely to use a climbing knot. In a pinch for a replacement eye, I would use a double bowline. I'd also consider stitching the tag end with some nylon string (or dental floss) when I had a chance, or doing a proper splice. Any sailing or other marine shop should be able to help you re-install the thimble. Amsteel blue can be knotted, and a surgeons knot is a bit more bulky than a woven-8. As long as the tag ends are left long enough, I cannot see a reason why you couldn't use either knot in an emergency.


Also, I'm using 3/8" Amsteel on my m8000 for peace of mind. 21k+ breaking strength when new, I've used/abused this thing for 6-7 years and not had any issues. When its time to retire this, I shall use it as a super long extension and respool with some fresh 3/8" line.


I totally agree on the climbing figure 8 for a new loop at the end.
Also, the bowline is my all time favorite knot.

In the event however that your line snaps in the middle and you need length, a good splice knot might be your only option. A square might even get through the fairlead. Obviously not as well as a spare line though.


We used a blood knot once and then tried a double eight. Both worked - they do create a good bit of heat and any knot compromises strength and throws WLL number out ofthe window at the knot but in the middle of a pull and in the middle of nowhere when you don't have time for a splice it works like a charm.


Expedition Leader
Out of curiosity - where did you get your information regarding "frozen ice crystals" and their danger towards poly line? I'm well aware of sand and dirt...
I lived and snow bashed in Colorado for 5 or 6 years and it was understood that the ice was hard on the line but to be honest IDK.

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