Handle Hitch Knot for Pulling Thin Rope
If you’ve ever tried to pull hard on thin rope (maybe to tighten slack in a line), you’ve probably wrapped the rope around your hand and felt it dig in as it constricted around your fingers.
Here’s a knot that solves the problem – I call it the Handle Hitch. I couldn’t find it anywhere else – if you’ve heard of it and it has a name, I’d love to know.
With slippery rope (i.e.: paracord), it isn’t suitable for massive loads due to its similarity to the sheepshank. However, it unquestionably improves your ability to grip a line.
Wrap the cord around your hand
The first step is to wrap the cord around your hand. I find it useful to wrap from the outside in.
Create a bight in the exiting rope
And tuck it between your fingers and the series of strands on the back of your hand.
Pull the bight forward
Create a loop in the standing end
Create this loop in a similar way that you create the loop in a sheepshank. The bight we previously created is on the right, the sheepshank loop is on the left.
Pass the bight through the sheepshank loop
As you do with the bight in either end of a sheepshank.
Tighten the sheepshank loop
Let go of the standing end, and pull
Once the rope is under tension, it can accommodate medium loads. With paracord, I found the bight would slip out of the sheepshank loop with about 100lbs of pulling force - a similar failure mode to the sheepshank, but far greater than what is comfortable to pull by just wrapping the rope around your hand.
For loads greater than that, you really would want something more secure – for example, using a strong stick or your pocket knife in a Marlinspike hitch.
Here’s a video of tying this knot: