A distel hitch (or distel knot) is a simple friction hitch knot frequently used in tree climbing and caving during a slow, steady ascent. The knot is formed by using a small rope with loops on either end and wrapping it around a secure line, allowing the climber to attach a carabiner. As a friction hitch, it holds fast to the rope it’s tied to when supporting a load, but if the climber releases the tension, they can easily slide the knot up the rope to continue their ascent. Unlike other friction hitches, the distel hitch is designed for tension in only a single direction (for example, ascending or descending), and it’s most commonly used to ascend. \n\nOther common friction-based climbing hitches include the [Prusik knot](https://www.masterclass.com/articles/prusnik-knot-guide) (or Prusik loop), the Klemheist knot, the taut-line hitch, [Blake’s hitch](https://www.masterclass.com/articles/blakes-hitch-knot-guide), the valdotain tresse, and the Bachmann hitch. Other common arborist knots include the alpine butterfly, the clove hitch, and the bowline knot. \n\nThe distel hitch is a useful knot for slow ascents:\n\n1. __Tree climbing__: The most common use of a distel hitch is by arborists and other tree climbers, who use it to slowly make their way up trees using the friction power of the knot. \n2. __Rock climbing__: Rock climbers who want to make slow ascents sometimes use a distel hitch as their friction hitch of choice. However, experts do not recommend using it as a climbing knot for faster climbs because it tends to lock up. \n3. __Other slow ascents__: Anytime a climber wants to make a slow, steady ascent, they can implement the distel hitch knot since it remains anchored with friction until they release the tension and slide the knot up. \n\nHere’s how to tie a distel hitch:\n\n1. __Anchor a climbing rope to a point above you__. A distel hitch is a friction knot that secures itself to a preexisting line, so before you tie the knot, you’ll need to have a secure climbing rope already in place. A common tactic is to use a throwball and throwline to establish the first single rope.\n2. __Tie end-loops in a short cord__. A distel hitch requires a short cord with loops on either end—common safe end-loops include poacher’s knots (also called double overhand knots) or [double fisherman’s knots](https://www.masterclass.com/articles/double-fishermans-knot-guide). Alternatively, you can use a lanyard with pre-sewn loops. \n3. __Make one turn around the line__. Hold your cord perpendicular in front of your climbing line, and bring the right side underneath the line to form a wrap. \n4. __Make four more turns higher up__. Still working with the right side of your cord, bring the end of the cord up a few inches on your climbing line and make three more wraps behind the line, working your way down for a total of five wraps.\n5. __Tuck the tail__. Bring the wrapped end back down and through the front of the knot so that both looped ends of the cord mirror each other at the bottom of your knot.\n6. __Pull and dress it__. Pull both looped ends of your cord to tighten the knot. Next, tug on each piece of the knot to dress it up and ensure it’s the right shape. \n7. __Add the carabiner__. Pass a carabiner through the two looped ends of your cord. If you want to use a micro-pulley, place it on the carabiner between the two looped ends of your cord.\n\nClimbing is a high-impact activity with an elevated risk of serious injury. Practice, proper guidance, and extensive safety precautions are essential when attempting a climbing pursuit. This article is only for educational and informational purposes and is not a substitute for professional instruction or guidance.\n\nTake your climbing mastery to new heights with the [MasterClass Annual Membership](https://www.masterclass.com) and exclusive video lessons from Alex Honnold and Tommy Caldwell, two of the world’s most accomplished climbers. Together they’ll help you get a grasp on climbing holds, balance, footwork, and more, plus teach you the ins and outs of ethical outdoor exploration. \nA distel hitch knot is popular among arborists because of its responsiveness and straightforward tying process.