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Top 6 Best Climbing Knife

A rock climbing knife is an essential for every outdoor climber. And no! The primary reason for carrying one isn’t to cut your partner loose should you face a Touching the Void moment!

A more common scenario is to clear tattered webbing, or unjam a belay device. In our opinion, the best climbing knives can perform on a wall, but also double as an outdoor knife.

What You Should Know Before Buying Climbing Knife

Tape your knife shut

If you want complete peace of mind that your knife won’t open mid-climb, you can tape it closed. Simply put some tape around the knife when it is closed.

Put it in your chalk bag

As you rarely need to use your knife whilst climbing, you could put your knife in your chalk bag. This will keep it out of the way, and free up space on your gear loops. A chalk bag with a zip pocket is perfect.

Clean regularly

Remember to clean your knife regularly. A simple wipe with a cloth will keep it in good working order. There is nothing worse than a knife that is jammed closed.

Most Important Features to Look out for

We have five key features that we look for in climbing knives.

  • It should have a blade locking mechanism
  • It should be easy to use with one hand
  • It should have a serrated edge, as it cuts through rope easier
  • It should have a hole that allows you to easily clip it to your harness
  • It should be small and lightweight

Precautions to take note of

Above all, no matter what knife you ultimately settle upon, it is critical that your blade can be locked closed and that there is zero possibility that it could accidently open.

Before climbing, become familiar with your knife. You should be comfortable with unclipping it from your harness and using it with one hand. After all, a climbing knife is made to be used on a wall.

You may consider using a prusik loop attached to your harness when using the knife on a wall. This will ensure you can never drop your knife. Believe us, we’ve seen it happen!

If you do find yourself in a situation where you need to use your knife whilst climbing, take extreme caution. A blade will cut through a loaded dynamic rope like butter.

Basic Setup and/or Usage

There are two main ways you may want to attach your rock climbing knife to your harness.

Firstly, you may opt for using a carabiner and attaching it to your harness. The size of the carabiner you use depends on your specific knife. Ideally, you want the knife to be able to move smoothly around your carabiner.

The second option is using a lanyard or chord that goes through a hole on the handle. Then attach it to your harness with a micro carabiner.

What’s the Top 6 Best Climbing Knife For Climbers?

When looking at climbing knives there are a few key considerations we kept in mind. This may seem an obvious point, but the most crucial aspect of any climbing knife is that it can be securely closed and there is zero chance of it opening accidently.

Another distinguishing feature of a climbing knife is that it can be easily clipped to your harness. We also recommend getting a knife with a serrated edge as it cuts through rope much better.

Finally, a good climbing knife should be lightweight. There is a reason why climbers count the grams of their gear – it all adds up!

To help guide you towards your perfect climbing knife, we have scraped the edges of the internet and checked real users recommendations to bring together our definitive list of the best climbing knives.

A buyer’s guide and an FAQ section are provided for you at the end of the article.

1. Petzl Spatha Blade

PROS

Blade locking mechanism

Attaches to harness with carabiner

Serrated and smooth blade

Light weight

CONS

The plastic handle may not be as durable as a metal handle

See it in your local store:

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Blade locking mechanism Attaches to harness with carabiner Serrated and smooth blade Light weightThe Edelrid Rope Tooth Knife has a very similar design to the Petzl Spatha. It has a stainless steel blade and a large swivel hole that easily fits a carabiner.

Another great feature is the lanyard hole on the handle. Simply girth hitch the lanyard to your harness and you won’t risk dropping your knife while climbing.

As Edelerid’s Rope Tooth Knife weighs more than the Spatha, it got knocked down a few positions in our ranking.

2. Edelrid Rope Tooth Knife

PROS

Can attach to harness with carabiner

Can be used with one hand

Serrated and smooth blade

CONS

The plastic handle may not be as durable as a metal handle

See it in your local store:

United States
United Kingdom
Canada
Australia
Singapore

Can attach to harness with carabiner Can be used with one hand Serrated and smooth blade

The Edelrid Rope Tooth Knife has a very similar design to the Petzl Spatha. It has a stainless steel blade and a large swivel hole that easily fits a carabiner.

Another great feature is the lanyard hole on the handle. Simply girth hitch the lanyard to your harness and you won’t risk dropping your knife while climbing.

As Edelerid’s Rope Tooth Knife weighs more than the Spatha, it got knocked down a few positions in our ranking.

3. CRKT Delilah Folding Pocket Knife

PROS

Belt buckle clip

Hole to secure knife to harness with a chord

Blade locking mechanism

CONS

No serrated blade

See it in your local store:

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Belt buckle clip Hole to secure knife to harness with a chord Blade locking mechanism

Designed with the aim to create a quality compact knife, the Delilah’s P.E.C.K delivers. It is only 4.25 inches when open and weighs in at just 0.9 ounces. Due to its small size, this knife could be a good option for people who want to stash their knife in their chalk bag.

The unassuming yet innovative two piece design is made to last. A word of warning, this blade is sharp!

4. Trango Piranha Knife

PROS

Serrated blade

Carabiner hole

Blade locking mechanism

Lightweight

CONS

No smooth blade

See it in your local store:

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Serrated blade Carabiner hole Blade locking mechanism Lightweight

The Trango Piranha is a small knife for rock climbing that ticks many boxes. Made from surgical grade 440-C stainless steel, it is a robust small climbing knife. It weighs in at a mere 0.7 ounces and is smaller than the size of your average carabiner. What is unique about the design is that the blade locks closed when clipped to a carabiner – genius!

We also loved the option of a bottle opener. Who doesn’t want to open a cold drink after a day of climbing?

5. Spyderco Salt Folding Knife

PROS

High quality H-1 steel blade

Smooth or serrated blade option

Anti-slip handle

CONS

Pricey

Made for people who are right handed

See it in your local store:

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High quality H-1 steel blade Smooth or serrated blade option Anti-slip handle

The Spyderco Snap-It Salt is a high quality, lockable folding knife. We like that it has a rust proof blade, which will help maintain a sharper edge for longer.

The addition of anti-slip panels and the ergonomic design of the handle gives you more control when cutting. This is a great feature, as control is the key to safety when using a knife mid climb. However, weighing in at almost 2.4 ounces, it is on the heavier side for climbing knives.

Cutting a climbing rope

6. HX Outdoors Fixed Blade Tactical Knives

PROS

Durable

Protective sheath

Versatile

CONS

Heavy

Not a folding knife

See it in your local store:

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Durable Protective sheath Versatile

This knife is designed as an all-purpose outdoor knife, which will come in handy on countless odd-jobs at your base camp.

This knife doesn’t just have one, but three blades – a cut blade, hook blade, and a notch blade. We like the feature of an anti-skid handle, making this knife also a go to if you are venturing into canyoning. In addition, the blade has a ceramic coating which prevents corrosion.

We recommend this knife for people going on expeditions, where you really will need a knife that can perform a variety of tasks.

While there are many good climbing knives available, in our opinion the Petzl Spatha is the best knife for climbers. It is clearly designed with the climber in mind.

It is lightweight and can be attached to the harness with a carabiner. I also like the knurled swivel wheel, it opens buttery smooth. Finally, the dual blade means the Spatha is a versatile knife.

The Petzl Spatha will cut through rope and webbing should you need to use it climbing, but it also does a fine job when prepping lunch. And we are not the only converts, look around next time you are climbing outdoors, you are bound to see one or two of these hanging off a climber’s harness.

Questions and Answers About Climbing Knife

Do I need a rock climbing knife?

If you are climbing at a climbing gym, no, you can leave your knife at home. In fact, that is recommended. Climbing knives are useful when you climb outdoors, particularly multi-pitch or alpine routes. If you are doing sport routes, we suggest you get a climbing knife, it is a useful component of any outdoor climber’s kit.

What’s the difference between a climbing knife and normal outdoor knife?

A climbing knife has a secured blade, is lightweight, and has a serrated edge for cutting rope and can be easily attached to a harness.

When would a climbing knife be useful?

A climbing knife is often used to cut old webbing found at anchor points on rock-climbing routes. Clearing and replacing old slings is important to maintain safety of anchors on routes and is considered an act of good climbing etiquette. Another common use for a climbing knife is to unjam a belay device. Things like hair, clothing, or prusik cords can jam a belay device and will need to be cut out to free the abseiler.

Using a climbing knife in a rescue situation?

Using a knife in a rescue situation should be considered a last resort. Whatever your situation is, consider how you may be able to solve the problem without having to use your knife. If you are climbing outdoors, you should be trained and confident in self rescue and rescue of others.
Climbing ropes wear out over time, and tattered ends need to be cut. If you have never cut a climbing rope before, it’s best to do it the first time with your feet on the ground. This video takes you through the basic steps for cutting a dynamic rope.

Alternative uses of a rock climbing knife?

If you get a climbing knife with both a serrated and smooth blade, you will find many uses for your knife. Every time you split a bagel and add a smear of avocado you’ll be so glad you packed your climbing knife.

Should I get a folding climbing knife?

In our opinion, yes! A folding knife that can be securely closed is the gold standard of climbing knives. Whilst fixed knives with a protective sheath may be safely used when climbing, they are more cumbersome to unlatch.

Knives that can be clipped to your harness?

Clipping a knife to your harness is the ideal option to carry your knife when climbing. All the rock climbing knives reviewed share this ability.

DIY a folding knife into a climbing knife?

If you have a folding knife with a plastic handle that can’t be clipped to your harness, you can turn it into a climbing knife. Simply drill a hole in the handle small enough to put a lanyard through it.

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