The difference between Moon Pies and Cheese Sandwiches, and the Origin of the MI Knot

Discussion in 'Rigging and Roping' started by TC1, Dec 7, 2017.

  1. TC1

    TC1 New Member

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    The naming of the knot
    The story on the origin of the "Michoacan" knot, since the story began, is a commentary piece that Mahk Adams wrote and published about 10 years ago, shortly after he observed some lengthy discourse about the knot on Tree Buzz. A few months into the discourse on "the knot" (around 2007), including testing by members, and a posted video by Knot Knugen, Mahk decided to publish an article that the knot was made in Mexico. I suggest that if one writes history, include some accountability for the facts, otherwise call it commentary.

    The idea for the knot
    The very basic idea for this climbing knot came from a fisherman's knot I began tying at around 5 years old, in Michigan. I made the climbing knot with a similar downward coil originating from a lower eyelet. The coils compress, causing friction but not locking in the climbing version, which has a core quite similar as the standard fisherman's knot. That's where the idea of a downward coil came into being, for me anyway. Certainly the knot was used before, probably on a sailing vessel, centuries before, but it was not documented online until my photo showed up around 2005. I began using it in Atlanta, GA & Charlotte, NC in 2000. Peter Jenkins, of Tree Climber's International, taught me the Blake's hitch, and I didn't like it so much. Some people say this is an upside down Blake's. I can't say it is, but maybe so. If so, call it the upside down Blake's then. I don't think it is however.

    The pro's who were introduced to the knot
    Scott Profit of Arbor Master, judging a competition, shot the photo of it and said that it would be "strength tested" back at Arbor Master. That photo of me, with an ISA tree climbing shirt, holding the knot was around 2004, at Agnes Scott College, in Decatur, GA during a climbing competition (and became my Tree Buzz profile photo for several years). That's documentation, and evidence, the kind used to establish historical fact.

    Rip Tompkins was shown the knot in 2005, at an Arbor Master training in Marietta, GA. Scott Profit was there at the time as well. Then a discussion on Tree Buzz came about, and one member around 2007 made a video automation of it, to demonstrate how it is tied. None of the knots I had used at this point were tied using a double eyelet, to close the knot. I tie in with just a single eyelet. I climbed on it yesterday, still works well, now 18 years after I first used it.

    Why does it even matter?
    I had been climbing in tree climbing competitions with just this knot, all through the early to mid 2000's. People laughed at the knot and shook their head like it was unorthodox and unsafe, for years.

    Then one day, enough people say they like it where it becomes an interest, gains credibility, and someone decides to do a story on it and come up with some mythical character's, places and contexts. That is a lot easier than doing the diligence of journalism and providing accuracy for the readers. Mahk was an observer to all the early commentary about it on the Buzz. It was just very strange that none of it was mentioned, in any of the articles he wrote regarding the knot.

    Historical context matters so that people understand the origin of a system. This includes the length of time in use, and the experiences others have had using the system.

    The name of the knot:
    My knot, which is only a single eyelet tie in point, will be abbreviated as the "MI" for Michigan. For my Mexican brothers who climb harder than most of the Gringo's I know, I'll credit them with the double eyelet version, and they can call it the Michoacan. Since the general idea of the knot came from my early days of fishing in Michigan, using a fisherman's knot, I am recognizing the true roots of the idea, late 1960s southern Michigan lake fishing, Devil's Lake, MI.

    Contesting the Facts:
    Those are the basic facts, and don't include any trips to Mexico, fictitious names, or any events that cannot be proven. Photo documentation exists to demonstrate the knot in use in the early 2000s, at ISA and Arbor Master sponsored events. That's enough to rest my case on.

    Disclaimer:
    Nobody invents knots. Someone invented rope, but nature came up with the idea in vines. Humans used bio-mimicry to re-design nature, in rope, using materials such as hemp. There are a lot of knots out there. I shared the knot with reservation in the past, simply because people put their life on the line using it. I didn't know for 100% certainty that the knot could pass the rigor of strength testing, under various conditions (snow, rain, heavy and light weight). I do know I have climbed on it under all of those conditions, and my weight with gear has been in excess of 225 pounds, on some occasions, and as little as 185 pounds, on others. I have climbed on this knot for 18 years. I check it throughout my climb. It fits in my hand comfortably to tend. It has never failed me, even when I performed a rapid descent from 60 feet during an attack from a swarm of white faced hornets, where I received 24 stings, and 10 years later can still see where my finger was rope burned, whereas the rope was not. That's all I can say. Use it at your own risk. I never published an article about it stating it was the latest technical innovation in climbing hitches, Mahk Adams did that, and with that article gave the double eye version the name he did. I still have not seen any proof of the "inventor". Maybe Mahk can upload a dated photo and we can compare evidence at some point.

    Conclusion:
    My point is, if you are going to lay out the historical context of anything, include some facts, don't just use your position as author to cloud discourse without properly crediting where it was due. Sure, you can get writer's block, but come up with your own ideas, or else credit others for theirs, or just don't write anything. That's just respectful, and professional in an industry that shares knowledge constantly.
    History is about the cheese, and where it comes from. Moon pies, lots of empty fluff in the middle. I think I will go climb on my MI today, and pack some grill cheese and tea for the the summit. Every December I come out with a cleaner version of this story. Next year I will work on more photos. Happy Holidays!

    GO Michigan!

    Wayne Shannon
    ISA Certified Arborist SO-5436A
    MS International Affairs, Georgia Tech
    MS Building Construction, Georgia Tech
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2017
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  2. GregManning

    GregManning Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Interesting. Thanks.
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2017
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  3. Daniel

    Daniel Well-Known Member

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    Love your passion..

    Ya they ALL suck....
    that's life in the arb world ..... bunch of thieves... been going on for decades
     
  4. Daniel

    Daniel Well-Known Member

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    Funny thing, I submitted an article on throw line technique to TCI and maybe ISA... one of the publishers forwarded it to Mahk because he was the first one to write about it and he marked the paper up with stations to all his earlier writing, including at least one that didn't exist... so apparently he's pretty protective about his own IP... nothing wrong with that... I would have sited him if I had remembered the earlier writing existed... I was just writing about the things I had been taught by my mentors with only a few of my own original ideas.. While my piece had far more detail than earlier writings, its not unexpected there was a lot of common info as it's a pretty straightforward method

    The article never did get published
     
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  5. Tuebor

    Tuebor Well-Known Member

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    I can definitely imagine a climber from Mexico trying to pronounce Michigan and having it come out as Michoacan. (BTW, my father was from Hudson and used to talk about seeing the big bands, Count Basie, Duke Ellington, at Devils Lake in the 1930s.)
     
  6. Brocky

    Brocky Well-Known Member

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    If I'm remembering right, you first called this hitch the Shannon and then the Cowboy Up. The structure of it is what I'd call a reversed Suislide Hitch. From the eye, yours goes to the top of the hitch and wraps down, and on the Suislide it starts at the bottom and goes up. They both finish the same, with both ends in front of the rope. Luckily they don't perform the same.
    IMG_1503.JPG
     
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  7. TimBr

    TimBr Well-Known Member

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    Hey, @Brocky! How did you come to hear about the Shannon and then the Cowboy Up? All of this stuff happened before you ever became a member of the TreeBuzz forum, correct? I don't doubt that what you are saying is correct, I'm just somewhat amazed by your ability to find out about this information, seeing how old these events are. Nice job of research, and beautiful illustrations, as always.

    Tim
     
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  8. Brocky

    Brocky Well-Known Member

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    Years of lurking before joining. Plus I went through most of the old posts when I first discovered the Buzz.
     
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  9. adaycj

    adaycj Member

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    A search on the TC1 memeber post's make it easy to see the naming history here on treebuzz. The first few lines are summarized. I became curious when I saw 19 posts - member since 2007.

    The knot looks interesting, the controversy not so much. I may give the knot a try. Thanks for the picture Brocky.
     
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  10. knudeNoggin

    knudeNoggin Member

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    History can be a muddy thing to try to see into
    --though one oft' hears that "hindsight is 20/20" !

    Recently, "zeppelin knot" which had been attributed to one
    C.E. Rosendahl's insistence on its use ... , came into question
    when one of the authors noted that CER himself had responded
    to the 1976 Boating article to say that ... he'd never heard of it !!

    (-;
     
  11. JeffGu

    JeffGu Well-Known Member

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    I invented the internet.
     
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  12. TimBr

    TimBr Well-Known Member

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    @JeffGu; I can't thank you enough.
     
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  13. JD3000

    JD3000 Well-Known Member

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    Screw Blue.

    Interesting post though.
     
  14. knudeNoggin

    knudeNoggin Member

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    If your "Shannon"=>"Cowboy Up" knot is as Brocky has wonderfully illustrated, it's significantly different from what Mahk published in his Arborist News articles, and which one extant thread (of 2015, was it?) shows in that OP's start : they are of a hitch loaded on both ends, not just one, and their structure is otherwise different in the ends' intertwining. Your knot puts full load up to coil-back (towards loaded end), whereas that shown to which you contest ... makes a hard bite
    of the other end upon the one leading to coil back, and so delivers significant force to *coil away* (as for Blake's hitch (which was some many years prior to Jason's presentation published over in Austria by Heinz Prohaska)).

    A great many of these various friction hitches are but a simple "nearly right" tying of the other, and far from Ashley's oft'-quoted "is never 'nearly right', it is either right or hopelessly wrong" will often yield another option, with the usual "YMMV" caveat per ropes combination, climber size/weight, & style, if not purpose.

    *kN*
     
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  15. Tony

    Tony Well-Known Member

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    Thanks man! To return the favor I invented pants. Well.... either me or Al Gore.

    Tony
     
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  16. Brocky

    Brocky Well-Known Member

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    I did some comparison testing of some single eye friction hitches to see which one works the best, i.e.,the easiest. I used the Blake's, a couple of Helicals, the MI, @jaredtritz the Bail Tail, and three variations of the Tail. I used a 16 strand rope in the traditional way, using the end of the rope to tie the hitch.
    For me, the Blake's was the best, I'd forgotten how easy it works when the hitch and rope are the same diameter.
    Next was a variation of what I think is Bob Thrun's variation of the standard helical, then Bob's was next. The placement of the stopper knot on these two determines how it grabs and slides.
    The MI was hard to tend with a pulley under it, but was easy to break to descend.
    The Bail Tail would only work easily if the tail just went under the top wrap.
    The next two generated too much friction to easily function.
    The last turned out to be a Blake's with the tail position not changing the performance, so I discarded that one.
    IMG_1506.JPG
     

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