Tying off the Speedbar

Tying off the speedbar

The speedbar on my harness was removed when the harness went back to Switzerland for repair after the accident. The first attempt to retie it resulted in the holdback elastic coming loose after a bit of use, and the tie-off never looked all that tidy.

Line Routing

I'd gotten this slightly wrong. It doesn't really matter, but the Progress 2 manual does show it in a specific layout. The speed line comes around the back of each pulley, which is simple enough, but on one side I had the speed line coming through the correct cutout and not on the other side. Additionally, on both sides I had the holdback elastic route through the D-loop in the opposite direction to the control cord.

When installed correctly, the speed line comes out the cutout just before the end of the side shell. The holdback elastic does not use the cutout, and exits via the end of the side shell. Both lines go down through the D-loop. This is as depicted in page 14 of the product manual


One of my original elastic knots had pulled undone under relatively light force, so I needed to re-evaluate how the tie off was done.

I ended up choosing a figure 8 for the speed line, and a perfection loop for the holdback elastic.

Speed line - Figure 8

For anyone who climbs a little, the figure 8 is a familiar thing to trust your life on. It seems like the lesser popular option on google for speedbar tie-off, but it works well and looks elegant.
  • Visually easy to inspect for correctness
  • Stronger than the brummel hook at the other end of the line
  • Relatively easy to loosen after use
  • Ok-ish to adjust
The trick is to tie the knot loosely in the same place on each side a few inches down frown from the end on each line. Then run the loose end of the line through the speedbar retaining loop, then retrace the knot with the loose end.

Holdback elastic - Perfection Loop (Angler's Loop)

Elastic is hard to knot in a secure way. A fig-8 would probably work, but near impossible to tie in the short length available. The perfection loop is what many people tie off bungee cord (not the jumping ones) with because it doesn't slip when pulled from either direction.

  • Holds a loop in elastic cord without slipping
  • A bit fiddly to tie around an existing loop
  • Uses less line length than figure 8
  • Easier to physically tie in elastic than figure 8
  • Harder than figure 8 to correctly remember


Six months of use later, nothing's loose, and nothing has needed retying.