Who would have thought that anyone could write 59 pages analyzing the bowline? I mean this knot has been around since ancient Egyptians plied the Mediterranean, right?

Mark Gommers is an Australian affiliated with that country’s Professional Association of Climbing Instructors. “An Analysis of the Structure of Bowlines,” which Gommers began researching in 2009, is wonderfully insightful in a goofy way and wonderfully illustrated. Reading it, you will learn that there are many variations on the bowline concept. The report takes some deep dives on the subject. Here’s an excerpt:

TIB means that the knot can be tied without access to either end. The reverse also applies in that the knot can be untied without access to either end. Dan Lehman reported that the TIB concept most likely had its roots circa 1987 through the work of two innovators—John Smith and Pieter van de Griend—via a simple lock Bowline reported in Knotting Matters issue no. 19, which also happened to be “TIB." Costant Xarax has posited that Bowlines with a Jones polynomial of 1 are TIB. In other words, they are the equivalent of the unknot.

Whatever that actually means it contains the revelation of the existence of a regular publication dedicated to knots. But there’s more. There is also an organization. Gommers thanks the IGKT, short for the International Guild of Knot Tyers, with its own discussion forum, posts from which informed Gommer’s report. He refers to his contributors as “great knotting minds.”