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Tattoo Stories: How To Tie a Figure 8

Meet Christie Wright, founder of Sorta Outdoorsy and BKB climber. Her tattoo is an image (most) climbers will already be very, very familiar with.

figure 8 tattoo

“The most nerve-wracking part of the first belay test I ever took was tying the figure eight knot. That was back before I owned anything that resembled a rope so I practiced with my iPhone charger—tying the cord in knots over and over again. Little did I know then that knots would actually become one of the more calming things about climbing for me.”

christie sorta outdoorsy

I’m an average climber, but I’m excellent with hitches and knots. What I lack in arm strength and guts, I make up for in setting up and cleaning anchors and repelling (bowlines, prusiks, figure eights on bights… oh my!). I have a short cordelette at my desk at work that I use to practice setting mini anchors when I have a few minutes to spare. A year ago I tied a piece of that cordelette into a bracelet with a double fisherman’s knot and I’ve been wearing it ever since.

I don’t have any other tattoos. The figure eight knot tattoo started as something I would joke about getting with a few friends who also climbed, but when I found myself in a tattoo parlor across from the Port Authority one day on a whim, I called my own bluff. The tattoo artist traced the best image of a figure eight knot I could find and my Sorta Outdoorsy cofounder, Kara, art directed the placement. We all agreed that one side of the rope should be a little longer than the other, the knot should be slightly off center of my wrist and there would be absolutely no shading.

I didn’t intend for the tattoo to mean anything, but months after getting it, I find that it reminds me to keep trying and learning. Oh, and that the things that are stressing you out now could very well become a calming obsession later.”

figure eight tattoo

Say hi to Christie next time you see her at BKB, and be sure to check out her new site, Sorta Outdoorsy – “A newsletter for those of us who love the city. And love to leave the city.”


Tattoos are intimately personal, and stereotypical of Brooklynites. Walking through Brooklyn Boulders, it’s more often than not you’ll see some adorned bodies climbing our walls. Each inked piece tells a story, whether it’s silly, inspirational, nostalgic, funny or just a fond memory.

BKB Tattoo Stories showcase various tattoos around our space, and the stories behind them. Get to know your community of climbers a little more than skin-deep.

If you have a particular story you’d like to share – get in touch with us: