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alpine butterfly loop

Ultimate Guide To Butterfly Loops & Butterfly Knots

Also commonly referred to as the lineman’s loop, lineman’s rider, and butterfly knot, the alpine butterfly loop is a symmetrical loop created in the middle of a rope.  Today, we will be discussing the many ways a butterfly loop can be used, how to tie a butterfly loop, and what Rope works best for creating a strong and secure alpine butterfly loop. 

What is the Alpine Butterfly Loop Used For?

The alpine butterfly loop will accommodate a load in any of the three directions independently or together.  It is relatively easy to untie after loading, and its symmetrical design makes it relatively easy to inspect.  Most often, the alpine butterfly loop is used for:


The alpine butterfly loop is most used by mountain climbers, which shows it can be trusted in life-or-death situations.  It is used specifically to tie in the middle climber when traveling three to a Climbing Rope.

Water Applications

The alpine butterfly loop is also extremely useful when trying to keep your group together while floating on rivers or lakes.  Pictured below is a butterfly loop tied with SGT KNOTS 1/4” Utility Rope, a sturdy yet soft rope that is both easy to knot and buoyant for easy retrieval.  Use this rope with some Carabiners to make it easy to detach and reattach.

Rescue Work

The alpine butterfly loop is essential in water rescue because workers need non-slip loops in the middle of a rope to attach carabiners and provide points of attachment for other lines.

Quick Fixes

The alpine butterfly loop can also be used to isolate a damaged or worn section of rope.  Keep in mind this damaged section of rope would never be used as a load-bearing loop.

Disadvantages to the Alpine Butterfly Loop

Like most knots, the alpine butterfly loop is not without its disadvantages.  For instance, the butterfly loop can be difficult to tie around a solid ring or similar object, and improper tying, or “false butterfly,” can result in a knot that looks like a butterfly knot but does not hold the same benefits and could ultimately be unsafe to use.

How to Tie an Alpine Butterfly Loop

Step 1: Wrap the rope around your hand twice.

Step 2: Wrap the top loop under the other two.

Step 3: Slide the knot off your hand and pull tight!

Best Ropes for Tying an Alpine Butterfly Loop

Tying an alpine butterfly loop is best done with softer ropes, such as the rope 1/4" Utility Rope used in the video, which is an all-purpose, all-weather rope that is also very affordable.  Many climbing ropes, Cotton Ropes, Paracord, Nylon Rope, Dacron Polyester, Polyethylene, and Polyester Ropes are also great for holding knots.  SGT KNOTS has an incredible selection of durable, all-weather, long-lasting ropes perfect for tying all sorts of knots, including the butterfly loop.

Damaged rope with butterfly loop

Stay in the Loop!

What do you use the alpine butterfly loop for?  Be sure to share your favorite ways to use the alpine butterfly loop with us on Facebook (SGT KNOTS Supply Co) and Instagram (@SGTKNOTS), and visit the SGT KNOTS Blog to stay up to date on the latest DIY projects and Knot Tutorials!

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Adam - March 29, 2024

I use butterfly loops as part of my tie-down solution instead of ratchet straps when transporting loads in my pickup truck.

Ratchet straps are not especially fast to use, I often get pinched, and the hooks regularly come loose before I get them tensioned.

I prefer using rope in most cases. I use a bowline to fix one end so it doesn’t unhook. Then I use a butterfly loop in the middle as part of a truckers hitch. This gives me mechanical advantage much like a ratchet, but without the pinching. Instead of finishing with a half hitch, I’ll use a taut line hitch so I can snug it up in stages, or retighten if necessary.

My taut line hitch used to be a rolling hitch, but I recently learned about the Farrimond friction hitch. Unlike a rolling hitch, it doesn’t need access to the end of the rope, so it’s faster to tie and untie with a line that may be extra long for the rare worst case scenario.

Bodie E Loftis - July 23, 2019

Thanks for butterfly knot ,,

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