Butterfly Knot

A useful midline knot, the butterfly knot has its uses in glacier travel and rock climbing, where it is often used to tie the climber in the middle. It is also known as the Alpine butterfly knot and Lineman’s loop. Counted among the most secure knots, it can be done in just three steps, as instructed below:

Butterfly Knot Pictures

How to Tie an Alpine Butterfly

Butterfly Knot

Butterfly Knot



  • Does not slip easily once set properly
  • Easy to untie
  • Suitable for three-way loading
  • Uses less rope than other similar knots like the figure 8
  • Allows easy adjustments of the loop sizes
  • Comparatively more stable than other midline knots like the figure 8 loop and bowline on a bight
  • Needs some practice to perfect the knot
  • Difficult to tie with one hand
  • Does not work as well with thicker or harder ropes
  • Improper tying can result in a ‘false butterfly knot’, which looks similar, but is inferior in quality


  • Typically used for attaching carabiners to climbing harnesses
  • Securing the middle climber when three or more people travel to a rope
  • Isolating a worn out part in the rope

The Double Butterfly Knot

As the name suggests, the double butterfly knot is similar to the regular butterfly knot, with two side by side loops instead of just one. So, it offers the same non-collapsible knot with the advantage of offering two slip-points at once.

How to Tie a Butterfly Knot Step by Step

  1. Make a loop like an ‘8’, fold the upper loop down.
  2. Pull it around and pass through the lower loop.
  3. Pull all the way up to tighten the knot.

2 responses to “Butterfly Knot”

  1. mars says:

    well done work…clear illustrations

  2. Ken says:

    I am curious about the “false butterfly” referenced above – would you post a picture of it?

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