Alpine Butterfly

The Alpine Butterfly Knot is a commonly knot in vertical caving. Tied on the bight it can be used as a mid-rope loop knot for SRT rigging. With a bit of practice the Alpine Butterfly can also be tied directly into an anchor point by rethreading, usually for saving a carabiner or maillon when leaving fixed rigging in place. There is more than one method to tie the knot, and a longer or shorter eye can be formed during the tying process to save on large adjustments. When correctly dressed, the knot can be easily undone after repeated loading from normal use. The Alpine Butterfly is not suitable for creating a loop in end of a rope, a Figure of Eight on the Bight or Bowline would be far more secure.

Alpine Butterfly Knot

Ideal Uses

  • Used in a way that loads both the working strands and the loop.
  • Tied on the bight mid-rope to connect to intermediate anchor points on a traverse.
  • Rethreaded onto intermediate anchors for fixed/permanent rigging.
  • Tied on the bight mid rope to create a clipping loop for cowstails.
  • Tied in pairs to create a Y-hang for SRT rigging.
  • Advanced use – When joining 2 ropes with a Double Fishermans knot, this can be isolated in the butterfly loop to enable easy untying after use.
  • Advanced use – Isolating damage found in a rope within the loop of the knot.
2 Alpine Butterfly knots used to create a Y-Hang
Alpine Butterflies used to create a Y-Hang for SRT

Not Ideal Uses

  • Tied at the end of the rope to create a termination loop. The knot is less stable that alternatives in an end-rope setting.
  • Ring loaded across the eye (i.e more than one connection to the eye pulling in opposite directions.

Below are some images showing how to tie on the bight that you can follow as a step-by-step learning aid. I’d also recommend the Animated Knots website for this and many more knots.

The Alpine Butterfly Knot tied on the bight

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A view from the other side: 

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