Talk:Butterfly loop

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Good addition, Sik0fewl. I was able to make one with my mouse cable. --Ben Brockert 21:38, Jul 13, 2004 (UTC)

  • Thanks. I hope to make a few more step by step image when I have time - sik0fewl 23:00, 13 Jul 2004 (UTC)

Proposal for new knot page style[edit]

  • The following is a proposal for a new knot page style (the current ones are inconsistent and could use some fixing up). I think this is a decent layout, but I don't really like the floating images on the right side. Any elegant solutions for this? We may also want to use different categories in the table. - sik0fewl 23:00, 13 Jul 2004 (UTC)

Alpine butterfly knot
Alpine butterfly knot step-by-step
Canonical NameAlpine butterfly knot
Alternate NamesButterfly knot, Lineman's loop
DescriptionA non-jamming loop tied on the bight.
  • The Alpine butterfly knot is a form of knot that is used by climbers and mountaineers
  • It can also be used to isolate a worn section of rope.
HistoryKnown since ancient times, compared to other knots that might be used for the same purpose it is stronger (does not reduce the strength of the rope by as much), and is secure if the knot gets wet.
  • Does not reduce the strength of the rope by very much
  • Will not slip (after initial settling)
  • Allows for the knot to be loaded three ways (each end of the main line and by the loop)
  • Relatively easy to undo after loading (more difficult if wet)
  • Difficult to tie one-handed
  • Requires some training/practice to master
  • If tied using some methods there is a potential to trap the hand if the line is loaded unexpectedly

I love this, it is very clear and informative. I wasn't able to figure out how to tie the knot from the two pictures on the current page (because I could not see what the knot looked like from the back) but seeing this diagram I was able to tie the knot. I'm for adding this section (and/or even replacing part of the old section) --I (talk) 03:39, 10 November 2008 (UTC)[reply]


To tie an alpine butterfly knot is tied by making two twists... (and so on).

External Links[edit]

(... and ends here. kmccoy (talk))

I think this style looks great, though you do make a good point about the images. I'll do some thinking/experimenting on that. I would also like to see a category for "strength" or something similar, to give an idea of the percentage loss of rope strength a knot causes (although it varies by rope type, I believe.) Thanks! kmccoy (talk) 06:44, 15 Jul 2004 (UTC)

I wonder if this would be worthy of a project. kmccoy (talk) 18:14, 16 Jul 2004 (UTC)

Apparantly it was already worthy of a project. :) Wikipedia:WikiProject_Knots kmccoy (talk) 18:16, 17 Jul 2004 (UTC)

Butterly shown; NOT an Alpine Butterfly[edit]

The write-up is very good . . . except for one thing: It's NOT an "Alpine Butterfly". It is the standard "Butterfly". The "Alpine Butterfly" is depicted as the "Lineman's Loop". [Alpine ascents historically being lighter and quicker; thus the alternative to the Butterfly being named the Alpine Butterfly because it is (or can be) quicker and easier to tie.]

Alpine butterfly == Butterfly == Lineman's loop. They're all the same. There *is* another (probably quicker) way to tie the knot, which might be the source for confusion. The other way to tie this knot is shown here.
As has been mentioned here before, there does not appear to be a distinction between the alpine butterfly knot (or loop) and the butterfly knot (or loop). The current page content is confusing in that aspect. Wschildbach (talk) 07:34, 17 December 2008 (UTC)[reply]
I changed the image to this method. It's clearer IMHO. Johan Andersson 16:08, 5 April 2006 (UTC)[reply]

Breaking Strength[edit]

The breaking strength of the butterfly knot is 53% with both ropes loaded, and 67% loop loaded.

To elaborate further on the discussion between the Alpine Butterfly vs Butterfly, the Alpine version is a symmetrical knot, making the knot more secure. The only problem with this knot in general is that it is very difficult to casually inspect which version has been tied, and if it has been tied correctly at all. Practice with the Alpine version (three loops over one hand) and you will find it easy to repeat in the field.

I will make these edits on the main page to correct inaccuracies such as: "The addition of "alpine" to the name appears to be fairly recent and superfluous"

Silentspoon 15:45, 12 December 2006 (UTC)[reply]

Use of butterfly to tie off damaged rope[edit]

The use of the butterfly to tie off a section of damaged rope is questionable at best. I have not been able to find that suggestion in the literature; if this is left in, it certainly merits a reference to literature. Wschildbach (talk) 07:36, 17 December 2008 (UTC)[reply]

On Rope describes isolating a damaged section of rope as a use for the knot; and, it is common practice in the caving community. WTucker (talk) 13:00, 17 December 2008 (UTC)[reply]
Strike that first part -- I was sure it was On Rope; but, it was Alpine Caving Techniques. On page 73: "Butterfly knot: ... It is perfect for ... isolating a damaged section of rope." I will try to add a cite to the statement. WTucker (talk) 13:23, 17 December 2008 (UTC)[reply]
Done along with some other stuff. WTucker (talk) 14:34, 17 December 2008 (UTC)[reply]
Thanks for the recent improvements, WTucker. Regarding doubts about using the loop section to isolate damaged sections, this knot can actually be tied as a bend (Alpine butterfly bend) with the two ends emerging where the loop would be. By all accounts it makes a secure bend, thus showing that the loop portion is actually isolated from strain when the two other legs are loaded. See [1], knot "2" on that page for more info. --Dfred (talk) 16:04, 17 December 2008 (UTC)[reply]

Harness loop as alternate name[edit]

I'm going to revert the information about this being called the Harness loop by Ashley. If On Rope suggests this, then it is incorrect. The entry for the Lineman's loop (#1053) does refer to the Harness loop, but by saying the Lineman's loop is, "a better knot in every way than the Harness Loop". The Harness loop (#1050) is definitely treated as a distinct knot by Ashley. It is possible someone else used this name for the ABK, but it wasn't Ashley. --Dfred (talk) 16:04, 17 December 2008 (UTC)[reply]

Fine with me -- I was just taking Bruce Smiths word on it. WTucker (talk) 18:27, 17 December 2008 (UTC)[reply]
I stand corrected... :) ABOK does have an entry (#532) which shows a butterfly loop and calls it "Harness Loop". However it appears this is an error in ABOK, but it may explain the reason it ended-up as an alternate name in On Rope. See section below. --Dfred (talk) 19:51, 8 August 2010 (UTC)[reply]
Indeed, on page 56 of On Rope (New Revised Edition, 1996) the references for Chapter 3 "Ties: Knots, Hitches, Bends" point to page 87 of ABOK where the (presumed) error in illustration at #532 occurs. --Dfred (talk) 19:11, 29 September 2010 (UTC)[reply]

ABOK 532 ?[edit]

Is the Alpine Butterfly the same as ABOK #532 ? -- noosphere 04:08, 8 August 2010 (UTC)[reply]

Ah, good eye! The illustration for #532 is definitely a butterfly/lineman's loop. This appears to be an error in ABOK in terms of the illustration, since Ashley calls it a harness loop and in the description refers the reader to #1050, which is an actual harness loop. There are still quite a few errors lurking in even the updated editions of ABOK (see this long-running thread on the IGKT forum, #532 is mentioned). It seems possible the error at #532 could well account for the naming discrepancy in On Rope noted in the section above.
Hard call whether to put #532 into the infobox. Since this appears to be an error/ambiguity in ABOK and the entry doesn't really add much to the discussion here currently (since the entry is about the somewhat uncommon usage of the knot as a stopper) I'd lean towards leaving it out for now. However I wouldn't particularly object to its inclusion either. If additional corrections are made to ABOK in the future, hopefully this dicussion will prompt some future editor to consider the issue again. --Dfred (talk) 19:24, 8 August 2010 (UTC)[reply]
It might be a good idea, for historical reasons, to mention in the Wikipedia article that the Alpine Butterfly was publised in ABOK as #532. The fact that Ashley called it by a different name is of secondary importance. -- noosphere 01:21, 2 September 2010 (UTC)[reply]
That's reasonable. I added #532 to the infobox with a footnote. Probably going to do the same at harness loop (aka Artillery loop). --Dfred (talk) 21:56, 9 September 2010 (UTC)[reply]

Alpine butterfly[edit]

I have created this section as an encouragement to the recent IP editor(s) to come and discuss their desired changes. Just stripping "Alpine" from the article and warring to keep it out while putting obvious errors back in is not helpful in a cooperative editing environment. A number of sources refer to this knot as an "Alpine butterfly" (possibly from the first publication in Alpine Journal). Why do you seem to want to ignore these reliable sources and remove the word "Alpine"? Thanks. WTucker (talk) 23:15, 20 May 2012 (UTC)[reply]

Merger proposal[edit]

I propose that Alpine butterfly bend be merged into Alpine butterfly knot. Most sources (the few that I can find that even mention the bend) seem to deal with it in passing along with the loop knot. I think that a section within the knot article would easily deal with the bend in only a couple of sentences. This would place the subject more in context for the reader. WTucker (talk) 01:06, 22 May 2012 (UTC)[reply]

I see the relationship between the loop and bend forms of the butterfly as analogous to that between the bowline and sheet bend. While a merge might be justified due to the currently stubby nature of the butterfly bend article, I don't really support it in general. I'll see if expanding the bend article can help it to stand alone. --Dfred (talk) 13:57, 27 May 2012 (UTC)[reply]


My edit here was reverted with the comment, "Symmetrical is referenced to a very reliable source on knots and the butterfly is about as symmetrical as knots get". However, it is visually apparent that the butterfly loop is not, in fact, symmetrical (a similar symmetric knot would be the Hunter's bend). It is approximately symmetrical, though, and this near-symmetry makes it easy to inspect. The cited reference says, "because of its symmetry, it is very easy to inspect." I would interpret this as conveying the meaning that the approximate symmetry makes it easy to spot mistakes in tying, rather than indicating that the paths of the rope in each half are identical (which is not true of the butterfly loop, and is what is generally meant when calling a knot "symmetrical"). (talk) 20:59, 12 March 2014 (UTC)[reply]

I simply object to the complete removal of the mention that the knot is symmetrical. It is as easy to say that the butterfly loop is symmetrical as it is to say that the human face is symmetrical. Neither are mathematically and precisely so; but, both are. The symmetry of the knot is also sourced to a reliable source. I think the article ought to say what the reliable sources say. WTucker (talk) 02:58, 13 March 2014 (UTC)[reply]
The human face has similar parts in similar places on each side, which corresponds more to "actually symmetrical" knots like the Hunter's bend that are subject to small irregularities when tied in the real world. The symmetry of the butterfly loop is more like the symmetry of the human intestines: both have an overall shape with approximate bilateral symmetry, but the bits that make up that shape coil asymmetrically. In both cases it's possible to identify an abnormality that disrupts the symmetrical shape, but that's not the same thing as saying that they have symmetrical structures, which is what "symmetrical" usually means when discussing knots. You can see that the butterfly loop's structure is asymmetrical, right? This isn't the sort of thing I'd expect to be contentious.
My objection to calling the butterfly loop "symmetrical" (without a clear statement that this is referring to its shape rather than its structure) is that it's misleading. A person can read that the knot is symmetrical (with a citation to a "very reliable" offline source), then see the asymmetry of the knot depicted in the images and instructions, and be left with the impression that the disagreement means that the article's content is at least partly inaccurate. If you really want to describe the butterfly loop as "symmetrical" (a word which On Rope does not use to describe it), I propose that the sentence read something like this: "The butterfly loop is an excellent mid-line rigging knot, it handles multi-directional loading well[1] and is symmetrical enough that it is easy to inspect.[1]" Since the reference mentions symmetry only as a reason for being easy to inspect, I think that that's the point that should be made there. (talk) 08:14, 13 March 2014 (UTC)[reply]
I think the word "enough" in your proposal is a bit of a weasel word. I could get behind " symmetrical making it easy to inspect...". WTucker (talk) 12:18, 13 March 2014 (UTC)[reply]
What's it weaseling, though? As I mentioned above, a plain "symmetrical" can be misleading. The problem is context. Use of "symmetry" and "symmetrical" implies that the topic of discussion has some relevant attributes that display a correspondence recognized as symmetry. In On Rope, the butterfly loop's "symmetry" is mentioned only in relation to its ease of inspection, which implies symmetry of shape but not necessarily of structure. This article discusses the structure and uses of the butterfly loop, and in this context, an unspecified statement of symmetry implies that the structure is symmetrical when it obviously is not. Do you disagree? Maybe "...and has a symmetrical shape that makes it easy to inspect." (talk) 21:44, 13 March 2014 (UTC)[reply]
"...and has a symmetrical shape that makes it easy to inspect.": I like it. WTucker (talk) 00:03, 14 March 2014 (UTC)[reply]


  1. ^ a b Smith, Bruce (1996). On Rope; North American Vertical Rope Techniques (New Revised ed.). Huntsville, Ala.: National Speleological Society. p. 49. ISBN 1-879961-05-9. {{cite book}}: Unknown parameter |coauthors= ignored (|author= suggested) (help)

AlpineButterflyTwoTwistTyingSequence1200w.jpg detail[edit]

Noticed that the 4th picture in the sequence is apparently taken "from behind" relative to the 3rd which might surprise a few people. Can it be changed or mentioned in the description? Richiez (talk) 11:30, 21 May 2015 (UTC)[reply]

alpine butterfly vs regular butterfly[edit]

I didn't see it mentioned but i've imagined the 3 loop sequence is called "alpine butterfly" because you can tie it with mittens/gloves on?

My favorite and much trusted knot. 
Thanks people for caring about knot info!
      Miguel Hoffman nm (talk) 02:58, 13 January 2016 (UTC)[reply]