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Butterfly coil

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Title: Butterfly coil  
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Subject: Coil knots, Over/under cable coiling, List of knots, Knots, Surgeon's loop
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Butterfly coil

Tying the Butterfly coil, 1-folding
Tying the Butterfly coil, 2-wrapping
Tying the Butterfly coil, 3-finished

The butterfly coil (also known as a backpacker's coil) is a method used by climbers for storing and transporting a climbing rope. Slinging the coiled rope over the shoulders and tying it in place for carrying earns the technique its alternative name.[1]

Unlike the alpine coil it cannot be attached to a harness for climbing, and thus is useful only for transporting a rope to and from where it must be used.


  • Method 1
  • See also 2
  • References 3
  • External links 4


Start with both rope ends in one hand. Pull 1.5 - 2 arm lengths of the pair through and let their ends hang free. Begin coiling the balance of both strands one arm length at a time, alternating the gathers in the opposite hand into two separate "lobes" (or wings) draping on either side.[2]

With 1.5 - 2 arm lengths remaining secure the coil by wrapping both strands twice round both lobes approximately 1 - 1.5' down, then pass a short bight above the wraps and through the coil. Pass both free ends over the top of the coil and through the bight to cinch it tight.

Attach the rope for transport by placing the coil atop one's back, with one free end passing over each shoulder. Pass the ends back under the armpits, cross them over the coil, then bring them forward again, securing in front with a square knot.

An alternate method draws the doubled rope over the shoulders instead of in front of the climber.

See also


  1. ^
  2. ^ Bluewater Beta: The Backpacker's Coil

External links

  • Backpacker's coil video demo at Bluewater Ropes
  • How to Butterfly Coil a Rope step-by-step on WikiHow
  • article on rope management
  • FM 3-97-61, Rope Management and Knots
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