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  • What is Rappelling?

    What is Rappelling?
    Rappelling is a means of using a rope to descend in a controlled manner. In other parts of the world, another term for rappelling is abseiling. While rappelling is a popular sport, it is also used by military, police and rescue services.

    Mountain Climbing

    Mountain rappelling is a popular recreational activity, particularly among rock climbers who need a way to safely descend a sheer cliff face.


    The three main pieces of equipment used in rappelling are rope, carabiners and harnesses. Additional equipment includes helmets, gloves, ascenders and descenders.


    Knots are used in rappelling to secure the rope to anchor points along the way. Common knots used are figure eight knots, but the most important factor is to leave about a foot of rope at the end in case the knot slips.


    Rappelling can be a hazardous activity as there is risk of ropes jamming or breaking and equipment failure. It is important to have a belay, which involves a person holding the rope slack to help control the climber's descent at the first sign of trouble.

    Non-Sporting Uses

    Firefighters, police and the military use the technique of rappelling to gain access to a building that is easier to access from the top. The military also practices rappelling to access areas where a helicopter might have trouble landing safely.

    Article Written By Shiromi Nassreen

    Shiromi Nassreen has been writing professionally since 2005. She specializes in travel and outdoor topics, and her articles have appeared in various print and online publications, including "DISfunkshion Magazine" and Matador Travel. Nassreen holds a Bachelor of Arts in theatre studies from Rose Bruford College of Speech & Drama.

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