Types of Rappelling

Types of Rappelling
Rappelling is the act of using a device such as a figure 8 or ATC to safely and quickly slide down a rope. Rappelling is commonly associated with mountaineering and rock climbing, and is an essential skill for climbers to master. But it is also commonly used by cavers and rescue personnel.

Standard Rappel

A standard rappel is one in which the climber lowers herself down the mountain with her back toward the ground and her feet in contact with the rock (or snow), and walks down while letting the rope slide through the belay device.

Free Rappel

A free rappel happens on overhanging terrain and is also commonly done by cavers. In a free rappel, the climber slides down the rope into empty space because the rope hangs free from the cliff.

Australian Rappel

In an Australian rappel, the climber faces toward the ground instead of having her back facing the ground. This type of rappelling is much more dangerous.

Military Rappel

Soldiers often rappel differently, pushing off the surface of the building or structure they are rappelling down and "jumping" down. The goal is speed instead of getting down.

Rescue Rappel

In a rescue rappel, a rescuer rappels with another (injured climber) hanging off her harness. There are several ways to rig a rescue rappel, but it places a lot more stress on the rope and climbing anchor, and should only be done for rescue.

Simultaneous Rappel

A simul-rappel is used by some climbers to descend from rock towers where they can't set up a rappel anchor. In this rappel, the rope drapes over either side of the tower and each climber rappels off opposite ends of the tower at the same time.

Article Written By Candace Horgan

Candace Horgan has worked as a freelance journalist for more than 12 years. Her work has appeared in various print and online publications, including the "Denver Post" and "Mix." Horgan holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and history.

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