How to Rappel

How to Rappel
Rappeling is the second fastest way to get down a cliff. The fastest is falling. Rappeling uses the friction of the rope through a friction-device (a descender) to slow and control descent. There are a number of techniques you should master.

Instructions

Difficulty: Moderately Easy

Equipment

Things You’ll Need:
  • Rope Friction-device or figure-eight Harness Helmet Carabiner
  • Rope
  • Friction-device or figure-eight
  • Harness
  • Helmet
  • Carabiner
Step 1
Ensure your harness is properly fastened, the descender is attached securely, and the rope is tied off.
Step 2
Thread the rope around the descender correctly. Make sure you do this right. Different descenders have different actions on ropes. Know your gear.
Step 3
Wear a helmet

Techniques

Step 1
As you approach the drop lean back against the rope. The rope should be taught. You will be facing away from the edge, with your back towards the drop.
Step 2
Standing at the edge of the cliff lean out over it, against the rope. Lock off the rope with your leading hand. Lower yourself over the drop with your feet firmly planted before you, threading the rope to position yourself. You should be about 45 degrees to the vertical, leaning well over the drop.
Step 3
Begin walking down the cliff with regular steps, locking off the rope with your leading hand with each step. Always keep a good contact on the rope. Never let go.
Step 4
As you get more comfortable, you can increase your descent speed.

Jumping descent

Step 1
Consider the jump technique on vertical slopes or man-made walls.
Step 2
Once over the drop, with your weight live on the rope, continue to lower yourself so that your body and legs are at a 45-degree angle with the cliff.
Step 3
Bend your knees, so you compress into the slope, and straighten them quickly to jump off the slope.
Step 4
Swing outward and let the rope through the fiction-device. You will begin to fall.
Step 5
Lock off the rope gently to slow your descent and to bring your body back to contact with the cliff.
Step 6
Repeat until you are down.

Tips & Warnings

 
When descending more-than-vertical slopes, always lock off the rope using both hands. Move your dominant hand down the rope while you lock it off with the other; then let the rope flow and repeat. Never lose contact with the rope. A buddy at the bottom of the slope can act as a brake by pulling on the rope below you if he sees you in trouble.
 
When descending more-than-vertical slopes, always lock off the rope using both hands. Move your dominant hand down the rope while you lock it off with the other; then let the rope flow and repeat.
 
Never lose contact with the rope.
 
A buddy at the bottom of the slope can act as a brake by pulling on the rope below you if he sees you in trouble.

Article Written By Benjamin Williams

Ben Williams is an award-winning reporter and freelance writer based out of Colorado. He has written for conglomerates of newspapers and magazines, supplying news, features, editorial and opinion. While running an Energy Services and Consulting firm, he now writes for multiple websites including the news site, Examiner.com.

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