Rappelling Tips

Every adventurer sees a large mountain and doesn’t see an obstacle, but instead sees a challenge. While this is a great way to look at things in life that come up and seem like mountains, this is also very literal for some people who have a need to climb. For those that are great at scaling a mountain, but maybe need some help getting back down, we’ve put together some tips for rappelling. It looks much easier than it is, and there are several safety factors that need to be followed to ensure a safe descent.

Take care of yourself, and make sure you’re ready to get off that mountain with our tips for rappelling. The most important thing to remember is when to use rappelling as your mode of descent. Rappelling should be used to descend in these situations:

  • There is no approach trail
  • There are loose rocks
  • Someone is injured
  • Your anchor system needs minimal wear and tear
  • Any situation when you cannot get down in a traditional way such as climbing, walking, or lowering on belay.

Once you have determined that rappelling down is the only option, there are some tips for rappelling to ensure that you get down safely.

  • Check your gear. Make sure you have a personal anchor system, as well as enough cord for your Autoblock hitch. Check the cord for any weaknesses, as this does occur over time.
  • Bring a pair of gloves. Unless you want your hands all torn up, you will definitely want to have a pair of gloves on you in your gear to protect yourself from rope burn.
  • Use a friction hitch. This is especially necessary if something happens or your grip loosens or is lost completely. This friction hitch will help you to stop, rather than just dropping. Make sure your hitch isn’t too long to where it can jam your device though, and gently test it first to make sure it will hold your weight. If not, loop again, and relock your carabiner.
  • Double check that both ends of the rope have a knot, and are on the ground.
  • Maintain a steady pace on your way down. Don’t try to rush, even in an emergency situation, take your time to ensure you get down safely.

Rappelling is not at all what it seems like in the movies, and it’s vitally important that even if you are a trained climber, you double check your gear and follow all safety precautions while climbing. Even a basic climb can turn dangerous if gear malfunctions or you try something you’re not used to or not properly prepared for.