How To Rapel
Do you want to know how to rappel? Rappelling is a relatively safe way to descend from a climb or a wall. Setting a rappel requires minimum equipment and some basic skills, but a lot of practice is recommended before rappelling in the field.
- A climbing rope.
- An anchor at the top of the wall.
- A belay device.
- A harness.
- A locking carabiner.
- Put the harness on. You must do so properly, and fasten every webbing before you start to set the rappel.
- Make the rope go through the anchor. For more safety, make the half way point of the rope sit on the anchor, leaving two halves.
- Make both sections of rope go through the belay device and clip it to your harness. Most belay devices have room for two sections of rope. If only one is available, a rope thinner than nine mm. is not recommended for single rope rappel. If only a thin rope is available, a double rope setting is recommended for a safe rappel. Check the belay device specifications for incompatibilities with thinner ropes.
- Standing at the top of the wall, throw the coil of rope down. Always warn whoever is standing at the bottom before throwing the rope.
- Test the anchor by sitting on your harness. Do so in a safe place.
- Walk backwards towards the wall as you release rope. Start using your toes to stand perpendicular to the wall.
- As you release rope and go down, always look upwards and check the rope. It must not get stuck or take unnecessary wear from friction.
- Brake by widening the angle of the rope as it goes in and out of the belay device. This is done by pulling downwards with your strong hand, across your hip and towards the center of your lower back.
- If you need to take a break during the descent, take the downward rope and make a loop around the upward rope as it goes into the belay device and then backwards again. This way you will increase friction to the point where you do not move further down.
- Once you reach the bottom, take some slack on the rope. Stand up and then release the rope, starting by unclipping the belay device, and then taking the rope off the device.
Always use a helmet when climbing or rappelling. Double check your rope and all your equipment. Normal wear will eventually make your equipment obsolete, and even though it may hurt your wallet, you´ll have to replace it.