How To Rapell With Only Ropes

Do you want to know how to rappel with only ropes? Sometimes you can find yourself in situations where you need to go down a cliff, but have no hardware. If there´s a rope, there´s a chance.

To rappel with only ropes you will need:

  • A rope tied to an anchor
  1. Tie the rope to a firm anchor at the top of the cliff. A good rappel anchor can be found in trees, bog rocks and even poles. But make sure that the rope does not receive too much tear from sharp objects around. To avoid that risk, the use of leashes and rappel rings is important.
  2. Let the coil of rope fall down the cliff. Check that the line described by the rope reaches the bottom of the cliff.
  3. Facing the anchor, stand with a leg to each side of the rope.
  4. Without moving your feet, lift the downward rope after it passes between your legs.
  5. Pull the rope upwards and make it cross your trunk from your right hip to your left shoulder.
  6. Make the rope cross your back from your left shoulder to your right hand.
  7. Walk backwards towards the cliff. The working principle of this system is friction, so the more pressure you put on the rope towards your body the more breaking power you will have. Also, increased friction can be produced by pulling the rope towards your front side.
  8. Use your left hand to remain in upright position with the rope ahead of you and the cliff to your back as you rappel down.
  9. Regardless of the circumstances, never take your hands off the rope. If you do so, chances are that the rope is either going to release you completely, or trap a part of your body with all the force of your weight.
  10. Use a helmet. A small ding against the wall while rappelling can be of considerable consequences if you don´t use a helmet.

Wearing a helmet is mandatory for any climbing activity. In the case of gearless rappel, thick clothes and gloves are advised. Take care, and have fun.

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