How To Use Rappelling Gear

Do you want to know how to use rappelling gear? Rappelling is a complex technique that consists on the utilization of a friction device to descend a line using a rope at a controlled stance. The basic rappelling gear consists of a harness, a locking carabiner, a belay device and a rope. Additional gear can be helpful to prevent injuries, such as a helmet and gloves.

  1. Put on the harness. It must be worn properly, taking care not to leave wrinkles on the belt or leg loops and the belt must be double buckled.
  2. Fix the rope to the anchor at the top of the cliff. It´s recommendable to use two parallel lines, so fix the half way mark of the rope to the anchor.
  3. Make both sections of rope go through the belay device.
  4. Attach the belay device with the rope to the harness belay loop using the carabiner. If the loop is not present or you prefer not to use it, you can clip the belay device to the junction of the lower loop with the belt using the locking carabiner.
  5. Check that both the harness and the carabiner are properly locked.
  6. Check the system by sitting on the harness hanging from the rope.
  7. Let the coil of rope fall down the cliff. Always warn whoever may be below before throwing the coil of rope.
  8. Step aside of the rope, leaving the downward line hang to your strong hand´s side.
  9. Grab the downward rope with your strong hand below the level of your hips. Use your weak hand to retain the upright position relative to the rope.
  10. Walk backwards towards the rope. To release rope, raise your strong hand, reducing the angle formed by the rope as it goes in and out of the belay device.
  11. Keep your hands off the belay device. If your hands are too close to the belay device, they might get caught, with really undesirable results.
  12. Walk down the cliff backwards, jumping away from the wall to gain speed. Control that speed by putting pressure on the downward rope.

Remember to always use a helmet when rappelling. Try to avoid climbing alone, and always double check your gear before heading up or down.

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