Rappelling/Abseiling is accomplished by descending a vertical surface using a rope and device to provide friction to control the descent. Prior to rappelling, a climber must carefully and methodically inspect, take time, set up the rappelling knots, harness, rappelling rope and equipment. Establish protection as a back up before beginning the abseil, like setting up a belay or placing a Prusik knot above the descender on the rappelling rope. For this reason it is very important to get qualified individualized instruction, before rappelling.
The Rope Descender creates friction on a rappelling rope to slow a climber down as he descends from an anchor. The rope descender is operated by the climberduring the abseil. Descending devices, abseiling and rappelling equipment all work approximately the same. By controlling the tension on the rope as it flows through the equipment, friction is incrementally increased or decreased, thus changing the speed of the abseil.
About Rappelling Gear
- Rappelling Rope. Ropes with about 2% stretch perform best for rappelling. These ropes are multi-strand, low-stretching rope. This type of rope reduces the bouncing and adds control to the rappel. See Climbing Ropes.
- Harness. A harness is used around the waist to secure the descender. There are many types and styles of harnesses to suite individual needs.
- Locking Carabiner. There are many types, styles. A popular rappelling carabineer is the asymmetrical D which provides plenty of room for even a thick 12mm rappelling rope. See Carabiners.
- Rope Descender. This key piece of rappelling gear connects directly to the locking carabiner then to the harness.
Rappel Safety Backups
There are several critical points that "abseilers" commonly back up. Each situation is different and needs to be evaluated with safety precautions taken based on the conditions. The following should not be considered a check list.
- The Rappelling Anchor. A separate independent anchor is established through the rappelling rope to another tie down point.
- Tie in for rappelling harness and descender. An easy back up for rappelling can be done with a simple knot called the Prusik Knot. It limits the speed of descent. While rappelling, when the rope slips through the Prusik too fast it tightens and grips. By placing the Prusik above the rope descender, it will "catch" if the descent is out of control for any reason.
- Back up Rappel. A top belay is the best safety backup for a rappel. It places a second person in the chain.
- Length of Rappelling Rope. Ensure your rappelling rope extends all the way to the ground. A good safety back up is to tie a knot near the end of the rappelling rope.
Personal Protective Rappelling Equipment
- Rappelling Gloves. - protect your hands from the rock wall and rope during descent. The rappelling descender device can get very hot from friction. Gloves that allow dexterity, and protect from abrasion are worth the investment.
- A Climbing Helmet. is an important item of rappelling equipment for personal protection. See Climbing Helmets
- Boots. Depending on the type of rock and situation a set of boots may be good for protection. Not every situation will allow it. Hiking boots can also be used very effectively for abseiling.
Safety devices and backups are not always possible. Sometimes the nature of the situation precludes using one or more backups. Whenever possible back up the abseil with independent protection.
Doinshop (TM) New Useful Outdoor Hiking Climb Hook Carabiner Clip Lock Keyring Keychain
Package Include: 1PC Climb Hook Lock Keychain (Without retailing packing)
Omega Pacific Rappel Ring
The Omega Pacific Rappel Ring packs an impressive 20kN rating to give you confidence on rappels, and it also reduces friction to make it easier to pull your rope. Using the Omega Pacific Rappel Ring reduces wear-and-tear that destroys fixed gear, and it serves in the place of a carabiner when you're...
SMC Rigging/Descending Ring
The SMC Rigging/Descending ring is the strongest aluminum ring of its size and can be used in a number of ways while climbing.
Omega Pacific Rappel Rings
The SPECS Material: Forged aluminum Weight: 34 grams / 1.2 ounces Strength: 20kN
Omega Pacific Rap Ring
Sale Price: $4.20
Forged aluminum rap ring for bail-outs and rap stations. Anodized gray for minimal visual impact. Solid non-hollow construction for 20kN minimum breaking strength. Not intended for repeated lowering.
Omega Pacific Rappel Ring
Dependable Omega Pacific(R) rappel rings are essential for setting up quick bail-outs or rappel stations.
Rappel Ring - Plated
The Rappel Ring from Fixe can be used with conventional sling material or screw links and chain.
Fixe Rappel Rings Stainless
FIXE RAPPEL RINGS: Solid steel rings can be used for belay or rappel Superior craftsmanship Stainless steel: 50kN/12500lbs Plated Steel: 35kN/8500lbs
Omega Pacific Figure 8 Rappel Device
With no moving parts and a classic, burly design, the Omega Pacific Figure8 Rappel Device is one of the most versatile tools on your rack. Whether you're performing an on-mountain rescue or lowering into a narrow slot canyon, this old school device is sure to come in handy.
Fixe Rappel Ring Stainless Steel
Sale Price: $13.53
100724 Features: Made from burly 11 millimeter rod stock for long-lasting durability This device is NOT intended to be used as a rappel or belay device (eg ATC, SBGII, Figure 8 or any other friction device) It is intended solely as a hardware alternative to bail-out slings, webbing and cord Specifications:...
Black Diamond Super 8 Belay Device
Designed with belaying in mind, the Black Diamond Super 8 belay device features a versatile dual-hole design that allows use with single or double ropes.
BRD Belay / Rappel Device
The Metolius BRD is a versatile, lightweight belay/rappel device with rope slots that are engineered to increase friction on the rope and cooling fins to dissipate heat more efficiently. Whether you're on bottom or top, the BRD will make rope travel easily and safely.
Petzl Rappel RING Large rated at 23kn
The RING connection ring installs directly onto the SEQUOIA or SEQUOIA SRT harness's attachment bridge to improve the arborist's lateral mobility by providing a firm stop against the gated rings.
Petzl Reverso 4 Belay and Rappel Device
Sale Price: $25.46
Not only does the Petzl Reverso 4 Belay and Rappel Device give you serious stopping power when you're holding massive whippers, but it also functions as an auto-locking device when you're belaying the following climber directly off the anchor. This allows you to re-rack, tie your shoes, sip...
Kilimanjaro 910067 Rappel II Multi Tool, Black Satin/Green/Black
Sale Price: $28.98
This multi tool offers a combination of functionality and size. From a quality knife to 10 additional components, the Rapppel-II makes an ideal sidekick for work or play. Kilimanjaro products are backed by a limited lifetime warranty, guaranteed to be free from defects in materials and workmanship for...
Reverso 4 Belay / Rappel Device
The Reverso 4 from Petzl is a ultra-light multi-purpose belay / rappel device that regulates the amount of braking friction on the rope according to its diameter and condition. V-shaped friction channels with asymmetrical lateral grooves adapt the friction to the type of rope for better control. Reverso...
Sterling ATS Belay and Rappel Device
Sale Price: $33.91
Ideal for climbing and canyoneering applications, the versatile Sterling ATS Belay and Rappel Device combines the smooth rope control of a figure 8 device with the security of a plate-style belay device. The ATS allows you to make both single and double rope rappels and belay a leader or follower, and...
CMI Hyper Rack HYRACK
Sale Price: $67.25
CMI Hyper Rack HYRACK
Petzl GRIGRI 2 Belay Device
The compact and lightweight GRIGRI 2 Belay Device with assisted braking delivers excellent control for top-rope climbing and lead climbing.
Black Diamond Momentum DS Climbing Harness Combo
Grab the essentials and head for the crags with the Black Diamond Momentum Dual Speed Combo. This versatile package outfits you for any day of climbing with the comfy Momentum DS Harness, an ATC-XP belay device, and a locking carabiner. Speed Adjust buckles on the Momentums waist and leg loops let you...
High Sierra Rappel 50 Internal Frame Pack
High Sierra designs feature-rich, versatile adventure High Sierra designs feature-rich, versatile adventure lifestyle gear for adventurers everywhere. Since our founding in 1978, we've committed ourselves to creating durable, affordable product with distinctive details, delivering the freedom to...
DMM Pivot Belay Device
Like many standard belay devices, the DMM Pivot is made from tough and lightweight aluminum, with two friction options to help you fine tune your lowering. Unlike other devices, the Pivot sports a pivoting hinge that provides some extra leverage and smooth action when you need to lower your second off...