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.
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.
Camp USA Oval Quick Link Carabiner
SPECIFICATIONS of the Camp USA Oval Quick Link Carabiner Minor Axis: 10 kN SPECIFICATIONS for 8 mm Weight: 2.7 oz / 76 g Major Axis: 50 kN Gate Opening: 9 mm Length: 74 mm Width: 39 mm SPECIFICATIONS for 10 mm Weight: 4.9 oz / 138 g Major Axis: 55 kN Gate Opening: 12 mm Length: 89 mm Width: 47 mm ALL...
Omega Pacific Rap Ring
Sale Price: $4.20
Forged aluminum rap ring for bail-outs and rap stations. Solid construction (not hollow) for 20kN minimum breaking strength (over 4400lbs)! Anodized gray for minimal visual impact. Not intended for repeated lowering. Note: this device is NOT designed to be used as a rappel or belay device; it is intended...
Omega Pacific Rappel Rings
The SPECS Material: Forged aluminum Weight: 34 grams / 1.2 ounces Strength: 20kN ALL CLIMBING SALES ARE FINAL.
Rappel Ring - Plated
Sale Price: $4.76
The Rappel Ring from Fixe can be used with conventional sling material or screw links and chain.
Omega Pacific Rappel Ring
Dependable Omega Pacific rappel rings are essential for setting up quick bail-outs or rappel stations.
Fixe Rappel Rings Stainless
Sale Price: $7.16
FIXE RAPPEL RINGS: Solid steel rings can be used for belay or rappel Superior craftsmanship Stainless steel: 50kN/12500lbs Plated Steel: 35kN/8500lbs
Fixe Rappel Ring Plated 199
Sale Price: $7.78
Fixe Rappel Ring Plated 199
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.
Black Diamond Super 8 Belay/Rappel Device
Made of 7075-T6 aluminum alloy, the Super 8's flawless design makes for an incredibly strong, lightweight belay/rappel device. A super smooth ride, the Super 8 is great for handling any rope diameter. *Assorted colors.
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.
GM Aluminum Anchor Ring Small (Pack of 5)
Sale Price: $19.99
Anchor rings are beautifully simple components that can be used in the most complicated systems. Weighing less than a connector, they can be carried easily on a harness and attached in seconds. Perfect for lifelines, rescue, stretcher management, arborist. Material:Aluminum Closed Strength: 5600lbs /...
GM Aluminum Anchor Ring Large (5 Pack)
Anchor rings are beautifully simple components that can be used in the most complicated systems. Weighing less than a connector, they can be carried easily on a harness and attached in seconds. Perfect for lifelines, rescue, stretcher management, arborist.Material:Aluminum Closed Strength: 5600lbs /...
Kilimanjaro 910066 Rappel Multi Tool, Black Satin Finish
Sale Price: $24.43
A compact multi-tool with eight essential components including a knife blade that looks and performs like it should to a carabiner clip for easy carry. The Rappel will perform and prove its worth whether out on the trail or out on the job. Kilimanjaro products are backed by a limited lifetime warranty,...
Petzl Reverso 4 Belay and Rappel Device
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: $31.15
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...
Sterling ATS Belay and Rappel Device
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...
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.
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...