Rappelling Basics and Its Different Types
The concept of rappelling is extremely simple, but it is, actually, a very complicated practice, especially for the beginners. As a climber, rappelling is the most important thing you need to learn. A majority of climbing accidents could occur during rappelling, hence it is important for you to get it right.
When done perfectly, rappelling can be the quickest and safest way of getting to the ground from the top. The standard method of rappelling — with a harness and a friction device, to move downward with the rope — can only take you so far. You need to be careful in certain situations, as different situations would require you to adopt different types of rappelling techniques. Here are a few rappelling basics that could save your life one day.
Beginners need to first practice on a short rock face, which need not be more than 10 feet high. In case you make a mistake, there has to be enough space for safe landing. Which means, you need to prepare yourself well before you even start, because, even a 10-foot fall can be grave. If you want to try it out, you can go for boulder training in any of climbing gyms managed by Earth Treks. Learn More about bouldering programs organized by Earth Treks.
Tie the rope you are using to the anchor point. It is important for you to ensure that the anchor point does not obstruct the rope. Also, the anchor point should be devoid of any sharp edges or else it could cut through the rope while rappelling. Sharp edges could also cause you to compromise on the strength by rubbing it. The anchor point needs to solid and securely grounded for maximum safety. See that you are able to retrieve the rope once you get down.
It is always important to use hand gloves when rappelling to avoid rope burns. Proceed with a slow downslope, with small steps, to maintain a strong grip so as to avoid losing your footing while sliding down the rope. You can seriously damage your hands on the thick ropes used for rappelling.
In outdoor rock climbing, some people seem to glide down the face of a rock quickly, while others take much longer. Control your speed by adjusting the grip on your brake hand – the one that grips the rope below the settling device. The one holding the rope above the guidance device is designed to maintain your balance. Click here to know about outdoor courses offered by Earth Treks Climbing Centers.
Once you start moving downward, you should be able to identify the rate of how fast you can feed the rope to figure out if you can quickly move down the rope. As mentioned earlier, avoid going too fast or you might lose control.
Types of Rappelling
When the climber brings down himself off the ledge descending towards the ground, keeping his face up, and back towards the ground, it is known as a standard rappel.
A rappel happening over a beetling terrain, most commonly done by cavers, is known as a free rappel. In a free rappel, the person slides down the rope into an empty space as the rope keeps hanging free from the cliff.
When a climber faces downward instead of having their back facing the ground, it’s known as an Australian rappel. This type of rappelling can be very scary and dangerous.