Taking a rappel might seem like one of those easy things. However, you can only enhance your technique by drilling it repeatedly. As a result today, we will give you a complete guide to rappelling.
What is the best way to practice rappelling? Rappelling skills can be honed without exposing yourself to unnecessary danger by backing up on a top rope belay, drilling in a controlled environment, and receiving feedback from more experienced climbers. This article contains every detail of rappelling safely.
When practicing rappelling, it is important to find a setting where you not only have the ability to make mistakes, but you won’t have to worry about the consequences of those same mistakes if they occurred in ‘real’ circumstances. You can do this by removing the elements that pose the greatest danger during the rappel. In this way, you can learn the proper technique and identify any bad habits and work to fix them.
We will take a look at why rappelling is important and what elements to practice the most in the article below. Here are the techniques you can use to practice rappelling in more detail.
Why Practice Rappelling?
Rappelling isn’t practiced by a lot of people. It’s easy to feel as though you don’t need to make time for practice between training for your climbs, practicing your technique, and dealing with all the other time-consuming activities that life can throw your way. If we give into this complacency, however, we could suffer the consequences.
As surprising as it may seem, rappelling is among the most dangerous climbing activities. It’s likely due to the same kind of psychological factor that leads to most mountaineering accidents occurring on the descent: when you’ve accomplished your goal and the hard part of the journey is over, it’s easy to forget a key step to your safety protocol.
You can practice your rappels to the point where you become so proficient at every step – from backing up your anchor to tying a stopper knot – that you never forget. As a result, you will avoid falling due to a stupid mistake.
You should also practice your rappels so that if you have to use them in the future, it will be easier to do. Whether you are on a multi-pitch climb with an injured partner or the weather turns bad, the most important thing is to get to the ground as soon as possible. You don’t have time to remember how to set up the double rope or attach the ATC – it needs to be automatic. By repeating the same steps over and over again, you can ensure instant muscle memory.
What Should You Practice?
Based on our reading of Abc4 we have identified a few factors that could cause problems while rappelling.
- Stopper Knot Failure: Tying a stopper knot is one of those steps that should be automated. You must tie a knot at the end of your rope whether you’re belaying or rappelling to prevent it from slipping through your belay device. Likewise, a Nevada climber almost fell to her death after failing to do this while rappelling. Alex Honnold‘s injuries occurred as a result of failure to do this. Before rappelling, it is crucial to tie these knots.
- Losing control of the rappel: Too much speed, too thin a rope, or no backup knot can make the rappel dangerous. You need to ensure that you always have the ability to stop yourself when rappelling and building speed.
- Using the incorrect technique is a major factor when rappelling: Technique is everything while rappelling. Rappelling safely can be completely compromised by one small mistake, such as letting go of the rope.
- Observe the terrain: It’s not enough to know the landscape around you to ensure a safe rappel. Knowing what’s around you, whether it’s rockfall from above, the weather, or making sure you have another anchor point once your rappel is completed, is essential.
Please keep in mind that this list is completely exhaustive. There are almost endless ways for a rappel to go wrong. Although some of these mistakes are easily preventable. The above mentioned accidents are the most common ones that we found in accident reports on different websites.
With this in mind, where should you practice your rappels? Sticking to a routine that works for you is the most important thing. During the set-up of a rappel, you should perform the same steps from the instant your anchor is built down to the moment you are safely on the ground.
You are less likely to miss any steps when you have a routine and do everything the same way. Additionally, by making the moves automatic, there is less chance that you will forget to tie a knot or check an anchor when you are cold, tired, and hungry.
Following that, you should ensure you are well-educated. It depends on the knowledge that you have to what extent you can practice. Having good rappelling technique isn’t enough; you need to know terrain and how to rappel under various conditions. It is also useful to know how to do more advanced rappels, such as tandem rappels if something happens to your climbing partner.
In light of what we read up to this point, let’s talk a little more about how to practice.
How To Practice
Back Yourself Up On Top Rope
One of the best ways to ensure that nothing bad will happen to you on a rappel is to have a backup belayer. A friend or climbing partner can place another rope through your anchor before you start to descend and spot you with a top-roping technique before you start descending. Ropes should be kept slack enough to not interfere with the rappel, but tight enough that they’re available to help in case of an emergency.
Practicing new techniques on a top rope belay is also very beneficial. If you’re learning a new device, or practicing with a different backup knot, or experimenting with an unfamiliar move, being on belay will allow you to safely learn without risking taking a dangerous fall.
Practice in a Controlled Environment
On their first day of climbing, no one goes out and starts planning routes on El Capitan. People who climb gradually progress to more and more difficult situations as they improve their skills.
The same should apply to rappelling. Neither a multi-pitch descent in the dark nor a fifty-meter rappel through a pounding waterfall should be your first rappel. It’s important to increase the level of difficulty gradually so that you remain comfortable.
Practice in familiar environments is one of the best ways to do this. Climbing gyms, crags, or any other place you feel comfortable in can be used here. As with the methods listed above, this way of learning allows you to make mistakes in such a way that you can avoid any severe effects.
Learn From More Experienced Climbers
Experience is the only thing that can truly substitute for it. Even reading a lot of articles or watching a lot of YouTube videos will not provide you with an education as comprehensive as having another person teach you. Finding someone who is more experienced than you are, or hiring an experienced guide, is an essential part of ensuring your safety.
If you’re unsure about how to proceed, professional instruction is highly recommended. An experienced mountain guide will likely be able to provide you with more information than an old friend who has climbed the mountain before. Rappelling is a fairly inexpensive activity that can be learned from many great tour providers. You can use them to ensure that you will never be trapped in a situation that you cannot escape.
Frequently Asked Questions ( FAQs)
How to practice rappelling for beginners?
If you are a beginner and want to learn rappelling, then you need to check out this video right now!
What are the things that you need to practise while rappelling?
Is rappelling safe?
Using a modern system for rappelling is both safe and fun. As long as you have the proper equipment, you will be safe when rappelling. By using a backup hitch, a rappel system can be made fully redundant. Holding the rope won’t even require hands unless it’s to slide down a little.
Why is rappelling so dangerous?
Performing rappels can often be dangerous and scary, especially when you rely on anchors and ropes to hold you up. Sometimes, the anchors could fail while you are rappelling. If a stopper knot is not tied in the end of the rope, the knot connecting the two ropes can come untied.