In order to enjoy the outdoors fully, you always need to be prepared. Consider a hypothetical situation in which you are on a mountaintop or on a cliff and you have to descend, but only have one rope – no harness, no carabiners, no other equipment for descending. In an emergency situation such as this, it is crucial that you know how to descend safely while putting your safety first. How are you going to rappel with the help of just a rope?
The Dülfersitz rappel, the arm rappel, and the South African rappel method are the three ways to rappel using just a rope. Your only needs are a good – preferably static – `rope and a sturdy anchor. Rappelling techniques should be used only in emergency situations and should be handled with caution. Therefore, training before using them is highly recommended for your safety. If you want to know about rappelling on a dynamic rope then check out this article!
Be sure you are holding a high-quality rope before you attempt any of these techniques. To reach the ground safely and comfortably, your rope needs to be sufficiently thick and long to withstand friction while still remaining wear-resistant. After that, anchor your rope on a stable rock or tree to set up your rappel. After you have lowered any unnecessary weight, you can start rappelling your way down using either a Dülfersitz rappel, an arm rappel, or a South African rappel technique.
Determining which one of these techniques would be best for you will depend on your particular situation. It is important to know the key differences between rope rappelling and rope-free rappelling, evaluate the situation you are in, and pick the best method.
The Dülfersitz Rappel
It is best suited to using the Dülfersitz rappel technique, named after the German climber Hans Dülfer, when rappelling along slopes where your legs can touch the ground. This involves doubling up your rope in a “Z” shape and wrapping it around your groin, thigh, chest, and shoulder. Thus, you must run the rope over one leg and under the other before running it across your torso and behind your neck. Grasp it firmly in your hand and pull it around the backside of your arm. You will use this hand as your brake hand. Ensure your brake hand and the leg with the rope behind it are on the same side. Using your other hand as a guide will be helpful. You can then start descending as soon as you’ve finished setting up. You can gradually feed rope by pulling your brake hand away from you. As you descend, push yourself off the terrain with your legs.
The Arm Rappel
The arm rappel is another option if you need to rappel just with a rope. As well as inclined terrain, this technique is suitable for slippery terrain due to loose rocks or rain. Prepare your rappel by running the rope behind your back and under your armpits. There is no need to double up this time. Next, wrap the rope around your arms once more so that it rests in your hands. It is your guide hand that is on top here and your break hand that is facing downwards. By applying friction to your arms when descending, you are able to control your speed.
The South African Rappel
A South African mountaineering instructor called Andrew Friedemann introduced the South African rappel, which is used when descending on extremely vertical or sloped terrain. The middle of your rope should be twisted around your anchor, while the two strands should be held together with your hands at your shoulders. Next, wrap the two strands around your torso again and cross them behind your back. As you pull both ends between your legs, they should be wrapped around one side of your break hand, where they should go. You can start descending while leaning back into the rope and jumping off the slope using your feet, while your guide grasps both strands. Due to the larger surface area of friction in this case, your rappel will be less painful, while your descent will also be more controlled.
Since we’ve taught you how to rappel with a rope, let’s talk about why you might want to use it.
Why Rappel With Just A Rope
Rappelling with just a rope should only be done in emergency situations. Whenever you have the choice, you should always go for a more secure method like using a harness, a carabiner, a safety knot, and other gear that makes your descent a carefree one.
Using only a rope as a rappelling technique should be used only in an emergency. It can literally save your life if, for some reason, you need to rappel down a cliff or mountain, or even if you need to escape a tall building, and you don’t have all the necessary equipment.
As a matter of fact, knowing how to rappel with just one rope can be useful even when you are in an unexpected outdoor adventure and need to lower yourself safely down a cliff. Consider a situation in which you are trapped on a balcony or roof of a tall building, and you cannot escape by normal means. If the stairs or elevator can’t be used – let’s say there is a fire in the building, an earthquake, or any other danger. There is a good chance that you won’t have a full climbing gear set on you in a situation like this. You will significantly increase your chances of survival by knowing how to rappel with just a rope.
Safety Tips For Rappelling With Just A Rope
Though rappelling with just a rope isn’t as safe as traditional rappelling, you can feel more comfortable and secure by following some simple instructions.
Check out these safety tips before rappelling with just a rope:
- Verify that the rope is static, thick, and long, and that it shows no signs of wear
- Stable anchors are best
- Get rid of any excess weight
- Position yourself properly around the rope
- If possible, wear gloves or cloth to protect your skin
- Don’t let go of the rope
As a result of less stretch, the rope is less dangerous and more comfortable to descend with. An ideal diameter of rope would be between 8 and 10 mm – this will allow you to safely rappel but not get in the way. In addition, your rope needs to be long enough for you to reach the ground – you definitely don’t want to get stuck somewhere in the middle of the descent. Another thing to keep in mind is that rope friction will cause it to wear out, so keep the rope in good condition too.
To reduce the risk of falling, you should use a sturdy anchor (such as a large boulder or tree trunk) as your anchor. If you have unnecessary equipment on your back or even a backpack, lower it to the ground before you start rappelling – an obstruction in the way could prove problematic. Your rope should be wrapped around you in a way that keeps you safe and allows you to control the speed of your descent. Use any gloves or cloth that you may have on you to protect yourself from the – otherwise inevitable – rope burns.
If you find yourself in a situation in which you need to rappel without a harness or any other gear, you can use a Dülfersitz rappel, an arm rappel, or a South African rappel technique. However, all of these classic rappelling methods are only meant to be used in an emergency.
There are, however, emergencies that can’t be predicted. Being prepared is therefore important. Having a rope handy when rappelling can be an invaluable skill to have in a situation like this. Learning and practicing these techniques should be done with the help of a professional. Prepare yourself for when you need to use them. Remember to stay mindful, follow all steps correctly, and double-check everything when rappelling with nothing but your rope, since there is no room for mistakes. Keep your safety in mind at all times!
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):
How to rappel with just a rope?
If you want to know, how to rappel with just a rope then you need to check out this video!
Can you rappel with a carabiner?
Yes, you can rappel with a carabiner. You need to use the carabiner brake method, which requires 4 to 6 carabiners. This can be done with a single strand or double strand of rope. Carabiner brakes are the standard method of rappelling without a belay device. However, it is more complicated to set up than the munter hitch method.
Can you rappel with a Munter?
As a backup belay device and as a rappel device, the munter hitch can be used if you only have one locking carabiner. When used to lower, however, this method tends to cause unwanted kinks and twists and requires a single fixed-line.
How do you rappel with rope and harness?
If you want to learn how to rappel with a rope and harness, then check out this video right now.