How Many Carabiners Do I Need for Rappelling?

How Many Carabiners Do I Need for Rappelling

If it’s possible, you’ll most likely prefer to rappel using your tube-design belay device. However, sometimes this might not be possible.

Maybe if you’re climbing while belaying using a Gri-Gri and do not have a belaying gadget, you can rappel down with two strands of rope. 

Also, it could be that you lost your belay device, and you’re trying to find a different way of lowering yourself from the mountain or rock. This is where rappelling with a carabiner comes in. 

This is an essential skill that you need to learn just in case you ever require it. But, how many carabiners do I need for rappelling?

Continue reading to find out more. While carabiner rappels are dangerous, it is the most suitable method of descending if you do not have a suitable rope for rappelling

How Many Carabiners I Need for Rappelling

With all the research we’ve done, we’ve created the following guide. You require at least two rappelling-specific carabiners for rappelling and a maximum of six. 

However, the safest method of rappelling with a carabiner is referred to as a six-carabiner rappel. This technique utilizes three pairs of carabiners organized in an opposing and opposite way to generate friction in the mechanism. 

Six-Carabiner Rappel

This method essentially utilizes carabiners to set up a makeshift model of a typical ATC. You utilize a pair of carabiners to connect to the harness belay loop, the other pair for the rope to feed through, and the last two to generate friction within the mechanism. 

This rappelling technique allows you to set up a rappel that will function similarly to what you`ve become accustomed to from your rappelling gadget. Of course, it has a few drawbacks, and it is not as comfortable as utilizing a gri-gri or another similar device. 

Carabiners for Rappelling

On the other hand, if you find yourself in a situation where you have no other option, this can be the most reliable method to descend safely. In this guide, I will continue to explore different techniques you can use to descend using carabiners.

So, What if You Do not Have Six Carabiners?

So what happens if you have less than six carabiners to spare, don’t worry, you will manage to descend safely. In this situation, it would be best to utilize a modified model of the six-carabiner method. 

Yes, you can make your descend with just four carabiners; attach the first one to your harness. It would be best if the carabiner is a locking carabiner.

Use the other two carabiners to set up the frame and the last one to generate friction within the mechanism. With this, you will be just as safe, but you will not have that much control. 

It is common knowledge that rappelling takes a relative amount of gear, and it could turn out to be a bit confusing to ascertain what`s mandatory, the best way to do it, and optional.

As mentioned above, the minimum number of carabiners you can use for rappelling is 2, preferably locking ones. However, this depends on the kind of rappelling method you use. 

However, before doing your first rappel, consider if you need to take a course to learn how to rappel.

Carabiner Brake Technique 

Locking Carabiners for Rappelling

This method utilizes four to six carabiners. The number of carabiners you require will depend solely on the way you set up. This rappelling technique works perfectly with oval-shaped carabiners.

It is simple to establish, and the rappel will feel softer. In case you only have pear-shaped or offset D-shaped carabiners, ensure that you will adjust them accordingly. 

Munter Hitch Technique 

This rappelling system is also referred to as the Crossing or Italian hitch. Rappelling using the munter hitch is similar to belaying using a munter hitch.

This method is handy if you have fewer than four carabiners. It is the way to go if you don’t have enough carabiners to pull off the carabiner brake technique. 

It requires just one locking carabiner or a pair of non-locking ones. Some climbers prefer utilizing this method on double ropes since it generates a lot of friction for rappelling.

On the other hand, some find the friction to be too much. The extra friction can be handy when rappelling with bulky loads or on overhanging or steep terrain. You need to try and find out which one is suitable for various situations. 


Rappelling is a fun sport, and using carabiners makes it more stimulating. While some of us might find it tricky, others prefer using carabiners for the thrill.

No matter how many carabiners you use when rappelling, make sure that you know when it’s time to retire carabiners.

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