January 25, 2021

Is Rappelling a Sport or Just a Dangerous Activity?

by Brad

The initial question which generally comes to mind whenever it concerns rappelling is if rappelling is dangerous. And while I did find a and answer the question above in another article, I want to answer the second most questioned question on rappelling—is rappelling a sport? Officially, rappelling is not a sport.

What I mean is that there aren’t global competitions organized for rappelling. There are no rewards listed for winners. But, there are still several local competitions for rappelling in various sections of the world.

It is all as much as the imagination of the organization. Truthfully, I have solely participated in a couple of rappelling competitions. Those were set amongst family members and friends.

Sport rappelling may not be identified officially in rock climbing; however, it could suit a form of fair competition. What’s the goal of rappelling? It is to abseil a cliff or slope using protection and gear whenever it is too harmful or risky.

The rappelling enthusiasts could pace towards the bottom line. They usually see who possesses some mastery over the fundamental rappelling techniques. I’ve recently received a question from a rappelling enthusiast about how to measure the ape index. I’ve written an article covering what the ape index is and how to measure your ape index.


Table of Contents
Rappelling Sport

How Does the Rappelling Sport Work and What are the Guidelines for Rappelling?

The level of skill, the goal, and the people involved all play an important role. Typically, sport rappelling consists of two or more people competing against each other, while a third party measures the time they take to reach the ground safely.

Abseiling or rappelling fast is more challenging than it looks since you cannot move on and hope for the best rappelling descender to carry out all the heavy tasks on your behalf.

When there are hurdles involved, they should be tackled appropriately. Additionally, frequently stopping ensures that the anchors remain reliable and that the equipment continues to work properly.

You can also tackle sport rappelling by setting a fixed time and requiring each competitor to prepare their gear and anchor. In the end, the setup would be timed and checked by an independent party.

Related Article: What Does Rappelling Mean?

Where Can You Take Part in Sport Rappelling?

Costa Rica is one of the best locations for rappelling, canyoning, and waterfall rappelling. It also seems to be a well-known rappelling location on the globe. For waterfall sport rappelling particularly, it is undoubtedly a top location to head to. I suggest this trip to Costa Rica when you get the time.

There are a couple of waterfall sports rappelling locations within Costa Rica canyoning places. This is a location the home to the world’s most spectacular and tallest waterfalls. You will be capable of doing skill-testing under professional supervision. 

This would as well place together rappel races short on the faces of rock. The majority of the individuals make use of fig-8 equipment/devices for rappelling competitions. However, someone should always use an ATC as a backup above.

But, you could see how quickly you could sport rappel in a more limited environment like rock climbing gyms. Most of these gyms possess towers for rappelling, which can help you sharpen your skill before a real competition locally.

It’s critical to remember that climbing gyms can be more comfortable and safer than rappelling on real rocks. However, they can’t simulate the challenges you might face when you go out there for real.

Specifically, I’m referring to natural obstacles like shrubs, slick surfaces, and wind. You can practice rappelling in rock climbing gyms as long as you keep in mind that there is no substitute for rappelling outdoors.

Is Rappelling a Sport

Related Article: What is the Difference between Bouldering and Rock Climbing?

Is Rappelling and Ziplining the Same Activity?

Rappelling and ziplining don’t mean the same, though several individuals often mistake and confuse the two. The primary difference is that sport rappelling is carried vertically away from a cliff face, while ziplining involves the plane’s comparatively horizontal motion. 

Ziplining does not need more skills or knowledge as the individual simply requires to be properly strapped. Follow the handler’s instructions before heading to ziplining. When the tread starts, sit back and take pleasure in the sight to the other side. This is all that should be done.

Finishing a zipline tour is the toughest section of the trip. You should stop appropriately to avoid slamming into the zipline poll. The majority of the time, the poll is wrapped in a certain kind of shock-absorbent to keep things easy for a beginner.

Related Article: Top Places for Ziplining and Waterfall Rappelling in Puerto Rico

I do pleasure in an occasional trip of ziplining across pine trees and tall peaks. However, ziplining has very little to do with rappelling. Rappelling is a lot more harmful as compared to vertical descent controllably. Many things can get tedious, wrong, and human error factors within an equation in rappelling.

Slacklining is a lot tougher since it includes walking or balancing on a flat suspended piece of webbing, which is pulled at its edges by two anchors. Slacklining is identical to the rope walking technique. It is one of the most adventurous and thrilling activities.

An individual practicing it ought to be always anchored to the webbing to avoid any danger. Solo slacking for free has been carried with tremendous success. However, I wouldn’t recommend going to one.

Ziplining

Related Article: Top Places for Ziplining and Waterfall Rappelling in Maui

Is Rappelling Ever Going to Become a Real Sport?

Unless the game’s rule changes in a big way, rappelling may never become a real sport. Climbing equipment has come a long way over the years, and abseiling and rock climbing are now safer than ever. When it comes to rappelling, it’s difficult to find a true competitive element.

This is why it does not need a lot of body strength like rock climbing. Maybe it is as we aren’t combating gravity in sport rappelling and more like surviving it. Some feel rappelling like an extreme sport or an easy way to prevent a tiresome and long descent.

The enthusiasts who rappel out there do it primarily for the thrill and fun of it, as I am one among them. But, I didn’t picture myself in any competitions in sports rappelling and winning it. That is the entire point.

Certain aspects of living trigger competition among people. Anything like skiing, basketball, running, and football involves speed. To be appropriate, we depend primarily on our equipment and don’t pace up things as we rarely have the need.

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About the author 

Brad

Brad is a professional climber in the discipline of traditional climbing. He often jokes that he can get a book to read during the long climbs. Of course, it always goes well with a good cup of coffee. Drinking coffee is his safer hobby.

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