by Jullie

April 6, 2021

What Does Rappelling Mean

Rappelling is an exciting sport climbing that can be dangerous if not very careful. But what is rappelling and what does rappelling mean? Rappelling is an act of descending a super steep slope while holding on to a rope fastened at the top of the mountain. 

The activity is an excellent option to help you descend and climb multi-pitch routes. With rappelling climbing, always ensure that safety is your priority. While at it, you will at one point come across complicated situations. 

What is rappel? It is to descend a rock, a slope, or a vertical surface using a doubled rope attached around your body and another part fixed at the higher end; abseil.

What Is Rappelling

Rappelling needs one to have the ideal equipment to go through successfully or in a secure manner. A rappelling gear includes ropes, and most climbers use a similar rope they use while climbing a slope for rappelling.

Other rappelling gears used include anchors used to support the rope, descenders to allow alpinists in feeding the rope in a controlled way, and a fitting harness tied around your body to work in conjunction with your descender to help lower your body slowly to the cliff. 

The majority of people make many mistakes, but you should not fret since that is a way of learning. It would be best if you never gave up but keep learning more about what rappelling is.

However, just learning rappelling climbing is not good enough if you are not aware of when to be cautious. It is an important section that you must know. 

Is Rappelling Dangerous

During rappelling, the trust is in your body. The anchor system attached to your body should be the one ensuring that you are safe. Therefore, it’s the system that supports you from the dangers that come with rappelling.

Rappelling is a hard task for beginners. Therefore, it’s advisable to learn and practice. For the rappelling anchor system, you have to know when to be careful not to face challenging situations. You must prioritize safety and make sure it is secure if you want protection. 

Man Rappelling from a Tree

Learning and practicing are significant as it helps minimize any rappelling risks associated before trying out rappelling climbing. With that, climbers tend to avoid complicated situations if they consider the few things to avoid. 

Unfortunately, there have been several rappelling injuries, accidents, and fatalities. Most climbers begin to descend without confirming that the system works. Often, you should be prepared and ensure everything is intact before rappelling climbing. 

Therefore, rappelling can be dangerous, and you must depend on the entire rappelling system, your carabiners, rappel device, and the rappelling and climbing ropes.

Also, any other devices you carry to tackle the next colossal wall. Make use of rappelling gloves and helmets for rappelling to keep you safe and secure throughout the rappelling process.

Keep in mind that you need to trust the rappelling gear and use other devices where intended. Besides, learn the typical mistakes caused while rappelling. For instance, an inadequate anchor might impact balancing.

Challenges That Occur When Rappelling

As mentioned earlier, rappelling could be dangerous if measures are not adhered to accordingly. The entire trust is on the anchors and ropes.

Various things might go wrong when rappelling. Just like you have learned what rappelling climbing is, let’s go through what challenges you could come across.

Man Rappelling Down
  • Your anchor’s system might fail.
  • You might forget to tie the stopper knot to your ropes.
  • Connecting knot can untie.
  • You might forget the auto-hold.
  • Hair or t-shirt might stick in your device.
  • You can lose control of your system.
  • Your rope can cut off.
  • When pulling your rope, it might stick.

Take Away

Note that there are challenging situations while rappelling climbing. It’s recommendable to be careful and mindful to be safe and protect yourself from its dangers. Despite the risks, rappelling is adventurous, easy descending way, and fun. 

While climbing and you feel worn out, ensure to check the rappelling system. You can triple-check your device to be confident and feel safe in gear.

You should also check on the team you are rappelling with, focus on the system and harness to ensure they are safe. Often check on your ropes for maximum safety.

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About the author 

Jullie

Jullie is a professional indoor climber. She loves speed climbing competitions. This style makes her feel like she's flying. Maybe because her other passion is flying airplanes. Obviously, high speeds are her thing.

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