How to Rappel with Just a Rope

How to Rappel with Just a Rope? – All you Need to Know

I bet you can’t deny that Bear Grylls from Man vs Wild really made our childhood adventurous. Even if you weren’t physically present there, your mind was always hooked on trekking and exploring, wasn’t it?

Well, I can’t speak for you more, but that’s where I have acquired my trekking habit.

And one of the most daunting tasks that I had faced was to rappel using a single rope during emergency descent calls.

Wanna know how to rappel with just a rope? Here, follow the techniques stated below and you will never caught off guard.

Things to Keep in Mind

The very first and most important thing that you should take into account is that rappelling using just a rope is not the first option to look upto. What I am trying to say is that it’s not something you should be accustomed to.

This thing solely exists for emergency purposes.

While mountaineering, unforeseeable consequences can intimidate professionals, let alone amateurs. And to prevent any major injuries or calamity from emerging, this guide is necessary.

For every trekker, male or female scout, explorer, or any learner, this survival hack is only reasonable. Undoubtedly, carrying a huge baggage of gears or essentials all the time is very exhausting. Hence, keeping a rope will help you get out of a semi-safe emergency descent.

To conclude, always make sure to keep a static, 10.5mm diameter rope, which is 200 feet long or more but not less than that. The rule of thumb is the thicker the rope, the higher the friction and wear resistance.

Setting Up the Rappel

Before you start rappelling, you gotta find the anchor to rappel yourself using a rope solely.

And needlessly to say, the anchor should be a rock-solid substance that can withstand all the pressure and tension. For instance, always go for natural anchors such as trees or boulders.

Because nothing works greater than them in this regard. Speaking of these, various types of rappelling criteria are formulated for diverse purposes.

Depending on the individual’s resolution of rappelling, you have to choose the rappelling techniques.

Mainly there are three types of them, which are very famous and best for vertices –Dülfersitz rappel, the safest friction-resistant South African rappel, and finally, the most suitable arm rappel for landing on inclined slopes.

Here, I have categorized them distinctly only to help you fathom the individuality of each type or how they work.

Rappelling with Just a Rope – Step by Step

Here, I will be discussing the Dülfersitz rappel and South African one as these two are the most efficient and mostly practiced. Check ’em out one by one.

Rappelling Method 1: Dülfersitz Rappel

to perform the Dülfersitz rappelling method, follow these simple steps:

  • Step 1

First thing first, remember that you have to make the letter “z” on your body; hence, if your end result doesn’t look like what it’s supposed to, then redo it.

  • Step 2

Now to begin, take one side of the rope and run it above your one leg while sliding another under the other leg

  • Step 3

Once you are done, keep pulling the rope over your chest and behind your neck. While doing it, ensure pulling it towards your chest.

  • Step 4

Here, you have your brake hand and guide hand. And you have to use them accordingly.

With your brake hand or the lower hand, grasp the loose end when you run the rope behind your back arm.

And with your guide hand, you use the top hand to clutch the top rope, which is between your body and the natural anchor. Make sure that your guide hand isn’t tied with anything.

It should be solely focusing on the top rope that saves you from falling. And the brake hand will do as it refers to ‘braking or stopping you to rappel.’

  • Step 5

Start the descent, resort to the speed you are comfortable with; for slacking, keep your brake hand away from the body.

  • Step 6

Lastly, push off the front of the vertices by following a small, hopping manner.

Rappelling Method 2: The South African Rappel

To perform the South African rappel method, follow these steps and always remember that it’s solely made for sloped or vertical descent.

  • Step 1

Hold the side of the rope which is wrapped around the tree. Use both of your hands for doing so.

  • Step 2

Raise each side of the rope so that you can balance your body.

  • Step 3

Enter the rappelling rope underneath your armpits and cross them in the back. Now step over each rope so that the rope comes down and get your groin and off to one side. Here, you have to wrap your brake arm using both rope ends and hold it tightly with your brake hand or lower hand.

  • Step 4

Once you are done, use your guide hand in order to fasten both ropes between your body and the natural anchor.

  • Step 5

Start the descent by bending back into the ropes. Maintain a comfortable pace without rushing over.

Final Words

So, these are two techniques to help you rappel with a single rope. However, I totally forgot to mention that you have to wear appropriate clothing, which is thicker and long-sleeved. Otherwise, you might get injured.

Lastly, don’t try these if there’s no emergency as they aren’t comfortable at all. They cause rope burns and bristles your skin like crazy.

Hence, double-check everything, take all the safety measures you can, and try to have backups to prevent major accidents.

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