In rappelling, a person uses a controlled technique to climb down a steep and dangerous rock. This is not only an adventure sport that is famous all over the world but is also the process which is routinely used in certain industries. In many construction and engineering industries, trained technicians use their rappelling skills to gain access to difficult areas at the top of a huge or steep rock. Most of the times, this technique is used as part of rescue operations in the event of natural calamities like floods, earthquakes etc. Some of the common equipments used in rappelling are the following – rope, anchor, rappel device (which is used to control the movement of the rope in an organized manner), climbing harness (which is tied around the waist of the person while climbing, to provide him complete protection), auto blocks (buffers that come into the play in the event of the person losing control), helmets (should be mandatorily worn so that the person can protect himself from heavy and unexpected falls), gloves (to give protection for the hands and prevent injuries that might occur due to hitting against the rock or rough surface or soreness due to holding to the ropes for long durations of time), boots (to get a proper grip on the rocky and complex surfaces) and knee pads (to provide complete protection to the joints during crawling on the rope).

Types of Rappelling

The following are the different types of rappelling methods that are practiced in many countries today.

Standard Rappel

In this method, the climber positions himself in such a way that his back faces the ground and his feet are on the rock. He bends himself down the mountain and starts climbing down once he is suspended from the rope.

Free Rappel

As the name indicates, in a free rappel, the rope is slid down into a vacant space as the rappelling is usually done on terrains that are over-hanging. Since, the rope hangs down feely from the cliff, this kind of activity is mostly useful for cavers.

Australian Rappel

This is one of the most dangerous and riskiest methods of rappelling. Here, the climber faces the ground directly, unlike the standard type, where the climber’s back faces the ground.

Military Rappel

These are done by soldiers. They do in a unique way as they push off the structures from where they jump. Here, the focus is more on the speed of jumping than on getting down the rock or building.

Rescue Rappel

These kind of rappelling activities are done only during emergency situations, as part of rescue operations. Here, the climber carries another injured person around his harness (tied around the waist) and climbs down the rock. This activity gives immense pressure to the rope and the harness, hence, it should be done only by people who are professionally trained for the same.

Simultaneous Rappel

Two climbers are involved in this kind of rappelling. The two sides of the rope are tied to two sides of a tower and the climbers keep climbing down on opposite ends at the same time in a rhythmic and synchronised manner.

Important Rappelling Areas

Rappelling is one of the most sought after adventure sports activities in the country. There are many instructors available for teaching this to the tourists at important places like Rishikesh, Uttaranchal, Karnataka, Sikkim, Himachal Pradesh and Maharashtra. Tourists are increasingly coming forward to engage in this activity, leaving behind all their fears and apprehensions.  Waterfall rappelling too is preferred by many tourists today and the areas where this can be done are Bekhare Waterfall at Bhivpuri, Vihigaon Waterfalls, Vardayini Waterfalls and Kundalika River.


The first and foremost tip that you must follow before you venture into rappelling is the tightness of your rope and how strongly they are connected to the points. You should be thorough on how to adjust your rope in case you feel any discomfort during rappelling. You should know which side to pull during an emergency. The ends of your ropes should not have any knots, because knots will prevent the free movement of the ropes along the anchor points, thereby causing fatal accidents. You must also be extra cautious and check if your harness is double-packed and if your entire rappelling device is nicely fitted in the right places before you set out to rappel.

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