Rappel rack setup for backup safety for new rappelers.


Original Post
BigRockJim · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2016 · Points: 30

I hope this is an acceptable place to ask this question.

I started rappelling in high school 20+ years ago. Haven't always been big into it but have always had it around. I got even more training on the fire dept as well but 12 years ago. Not a complete rookie but not a trainer either. I have taken up climbing and totally dig it! Anyhow..... I have a group of friends that want to take a trip and do some climbing and rappelling. I got this. But I want a backup lol.

When we trained in high school our JROTC commander setup a rappel rack on the top and left enough room to completely lower anyone down. Since most everyone going on this trip has never rappelled I do believe I would be dumb not to do this. No w in my mind I have it figured out. I have looked and looked and not seen anyone else setting up anything like this. Just trying to make myself feel better by seeing someone else's setup or hearing ideas in how others would do this. A nice YouTube video would be awesome too.

But my thoughts: obviously the tie-off and a backup that connects to the descender. Run the middle of the rope through the descender and toss the lower end of the descender over the rappel. Tie off with the end that will stay up top. Simply rappel off, maybe even use the top left up top as a 3rd back up.

It is just sounding too simple in my mind here..... am I missing something?

Marc801 C · · Sandy, Utah · Joined Feb 2014 · Points: 65
BigRockJim wrote:I hope this is an acceptable place to ask this question. I started rappelling in high school 20+ years ago. Haven't always been big into it but have always had it around. I got even more training on the fire dept as well but 12 years ago. Not a complete rookie but not a trainer either. I have taken up climbing and totally dig it! Anyhow..... I have a group of friends that want to take a trip and do some climbing and rappelling. I got this. But I want a backup lol. When we trained in high school our JROTC commander setup a rappel rack on the top and left enough room to completely lower anyone down. Since most everyone going on this trip has never rappelled I do believe I would be dumb not to do this. No w in my mind I have it figured out. I have looked and looked and not seen anyone else setting up anything like this. Just trying to make myself feel better by seeing someone else's setup or hearing ideas in how others would do this. A nice YouTube video would be awesome too. But my thoughts: obviously the tie-off and a backup that connects to the descender. Run the middle of the rope through the descender and toss the lower end of the descender over the rappel. Tie off with the end that will stay up top. Simply rappel off, maybe even use the top left up top as a 3rd back up. It is just sounding too simple in my mind here..... am I missing something?
Yes - you are not remotely qualified to set up raps or top ropes for anyone else. The lack of knowledge demonstrated in your indecipherable description of what you intend to do indicates the need for a ton more learning on your part before you can even think of taking out others.
Seriously, don't do this.
Yes, keep asking questions, but taking out others means taking responsibility for their safety.
Will Carney · · Tallulah Falls, GA · Joined Aug 2014 · Points: 110

Hey Jim, it sounds like you are referring to a belayed rappel, or releasable rappel which is a complex setup for experienced persons, let alone someone who has never rigged one. My advice would be to get further instruction before leading others into the vertical environment. It's admirable to want to share the experience but you are ultimately taking responsibility for those in your party. Best of luck.

Nathan Hui · · San Diego, CA · Joined Feb 2016 · Points: 0

+1 to what's already been said.

But additionally, there are many ways to rig a rappel, and it completely depends on what techniques the rappelers are using, and how much safety you need. Generally, I'm teaching people I know to be halfway competent how to do rappels using two strands (i.e. rappelling on two strands using an ATC or similar tube style device), so I'll just rig a top belay. However, if I needed to worry about the rappellers getting stuck midway on the rappel, I now need to rig a releasable anchor so I can lower the rappeller from the top, and this isn't a simple rig. It gets more fun when the rappeller isn't using a third hand.

BTW, the rappel techniques used in FD, SAR, rope access, canyoneering, caving, and climbing are all slightly different, and use different gear. In fact, from what I've seen, the military teaches yet another method.

My recommendation would be to take a couple rappelling courses with a buddy, and watching very closely what the instructor does. Then, go and practice between yourselves. Once you can rig a variety of systems in your sleep and evaluate each of those systems for safety, and think through how to rescue your rappeller in a variety of scenarios, then maybe think about teaching others how to rappel. This is the burden of being responsible.

Edit: emphasizing the differences in rappel techniques between fields

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

Post a Reply

Log In to Reply