Abseil

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(Redirected from Rappel)

In British English, abseiling (from the German abseilen, "to rope down") is the process of descending on a fixed rope.

It is also known as: abbing (British slang), rappeling (or rappelling), rapping (American slang), roping down, roping, seiling or jumping (Australian slang), snapling, snappling or snappeling (Israeli slang).

Abseiling is used in a number of applications, including:

  • Rock climbers returning to the base of a climb or to a point where they then try a new route.
  • Recreational abseilers, who return to the top of the line by track, stairs or other methods and abseil again.
  • Recreational canyoners, who travel down mountainous watercourses where waterfalls or cliffs may need to be descended and simply jumping is too dangerous or impossible.
  • Recreational caving, where underground pitches are accessed using this method.
  • Adventure racers, whose events often including abseiling and other rope work.
  • Industrial/Commercial workers, who may use abseiling techniques to access parts of structures or buildings so as to perform maintenance, cleaning or construction. (eg window cleaners, railway scalers, quarry workers, etc.)
  • Access to wildfire by rapelling from a hovering helicopter.
  • Military applications, such as rapid deployment from helicopters or access to buildings as part of raids, etc.
  • Confined spaces access, such as investigating ballast tanks and other areas of ships.
  • Rescue applications, such as accessing injured people or accident sites (vehicle or aircraft) and extracting the casualty using abseiling techniques.

The majority of abseiling is done using specially designed devices called descenders which allow the abseiler to connect themselves to the rope and control their rate of descent (through adjusting the level of friction applied to the rope by the device). There is also the older but uncomfortable method of wrapping the rope around one's body for friction, as in the Dulfersitz or Geneva methods popularly used by climbers in the 1960s.

Missing image
Descending_from_Cliffs_-_Project_Gutenberg_eText_14681.jpg
Descending from cliffs; an 1872 illustration of a technique - not abseiling, since the rope is fixed to the descending person, and is being let out at the top by his or her companion. Don't try this at home...

Practice and equipment

Helmets are worn to protect the head from bumps and falling rocks. When needed, the primary light source is mounted on the helmet in order to keep the hands free.

Gloves protect hands from the rope and from hits with the wall. On the feet boots are worn.

Knee-pads (and sometimes elbow-pads) are popular for protecting joints during crawls or hits.

Ropes are used for descending. Various mechanical devices are used for controlling the speed of descending, attaching rope to the rock or wall and to the abseiler. These braking devices, or descenders include the basic crossed-carabiner brake, braking bars, figure eight, and the "sky genie" used by some window-washers and wildfire firefighters.

A lightweight retrieving line or reepschnur can be used for releasing or pulling down a rappel rope from the anchor point once a siege climber has reached the bottom of a pitch, thus permitting a longer rappel (the entire length of the rope rather than half).

See also

List of climbing topicsca:Doble corda de:Abseilen

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