As someone passionate about the outdoors, rappelling is definitely on my list of to do. Fortunately I have my friend whose organizing rappelling adventures and other outdoor activities. It was months since I am wanting to join their event, finally we had our full day reserved to enjoy this extra ordinary challenge!
I was amazed when we arrived at the place in Norzagaray, Bulacan. I didn’t know that some part of the province has a mountain scenery. The 25meter or 8-storey high bridge (where the water from Ipo Dam runs) is ideal for beginners and perfect site for practicing rappelling.
Marc, a climbing instructor, was more than knowledgeable about rappelling. Marc explained how to tie in and suit up in the harness, how to tie ropes, secure anchors, what climbing lingo to use and when to use it.
So there I was. All tied in and giddy with excitement as this was my first time rappelling. I looked at the spectacular scene around me and couldn’t help but feel extremely grateful to be in that very place at that very moment. On the way down, and back up for that matter, I was in a very calm, focused, Zen-like mindset. It was just me, the ropes, the scenery and the cliff (though at times I did notice several “good jobs” and other words of encouragement from my boyfriend and the group).
Here are the styles and techniques in rappelling, luckily I tried most of this techniques.
- Australian rappell — Involves descending facing down.
- Tandem or spider rappelling — Involves two climbers descending on the same belay device. This is done in some rescue situations when one of the climbers is incapacitated or the descent needs to be done quickly. The set up is similar to a regular rappelling set up with the first climber is girth hitched off a sling into the descender on the carabiner, and has an auto-block from belay loop of the harness to the rope as a backup. The second rappeller is also girth hitched into the belay device on the carabiner and also anchored into the main rappeller’s harness as a back-up.
- Simul rappelling — Two separate rappellers on the two strands of the rope running through the anchors. Both rappellers need to descend at the same speed and should be anchored into each other to avoid one getting ahead and causing problems.
- Counterbalance rappelling — Used typically by a leader to reach an injured second. Idea is to rappel off on one strand of rope, using the incapacitated second’s weight on the other strand of the rope to counterbalance.
- Releasable abseil – Used by some guides with inexperienced abseilers. A rope is set up by anchoring it with a munter hitch and locking off the non-rappelling strand of the rope. The client descends on the non-locked strand of the rope. The guide unlocks the other strand and lowers the client or the rappeller if the client gets into trouble. Useful with an inexperienced rappeller or when the rappeller gets into trouble, for example, by getting a piece of clothing or hair entangled in the descender.
- Classical (non-mechanical methods) — Generally more dangerous and used only in emergencies when no other option is available. They involve descending without aid of mechanical devices, by wrapping the rope around the body, and were used before the advent of harnesses and hardware.
- South African classical abseil (double-roped)- This method is less dangerous as it provides better body support than the classical abseil.
If you’re looking for a fun new adventure, give this a try. You’ll surely feel some achievement after conquering you fear in heights. Next on my list, Rock Climbing! 🙂
Thank you so much The Extreme Adventure Zone!