Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Focus When Rappelling

As you progress in your climbing, you are going to be reaching higher and higher heights. To get down from your successful climb, you are going to have to rappel.

Rappelling is simply the act of lowering yourself back down to earth after blissfully completing a climb. When doing the climb, gravity was you enemy. With rappelling, it is your friend as long as you go about it correctly. Gravity never gives up, so you have to be careful.

Let’s face it, a good climb is an adrenaline rush. You can get so caught up in it that you lose track of everything else. Whether you are pushing your limits or just enjoying a familiar climb, all of your focus in on completing the route. Once you finish the climb, there is a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction. Unfortunately, many climbers also tend to relax and slack on their focus when rappelling back down. This often results in more injuries and accidents than you might imagine are possible.

To avoid injuries, you need to focus when rappelling and go through the basics. Make sure your anchors are solid. Check your knots to make sure everything is solid. Take the time to make sure your rappel brake and harness are properly adjusted. If you have long hair, make sure it is clear of the ropes and brake or you could soon have a very painful haircut. If the length of the rope may not be enough for the cliff, make sure to tie it off with a large knot so you don’t find out the hard way when you get to the bottom.

Yes, all of this is common sense. Rappelling safely, however, requires a common sense attention to details. If you fail to get the details right, a glorious day of climbing can end very badly. Nobody wants that.

Rick Chapo is with NomadJournals.com - makers of rock climbing journals.

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