Basic Rappelling Safety



A longtime middle school teacher, Douglas Grant has a background in counseling. After 14 years of interacting with kids as a counselor, he realized he had a passion for teaching. He now leverages this background in building unique connections with his students. Outside of his responsibilities as a teacher, Douglas “Doug” Grant enjoys staying active by hiking and rappelling.

Rappelling is sliding down a rope while pushing your feet against the surface of a rock. By the time many climbers start rappelling down a mountain, they may be tired, hungry, or distracted, which can open the way for a multitude of mistakes.

Using an autoblock knot or hitch below the rappel device adds a safety backup that lets climbers focus on managing the ropes. An autoblock is a simple way of helping a climber stay in control during times that might otherwise end in injury.

It is also important to carefully use the proper technique when sliding down. Typically, it is best to maintain a position similar to sitting. The grip on the rope should stay relaxed, and the dominant hand should operate as the brake hand.

Finally, when a climber reaches the end of the rope, a knot at the end will prevent the climber from rappelling off the end. While knots can be tedious to tie, they can greatly increase climbers’ safety.