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|Congratulations on finishing the climb! Enjoy the view. Now, you need to get down safely.||
There are four steps needed to rappel off a single pitch route:
Almost all lead climbs have an anchor at the top. The anchor could be two or more bolts and hangers, or it could be two or more bolts with pieces of chain attached, or any combination of the former and latter.
When the anchor encountered is a bolt and hanger set up, webbing is usually found tied through the hangers. This webbing will have a rappel ring attached. A rappel ring is simply a small metal ring used to thread the rope through.
When the chain is encountered, the rope is threaded through the chain link to be used much like a rappel ring. The chains can also be clipped to with locking carabeiners to set up a top rope anchor.
|Thread half of the rappel rope through
the rappel ring or chain link. It is best to use both
rappel rings if there are two, as a backup. Using a chain
link towards the beginning of the chain is good and bad.
It reduces the number of links you are dependant on, but
it can also create friction between the lower links and
It is easiest to pull up half of the rope, hold it in ones lap while being clipped to the anchor, and then thread it through the rappel ring or chain. Then, coil the half of the rope you just threaded through, and throw it down. Make sure to let your belayer know you are throwing the rope down!
Make sure to read the equipment entry about belay devices, which are used as rappel devices, before you continue on here.
The climber then threads first one of the pieces hanging down through their belay device. Then the other piece that is hanging down is threaded through the other slot.
|Remember, the purpose of a belay device is to create friction. You could try sliding down a rope with your bare hands, but it probably wouldn't feel to great, or work well either. The rappel system described provides plenty of friction. If you want to start sliding down the rope, you simply let off of your brake hand (which is holding both ropes now!). This reduces friction, which in turn lets gravity take over, and you slide down the rope. If you want to stop, you simply move your brake hand to the brake position while holding both ropes. As with belaying, when rappeling, don't let go with your brake hand, ever!||