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Tuesday, 13 May 2008



Abseiling (from the German: abseilen, "to rope down") is the process of descending a rope under control, used in rock climbing, mountaineering, caving and canyoneering; used to descend cliffs or slopes too steep to walk down.

It is also known as: rappelling (American English), abbing (British slang for "abseiling"), jumping (Australian slang) rap jumping (American slang), roping down, roping, seiling (Australian slang), snapling (Israeli slang), rappling (Hindi slang).


Helmets are worn to protect the head from bumps and falling rocks. A light source may be mounted on the helmet in order to keep the hands free in unlit areas.
Gloves protect hands from the rope and from hits with the wall. They are mainly used by recreational abseilers, industrial access practitioners, adventure racers and military as opposed to climbers or mountaineers. In fact, they can increase the risk of accident by becoming caught in the descender in certain situations.
Boots or other sturdy footwear with good grips.
Knee-pads (and sometimes elbow-pads) are popular in some applications for the protection of joints during crawls or hits.
Ropes used for descending are typically of Kernmantle rope construction, with a multi-strand core protected by an abrasion-resistant woven sheath. For most applications, low-stretch rope (typically ~2% stretch when under the load of a typical bodyweight) called static rope is used to reduce bouncing and to allow easier ascending of the rope.
A harness is used around the waist to secure the descender. A comfortable harness is important for descents that may take many hours.
A descender or rappel device is a friction device or friction hitch that allows for rope to be paid out in a controlled fashion, under load, with a minimal effort by the person controlling it. The speed at which the rappeller descends is controlled by applying greater or lesser force on the rope below the device. Descenders can be task-designed or improvised from other equipment:
Mechanical descenders include braking bars, the figure eight, the abseil rack, the "bobbin" (and its self-locking variant the "stop"), the gold tail, and the "sky genie" used by some window-washers and wildfire firefighters.
Some improvised descenders include the Munter hitch, a carabiner wrap, the basic crossed-carabiner brake and the piton bar brake (sometimes called the carabiner and piton). There is an older, more uncomfortable, method of wrapping the rope around one's body for friction, as in the Dulfersitz or Geneva methods used by climbers in the 1960s.

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