Introduction: How To: Rappelling Without Any Gear!

Picture of How To: Rappelling Without Any Gear!

This is a instructable on how to rappel without any special gear besides rope and yourself.

Step 1: Step 1

Picture of Step 1

How to rappel without equipment;

Materials Needed:
- Rope
- Yourself
- Gloves (optional)
First Step:
Grab your rope and position it like in the picture below.

Step 2: Step 2

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Attach one end of the rope to a sturdy object like a pole, tree trunk, tree branch, etc.

Step 3: Step 3

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use the method in the first step to rappel. You can slow your descend by holding onto the rope tighter with your right hand
This is a rappel without any equipment, this technique should be only used on gentle slopes and rappels that are short and do not require a harness.

Happy Rappelling


PedjaM2 (author)2015-12-11

BTW, proper harness is essential for self-rescue. Otherwise, round the waist rope pulls to your lower ribs, exerts pressure there and it is extremely uncomfortable. Proper harness can be improvised with ropes around the shoulder and upper thighs but the one with tapes is much more comfortable. Harness only around the waist and upper thighs is not safe because the climber can fall out of it if he turns over.

PedjaM2 (author)2015-12-11

If the climber looses the grip, falls down and that is it! We used to this. With gloves. We would tie a separate roper around the waist with a bowline knot and tie that rope to the main rope with a prussik knot. Proper order is first to tie a prusik, then round the waist. This is for safety. One cannot fall out because the prussik is going to stop him. To slow the rate of descent one has to close the hand in front of the chest.

JakeTobak (author)2007-07-22

I've only repelled a couple times when I was in JROTC at my High School.
But we used Swiss Seat Harnesses that I think would be more comfortable and they can be made out of just rope, so I don't think they go against your "no gear" thing. (Although you do need a caribiner)
Here's a link on how to tie one:
Swiss Seat Guide

superdude111 (author)JakeTobak2008-11-05

you cant rappel with a swiss seat they are for lowering people

Tell that to the Army. We always use a Swiss Seat for repelling. At least, we do on the practice towers. I can't speak to anything past that.

JakeTobak (author)JakeTobak2007-07-22

A lot of the other guys had problems, but they shouldn't be uncomfortable if done properly. I don't have "women parts" so I can't talk to the comfort on a female.

orrichio (author)JakeTobak2007-07-22

yeah when I was doing it my crotch sustained no damage

orrichio (author)JakeTobak2007-07-22

sweet thanks!

georion (author)2013-09-19

you said--Rappelling without any gear! --whats the gloves and rope ---??

pedrobedro (author)georion2015-02-05

O.K. rappelling with minimal gear :D The other version would be called "falling"

alexmac131 (author)2014-01-04

the people in the photos have gear - folks please do not try this - at best you will some serious rope burn and at worst you will die (unless you are seeking a Darwin Award then have at it )

Bushie (author)2012-01-17

Those police in their group photo DON'T appear to be "rappelling" ~ but are in fact tied-in to the end of the ropes and are being winched down that (building, or dam?) wall...

Those two nutters in the first picture just appeared to be hanging out for the photo' session..

TimmyMiller (author)2011-09-12

that looks... uncomfortable...

syco123 (author)2011-03-24

In the illustration the rapeller is not wrapping the rope around his arm. This is essential to reduce the force require by your hand to hold the control rope.

In the photo of the 2 guys outside the window it's comedy of errors and an accident waiting to happen. I am guessing the rope is looped around an anchor as there are 2 strands. This is normal as it allows you to retrieve the rope easily. Problem is the lower guy has both strands looped through his fig 8 but the guy above only has it through one. I know why he did that. The weight of the lower guy pulls the rope into the locked off position so the upper dude cant move on the rope. The lower guy is effectively applying a "fireman's break" to the upper guy so he can't rappel. His solution was to only clip into one rope halving the friction. So what?

When the first guy gets to the bottom I hope the upper guy isn't too high. the lower guy stands up and lets go of his ropes. As the upper guy is only attached to one strand, the rope will pull around and off the anchor (through the first guys fig8, resulting in a fall.

If 2 people need to rap on one rope at the same time it's always going to have an element of danger, however there are times when it's less dangerous than making slow rapels one at a time. Say you're on a multi-pitch climb and an electrical storm is rolling in.

This is the procedure. Loop the rope in the normal way around your anchor, tree or rock etc. Each rappeller takes one strand and both of you clip into one strand and rapell at the same time. This creates a counterbalanced system. Yes you need to be similar weights, the friction at the anchor means there can be actually quite a large difference. It's the kind of this you and a climbing buddy should practice before you need to do it in a real life situation.

As for the instructable, it really hurts your thigh and can mess up gore-tex type outdoor wear but is a potential life saving skill so everyone should know it and practice it!

thingygoboom (author)2010-12-20

I'm so sketched out by this instructable.
But it does describe a great technique and is a solid instructable.

hifatpeople (author)2010-03-20

Dude! Thats my future job 

hifatpeople (author)2010-03-20

Oh, I see the other one now. 

hifatpeople (author)2010-03-20

Does anyone else notice that the person isn't even touching the rope? 

boogaloo (author)2007-08-07

Can somebody make a video showing how to rappel if you do indeed have one caribiner?

superdude111 (author)boogaloo2008-11-05

in a little whil i will have a video that you can watch on the instructable called "rappelling"

F1X0R (author)boogaloo2008-05-20

Munter Hitch

survivor569 (author)boogaloo2008-05-19

is all you have a biner? no belay device or harness? tell me your gear and ill do just that!

robocrazy155 (author)2008-08-27

(first Pic) = nice ninja gear...

HackerExtrodinaire (author)2008-08-07

I just went down to the elementary school about 3 hours ago and rigged a rope harness out of of some 550 paracord.

jackm7127 (author)2008-07-22

hahahaha I just got kicked out of band-camp a few weeks ago for doing that

sam noyoun (author)2007-07-22

You can also check this video:

Feel free to embed it in your instructable if you want to...

dchall8 (author)sam noyoun2007-07-23

As is clearly illustrated in this video, you should be wearing a leather turtleneck or similar protection. How many more feet could this guy have gone before he was squirting blood out of his neck? Also the video doesn't show the hard part - getting over the wall and into the 'starting' position.

sam noyoun (author)dchall82007-07-23

hmmm... the guy in the video is me... You have to realise that when we were shooting the video, I had to go down that wall about 8 times... the stuff with my neck was shot at the very end, when I was starting to get careless. I just thought it'd make interesting footage. The classic abseil, as it is known, is fine for small cliffs of 30/60 ft. It is somewhat painful, but it works ok if you go slowly... obviously not a substitute for harness, crabs, and rappeling devices, but it is an emergency technique any climber, mountaineer, or hill walker should know... Some people prefer the South-African abseil (also demonstrated in the vid, but I personally find it even more painful and too fidgety.

survivor569 (author)sam noyoun2008-05-24

no offence but your techneque is really bad, you need to lean back a lot more otherwise you might slip and hit your face on the wall. and with both your hands being used you wont be able to stop yourself (unless you want to fall that is.)

dchall8 (author)sam noyoun2007-07-23

Glad you cleared that up. It gives the impression that you could have been seriously injured after about 15 feet of that. Fidgety is a good word for it. The problem with the South African method is both arms are low and not holding on to the rope coming off the top. If, for whatever reason, you lost your balance, you'd be upside down quickly. With the first method at least you have a grip to something up by your shoulders. Essentially there is more "pitch" stability with the first method.

dfedde (author)2007-12-02

you can also use this to belay a guy. (you can put the guy on a bowline or a figure 8 knot(in fact i think im guna go make a instructable right now on that))

shrimps (author)2007-09-07

This technique was developed while hemp ropes were still commonplace in the climbing world. With a little equipment there is absolutely no reason to use this technique unless it is a true emergency (you have accidentally cut your harness off your body and managed to drop all of your gear). All climbers of a certain age have scars on their back in the same place from years of abrasion. Using any old rope is also bad news. Abseil rope is pretty thick in diametre and covered in an abrasion resistant sheath. This means that the surface area of the rope in contact with your body is as large as possible and as smooth as possible. While this minimises the pain, it is still a very painful technique. Using one karabiner (the HMS variety are most suited for this), you can use an Italian/Munter hitch to control the rope. On its own, its useless so to attach it to you, it is possible to make a very basic harness, read uncomfortable, out of a few metres of rope (preferably >10mm) and the correct knot and knowledge. Technically youre spot on, this does work. But its extremely inadvisable and if people want to try out abseiling, there are many cheap effective solutions available. (Youll notice everyone in the photos youve uploaded is wearing harnesses and using descenders of one kind or another) Have fun, but more importantly stay safe. (Lastly any abseil is only as safe as the anchor it is attached to. It is vitally important to know how to correctly attach a rope to an anchor, unless youre using both ends but thats a whole other subject)

andresm (author)2007-07-25

LOl i did this from my roof like 3 years ago..

0.775volts (author)2007-07-24

dufflers can be very painful, and can cut through clothing, flesh and muscle to bone. they are to be used only in emergencies,and gloves are mandatory, not optional. try to keep vertical drops to a minimum, and go as slowly as your hand strength will allow (if your hands cramp up uselessly 30 ft from a safe place to stop and rest you're fubared.) also it should be of note that if you have even one carabiner then this technique is completely unnecessary.

crapflinger (author)2007-07-23

i do alot of repelling (usually the only way to get down after you climbed up the thing the first time)...repelling is creepy enough WITH all the proper equipment ...let alone without's always best to have an escape plan no matter where you are and if you drop your rapelling's good to have a way out...

this technique would work...but i'd hate to have a rope running past my "business" for too long with it supporting my weight...there are quite a few methods that can be used for stuff like this...(can't find linkage at the moment)...and i ALWAYS carry at least 4 carabiners with me any time i go out in the wilderness where i might even remotely need to do any of this stuff...(hell...i've been known to cary a 50M rope and my Trango Jaws with me through town)

i make shooting things (author)2007-07-22

step one looks painful

actually... its not painful... the only thing that hurts is when you go fast you get some rope burning...

do u use like a cup or somthing???

I agree, I would never loop rope around my crotch, just so i can put my full body weight on it.

TheCheese9921 (author)2007-07-22

Hey I just saw this on "Man vs. Wild" today he did it down a big cliff to get to a road it was coolio

dacker (author)2007-07-22
Two more "Materials Needed":
  • Pants
  • Shirt

Without either, you'd have a couple very nasty rope burns! <grin>
lemonie (author)2007-07-22

The essence of this seems to involve wrapping a rope around yourself, in close proximity to vital organs (neck included) as others have observed. Please add some guidance as to what kind of clothing is recommended, as this has the potential for serious injury.
You also omit to describe how to lower yourself "You can slow your descend by holding onto the rope tighter with your right hand" isn't good enough, and conjures images of nasty rope-burns.


Mitten (author)2007-07-22

Acctualy, if that rope dosen't give you a nasty bruise on your crotch/thigh, It looks like it might sneak its way up into your armpit, probably rubbing across your neck. If somthing were to slip out of your hand, you'd be hung more than Ron Jeremy.

ongissim (author)2007-07-22

Why would you be stuck in a giant tree, or need to get down from a tall building?

drinkmorecoffee (author)ongissim2007-07-22

Bad guys... Duh.

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