Rappelling Examples

Rappelling is “the technique of descending a rope by using friction to safely control the rate of descent” (Eng 2010, page 585). There are many outdoor activities and professions that use rappelling to descend cliffs, caves, and buildings.

Key things to look for when identifying images of people rappelling:

  • Person holding a line of rope
  • Body is positioned to lean away from wall or cliff face
  • Feet are usually shoulder width-apart and braced against rock
  • Person possibly wearing a harness, but not always (see third example)

 

Applicable LCSH Terms

 

Rappelling Examples

Example Image 1: Woman rappelling down steep hill, Grand Canyon, Arizona, 1973

This image is from the Dick Harold Johnson Photograph Collection and courtesy of the Multimedia Archives, Special Collections, J. Willard Marriott Library, University of Utah.

This is photo shows a woman rappelling. You can tell by the body position – sitting back into the harness and feet out straight against the rock.  Additionally, the hand placement on the lower end of the rope allows for control of the descent rate, called braking (lower end = woman’s right hand).

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Example Image 2: Carletta Ybarguen on rappel, Shiprock, New Mexico, April 1962

Carletta Ybarguen on rappel, Shiprock, New Mexico, April 1962

This image is from the Alpine Mountain Club Photograph Collection and courtesy of the Multimedia Archives, Special Collections, J. Willard Marriott Library, University of Utah.

In the photo, Carletta Ybarguen is rappelling. You can tell by the body position again – leaning back with feet straight against the rock. When rappelling, the feet are usually about shoulder-width apart with knees slightly bent to maintain a stable position.

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Example Image 3: Leo Walters rappelling, Glen Canyon, Utah, 1962

This image is from the Bruce Berger Photograph Collection. Courtesy of the Multimedia Archives, Special Collections, J. Willard Marriott Library, University of Utah.

This is a non-mechanical rappelling method called, the Dulferftiz rappelling method. In this rappelling method, you wrap the rope around your body to produce friction. This method is infrequently used.  

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Eng, RC (ed). (2010). Mountaineering: The Freedom of the Hills. (8th edition). Seattle, WA: The Mountaineers Books. 598 p.