The first is rappelling, which is descending by sliding on a rope. Rappelling is done with a descender device, which is a friction device that allows controlled descent while preventing the climber from free-hanging or dropping unexpectedly.
This device is attached to the climber’s harness and then attached to the rope as it passes through it. The climber simply puts his weight on one foot and holds the rope with both hands while being lowered by someone else on the ground who controls the descent by applying tension to the rope.
Another method is to prusik down, which involves attaching a friction hitch (known as a prusik) onto your own climbing rope and clipping it onto your harness so that you can safely rappel down without having to hold onto any additional ropes or hardware besides your prusik hitch.
Another option for descending is using an autoblock, which allows you to descend safely by yourself without needing someone else on the ground feeding out slack from above (instead of using this method you could also just rappel if there were two climbers). An autoblock works like this: You thread one end of your climbing rope through a locking carabiner.
Last modified: August 9, 2022