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Canyoning Guided Rappel - How much force does it create?

What's a worst case scenario force during a guided rappel in canyoning?

Well, I thought it would be during a rescue from the bottom. There are a lot of factors that come into play when calculating (guessing) the expected forces in rigging a system like this. So many factors that it's almost impossible to determine in the field. This is one type of rope systems that can generate a lot of force.

We wanted to know how much force and what our margin of safety really is.

The Rigging

This system was rigged from two 55mm Triplex bolts in shear "equalized" to a master point at the top. The bottom anchor was equalized with a Dyneema 60cm sling to two 55mm Triplex bolts in shear. All bolts were placed in solid granite. The rope we used for the guide-line was a BlueWater Canyon DS pro. The rope Joe was rappelling on was the 6mm Petzl PUR line which gives a nice smooth decent on a system like this.

If you are curious about how strong the Triplex bolt are, check this video out 👉🏼 👉🏼

Check out the full Triplex Blog here

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The Results

I used two different techniques (one poor technique 😂) to simulate what might actually happen in a bottom up rescue. Since more force is created when ascending, we did not run a rescue from the top. During the simulated rescue, the top anchor saw a peak force of 4.8kn both times, the bottom anchor saw a peak force of 5.07kn.

There are more ways, and better, to execute a rescue on a guided rappel. Rigging using releasable systems is a good place to start. The best option is not to need a rescue at all.

Tensioned systems like these are high risk and you should have good training and an understanding of rope systems before using a tensioned system like this.

The LineScale 3 would have made this project easier because it records the data internally and is waterproof!

LineScale 3




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Behind the Scenes

This video was recorded during Ryans first trip to Washington for canyoning. This was his second trip down a swiftwater canyon. He handled himself well and was fun to work with on this project.

After Posting Thoughts

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Breaking Gear Fear

Edutainment has been a great way to help people understand their gear, and know the true limitations of it.  Watching HOW gear fails is more important than the force itself, as almost all gear is super good enough.  It's more important to share information on how to stay safe than it is to have a paywall.  We hope our stoke is contagious.

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