Rappel Modes TESTED!!!

Canyon Rope Systems

A HowNOT2 Course

Episode 8 of 10

This is a free course featuring Brent Roth about different ways to set up rappels through a canyon. This considers ease of rigging, abrasion, ease of rescue and how efficient it is to move people through the canyon.

Our courses are A-Z content in blog format, glued together with an overarching blog we call a textbook. A blog format is easy to read, easy to update, and easy to translate. Be sure to begin at the TEXTBOOK and at the end of each episode we'll point you to the next.

Rappel Friction Tests

Brent set up a mechanical disadvantage so he could put more weight than himself on different lowering devices in different modes. How much friction do the different RAPPEL devices using the same 8mm rope on every device. The tail of the rope was weighted with a 5lb weight to simulate you lightly holding the loose tail during a rappel.

For example, if you rappelled with a Palikoa Pivot in the fastest mode, it only takes 30lbs but with it set behind the carabiner, or high friction mode, (not counting the “on the fly” options you have), it took 110 lbs or almost 4x as much. We tested 7 devices over 20 different ways total. Since you have to see the context for it to make sense, you'll have to watch the video instead of reading each of the results.


If you watched to the end of our video you saw how the Petzl Pirana catches the end of the rope in the spur of the device. This may not seem like an issue, but it is a very real danger in canyons with moving water. It's especially dangerous when you expect to come off the end of your rope and swim out of a water hazard.

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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.