How To Use A Belay Device To Rappel Step by Step (2022)

It can be tricky to understand climbing jargon.

Keeping track of the tools you need to do a task can be challenging with so many different pieces of equipment.

how to use a belay device to rappel Rappelling is a sport in which participants descend themselves down a rope at a controlled speed.

When a barrier, such a cliff, cannot be safely scaled by climbing down it, rappelling is used.

The best belay device can be used for rappelling. A variety of factors affect how rappelling is done.

How To Use A Belay Device To Rappel Step-By-Step 

How To Use A Belay Device To Rappel

Including the following:

the group’s acquired knowledge as a whole.

the type of rope used and its length.

something which separates the two points vertically.

If it’s necessary, you must be able to pull the rope up from the pit’s floor.

You can choose the type of rappel configuration you should use with the help of the information in the following sections.

Don’t worry about it; rappelling is generally the same regardless of the type of rappel you perform or the type of rappel equipment you employ.

An overview of the rappelling process’s fundamental steps is provided below:

Make sure the rope is passing you on the right as you position yourself near to the anchor so that you are facing it (Instructions here are for right-handed people).

Take the rope, and pass it through the rappel down device.

For instructions on how to thread each various type of rappel equipment, please refer to the section on rappel devices.

Your harness and rappelling equipment should be fastened together.

Make sure the person holding the belay is paying attention during rappelling and that the belay is in position.

With your right hand, grab the rope’s brake end, which is the one that is below your rappelling gear,

And hold onto it tightly until you reach the bottom.

The most comfortable and safest posture for your right hand is against your right hip, so make sure you’re doing that.

With your left hand, take a loose hold of the rope that is dangling above the rappel device.

Since your left hand is necessary for maintaining balance, you should never use it to prolong your descent.

Slowly advance as you go backward toward the cliff’s edge while feeding rope through your rappel gear.

When you reach the cliff’s highest point, set down your feet and lean backward over the brink.

Depending on the angle of the anchor and the configuration of the cliff face,

You should start walking backward down the cliff as you feed rope through your rappel gear as soon as your body has angled between 30 and 70 degrees backward.

Continue feeding rope through your rappel device after you have reached the cliff’s base to leave some slack in the rope so that you can separate your rappel device from the rope.

You’ve finished.

Rappelling Belays

How To Rappel Using A Belay Device. It is extremely encouraged that you use belays even though they are not necessary for rappelling.

Belays offer a second line of defence for the rappeller in the event that they lose control of their descent and start to fall.

An autoblock, a top rope belay, and a fireman belay are the three main types of belays that are used for rappelling.

Top Rope Belay

Belay utilising the PBUS approach, which is covered lower down in this section, and make sure to always check the integrity of your system to make sure it is secure.

Pull, Brake, Under, Slide is also known as PBUS.

The safety check entails the following three procedures once you have connected your belay device to your harness.

And fed the climbing rope into your belay device, such as the ATC Guide Black Diamond:

Verify that the software has been loaded properly on the device.

The climber’s strand should typically be placed “top” of the equipment, while the brake should typically be placed “bottom.”

Most of the devices have engraved schematics that might be used to resolve any discrepancies.

Make sure to attach your device to your belay loop, with the right side facing up, rather than the hardpoints on your harness,

Using a locking carabiner. The device is most likely wired incorrectly if you have to bend or twist the belay loop in order to handle it.

Before using the carabiner, make sure the gate is shut.

Check that the assisted braking feature of the belay gear you are using is functioning properly.

Typically, you may do this by yanking the rope out of the climber side of the Gri-Gri while not holding the brake.

The acronym PBUS, which stands for “pull, brake, under, slide,” is used for top rope belaying.

Draw the climber strand down with the hand that is not your dominant hand to start taking up the slack in the rope.

And then using your dominant hand, press the brake strand up through the mechanism.

As you slide your braking hand below the belay device, make sure to maintain the same position on the rope.

The brake strand, which is beneath the brake hand, should then be held with the non-dominant hand.

Slide your brake hand toward the belay device to return to the starting PBUS position,

Making sure to always keep a solid grip on the rope.

Climbers think PBUS is effective because it instructs new belayers to keep their hand on the brake strand at all times when they are belaying.

For obvious reasons, this is the belayer’s single most crucial task in ensuring the climber’s safety.

A downward force applied to the brake strand is the only item that can stop the climber after falling.

(Barring particular circumstances or assisted-braking devices).

In terms of top rope belaying, that very much brings things to an end.

The belayer often won’t give the climber slack until the climber directly asks for it.

And to stop a fall, all that is needed to do is grasp hold of the brake strand

And allow the weight of the person below to act as a counterweight to the climber.

Lead belaying follows the general principle that one should constantly have their hands on the brake, but there is much more to it than that.

Fireman Belay

What it is: A fireman’s belay is when you set up your belay as you normally would,

With the difference that someone standing on the ground has access to the ends of your ropes and can thus pull on them,

Altering how quickly you rappel down.

How is it used, for example? Rappelling beginners are introduced to the sport.

Taking additional safety measures in danger scenarios

You’ll need a partner for this manoeuvre, and that person needs to be able to descend first in order for it to be successful.

When it comes to potential dangers like rockfalls, the person standing below is in a more vulnerable position.

When lowering someone with less experience down a rappel, a fireman’s belay is frequently used.

In this method, the rappeler’s ropes are taken over by someone who is positioned at the bottom of the object they are descending.

They therefore possess a comparable level of control to the rappeller.

The person rappelling will halt if they pull down on the rope because it will produce friction inside the system.

There are three ways to rappel utilising fireman’s belays: traditional, hanging, or Australian/military.

There are a few situations in which this kind of arrangement can be quite helpful. In the first case,

Your friend is physically unable to lower the rope because of an injury or other handicap.

Using a fireman’s belay, you can take the reins out of their hands and safely lower them.

You won’t have to worry about them dropping or becoming stuck in the middle of the rappel as a result.

Another situation where fireman belays are useful is if you are serving as a spotter for someone who is still learning how to rappel.

You have the ability to support them by using the Fireman’s approach as they

This offers them the opportunity to control their own descent, but you will still be able to stop them if they begin to move too quickly.

It is an excellent way to help someone learn how to rappel or to teach a new technique without having to worry about seriously injuring the trainee.

However, there are a few safety precautions that must be thought of before starting a fireman’s belay.

The first thing to keep in mind is that you shouldn’t always expect your rappeler to halt immediately after you tighten the rope.

The most crucial point to remember is this. There is a risk that it could take the person performing.

The rappel up to five seconds to come to a complete stop before the rope comes to a complete.

And utter stop if you are working with a longer rope or a rope that isn’t entirely static.

This is a factor that needs to be taken into account if you think there is a significant chance you may need to catch yourself when you fall.

The person controlling the ropes from the bottom level must be vigilant of falling rocks and other debris from the higher levels, which is the second important safety tip.

In a fireman’s belay, things may quickly get worse if the person at the bottom of the belay lost control of the rope.

To avoid hitting the person at the bottom in the head, more caution should be exercised.


Using an autoblock is a particularly great way to increase safety while rappelling if you don’t have the resources or personnel to provide a top rope belay or a fireman belay.

This is so that the person being belayed by the top rope won’t fall, which is what autoblocks are intended to do.

A length of rope or sling that has been coiled around the rappel rope’s brake side is known as an autoblock.

To keep the rope from falling undone, this is done.

The autoblock will tighten its hold on the brake line if the rappeller accidentally lets go of it, preventing the rappeller from continuing to descend.

The term “autoblock” can be regarded as having some degree of ambiguity because it may refer to either the knot or the system.

As a result, by tying an autoblock knot, also known as a French Prusik, a Klemheist, or a Valdotain Tresse, you can create an autoblock system.

The rope or sling that is used for an autoblock needs to be flexible enough to tightly wrap.

Around the rappel rope and short enough so that it won’t slip up the rope and obstruct the rappel device.

You can use a paracord prusik loop that is twelve inches in diameter to fasten it to the harness’s leg loop.

Since the majority of people utilise auxiliary cords, you may claim that this decision is a little unconventional.

These people could object to the idea and say that paracord, at 550 pounds, is insufficient to prevent someone from falling.

Contrarily, employing paracord for this function is a fantastic method to save money without compromising strength.

The rappel device is holding the majority of the weight,

Thus aside from the fact that there are actually four strands of paracord grasping the rope (bringing the total pulling power close to 2,200 pounds),

The gripping force needed on the brake strand of the rappel rope is only about 20 lbs.

This suggests that the paracord being used for this purpose has a safety factor that is extremely close to 100,

A value that is significantly higher than the industry standard of 7.

The autoblock must be short enough to prevent movement up the rope, which would render the rappel mechanism unusable.

Some people decide to stretch their rappel device out from their harness using a sling in order to give themselves more room between it and their autoblock.

They now have greater space between their autoblock and their rappel gadget as a result.

Before using your autoblock setup in the field, it is crucial to test it out in a safe environment.

Don’t just accept anything as true without giving it any thought.

What Is A Belay Device And What Does It Do?

A mechanical piece of climbing gear called a belay device is used to control a rope when belaying.

It is made to provide friction to help stop a fall while also making it easy to feed rope through the device.

Belay devices come in a wide variety of designs, each with unique benefits and drawbacks.

Tips For Safe Rappelling

Always utilise a rappel device that is specifically made for rappelling when rappelling.

Before starting your fall, make sure your rappel equipment is securely fastened to your harness.

When rappelling, always use a backup knot. If your rappel gadget malfunctions, a backup knot will prevent you from falling.

Never rappel off the rope’s end. Tie knots in the end of the rope to make it shorter if you need to rappel down a greater distance than your rope would support.

When rappelling, always tie a prusik knot or an equivalent knot.

This will give you the flexibility to pause if you feel the need to rest and will also assist keep you from rappelling off the end of your rope.

Avoid rappelling alone. Always have a backup plan in place in case of emergency.

When rappelling, pay attention to your surroundings.

Verify that there aren’t any loose rocks or other dangers that could send you falling.

When rappelling in an environment with

Pros And Cons Of Using A Belay Device To Rappel.?

When rappelling, a variety of belaying equipment can be utilised, and each one has advantages and disadvantages of its own.

The most common gadgets and some considerations to think about before utilising them are listed below:

ATC: When rappelling, the ATC, or air traffic controller, is a fairly common choice for belaying.

It is simple to operate and, if necessary, may be immediately released.

The ATC does not provide much friction, thus it can be challenging to control your fall if you are rappelling with a lot of weight,

So it is crucial to bear this in mind.

Another common method for belaying when rappelling is the figure-8.

It provides greater friction than the ATC, making it more suitable for heavy-duty rappelling.

However, it can be challenging to release if necessary, and if you are unfamiliar with it, it might be challenging to use.

Different Types Of Belay Devices.

Finding the best belay device for you might be challenging because there are so many different models available.

To assist you in making an informed choice, the most common categories of belay devices are listed below.

Tube style belay device: Tube style belay devices, the most common kind, are convenient and adaptable.

They are a decent option for the majority of climbers and work with a variety of rope diameters.

Assisted braking belay device: These belay devices resemble tube-style belays but include an additional mechanism to help brake the rope in the case of a fall.

When climbing with a bigger partner or as a beginner, they can be a suitable option.

GriGri belay device: Sport climbers are big fans of GriGris, a particular kind of assisted braking belay device. It includes many safety features and is simple to operate.

FAQ’S On: How To Use A Belay Device To Rappel

How To Use A Belay Device To Rappel

Is Belaying The Same As Rappelling?

A belay is a manoeuvre done to catch someone while they are tied to the same rope as you, whereas rappelling is the process of lowering yourself down the rope.

How Do I Rappel With ATC Belay Device?

Pull the rope tightly in your hands before inserting the ATC into one of the slots on the rappel carabiner.

When you’re having trouble getting anything through a slot, consider pinching it more firmly—possibly even with your teeth!

Orient the ATC such that the rope is running up or down from the anchor.

Can You Use A Belay Device To Rappel?

Can you rappel while using a belay device, then? Yes.

You may rappel using just about any belaying device, including gri-gris, ATCs, and more. The method utilised for belaying and rappelling will be fairly similar.

What Equipment Do You Need To Rappel?

You will need the following accessories to begin rappelling: a climbing helmet, a rappelling harness, a rope,

A device, gloves, hiking pants, climbing shoes, rings, carabiners, and anchors.

There is no doubting that rappelling is a sport that will get your heart racing.

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