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Carabiner Methods

The original body rappel, or dulfersitz, was painful on long and free-hanging drops. In the old days of fat manila rope it could be tolerated, especially on double ropes, but as thinner nylon lines came into popular use, the technique has almost disappeared from routine use. Long before the new ropes came into play, people were already looking for a better way to rappel. One of the earliest attempts was to wear a seat sling of some sort, and pass the rope through a carabiner and over the shoulder. This relieved some of the heating on the seat, but I've always found that it rubs my collarbone in an intolerable manner, and I jokingly call it the "suicide" method. In any case, people soon found that the rope could be wrapped around the carabiner so that the carabiner took some of the heat. Eventually a number of techniques using multiple carabiners were worked out. I've shown some of the major variations here (I described the the Munter Hitch method the Belaying section).


Image  Method Typical Number of Carabiners* Description
Carabiner Rappel Carabiner Rappel
(a.k.a. "Suicide")
 1 Minimal rig with rope passed through the carabiner a single time, then looped over the shoulder and down the back.
Carabiner Wrap Carabiner Wrap
(a.k.a. Ranger)
 1 Rope wrapped once or sometimes twice around carabiner spine, braking at hip.
Three Carabiner Wrap Three Carabiner Wrap  3 Rope wrapped around the backs of three linked carabiners
Crossed Carabiners (French) Crossed Carabiners
(a.k.a. Bicephale)
 2 Rope woven between two overlapping, non-linked carabiners
Carabiners as Brake Bars Carabiners as Brake Bars
4 Carabiners looped around opposed carabiners and acting as brake bars. System may be extended.
Tilted Carabiner Tilted Carabiner Added carabiner on top of Carabiner as Brake Bar rig.

*excluding seat carabiners