Are you confused about what rappel rings are and how to use them? Then worry not as we are here for you with the ultimate guide about rappel rings! In this guide, you learn everything about rappel rings- what they are, where rappel rings are used, and how to use a rappel ring.
What are rappel rings?
Rappel rings are nothing but small metal pieces that are circular and they get attached to a hangar. Hangars are metal pieces with one of the ends that is bolted on the wall and the other end is free and sticking out of the wall, for you to click in. The hangar is bent at an angle of ninety degrees.
The rappel rings are attached with the hanger on the open end and then the end is welded tightly shut. Because of this, a solid piece is created for protection and you can clip into it while climbing.
When can rappel rings be used?
You can use rappel rings for a variety of purposes. You can use it when there is no ability to build an anchor and you have to lower down the location. As the rings can be directly drilled inside the rocks, the rappel rings can be drilled almost in any place you want and are used for different kinds of activities. If the rappel rings are in a good condition, then they can be used by you to put your weight on it.
The three main activities in which rappel rings are used are- Climbing, caving and canyoning. Let us discuss in detail how the rings are used in each of those activities.
If you are into climbing, then you might already know what rappel rings do. You will be able to find a pair of rings on almost every sports route. The rings can be used for you to clip in after you have finished the climb. There will be some crags with some pair of rings close to the ground as well. This is done so that you can practice new or difficult techniques before you start making the ascend.
Rappel rings also play a huge role in canyoneering, sometimes called canyoning. In canyoning, you have to often lower yourself into the steep parts of the rocks. Those sections are either too steep or too wet to navigate through safely. This is why rappelling becomes essential. With rappel rings, you can lower yourself down safely, instead of building an anchor. They also don’t make you leave some of your gear behind.
Another huge advantage of the rappel rings would be that they don’t wear your rope as much as a piece of webbing would do. This is because the rope slides easily against the rappel rings’ metal sides and doesn’t drag it.
Caving is very similar to canyoneering. Here you will have to lover down the cliff where it would not be possible to build any anchor. Thus, rappel rings become extremely significant as they will make navigating through the obstacles easier and will turn impossible into possible.
Now that we know where rappel rings are used, lets learn about how to use rappel rings.
how to use a rappel ring?
We have broken down how the rappel rings can be utilized in various scenarios.
Climbing or Lowering
This technique can be applied to a single pitch sports route mostly, when you have touched the top of the climb and you want your partner to lower you below.
- You will have to clip yourself in the ring you desire with the help of a PAS.
- Then, with the help of a different link of the PAS, you will have to connect yourself to another rappel ring through a quick draw. This will back up your anchor if any ring falls.
- Check with your belayer and check whether the anchor is secure or not. Only if its secure, you should move on to the next steps.
- Further, you will have to pull some slack and tie it into an overhand knot.
- Attach the knot to the harness using a carabiner. Now you will notice that your body is attached with the rope through means other than just figure-8 knot.
- Detach the figure-8 knot from the harness.
- Now, through both the rappel rings, thread the rope.
- Attach yourself again with the rope using the figure-8 knot.
- Ask your belayer to pull in all the slack after the rope from the harness is unclipped and the overhand knot is untied.
- Put your weight on the rope to make sure it is secure.
- If the rope is secure, then detach the PAS and quick draw from the rings. Now you will be suspended through the rope and you can be lowered by your partner. The rope is threaded using quickdraws.
Two strand rappelling
- Using a PAS or a sling, attach yourself in the rappel rings.
- Use an overhand knot to secure the rope with the harness through a carabiner or any other technique similar to carabiner.
- Through the rappel ring, thread one end of the rope to tie a stopper knot.
- Then find the other end of the rope and tie it into another stopper knot.
- Start pulling the rope through the rings till you find the midpoint of the rope. Most ropes come with the half-way point marked from the time of purchase, and if they don’t, then make sure you mark the midpoint beforehand.
- Connect the rappel device and your rope, followed by securing it with the harness.
- Back up the rappel through a prusik knot if you are using an ATC or devices that are non-locking.
- Untie the overhand knot after you have checked whether the rope is secured through your device or not.
- Make sure you check visually that both the ends of the rope have reached the ground or not.
- Start rappelling once you have removed yourself from the anchor.
- Attach yourself with the rappel rings
- Connect with the rappel rings by using your desired knot. IF you are tying it to only one rappel ring then we suggest you should back it up on the second ring as well.
- On the other end of the rope, make sure you tie a stopper knot.
- Then you can lower the rope.
- Detach yourself from the anchor and begin rappelling.
What to check in rappel rings?
Before you start using the rappel rings, it is very important to check whether the rings are secure and safe enough to put your bodyweight on or not. Fortunately, most tests that need to be performed are visual tests that are easy and can be done quickly. But you must not be hasty and should take your time to check properly.
The following things should be checked before you put your weight on the rings
The quality of the ring: Here you test whether the natural environmental factors like rockfall or water have made any damage on the rappel ring. If there is any rust, then that might weaken the structure of the rings. If there are dents or chips on the ring, then that suggests that the ring has been damaged in the past. If any of these signs are there then that indicates that the rappel is not appropriate to use.
If the rings have been used continuously in the same spot then there are chances of grooves being developed in the rappel rings because of the pressure of the ropes on them. This doesn’t necessarily mean that the rings are weak or unsafe but it means that you should turn the ring around so that there is no pressure of the rope on the groove.
Check whether the quality of the weld is up to date. The weld can be the most important part of the ring and it can be the weakest part as well. The weld on the ring needs to be solid and would be void of any gaps. If you find any rappel ring that isn’t welded shut then you should most definitely not trust it with your bodyweight.
You should make sure that there are no burs inside the rings. Burs are nothing but sharp metal edges caused because of the friction between metals. They can be a huge threat as they can destroy the rings as well as cut the ropes.
The shape of the ring also plays any integral role. If the shape has turned into an oval, then it indicates that too much pressure has been applied just at one spot.
You should also check the condition of the hanger and bolt. As they shouldn’t come loose when you are rappelling.
If there is any movement between your hanger, then it means that your hanger is not secure enough. It should be steady just like a rock. If it moves even a tiny bit then it means the hanger might come loose.
Just like the rappel rings, you want to be sure that there is no rust or divots, or any other thing that might weaken the strength of the hanger.
Rappel rings might look tiny, but their importance shouldn’t be understated. We hope with this guide you have some clarity about whether you can use rappel rings. Rappel rings not only lets you lower yourself to places that seem impossible but also provides an alternative to building your own anchor.
Rappel rings provide more security than anchors. As discussed earlier, make sure you check for any rust, divots, grooves or shape disorientation before you start rappelling.