How To Setup an Urban Rappel and Emergency Rappelling Techniques - ITS Tactical

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How To Setup an Urban Rappel and Emergency Rappelling Techniques

By Bryan Black

Rig to Rappel

Rappelling is an often under appreciated skill for use in an emergency situation and one that could potentially save your life one day. A common misconception of rappelling is that it’s only for fun and thrill seekers of all kinds, but my hope is that after this article, you’ll start to think more outside of the box about it.

I recently had an opportunity to join Kyle McCleery, the head of Search and Rescue for Trident Response, to film an overview of some things to keep in mind when setting up an urban rappel and the equipment you’ll need to make it happen.

Rappelling is inherently dangerous, neither ITS Tactical or Trident Response assumes any responsibility or liability for injury incurred by the viewer. The information presented here is for educational purposes only. Always seek the instruction of a certified climbing or mountaineering guide.

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  • Two Half Hitches

    Is two half hitches a sturdy enough knot for the purpose you talked about at 25:00? I’m just wondering, I’ve only climbed with a guide/professional (that does most all of the knots and such anyways) and not even that often…

    • GregCarson

      @Two Half Hitches  I’m not a climber, but I’ve been tying and using knots for years. I personally would not use a 2HH, nor a taughtline, when I could use a bowline or the barrel knot shown in the vid. It’s a handy knot, but there’s better for this purpose.
      Just my .02¢ 🙂

    • requiem

      @Two Half HitchesI’d pass on that; while the knot is probably strong enough (in terms of how much force it can hold), I’m not sure I’d consider it secure enough (e.g. in terms of coming loose when un-tensioned, etc.) to use for an anchor.

  • Zach Banks

    Great video! I think many of us would like to see a follow up video where you demonstrate how to rappel with various levels of gear such as without an ATC, or with only a rope and carabiner or even with only a rope because while emergency rappelling is a great skill set to have, I doubt that if you ever need to use it, you will have full climbing kit (harness, carabiners, webbing, ATC) with you when you need it.

  • Ajax_Of_Telamon

    Why are you wearing sunglasses indoors?

    • DavidLeeBlack

      Ajax_Of_Telamon Some guys with TBI have hypersensitivity to light where they need to wear sunglasses indoors.

  • txdarknight

    would you please do a video showing better how to tie that barrell knot? i’ve tried a few times but couldn’t quite see how the line goes through and tightens. when i do it it binds up on me. thanks!

  • requiem

    A couple brief suggestions:
    1.  When slinging something with edges like an I-beam, it’s a good idea to add some padding (rolled up t-shirt or similar) under the rope or webbing.

    2. Tie stopper knots in the ends of your rope.  People find all sorts of ways to rappel off the end of their rope, and knots can prevent that from happening.  (One strand ends up feeding faster than the other, the “mid-point” of the rope turns out to be only 20 feet from one end, etc.)

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