Several mechanical rappel systems require no special device, just a locking carabiner. It can be worthwhile insurance to learn at least one of them.
To set up the carabiner wrap system (fig. 8-7), clip a locking carabiner into the locking carabiner or doubled carabiners that are clipped to your seat harness. Run the rappel rope through the outer end of the outside carabiner, and wrap it around the carabiner's solid back, giving it more turns if you want more friction. Two turns are usually just about right. Position the outer carabiner so that the locked gate opening is at the far end. A hazard of the carabiner wrap system is that the carabiner could flip around, and the movement of the wrapped rope might then unlock it.
The Miinter hitch used for belaying can also be used for rappelling (see Chapter 7 for details on
Fig. 8-6. Attaching a figure-8 device for use in rappelling: a, figure-8 rappel device; h, attaching rope to the figure-8 device; c, figure-8 rappel device in use.
TO BRAKE HAND
Fig. 8-7. The carabiner wrap system
Two traditional rappel methods use no hardware whatsoever to create friction on the rope. It's just the rope and your body.
The arm rappel (fig. 8-8) isn't used much, but it's occasionally helpful for quick descent of a low-angle slope. Lay the rappel rope behind your back, under your armpits, then wrap it once around each arm. Control your rate of descent by hand grip. For an arm rappel with a pack, be sure the rope goes behind the pack rather than on top or under-
TO BRAKE HAND
Fig. 8-7. The carabiner wrap system using the Munter hitch while belaying). It's very easy to set up, but is the worst method for twisting the rope.
A method common in Europe merely runs the rappel rope through a locking carabiner at the harness, up over the climber's shoulder, and then down across the back to the opposite hand for braking. A danger is that, like non-mechanical systems, it is easy to fall out of.
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