The Basics Of Rappelling

In the best of times, rappelling is a careful and planned activity that comes at the end of a successful climb. Guides and instructors make sure the experience is both safe and fun for you.

There will come a time though when you’ll need rappelling skill beyond the casual, recreational climb. Sometimes, it’s a trick up your sleeve you’ll need to utilize when you find yourself in a problematic situation.

Knowing how to rappel when all you have is rope and nothing else is a vital skill you must have β€” more than you think so. Whether simply exploring the backcountry alone or finding yourself on top of a cliff without any established way down, this simple skill should aid you in a pinch, possibly even save your life.

All you need to rappel on the fly is a strong rope and a solid anchor. Commonly known as “expedient rappelling,” here’s how it’s done, Survivors.

Pick A Sturdy Anchor

Loop the center of your rope around a healthy, deep-rooted tree or a solid rock or boulder. Make sure it’s something that can take your weight.


Toss both ends of the rope over the cliff. Make sure both ends reach the bottom and are not tangled.

Face The Right Way

Face uphill and straddle the double rope. Pull the rope around your right thigh and lead it diagonally across your chest. Thread the rope over your left shoulder and across your back to your right hip.

Hold On Tight

Grasp the rope in front of you with your left hand and the rope behind you with your right. Lean back against the rope as you walk back over the cliff.

Take Steps

Step backwards down the cliff as you feed the rope over your body until you reach the ground. Make sure you hold on tight (see above) to prevent getting rope burn if gravity gets the best of you.


When you’re safely at the bottom, pull one end of the rope to retrieve it from the anchor. Coil rope for storage.

Congratulations! You have one more thing to added to your skill set.

Join our FREE Weekly Newsletter
Become a Primitive Survivor with our latest hacks, tips & tricks.

Trending Around the Web

Leave a Comment