If you by accident lose your rappel device during the climb, carabiner brake can come to your rescue. A knowledgeable, savvy climber knows a variety of rappel methods for emergency purpose. These methods will safely get you down from the cliff. It includes body rappel, Munter hitch, etc. Among all the methods, best is carabiner brake. It is also safe to use when it is an emergency.
Carabiner brake is a mechanical method where you will use free carabiners. Though there are shortcomings, it is the much safer and also superior method than other emergency rappel methods. You only need a few carabiners that you are carrying during a climb. However, the carabiner method has drawbacks because the set up is complicated. As it has many components, you may rig it incorrectly. In that case, it can malfunction.
Dulfursitz And Munter Hitch
Munter hitch is good for short rappelling, not long ones. The reason is it kinks and twists the ropes. It also lets the double rappel ropes to cross each other. This helps to create additional friction along with danger. No-frills body rappel is Dulfursitz where you wrap the rope around your shoulders, butt, and hips to climb down cliffs. People go with this method as a last resort because of the uncomfortable feeling. It is not an easy method also and full of risks. You can any time fall down from the rope.
Of course, the climbers also need to learn how to set up the rig. They must practice the brake method many times before the emergency situation comes. The knowledge of carabiner brake for emergency rappelling was standard instruction for climbers. It was before the rappel devices, and sewn climbing harness came into existence.
The Carabiner Brake
It is simply interlocking carabiners. In this method, the gates of the carabiners are reversed and also opposed to one other. So, they don’t open accidentally. The best carabiner brake method that you should learn is the six-carabiner brake. With it, there is more redundancy, unlike the single locking carabiners. You can use locking carabiners for more safety and redundancy rather than using regular carabiner.
Carabiner To Use
Oval carabiners are best for use than the D-shaped ones or the bent gate ones. The oval carabiners are much easier to rig properly because they have the same dimensions on both sides. As D-shaped carabiners have contrasting opposite sides, it is harder to push rope bight via biners and clip the brake carabiners. The ultra-light, small, and modern carabiners are inadequate for creating this rappel system. You must practice the system beforehand with the rappelling equipment. It will make you understand the limitations and best ways.
The Brake Creates Friction
Do you know that it is much easier to include more braking carabiners in carabiner brake method? During your descent, it will create more friction. The one brake carabiner provides the right friction for controlling the rappel. If you have to use one carabiner, make sure it is the locked one. It is best to opt for auto-locking carabiners as they will not come open. Of course, you can add 2-3 more braking carabiners to the rappelling method to get more friction during overhanging, long rappels. It is best for heavy climbers and if you have thin ropes.