4 Steps to Safe Rappelling

noun. 1. (in mountaineering) the act or method of moving down a steep incline or past an overhang by means of a double rope secured above and placed around the body, usually under the left thigh and over the right shoulder, and paid out gradually in the descent. verb (used without object), rappelled,rappellingRappel | Define Rappel at Dictionary.comSafe Rappelling

4 Steps to Safe Rappelling

Practicing safe rappelling is important! Rappelling is one of the most dangerous aspects of rock climbing and easily remedied by using proper technique.

Once you have your rope anchored into the top of a climb or cliff with a strong multi point anchor you can begin to set up a protected rappel. Depending on the whether you are rappelling off a single length or double length rope, make sure that the end of the rope(s) is on solid ground. If not, a stopper knot can be tied at the end of the rope(s). It never hurts to do this since there have been a number of deaths associated by rappelling off the end of the rope  

Step One: Thread your friction device through the rope(s) and attach to your belay loop on your harness with a locking carabiner. For easier access you can extend the belay by attaching a cow’s tail. Click here for directions The Mountaineers’ Extended Rappel Belay.

prusik for rappel back upStep Two: Attach a back-up prusik on the ropes below your friction device. You’ll need a sling tied from 5mm- 7mm cord either sewn by the manufacturer or tied with double fisherman’s knot.  See how to tie a prusik on NetKnots.com. The prusik is attached to your leg loop on the same side as your brake hand with a carabiner.

Step Three: Double Check harness, all lockers, anchor system, and rappel device one last time.  Then
lower yourself to a good rappel position. 

Note: You can attach a second prusik on your belay loop with a locking carabiner above the anchor to get in position and release it once you are in the rappel position.

IMG_0617Step Four: Rappel On! Your brake hand moves the back-up prusik as you move down the length of the rope.



Feel Free to contact Apex with any questions info@apexadventurealliance.com

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Happy Holidays from Lynn and Jill and the rest of the Apex Crew!


A Day Out Climbing with Apex

  • 10696338_10153375510403695_2782899309964598110_nBy Guest Blogger: Marcie Waters

This summer, my friend Marissa and I decided to try out rock climbing with an Open Group Climb with Apex. At first, it seemed we were doomed to bad luck, as it began raining as soon as we arrived to the parking lot meeting point at Devil’s Lake State Park. We met our guide for the day, Jill, who distributed gear and made sure it fit us correctly, and the rest of our group, who included a family of rock climbing enthusiasts. We sat in our cars for a bit, waiting the rain out, until we decided it was clear enough to go climbing.

We went on a short but steep hike up to the bluffs where Jill had laid out four climbing routes for us to try. On our way up, she explained some background info about the unique nature at Devil’s Lake. When we arrived at the bluffs, Jill made sure we had our gear on properly, taught us how to tie into the ropes, and explained how to belay. Then we were off!

The rock had dried out quickly and didn’t pose a problem for climbing. Marissa climbed first, and I belayed her; then we switched off. Climbing was much harder than I thought it would be, and I had not realized how much of climbing is mental. This challenge just made it even more fun and rewarding when I climbed higher and higher. The day was spent switching between different routes and between climbing and belaying. Belaying might not sound as fun as climbing, but I did enjoy watching Marissa climb, helping her find holds in the rocks that she couldn’t see from her vantage point, and cheering her on. With Jill providing helpful tips and encouragement the whole time, climbing was really a group activity.

We ended the day by following Jill up to the top of the bluffs to learn about how the ropes had been set up for the climb and how to take them down before heading down towards the parking lot. Marissa and I enjoyed our first climbing experience and can’t imagine a better place to have done it than at Devil’s Lake with Apex!11535909_10153455921741942_4761020965844571284_n


Reflections of a Guide

Camping and climbing at Devil’s Lake State Park is awesome. Getting to share that with others is also great. Know what is even better? Pantry Rock Climbing

Getting to share it with others for FOUR days. Last week I got the privilege of working with a youth group from near my home town.  We camped, we climbed, we swam, we explored a river, we jumped into the water, and best of all, we all learned about each other and the world around us. Taking this time to reflect and build relationships is truly what being a guide is all about.

I have worked at other camps and regardless of location, getting to work with kids and adults alike, you see a changes in them after spending time in the wilderness.  Without some of the stimulations we see in every day life, people are different.  I see calm, relaxed, open, excited, and more.  I not only see it in others, but I see it in myself too.

When we take away those stimulations, we also create space for relationships to thrive in ways that those stimulations can push away.  Not once throughout the whole four days was someone busy on their phone instead of giving someone their full attention. With our attention turned to each other and ourselves, we start to listen better, we start to interact better, and we make room for more. More of whatever it is that we need.

So as I reflect on my time in the wilderness and each day I am allowed to spend time outside, I start to see myself more fully. I am better at achieving results when challenged. I have better, deeper, more solid relationships. And best of all, I am more of the best parts of me.

If you have time, check out what the world around us does to you.

– Jill Griffis

Reflections of a Guide



Screaming Barfies

Despite these 70 degree October days, we are in high-grip season.   535320_633143528714_957226645_nThose calloused pads get so numb we can’t tell if the rock is tearing them apart.  Our digits get so numb that “sharp holds” don’t exist anymore.  Our hands get so numb that the skin literally tears right off and we don’t notice until blood runs down our hand.  And cuticles, forget those…

Our hands will be so numb, that when they warm up again, we won’t know if we should scream or barf.  And ladies and gentlemen, that is the definition of “Screaming Barfies.”

For the full experience, why not make it a story of your own and come out to climb this fall or ice climb this winter. : )