How to Retrieve a Single Strand Rappel Rope

A rappel rope is an essential piece of equipment for anyone who enjoys outdoor activities like rock climbing or mountain biking. It is necessary to know how to retrieve a single strand rappel rope so that you can safely and efficiently get back on your way.

How to Retrieve a Single Strand Rappel Rope

Whether you’re a beginner climber or an experienced mountaineer, there will come a time when you need to use a rappel rope. If you only have one lead rope and need to descend safely, it’s possible to retrieve a single strand rappel rope. All you need is a little bit of knowledge and some essential gear.

What is Single Strand Rappel Rope?

A single strand rappel rope is a type of rappelling rope that is used by climbers to rappel down a vertical surface. It is made up of one long, continuous strand of rope. This type of rope is typically less bulky and easier to handle than a standard rappelling rope, which is made up of two or more individual strands. Single strand rappel ropes are typically made from nylon or other synthetic materials. They are often used in rock climbing, caving, and other activities where climbers need to rappel down a cliff or other vertical surface.

Methods on How to Retrieve a Single Strand Rappel Rope

Method 1:

If you need to get back up or down while rappelling, you can retrieve a single strand of the rope. This method is only possible if two people are working together. The first person should be at least 50 feet above the ground to increase the success rate.

Method 2:

If you have not started your rappel yet, but have enough material that can reach from one point to another, then follow these steps:

1. tie a figure-eight loop at the end of the rope (be sure it’s large enough for someone to fit through).

2. Have an assistant lower you until about 10-15 feet from the ground.

3. Remove all unnecessary equipment from your harness or pack except for one carabiner (attached to the figure-eight loop).

Carabiner for Single Strand Rapple Rope

4. Clip this single biner through the figure-eight loop and attach it to your harness. Now you should be dangling from one strand of rope.

5. Your assistant pulls on the other end of the rope to take up any slack, then begins threading it into a doubled-over figure 8 that is threaded with all the rest of your single strands of rope (the ones that are hanging down).

When you’re done threading the rope through the biners, clip them all together and take them off your harness. That way they won’t get in your way when you’re climbing back up or down. But leave them attached for now.

6. The person who was at least 50 feet away has already begun their rappel, so have them drop you until you are at least 10 feet from the ground.

7. Unclip your carabiner from the figure-eight loop and thread it through your harness carabiner. Then, continue with your regular rappel plan.

Method 3:

If you are trying to retrieve your anchor rope after having rappelled off of it, follow the same steps as How to Retrieve a Single Strand Rappel Rope. The only difference is that when the assistant pulls on both ropes (one coming from above and one below), they will need to be extremely careful not to let go of the top end while taking in slack with their other hand. If this happens, then you could hurt yourself pretty bad!

Method 4:

There should be enough rope so that an assistant can thread both ends through two separate anchor points or anchors at least 50 feet away. After both ends have been threaded, the person on the ground should take up excess slack by pulling one strand until it goes tight; if done right, this will create a bowline on a coil.

Now the person rappelling can rappel down the two strands like they would with a single strand.

Have your assistant pull one strand tight, undo the bowline, then clip both strands into their respective carabiners when finished rappelling. If everything is still in good shape, you can now untie the figure-eight loop and reattach it to your harness. After unclipping the haul line, you can pull on it a bit to make sure that nothing is still attached to the cliff. If all goes well, your assistant will be able to hold you in place while you climb up and retrieve the gear.

Undo the Bowline to Finished Rappelling

There you have it; four different methods can help retrieve a single-stranded rappel rope! No matter what happens, stay safe and be sure to communicate with your partner, so everyone knows what’s going on. Rappelling can be a lot of fun, but it’s always to take precautions and be aware of your surroundings.

You Can Check It Out to Hang Climbing Rope

Additional Tips

  • Make sure you have a good grip on the rope before unclipping your brake hand
  • Keep your body close to the wall as you rappel down
  • If possible, avoid unclipping your brake hand until you are within reach of the ground
  • If the rappel rope gets stuck, do not panic! Follow these steps to get unstuck:

1. Try to wiggle the rope free by moving your body back and forth

2. If that doesn’t work, try to tug on the rope gently from above or below

3. If still stuck, use a knife or sharp object to cut the rope above where it is stuck

4. Finally, if all else fails, rappel off the remaining rope below the stuck section

  • Varying your climbing speed on smooth and rough surfaces will help keep the rope from getting caught
  • There is no need to extend or retract your rappel device fully; doing so may increase the chances of it getting hung up
  • If you do get stuck, try descending by pulling down on both your brake side and your non-brake side until you are free from being stuck. Keep alternating back and forth between these two methods until you have reached the ground safely. This method tends to work well for most situations.
  • If it still isn’t working, the chances are good that something below you cannot be worked around using this method alone. In this case, try going back up the rope until you are close to where you got stuck, then try cutting the rope above where it is stuck. Use your best judgment here – if there are no points on the wall or ground that will hold your weight, cutting the rope may be your only option.
  • Be sure to have some ascender with you on long rappels so that you can eventually pull yourself back up without having to reverse your entire descent!

Can You Single Rope Rappel With an Atc?

You can use the ATC (ATC, Petzl) to rappel on a single strand. The basic principle is that the ATC works like a belay device when you are in guide mode, and it lets rope pass through effortlessly in rappel mode. How you set the length of rope in your ATC depends upon how high you are above your last anchor or piece of pro.

Atc to Rappel on a Single Strand

For example, if you are on an 80-meter rope, be sure to let out at least 65 meters of rope so that there are no more than 5-10 feet between your harness tie-in point and where the rope emerges from the ATC.

If you let out less than 65 meters of rope, you will have to reattach the rope to your harness and start again when you get down to the end of the rope. The ATC can be tricky to use in this situation.

Rappelling on a single strand can be dangerous if you do not know what you are doing. Make sure you are confident in your abilities before attempting this type of rappel. Always practice with a partner and make sure at least one piece of pro below you to catch you should you fall.

How Do Climbers Retrieve Rope After a Descent??

After rappelling, climbers can recover the rope. Climbing ropes come with a kernmantle construction that makes them inherently durable and robust. The outer sheath protects the core or inner strands against abrasion or damage from rocks or other environmental factors. Climbers typically use a rappel device to control their descent, which helps keep the rope from getting tangled after they reach the ground.

There are a few different ways to retrieve a single-strand rappel rope. One option is to coil the rope around your body and shoulders, then walk backward until you reach the top of the cliff. You can also use a partner to help you pull the rope up. Another method is to tie one end of the rope around an anchor point and pull it through with a pulley system.

This is typically the preferred technique, as it allows for minor wear and tears on the climber. No matter which method you choose, always take precautions against accidents and injuries. Climbers should not attempt this maneuver independently but rather with a partner or in pairs. If you have any questions about how to retrieve a single-strand rappel rope, contact an experienced climbing professional at your local REI store.


In this article, you have read about how to retrieve a single strand rappel rope. It can be incredibly dangerous when climbing or rappelling if you run out of rope. However, if the worst should happen and you do run out of rope before reaching the ground, there are a few ways to get yourself quickly back down to safety. If you have a double strand rope, it’s simple to thread the last few feet of one side through rappel rings or carabiners and tie an overhand knot.

Jennifer Branett
We will be happy to hear your thoughts

Leave a reply

DIY Quickly