Rappelling - Get Inspired by this Exciting Outdoor Adventure

Rappel Arizona Reach new fitness heights Reach new fitness heights

Reach new fitness height by discovering rappelling.

Reach New Heights

Get ready for fresh air, amazing scenery and sweeping vistas. Rappelling is an outdoor activity that will inspire you to reach new heights. Rappelling (also known as abseiling) is a controlled descent down a rock face using a rope and a friction device.  Rappelling has many practical applications, for example rock climbers use it for returning to the base of a climb and cavers use it to descend into caves, but it has evolved into a recreational activity of its own. 

An Exciting Cardio and Strength Workout

Rappelling can provide both cardiovascular and strength activity. Remember, what goes, down must come up, so when you rappel down, you have to hike to the anchor that serves as your starting point. A safe rappel stance, that allows you to maintain control of your movement and descent, requires the participant to engage their core muscles. 

Rappelling also builds communication skills. Because participants must talk to each other from the top of the cliff face to the bottom, a rappeller learns a set of common words or phrases that are easily understood. Good communication is essential for staying safe and having an enjoyable experience.

Explore » Rappelling - The Thrilling Art of Descending Safely

Who Can Go Rappelling?

Rappelling is an adventure the whole family, all ages and fitness levels, can enjoy. Although you rappel as an individual, groups can enjoy the activity together, supporting and cheering each other on. 

What equipment is needed?

All participants will use a rappel device and wear a helmet and harness for safety. Gloves are optional, but provide comfort. It is important that participants use equipment that fits properly. There are many helmets and harnesses that fit a variety of sizes, but any children participating will need to have child-sized equipment.

The equipment required to set up a rappel depends on the type of anchor being used. To set up a rappel off of a preexisting anchor, where bolts have been drilled into the rock, will require, at minimum: a static rope of 9 – 11 mm diameter and 50-70 meters in length, locking carabiners, and nylon webbing. Setting up your own anchor where there are no fixed bolts requires additional equipment and more training.  

What else should I Bring?

Participants will want to wear hiking shoes and comfortable sportswear. Long pants and sleeves can help protect the skin from rough foliage and rock surfaces. Hats and sunscreen can protect from such exposure often found on high cliffs. As with any hike or outdoor activity, bring sufficient food and water. Be attentive to the weather forecast – rappelling can be dangerous in the rain. 

How do I Stay Safe?

Rappelling equipment is designed to work safely when used correctly - the majority of rappelling accidents are due to user error. Because risks are inherent to this activity, proper equipment use and awareness of one’s actions and surroundings are critical to safe rappelling. That’s why it is advisable to learn from someone knowledgeable before attempting to rappel yourself. The first time you rappel, you will want to practice while someone else has you “on belay” as a backup safety precaution. 

Josh Parafinik

Josh Parafinik is Lead Guide at Rappel Arizona in Phoenix, Arizona, and has been rock climbing and rappelling for 12 years. While Arizona, purported to have more exposed rock than any other state in the US, can keep a climber busy, he loves exploring others areas across the U.S. and western Canada. He and his wife also enjoy mountain biking, canyoneering, surfing and skiing.