CLIMBING AND RAPPELLING
up is only half the story, and what goes up must
eventually come down, so why not do it safely?
the Rappelling sport experience in Dipolog
By Ligaya B. Tomong
Each one of us has our own choice of sport. Some may go for Basketball, Volleyball, Tennis, Golf, Soccer and other common ballgames while others prefer for a more adventurous and exploratory activity and that would also be a perfect getaway.
Best example for this breathtaking sport is called Rappelling or commonly known as abseiling in other countries. It is the descent by means of a belayed rope that is passed under one thigh and over the opposite shoulder so that it can be payed out smoothly and gradually, it is typically done while facing the surface and performing a short backward leap to control the descent.
Rappelling trips generally involve a little hiking to the top of a certain cliff. Mountaineers who engage in rappelling consider this kind of activity more than a sport because it is already a lifestyle in itself or a way of life where all the passion for the sport should be taken into applied to it.
Marvin Barrientos, a mountaineer and a member of the Dipolog Outdoors Society, Incorporated (DOS) said that based on his experience, he came to learn various hard-earned lessons in training to practice for this kind of disciplinary sport. He surpassed different and very challenging obstacles through rappelling and he also considers this kind of sport as an absolute substantiality in terms of scope and most of all very advantageous when it comes to survival situations.
But before engaging into rappelling, one must able to become a real mountaineer, meaning learning to be committed and responsible in everything that you do. As revealed by DOS mountaineers during an interview, there are certain regulations and safety measures that need to be followed when it comes to the sport of rappelling. First is to make sure that you are feeling healthy enough to undertake such activity; to remind yourself to keep off the chemicals, which mean not rappelling when one is under the influence of drugs of alcoholic beverages.
Safety measures are of utmost consideration. To check the equipments and make sure that they are not in any way played upon by others or by little children. Always wear gloves and helmet for hands and head protection.
Character control should also be considered such as avoiding “pasikat” or being conceited and big headed because too much confidence will cause you to lose focus on important safety points. It is also important to avoid the feeling of uneasiness and nervousness because such feelings can cause panic and may infect others upon the group.
The last important safety precaution that should be noted is not to rappel alone. Every time you go in every adventure in the mountains, you should always be accompanied by another person to come along with you.
“Don’t rappel by yourself because it is very risky, when you have nobody to count on when you’re in trouble. You must also keep out of hazardous areas particularly in water fall areas,” says Marvin.
It should also be remembered that this kind of activity is considered very dangerous to non-professionals so total focus is required from the participant and must always think of safety first before anything else. Rappellers are always reminded to hold tight of their breaking hands whether a person is a left or right handed. When there’s trouble, the rappelled person is advised to stay calm and never lose grip of the rope because it is the only means for them not to fall down.
The “calls” should also be memorized and used fairly as a way of communication. From the person on the top and the rope man behind, shouting the call “rope” when you are already holding the rope. Next is the call “rappel” when you are ready to rappel and you are about to start the rappel, and the call “rappelling” when you are already descending from the mountainside or cliff. The final call is “off the rope”, this is used when you are already down on the ground.
In rappelling, one should know how to anchor the rope. There are seven basic knots that should come out very handy, these include the Overhand knot, the 8 knot or 8 bight, Bow line, Fishermen’s knot, Double Fishermen’s knot, Square knot and the Water knot.
While the basic equipments include the rope where its mechanics s should be taken into account such as its dynamic (w/ bounce) and static (w/o bounce) capacity, harness or safety belt, carabineers or connectors, Figure of 8, gloves (leather) for hand protection and helmet or head gear.
All these equipments are imported and obviously, a little expensive. So you must take good care of them by keeping in a safe place or prevent them from always getting wet. For the ropes, the best way to protect them is to wash it with rain water or water from the deep wheel as a substitute for water coming from the faucet. Then air dry the rope and also avoid to often stepping on it.
In rappelling, beginners have nothing to worry about because they will be safely assisted with set-up and safely-belayed as they have complete control of their own speed down the cliff.
Perceptibly it is really scary but when you overcome the fear, you will feel great about yourself and will create in you a strong will to survive even if your already back in the city.
It is a common thrill to feel a little hesitant to rappel like most of the mountaineers experience during their first time in the mountains.
For individuals who have doubts and worries regarding rappelling, the best suggestion recommended by DOS officers is to participate during discussion groups with people who are knowledgeable enough about the sport of rappelling.
The more you are acquainted with rappelling, the more you love and develop the passion for it. (Some photos courtesy of Dipolog Outdoor Society, Inc. President Freger Reyes)