Perfecting the self-protected abseil - Bridgwater & Taunton College

Cannington Activity Centre has been working with Bridgwater College’s Public Service students on the climbing wall, getting them used the technique of a self-protected abseil.

There are a number of key features to the system. The first is that the belay plate, (a Petzl Reverso 3 is shown in the photo) is extended well away from the climber. This gives two key benefits; it reduces any risk of an entrapment type injury, such as hair or fingers, and it also means that the climber can locate the prussic on to the main attachment point on the climber’s harness, whilst still allowing enough room for the prussic to bite, without being taken into the belay plate. This is a risk with other set-ups, which don’t extend the plate away from the climber.

The Reverso is also oriented so the rope is not passing through the grips. In this particular situation, understanding the thickness and friction of the static rope being used and considering the weight of the climber, this orientation provided sufficient braking without affecting the smoothness of the descent.

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