Tech Tip- Saddlebagging your Rappel Ropes

Saddlebagging your ropes for rappelling is a great way to prevent mini-epics and is also more polite than dropping your ropes on parties climbing below you. It works great on low angle terrain where your ropes won’t fall free and in vegetated areas where every bush and krummholz conspire to lengthen your descent time. Last week I went out with Northeast Mountaineering to create this instructional video on the technique. Enjoy, and please like, share, and/or comment below!

See you in the mountains,

Northeast Alpine Start

6 thoughts on “Tech Tip- Saddlebagging your Rappel Ropes

  1. Excellent video Dave. I was always impressed how fast you set up a saddlebag rappel when we rapped off Hot than Hell. Your technique of coiling over your shoulder looks fast and efficient, I’ll need to try it. Thanks for the video.


    • Haha I was waiting for someone to notice the tree! No, I even backed it up to the fence during the first few takes LOL


  2. Thanks for a great video!
    Why are you using a nylon sling over Dyneema? I know nylon has a somewhat higher melting point and more dynamic for catching falls.
    However, I always end bringing Dyneema on multi-pitch climbs because of its smaller size/weight.
    Is Dyneema acceptable for extending a rappel?

    Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for the comment Danil! Good observation and question. I often use Dyneema to extend my rappel device, especially with my new “mini-quad” which is basically a double length dyneema I keep tied in a quad set up… it’s a very redundant rappel extension that I will be talking about in a Tech Tip video in the near future. So the short answer is “yes”, but the long answer includes awareness of the lower melting point of dyneema and its static nature. If one is aware of those and operates accordingly I see no issue.


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