If you suspect that a ski descent might require a rappel, it is a good idea to bring a small assortment of gear in case you have to set an anchor. Trees and rock outcroppings are the best anchors if you can find them, but often times it’s necessary to whack in a piton, Stopper or cam to create a secure point to rappel from. The amount of gear you need for setting anchors varies, but 10 or so pieces ranging from knifeblade pitons to fist sized cams will get you through, over and around almost any obstacle.
The best gear to use for anchors is your oldest and least valuable, as it will become one with the mountain. Bring along an ice ax with a hammer on it to apply a little extra lovin’ to those tight fitting pieces and remember, your life is worth far more than a few old nuts and cams. When it doubt, back up your rap anchor with extra pieces.
Here’s a sample rap kit:
1. 8mm x 30m (or thicker/longer) rope
2. Full-length runner. Good for looping over rocks
3. 25′ of 6mm accessory cord. Can be chopped up, or used to extend anchor points.
4. 22cm ice screw. A good anchor itself, or useful for making V-Threads
5. Pitons – these go in when nothing else will and create excellent anchors
6. Stoppers and/or nuts. The best bang for your rappelling dollar.
7. Cams – at times, these work when nothing else will.
8. Carabiners – used to connect anchor points, or as the main rappel point (doubled-up)
9. Locking ‘biner – needed for a Munter Hitch rappel
10. Harness – the simpler, the better.
Keep the rock gear organized on the full-length runner and packed in a small stuff sack so that it doesn’t shred everything inside your pack and is ready to go. If you think you are going to rap, put your harness on before dropping in so you don’t have to do it while you’re sketched out on top of a big drop.
Rap Gear from Backcountry.com at 15% off:
Beal 30m Rando Rope – compact and perfect for ski mountaineering.
Petzl Attache Locking Carabiner – smooth, strong and small.
Category: 06 Downhill