What to expect on rappel day

What to Expect On Rappel Day

How You Will Rappel?

·     You will be wearing a full-body industrial harness and using an industrial descender to go down. Squeezing a handle makes you go down, letting go (or pulling back) makes you stop. You can control your speed to a certain extent. Should you go too fast, or should the equipment fail, the back-up device will engage.

·     Getting your weight off the roof and into the harness is the difficult part for most people. Once you're over the edge, you are on your own. Don't forget to stop and take in the view!

·     The squeezing motion to activate the descender requires quite a bit of force and using the same hand the entire way down can be tiring. You can stop to rest, or switch hands when you need a break. Once you're within 20" of the ground, your landing will be assisted by an Over the Edge staff member.


·     When you arrive on site you will have the opportunity to practice rappelling from a lesser height. This will give you a chance to hang in the harness, find a comfortable position, and practice using the descender and safety equipment. You can practice as often as you'd like before heading to the roof. The same safety procedures are used in the training as in the long rappel so you will be familiar with them when you get there.

What to wear:

·     You're going to be walking down the side of a building so wear good shoes. Well-fitting sneakers, light hiking boots, climbing shoes, or other soft soled shoes are recommended. No sandals, slip-on shoes, slippers, flip flops, high heels, or steel toed boots will be allowed.

·      Wear long pants and a long sleeved shirt. Athletic pants, tights, and jeans are suitable. The harness goes around your legs, waist, and shoulders, so it is best to avoid anything too bulky. Shirts should be comfortable and without draw cords. Long hair should be tied back. You will be required to leave droppable items like keys and cell phones, or jewelry that can get caught on things, with a staff member on-site. You will be given a pair of leather gloves and a helmet when you arrive.

Cameras and Phones

·     Sorry, no phones, cameras, etc. on the roof. Helmet cams are permitted if you have one and want to bring it


What Can I Do To Practice?

·     The most common complaint from participants after rappelling is that their forearm got sore during the descent. The squeezing motion required isn't hard, but over a long time it can get tiring. Proper technique and switching arms makes a lot of difference, but using a squeeze ball once in a while doesn't hurt either.

·     Go rock climbing with our friends at Planet Granite! Not only does rock climbing strengthen your forearms, but also it allows you to hang in a harness. Although the harnesses we use are different you will still get the idea of what muscles it takes to stay up-right.


·     Tell your friends. You're one of a few special people who will be doing the rappel.

·     Send your First Giving page link out to everyone.

·    Tell your story on your First Giving page, add photos if possible.

·     You are also encouraged to use the all the social media sites. (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.)


Spectators and Friends:

·         Unfortunately, friends of the participants will not be allowed up to the roof top. The roof is a restricted access area. Often the not-for-profit hosting the event will have an event photographer taking pictures from the roof, ensuring that each participant gets a picture of himself or herself going over the side.


Participant Weight/Size Restrictions:

·     Participants over 136.1kg (300 lbs) are not permitted to rappel as they exceed the safe working load of the equipment. The minimum weight of a participant is 45.36 kg (100 lbs.).


Special Needs Rappellers:

·     Special Needs Rappellers will be accommodated as long as it can be done safely. In the past people with intellectual disabilities, physical disabilities, amputees, and wheelchairs have been able to participate fully and have enjoyed successful rappels. Advance notice is required, however, so that the Event Managers and Technicians can ensure that each participant gets the best experience possible.



·     Costumes are allowed but are subject to the same limitations as baggy clothing. Every attempt will be made to safely fit costumes around harnesses and helmets. As with shorts, it is ultimately the decision of the Site Safety Supervisor. Stringy, loose, or excessive costumes must be avoided. Head pieces that will not accommodate a helmet, obscure the vision, or are notably large or heavy will rarely be allowed.