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Experience | Abseiling

The first abseil is attributed to Jean Estéril Charlet, who devised the technique during a failed attempt to solo climb Petit Dru in the French Alps. He later perfected the technique and successfully climbed the mountain in 1879.

Abseiling, taken from the German word abseilen means quite literally, to rope down. Sometimes referred to as rappelling, it is the controlled descent down the face of a rock (or building) using a rope. It’s often used by climbers when the face of a cliff is too steep or dangerous to descend without the security of a rope. It is also used by rescue services to reach injured or stranded people or animals and in industrial applications, for construction and maintenance.

Whilst abseiling is an exhilarating experience it can also be very dangerous and it is highly important to undertake expert tuition should you not already have gained this previously.

A qualified instructor in Devon can ensure the correct safety precautions are in place and the right equipment is used: ropes, natural or specialist anchor points, a descender (which is the friction device used to control your descent), a comfortable climbing harness and the use of a special knot (such as a Bachmann or Klemheist) to be used as a safety back-up in case control is lost. In addition, a helmet should always be worn, gloves to protect hands from abrasions on rocks and burn from the rope, sturdy footwear and on occasion knee pads.

In Devon you can enjoy the recreational aspect of this adrenaline sport and the county has a wealth of suitable locations to experience. These include Baggy Point near Woolacombe in North Devon, the tors of Dartmoor and Canonteign Falls which is England’s highest waterfall (at 220ft), located in the heart of the Teign Valley. One visitor described this as one of the most idyllic places on Earth.

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