Making rope balls can be a massive help when abseiling in challenging conditions. Welcome to another of our top tips and we really hope you find it useful.
For most climbers abseiling isn’t done just for fun. It’s a tool. A tool for accessing climbs on certain sea cliff venues or descending from routes you can’t easily walk off. It’s also essential for escaping down multi pitch crags if the weather conspires against you.
However, abseiling has many potential problems. One of the key ones is the need to make sure the ropes get to the ground. This is easy enough if conditions are calm and the route lies down a face without entrapment hazards. But, of course, it’s a different story if the wind is stopping the rope from getting down effectively or it’s a convoluted line.
One solution is a rope ball. This simply involves rolling the rope into a sphere shape starting from one end and smoothly wrapping around this initial small bundle until you have a substantial sized ball. They take a couple of minutes to make but you get quicker with practice.
Anyway, spending a few minutes before the rope is thrown down will potentially save you from far more time consuming problems down the line. The weight of rope contained in the rope ball will get it down the crag far easier. Infact, if you’ve rolled it well it will simply uncoil as it goes. One other way you can help get it to the ground is to throw the ball downwards with some force rather than simply dropping it. The added momentum and ball shape should beat most windy up draughts! Rope balls could make your next descent a much easier proposition.
If you are abseiling please also read our rope ends tip to make your descent safer.