Tag Archives: burn skin

Science Confirms: Rappel Devices Can Get Very Hot

If you’ve rappelled more than 40 feet before, you probably have noticed your rappel device heats up when you use it. On long, free rappels, in fact, your ATC, Pirana, or other device of choice easily becomes hot enough to burn you good. I tend to immediately throw my Pirana in the closest pool of water in such situations, because if I don’t, I invariably burn my thigh or arm a few moments later. Whether throwing a 174º Pirana into 50º water warps or changes it, I have no idea. Anyhow, canyoneer James Kehoe took a big step past casual observation in attempting to answer the long-standing question: Just how hot does a rappel device get on a 450-foot rappel? James posted his test results on the Canyons Group, and I thought I’d post them here for general interest. Take home message: Your rappel device can get REALLY hot, especially on long, free rappels. Take precautions to avoid licking the device upon touchdown and keep small infants at least 10 feet away at all times. Thanks to Mr. Kehoe for posting his study. To find his original post, go the Yahoo Canyons Group and look at the 10/4/2010 posts. I’ve … Continue reading

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