Static to lower

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When certain problems occur during rappel, a good solution is often to lower the rappeller to the ground. These problems usually involve jamming of the rappel device with hair, clothing, etc, or the rappeller becoming entangled in the rope. The best solution in these cases is to have previously rigged a Contingency anchor that can quickly be converted to a lowering system. However, sometimes these problems occur when a static block was used and there is no benefit in knowing at that point that one should have done something differently. In these cases, a person at the top of the drop will likely want to convert the static block into a lowering system. This page describes some of these "static to lower" techniques.

Integrated z-rig

This system constructs a 3:1 haul system to pull the static block away from the quick link and allow it to be replaced with a contingency block.

  1. Someone is stuck on rappel with a static block.
  2. Wrap VT Prusik around loaded rap-side rope very close to anchor, oriented to pull the rappeller upwards.
  3. Attach VT Prusik to anchor (but not quick link).
  4. Attach any rope grab to the rap rope as far from the anchor as is easily reachable from the top.
  5. Thread pull-side rope through pulley (or carabiner, if pulley isn't available).
  6. Attach threaded pulley to rope grab from step 4.
  7. Pull hard on pull-side rope -- this lifts the rappeller at 3:1, but more importantly, pulls the static block away from the quick link. The VT should self-mind itself down the rap rope.
  8. Relax the pull-side rope and let the Prusik take all the weight.
  9. Remove the pull-side rope from the pulley.
  10. Remove the rope grab from the rope (this step may be skipped in time-critical scenarios).
  11. Attach a contingency anchor (such as a Figure 8 block) just behind the static block.
  12. Remove the static block.
  13. Release the VT so that the contingency anchor blocks the rope and takes all the rappeller's weight.
  14. Remove the VT.
  15. Lower from the contingency anchor.


If time is critical, it may be necessary to skip the haul/unloading step by cutting the anchor strategically. This page describes a few ways this could be done. But, keep in mind that cutting any rigging, especially in a high-stress time-pressure situation, presents special risks and could lead to serious consequences.