Abseil Badge

About the Badge





For Leaders



Abseiling Badge


Abseiling Proficiency Badge

Prior to abseil, demonstrate precautions applicable to abseiling including:

  1. approaching cliffs
  2. safe distance to cliff edge
  3. the need to restrain loose hair and clothing
  4. knowledge of standard communication conventions used in abseiling.


Approaching Cliffs.

Leaders should instruct those in their groups to stay together on well-established tracks, to avoid loose rocks (especially on descent), and avoid dangerous ledges, cliffs, and areas where a fall might occur.

Tracks have no caution signs for loose rocks, nor do they have guardrails on cliffs. Think about your footing while travelling near cliffs. Trees and bushes can't always be trusted to hold you. Stay on developed tracks or dry, solid rock areas with good footing; even dry grass can be slippery. Keep at least 3 metres clear of the cliff edge, it may be unstable or the edge may give way. Wear appropriate clothing for the track conditions and season.

Accidents can occur when people kick or roll boulders down steep hills. Do not drop or throw rocks or any other object over cliffs. When approaching a rock face, always look up to check if there are loose rocks, which could fall. Do not attempt to climb rock faces or cliffs of any type without the permission and supervision of a qualified Leader.


Distance From Edge.

During initial training novices should hook up to the descent rope no closer than 3 m from the cliff edge. If at any time this distances cannot be obtained or there is a chance of slippage due to slope or a loose surface then a safety line must be attached to the person while hooking up and/or moving to the hook up area. The safety rope is only to be released when the person has the brake firmly applied and a belay has been confirmed.


Loose Items

For abseiling all loose items should be tucked away. It is important that long hair be put up or placed in a hair net. Long beards should also be considered. Should hair get caught in equipment it can be painful and could create a situation where a rescue is required. Shirts should be tucked in and all jewellery and straps secured. Anything that could be caught in the descender can cause an abseiler to become suspended. Keep all loose articles secure.


Voice Calls

Call   Response  
“On Rope” Called to by the abseiler to advise the belayer that the abseiler is attached to the rope and has a positive brake. “On Belay” Called by the belayer in response to the On Rope call to advise the abseiler that the belayer is in position and ready to belay.
“Abseiling” Called by the abseiler when the abseiler is about to begin descent. “Descend” Called by the belay to advise the abseiler that the belayer is aware the abseiler is descending and that the belayer is ready to arrest a fall if necessary.
“Below” Below is used when a object is dislodged or falls over the edge. It is to warn personnel below that they should seek shelter. They should not look up.    
“Off Rope” Called by abseiler when the abseiler has completed the descent and all the abseiler’s equipment has been removed from the rope. "OK" Called by the Skills Leader or Instructor.

If there are a number of ropes is use and there is a chance of confusing calls between ropes, calls should be followed by the rope number.
ie. “On Rope 3” “On Belay 3”       “Abseiling 1” “Descend 1”       “Off Rope 5”

WARNING: Some activities covered on this website can be dangerous. Undertaking them without proper training, experience, skill, regard to safety, and equipment could result in serious injury or death.


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