Interested in rappelling


Hey guys! Long time, no see. I come bearing a weighty question…

The Background
Today, I had to turn down a job for a large university 5 minutes from my home because it requires rappelling.
Apparently, only one company in the area does rappelling and they are so busy they aren’t always available.
There are 5 universities within 20 minutes of me along with a good number of other high-rise buildings. From the start I had intended to possibly add high-rise work to my business and I feel now might be the time to pursue this more aggressively. I read everything I could find in search and still need help. So…

The actual questions
Does anyone have any general thoughts on rappelling and things I should be considering before attempting to go this direction?

How/where can I get properly trained in the safety and techniques?

What equipment would I need to start?

How much money should I be prepared to spend to go from no equipment/experience to set up and ready to begin?



When it comes to high rise, I always recommend Jeff at Green safety training, its worth everypenny and youll have osha approved training and certs. I’m planning a trip to get a refresher course soon.


Welcome back!

Beautiful questions as I am interested later in my career, if possible. Hope you get the answers you need brotha.


I too need to schedule a refresher for myself and a few employees.

Green safety training is very inexpensive from what we used to pay for a two day course, 1 day in office, 1 out on a building.


As for cost , it greatly varies on your area.

As recently, we usually only drop off permanent roof anchors that are certified annually. In many cases these are designed and layed out for window cleaning, so not as much use of taglines or redirecting required anymore.

This also makes the equipment cheaper, no roof rig or portable systems to own eliminating a $3000+ cost.

About $1000. For 150’ ropes, chair, harness, carbiners, rope grab and lanyard. If your using roof anchors your good for the most part.

I would highly recommend some type of onsite working experience along with your training. Yes the training alone technically makes you legal, common sense goes along way.

Some type of onsite working assistance would increase your safety, knowledge, efficiency and is just a good idea. Problem is finding someone who would do this for you.

I have been approached many times to help local guys to do this and not really interested in training another guy who will directly compete with me in my area. This changes some for a guy who is not local where I woukd welcome the oppiryunity to assist a experenced window cleaning in learning the proper techniques of safe rigging and rappeling.


Come to think of it, is rappelling even something a one-man company can do?


Frankly, not a good idea.


Technically yes, it is always better to do it in pairs but not required from OSHA for all companies.

I would have no problem rappelling solo but wont allow an employee to do so.

If you look at any of the accidents in past 10 years, none required assistance from the partner. Rescuer is always rescue dept for swing stage. You never hear of rope descent guys being rescued, they can get themselves down.

If one think about every accident with rope descent it is always lack of following safe work practices and common sense.

The only situation one would need assistance would be knocked unconscious. Tell me how this would happen and I’ll tell you how it was avoidable.


Great reply bro, I couldn’t have explained it better. I never drop off a building solo, usually have a helper to move equipment, cones, tape, get fresh water ect. It’s not required but always better to have an extra set of hands and eyeballs to look out for potential hazards, we always radio our conversations. Works out well for me.


High winds and no helmet, guy gets bashed into the side of a building?


I can tell you have never rapelled from that statement.


You are correct! I have lived my life at sea level.


It’s not like you are a kite, wind does not effect you like your thinking.

If wind gets strong you can be to ground within seconds. I have never been not able to rappel due to wind and personal safety. Always been quality of work that wind ruins.

You’ve likely seen videos of suspended scaffolding swinging from wind. These have more area to catch wind gusts and swing the unit building force and only climb up or down very slow.

The main reason rope descent isnt used due to strong winds is the effect it has and where it blows your water. Cant have wind trashing windows on drops already cleaned.


Rappelling sounds and looks like it would be a blast, with proper training and hands experience. Moneys pretty decent too.


I wanna do it so bad! And there’s almost no competition in my area. Too bad I’m solo…


Right, who cares if there is competition or not its about the experience and being part an elite group of people!


There is nothing inherently profitable about rope work. You can lose money at this type of work as easily as any other type. It’s just another side of the business, which can vary wildly by region.


The benefit of rope work can be just the size of the jobs.

Those who have employees will find that these jobs have longer seasons, wider range of hours to work, insides and outsides for rain work to fall back on. Experienced guys can do the exterior high work while the insides are open to new or employees not interested in high work.


Find someone who may let you work with them during a slow time you have. Likley not a local guy but it’ll show you what’s involved. Along with a training course, both could cost you $1000 total but would be an investment to growing your current business Into a new market with an employee.

Between rope descent and wfp you can really open your options and prolong seasons.


I agree.

With that skill set I see larger financial opportunity and long term growth and more constant contracts.