Suspended Rappel: The Complete Guide

Does the name rappel familiar to you? This radical activity, which is characterized by suspended descent from a wall or rock, using ropes, promises a lot of fun and adrenaline.

However, who can abseil? What types of rappel are there? Find out the answers to these and other questions in this article! 

What is suspended rappelling?

O suspended rappel is a radical vertical activity and is a variation of traditional rappelling used in mountaineering, climbing, caving, and rescue activities, where the descent is made on a surface on which the feet cannot find support. 

This means that the person descends hanging from the rope in an open space, without coming into contact with the wall or rock, simulating a situation of controlled free fall.

What does rappel mean?

Rappelling or abseiling, originating in French, is the act of descending a wall vertically with the help of a rope. 

What types of rappel exist?

There are several ways to practice rappelling. Discover the main ones here:

    • Inclined rappel

It is a simpler type of rappel and is practiced with walls with less than a 90° inclination;

    • Vertical rappel

This type of rappel is very similar to the inclined one, where the only difference is that more strength is required when exiting;

    • Negative rappel

In this type of rappel there is no contact between the lower limbs and the stone.

    • Negative inverted rappel

The inverted rappel is the same as the negative rappel, but at the exit the practitioner must adopt an inverted posture.

    • Inclined forward rappel

Similar to the slope, but the athlete must be facing the descent. 

    • Cascading

This type of rappel happens when it is done in waterfalls.

    • Interspersed rappel

In this type of rappel, alternate descents are made, where you descend with the rope doubled while attaching yourself to other anchorage points. 

Suspended vs. Rappel rock rappelling: what’s the difference

Rappelling can be done in different ways: suspended or on rocks. In the case of suspended rappelling, this happens when it is done on a wall where there is not much contact with it. In rock rappelling, there is permanent body-rock contact.

Is rappelling an extreme sport?

The answer is yes. Rappelling is part of extreme sports, promising adrenaline and adventure in its practice. Rappelling is joined by other extreme sports such as canyoning, climbing or sliding.

At Melgaço Radical you can find this and other extreme sports, for a unique adventure! 

Is rappelling easy?

Yes. There is no need for prior experience to practice rappelling, and it can be learned with the help of a guide while doing the activity.

How to practice suspended rappelling safely?

Rappelling is a unique activity, which provides its practitioners with moments of pure adrenaline and fun. However, it is important not to neglect the safety rules, which include:

  • Use of helmet;
  • Presence of a certified guide;
  • Use of the safety harness.

Best places to rappel in Portugal

Portugal has several places to practice rappelling, attracting both beginners and experienced practitioners. Here are some of the best places to rappel in the country:

rappel suspenso norte portugal
source: freepik

Where can I do suspended abseiling in the north of Portugal?

The options for practicing suspended rappelling in the north of the country are diverse. In Melgaço, the Peso-Arbo International Bridge is an excellent place for suspended rappelling. This bridge is under the River Minho and provides its practitioners with stunning views. 

A Melgaço Radical provides you with this experience, which is guaranteed to be unforgettable! 

Equipment needed for suspended rappelling

To practice rappelling, it is important to have a helmet and a safety harness. This equipment is essential to ensure a safe and hazard-free experience. 

During the experience, it is important that a guide is present, who offers guidance and support, ensuring the safety and fun of the activity.

Advanced rappelling techniques

As previously mentioned, the practice of rappelling involves the existence of several types, which cover different degrees of difficulty and techniques. There are seven types of these:

  • Inclined rappel;
  • Vertical rappel;
  • Negative rappel;
  • Negative inverted rappel;
  • Rappel with inclined front;
  • Cascading;
  • Rappel interspersed.

Health Benefits of Rappelling

Rappelling is not just important for fun. Practicing this radical activity has several benefits for physical and mental health, such as: 

  • Increased resistance;
  • Increased strength;
  • Greater ability to overcome limits;
  • More concentration.

What is the minimum age to do suspended abseiling?

Rappelling is recommended from the age of 14. With the appropriate safety equipment and the help of a guide, it is very safe and promises a unique adventure.

Can I do suspended abseiling without prior experience?

He can. Practicing suspended rappelling does not require prior experience. At Melgaço Radical You are entitled to a duly certified guide who accompanies you throughout the activity, and provides the necessary support for its completion. 

Tips for abseiling beginners

For those who are just starting out or want more information about the activity as they are thinking about doing it, it is important to pay attention to the guides' instructions, and ask for help whenever necessary. However, here are some essential tips to ensure a safe and exciting experience:

  • Learn the Basics: Familiarize yourself with fundamental rappelling equipment and techniques.
  • Know Your Limits: Progress gradually, respecting your physical and emotional limits.
  • Never Practice Alone: Always have a partner and inform someone about your location and plans.
  • Check Weather Conditions: Avoid abseiling in adverse conditions, such as rain or strong wind.
  • Respect Nature: Practice responsibly, avoiding protected areas and minimizing environmental impact.

Is it necessary to have climbing knowledge to practice suspended abseiling?

Despite being similar sports, it is not necessary to have prior knowledge of climbing to practice suspended rappelling. In fact, to practice rappel it is not mandatory to know the sport itself before doing it. 

All of this happens if safety rules are followed, and if an instructor is monitoring your practice throughout the entire time you practice the activity.


Suspended abseiling, as an extreme activity, is full of benefits, both for physical and mental health. For there to be a full and unique practice of this sport, it is important that safety materials are used and that there is a guide to follow the entire practice.

From the age of 14 onwards, anyone can venture into one of the seven types of abseiling, and enjoy a beautiful landscape, which will certainly make the experience unique. 

At Melgaço Radical we have these and other adventures, like our iconic rafting on the river minho, O canyoning, O hydrospeed, The canoeing, among other activities that you will love to try.

Discover Unlimited Emotion – Your Adventure Starts Here!

With more than two decades of experience, Melgaço Radical stands out as an undisputed reference in adventure sports and activities in the water, on land and outdoors on the Minho River and in Portugal. Our icon, the rafting on the river minho, is not just an activity; It is a transformative experience that attracts thousands of adventurers, national and international, to the picturesque region of Melgaço.

But our passion for adventure is not limited to rafting. Melgaço Radical is synonymous with diversity and innovation, offering a wide range of activities such as canyoning, canoeing, hydrospeed, abseiling, slide, pendulum jumping and hiking.

Come experience the excitement and beauty of Melgaço – where the adventure never ends!

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