The Masters

Jeff Ward - IFMGA/AMGA Guide

Jeff Ward is an IFMGA-licensed and AMGA-certified Alpine, Ski and Rock Guide. He grew up in the Northwest and is co-owner of North Cascades Mountain Guides ( based in Mazama. Ward is a lead instructor for the American Mountain Guides Association and serves on their technical committee.

Martin Volken - IFMGA Guide

Martin Volken is the founder and owner of Pro Guiding Service and Pro Ski and Mountain Service in North Bend, WA. He is a certified IFMGA Swiss Mountain Guide and guides over 120 days per year in North America and Europe as a ski, rock and alpine guide. Volken has pioneered several steep ski descents, ski traverses, alpine and rock routes in the Washington Cascades. He has been a member of the AMGA examiner team since 2000 and has authored and co-authored three books on ski touring and ski mountaineering.

Got a question about climbing? Submit your question in the Ask the Master forum and either Jeff Ward or Martin Volken will supply the answer.

Anchors: Replacing Old Webbing
Anchors: Replacing Old Webbing

Ask the Master: Rappelling Overhanging Roofs and Traverses

By Jeff Ward (AMGA/IFMGA Mountain Guide)

The following scenarios assume that you are rappelling down a multipitch climb where there is no other way to get down besides rappelling. It is also assumed you are still several pitches off the ground.

Situation 1: You rappel over a large roof and can't reach the wall and anchor to set up the next rappel. What is the best way to reach the chains?

Situation 2: At least one pitch in the climb is a traverse, but rappelling brings you straight down, not diagonally down. What is the best way to get to the next set of chains without swinging out of control?

—climbsleeprepeat, via Ask the Master forum

Jeff Ward. 

Often on overhanging or traversing rappels, the first person down can place gear on the way down to redirect the rappel ropes. This can help you reach the anchors without exposing yourself to the big swing.

Once the first person reaches the anchor they fix the rope to that anchor with a little bit of slack so the next person can pull himself or herself into the anchor. That person cleans the directionals on their way down.

—Jeff Ward


Got a question about climbing? Submit your question in the Ask the Master forum and either Jeff Ward (AMGA/IFMGA Mountain Guide) or Martin Volken (IFMGA Mountain Guide) will supply the answer.

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