The Dye Clan
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Munter-Mule Contingency Anchor


The munter-mule contingency anchor is used to set up a single strand rappel line that can quickly and easily be converted to a lower (aka contingency anchor). To rig the munter-mule contingency anchor:

  1. Tie a munter hitch to a locking carabiner, ensuring that both strands reach the bottom of the drop.
  2. Attach the carabiner to the anchor point
  3. Lock off the munter hitch with a mule hitch
  4. Tie a safety knot below the mule hitch.
  5. Stow the non-rappelling strand in a rope bag to ensure that people don't unintentionally rappel on the wrong strand.
  6. People rappel single strand.
  7. LAMAR removes the munter-mule contingency anchor, and rigs a different method.
  8. LAMAR rappels down.

If someone gets stuck on rappel (hair or clothing stuck in rappel device, girth hitch on figure eight, scared-stiff rappeller, etc.), then the person at the top should take the following actions to lower the stuck rappeller:

  1. Untie the safety knot.
  2. With both hands on the brake line, pull the brake line until the mule hitch releases.
  3. Lower the rappeller to the ground.

Note that you have better control and more friction when you pull down (toward the rappeller) on the brake line than when pulling up (toward the anchor). For this reason, it's better to hold the portion of the brake line between the carabiner and the quick link than the portion between the quick link and the rope bag. 


The munter-mule contingency anchor's main advantage is that you can lower stuck rappellers. There is a lot of debate on whether or not this is important or necessary. Some people (mainly guides and people that lead groups of inexperienced people) argue that every rappel should be rigged as a contingency so that if a rappeller becomes stuck, you can quickly lower them. Others agure (myself included) that a stuck rappeller is inconvenient but is not really a life-threatening scenario that must be avoided at all cost. These people argue that other rigging methods are safer because they reduce the risk of accidentally clipping into the wrong strand and falling to the bottom. 


The munter-mule contingency anchor has several limitations. 

  1. You cannot rappel double strand.
  2. You cannot isolate strands (i.e. have one person getting ready while the other person is rappelling)
  3. The rope must be re-rigged for the last man down.


Figure 8 Contingency Anchor