Get the thrill of a Tyrolean Traverse

Get the thrill of a Tyrolean TraverseTyrolean traverse is a very popular and thrilling team activity that involves you dangling on a rope by virtue of a harness to get across a gorge, a river or between buildings. Tyrolean traverse is a great activity for effective team work as well as building trust.

However, in order to make a safe Tyrolean traverse you need the aid of proper gear set. In absence of gears you have to rely on sheer strength that may put you in vulnerable situation whenever crossing dangerous terrain. This is obviously not a wise choice.


Hikers most frequently encounter Tyrolean traverse while making a swift water crossing. Climbers also need to rig their own Tyrolean traverse in order to get back to the main part of a rock wall more easily and safely. In most Tyrolean traverse crossing a fixed, more or less horizontal line is safely anchored at both sides and hung over free space between a couple of high points.

The line itself must be a thick metal rope-like wire anchored on both sides of the crossing. Along with your feet and hands you must need additional gears as well as tools that will protect you from falling in case your feet or hands slip away from the line. A climbing harness, in this regard could be the appropriate gear to use. If in case you don’t have such type of harness you could use improvised harnesses, slings, webbing or rope to make one that’s safe and effective as well.


There are few more gears alongside the harness that can protect you and aid you in the crossing. You can clip one end of a quickdraw through the belay loop while the other ends to the traverse line in order to hold your body weight. This gear is backed up by a locking carabiner and a longer sling girth-hitched to your harness.

Try to maintain the distance as minimum as possible between your harness and the gear that holds it to the line. A distance around six inches would be great. Too much distance means you have to rely on your arms heavily in holding you close enough to the line. It’s always a good idea to keep some spare tools & gears in case the primary gear set fails.


Crossing Technique

  • If you are carrying a backpack get rid of it and attach the bag both to your traverse line and harness. This will make the bag slide along behind you as you traverse.
  • Traverse in such a position so that your head facing towards the end destination rather than your feet. The bulk of your body weight must be held by the harness.
  • Stay close to the line and use one hand to clip the quickdraw to the line. At the same time you need to hook both of your feet on the line. This will keep your body hanging from the line.
  • Use your feet to push off of the anchor and get the start. Pull hand-over-hand to continue the traverse.
  • Be very watchful about the frayed metal edges on the line. If you have gloves don’t forget to wear it.
  • Once you get the momentum you will find that more acceleration could be achieved just by keeping your feet dangling away from the rope.
  • As soon as you reach the other side safely place your feet on the ground, pull yourself towards the rope, unclip your backpack and yourself from the line.
  • Be absolutely steady before unclipping the final piece of gear that attaches you to the line.

Md Asif Rahman


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