Friction modes and tie-offs for the PIRANA - Petzl USA

Friction modes and tie-offs for the PIRANA

Rappelling on a single strand of rope requires knowing how to adjust the descender friction, depending on the situation. When stopping on rappel, a tie-off frees up your hands.


  • Carefully read the Instructions for Use used in this technical advice before consulting the advice itself. You must have already read and understood the information in the Instructions for Use to be able to understand this supplementary information.
  • Mastering these techniques requires specific training. Work with a professional to confirm your ability to perform these techniques safely and independently before attempting them unsupervised.
  • We provide examples of techniques related to your activity. There may be others that we do not describe here.

Adjusting friction on the PIRANA

The PIRANA is designed to facilitate friction adjustment during the descent.

Adjusting friction on the PIRANA.
Adjusting friction on the PIRANA.

Tying off the PIRANA

There are several types of tie-off, the choice of which depends on the situation (rappelling with feet supported, or free-hanging), and/or on the maneuvers to be performed:

1. Temporary stop

You must keep a hand on the brake-side rope.

Temporary stop.
Temporary stop.

2. Long duration tie-off

Here are two tie-offs that allow both hands to be free, with maximum security. The second tie-off is not recommended for free-hanging rappels because it can be difficult to undo, which is problematic on a waterfall rappel. Always keep your body weight on the rope.

Long duration tie-off.
Long duration tie-off.