How To Minimize Your Rappel Impact
Save the Trees
When climbers wrap ropes around a tree, the wear will saw into the bark, harming the tree. If you have to rap off a tree, first make sure it’s bomber, then place slings around it. Always use natural-colored webbing and either a carabiner or a rap ring.. When climbers come to a tree with wads of suspect webbing, for some reason they usually just add another strand. However, it’s far better to cut all the tat away and use two new, strong pieces of webbing.
If you must place a bolted anchor, connect the two bolts with two lengths of chain, preferably dark-colored—big, shiny chains are unnecessarily obtrusive. Alternatively, use “threadable” bolt hangers to eliminate chain entirely.
Consider walking down instead of rappelling. At places like the Gunks, this is almost always feasible, but people continue to rappel onto one another to save a few minutes. Walking down is usually safer and it doesn’t trash the rock (have you ever seen rope runnels that have been burned into the rock after countless raps?). Stay on established trails.