What To Expect


 This is not your typical rock climbing rappel!  You will be wearing a full-body industrial harness and using an industrial hand held descender to rappel the building. Squeezing the handle will allow you to go down, letting go makes you stop. You can control your speed to a certain extent, but should you go too fast the back-up device will engage.

You will use one of two different devices to rappel depending on the height of your building.  One device requires you to squeeze a handle and the other device requires you to pull a lever to go down the building.  It will take between 5 and 15 minutes to get to the bottom. Don?t forget to stop and take in the view! Getting your weight off the roof and into the harness is the most difficult part for some people.  You will have an opportunity to practice your technique during training and an OTE Technician will guide you through these first few steps.  Once you?ve made it over the edge, you will have a radio to communicate with your OTE Technician, but basically you are on your own!

Rappelling can take more effort than some people expect and you may find that your hands or arms get tired.  You can stop to rest if you need a break.  In general, inexperienced rappellers tend to find themselves with tired hands and arms at the bottom.

If you keep your feet on the concrete/glass it is easy to maintain the correct position.  You won?t spin around or drift into the building. If you push off with your feet you can bounce outwards. The further out you bounce, the more likely you are to lock your backup device.  On some buildings, you will not be able to touch the building.  You can maintain the correct position by sitting up in your harness, as if you were sitting in a swing.  An Over the Edge ropes volunteer at the bottom of the rope will keep you from spinning too much.  Once you?re within 20? of the ground, your landing will be assisted by the Over the Edge ropes volunteers.

When you arrive on site you will check in at registration and be escorted to the Staging area where you?ll be fitted for gear. Once you complete this first stop, you will be escorted to the training area where you will have the opportunity to hang in the harness, find a comfortable position, and practice using the descender.  The same safety procedures are used in the training as in the long rappel so you will be familiar with them when you get there.


You?re going to be walking down the side of a building so wear good shoes; sneakers, light hikers, something with a soft & light-colored sole. No sandals, climbing shoes, slip-on shoes, slippers, flip flops, high heels, or steel toed boots.

It is recommended you wear long pants and long sleeved shirts to avoid scrapped knees and elbows.  Athletic pants, tights, and jeans, are suitable. NO SHORT SHORTS. The harness goes around your legs, waist, and shoulders, so it is best to avoid anything too bulky.  Shirts should be comfortable and without draw cords.  Long hair will have to be tied back and pinned up to fit under the helmet.  Costumes are very much encouraged!  All costumes will need to meet the same standards as listed above and capes will have to be approved by the Site Safety Supervisor for the main rappel. You will check in droppable items like keys and cell phones, or jewelry that can get caught on things, with a staff member on-site. All rappel gear will be provided and including leather gloves and a helmet.


Sorry, no phones or cameras on the roof. Helmet cams are permitted if you have one and want to bring it but check to make sure you have an approved Go Pro Cam that will fit Over the Edge?s helmet mounts.  NOTHING GOES OVER THE EDGE WITHOUT OTE?S APPROVAL.

The most common complaint from participants after rappelling is that their forearm got sore during the descent.  The squeezing motion required isn?t hard, but over a long time it can get tiring.  Proper technique makes a lot of difference, but using a squeeze ball once in a while doesn?t hurt either.  Note: You will be using your left hand to squeeze the device.

Go rock climbing. Not only does rock climbing strengthen your forearms, but also it allows you to hang in a harness. Although the harnesses we use are different, you will still get the idea of what muscles it takes to stay up-right.

Get psyched. Tell your friends. You?re one of a few special people who will be doing the rappel!


Unfortunately friends of the participants will not be allowed up to the roof top.  The roof is a restricted access area.  Often the not-for-profit hosting the event will have an event photographer taking pictures from the roof, ensuring that each participant gets a picture of himself or herself going Over the Edge.

We look forward to meeting you!