Rappel, in general, describes the maneuver of descending vertically via rope.

Is there a single word that describes the opposite action of being pulled directly upward or ascending vertically via rope?

  • 3
    Rope Climbing – cobaltduck Feb 1 '17 at 21:30
  • 7
    Rappel refers to a specific type of descent, along a surface like a cliff wall. There's no "opposite" action, as the kids say, because gravity. Can you clarify what kind of activity you mean? – choster Feb 1 '17 at 21:38
  • Exactly that except being pulled upwards by some outside force (mechanical or otherwise, doesn't matter). Not climbing. – bvpx Feb 1 '17 at 21:53
  • 2
    Their is also abseil (down). UP: To ascend or climb using prusik hitches. – Lambie Feb 1 '17 at 23:23
  • 1
    @bvpx Are you holding to the rope and the rope is being pulled up, or are you being pulled up along the rope? – choster Feb 1 '17 at 23:45

hoist, Merriam Webster

to raise into position by or as if by means of tackle: hoist a flag; hoist the sails; Cargo was hoisted up into the ship.

Example (made up):

Clinging to the rope, she was hoisted up the side of the ship by the burly sailor.

In the question, The OP speaks of being pulled directly upward, and in a comment, the OP says being pulled upwards by some outside force (mechanical or otherwise, doesn't matter). Not climbing. Hoist fits these specifications.

But the OP also said, in the question, ascending vertically via rope. For this, the comment of @Lambie to prusik would fit, but the OP said not climbing. So the question needs clarifying. (I will leave it to Lambie to give the prusik answer.)

  • This is passive, not active. – Lambie Feb 1 '17 at 23:30
  • @Lambie Yes, it is passive, but the OP said "being pulled upwards by some outside force (mechanical or otherwise, doesn't matter)." OP should really clarify. Prusiking is far from passive, but it seems unlikely it is what the OP wants. But give it a try, if you have time to write an answer! – ab2 MonicaNotForgotten Feb 1 '17 at 23:36
  • Hoist fulfills my requirements. The way I want to use it is to describe something very similar to the scenario in your example: "Clinging to the rope, she was hoisted up...". It would be nice to know of a word synonymous to hoist that also implies a rope is involved (á la repel), but I don't think any word like that exists. – bvpx Feb 2 '17 at 0:52
  • @bvpx hoist does imply the use of a rope—the "tackle" in the definition is a rope and pulley system. Picture something like this: goo.gl/images/MJ73hw. – 1006a Feb 2 '17 at 9:11

If you are OK with implying the use of a mechanism in addition to the rope, you could use the verb winch. From MacMillan Dictionary:

to lift someone or something using a winch

a piece of equipment that uses a rope or chain for lifting or pulling things or people

So you could say, for example,

Clinging to the rope, she was winched up into the helicopter.

And if you just said

The rescue helicopter winched her out of the water.

it would be clear that you meant that she was lifted via some sort of cable.

However, if you want to use it in a situation where there is a single person hauling the rope (with passenger attached) hand-over-hand, I think you'd need to use a different verb and specify the rope.


The opposite of rappel is ascend. The device is called an ascender. (Wiki article lists some alternate/obscure names for ascending.)

  • 1
    "Jumar" is actually so commonly used by climbers that they're more likely to talk about "jumaring" rather than "ascending". – Michael Borgwardt Feb 2 '17 at 12:14

The action of climbing is very different depending if you are climbing a wall using a rope, or climbing a rope with nothing for support. Either way, I would say "climb". I'm not sure if there is a word for using a mechanical device that pulls you up a rope, because I'm not sure if they exist in real life.

  • 1
    Sorry, my original question was not clear. I want the word to make it obvious to the reader that the person being raised-up is not doing the climbing themselves, but rather is being pulled upwards by another force. – bvpx Feb 2 '17 at 18:28

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.