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yikes1985


Oct 16, 2011, 12:27 AM
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ascending to descending
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This question would apply to ascending a single fixed rope as well as with climbing with the rock exotica soloist device. I'm familiar with the use of the rock exotica soloist as a self belay device on lead and top rope climbs, but have one question. If a given top rope climb is too difficult, or I just decide I want to bail, how exactly would I switch from climbing to descending while on rope? Somehow I'd need to unweight the "ascending" device and attach a descending or abseil device to the rope, such as a figure eight rappel device or similar. This is a key part of solo climbing/ascending a fixed rope that I just can't understand. What are your thoughts?


julio412


Oct 16, 2011, 5:41 AM
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Re: [yikes1985] ascending to descending [In reply to]
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if you read the owner's manual,it's not that hard.
Also an ascender and aid sling placed above the soloist will allow you to take the weight off.
M


jjones16


Oct 16, 2011, 11:39 AM
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Re: [yikes1985] ascending to descending [In reply to]
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My thoughts are that you need to set up a rope and practice the method of escaping the device while you are close to the ground. I assume that's what you're trying to do. Your description of what you're attempting to do is a little fuzzy. In any case, get some instruction or get a book- I recommend a book called Climbing Self Rescue : Improvising Solutions for Serious Situations. There are better ones probably, but I got this one when I first had some of the questions you have, and there's much to be learned from it. As far as the specifics of what to do in a given situation like the one you describe, asking what to do in a forum won't accomplish much. The solution is a little complex to explain in text accurately, and no one's going to take the time to post a bunch of pics step by step. The most important thing is to practice in a safe environment that's close to the ground to master the technique before you find yourself in a situation where doing it incorrectly could kill or injure you. Good luck.


potreroed


Oct 16, 2011, 1:30 PM
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Re: [yikes1985] ascending to descending [In reply to]
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A Prussick knot tied with a piece of accessory cord should do the trick. You could also use a shunt or a jumar or a tibloc.


Rmsyll2


Oct 16, 2011, 6:10 PM
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Re: [yikes1985] ascending to descending [In reply to]
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Whatever someone has decided to do, they are sure that is the best way to do it. This question has been around enough to have produced a range of answers that reads like a gear catalogue. The cam auto-belays such as Grigri, Cinch, and Eddy will descend by simply pulling a handle. Why anyone does not want to do it that way, dunno.

If someone is determined to make it more complicated and hazardous for having to go off one to get on another, removing the cam from a Soloist, as I've seen done, and/or adding a carabiner to a loop of rope at the device, qualifies imo. And the Soloist will also dump you if you happen to lean too far back, such as at an overhang. A buddy would have decked, but for the stop-knot he had put at the bottom end. After that, and talking with the rep., he literally threw it in the trash and bought a Grigri.

I talked recently with a fellow who does STR with a Jumar, attached snug to the harness so that he is pushing it up. Again, he must use something else to get down. And I've seen a guy using a Petzl Shunt to STR using both sides of the rope. When he switches to a tube-style to descend, the end weight keeps him on brake, so he must feed slack that he must pull up. We were next to each other, and I was doing almost two laps with a Grigri to his one, so it will be interesting to see if he changes his method.

.

(This post was edited by Rmsyll2 on Oct 17, 2011, 7:19 AM)


yikes1985


Oct 17, 2011, 7:48 AM
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Re: [Rmsyll2] ascending to descending [In reply to]
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Yeah, the backwards fall factor when using the soloist isn't my favorite topic. I've used the device just enough to understand this risk. IMO when using either device, you'd want to tie back up knots.


potreroed


Oct 17, 2011, 8:08 AM
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Re: [Rmsyll2] ascending to descending [In reply to]
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I personally much prefer the soloist to the gri-gri--way too much rope slides thru the gri-gri-but, yes, back-up knots are mandatory.

I should mention that I am a big fan of the gri-gri for other applications


moose_droppings


Oct 17, 2011, 10:50 AM
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Re: [yikes1985] ascending to descending [In reply to]
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You'll need two prusik's to do this and as said before, practice near the ground off a tree limb or something. One prusik can clip to your belay loop and affix to line a couple feet above your solo device, now you can hang by that to take tension off your solo device and switch over to a belay device. Then stand in the loop of second prusik fixed below the device to take tension off the upper prusik and you can now remove the upper one. Now weight your belay device without letting it slip, then remove your foot from bottom prusik and remove bottom prusik from line. Rap down.


seniormoose


Nov 17, 2011, 8:54 PM
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Re: [yikes1985] ascending to descending [In reply to]
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Iíve been giving a lot of consideration to the issue of how to switch from ascender to descender while on top rope self-belay. Hereís what Iíve come up with (with the advice of others on this forum). First, I tie my rope to the anchorís master point biners (using an Alpine butterfly or figure eight) so that I have in effect two parallel ropes hanging down to the ground. To ascend one of the ropes, I use a Petzl Microcender. Until recently I was using a Petzl Shunt, but the Microcender has less drag and also is safer. I do not attach a carabiner to the Microcender. Instead, I take a 24Ē Dyneema sling and girth hitch it to a biner attached to the tie-in loop on my harness. Then I pass the sling through the hole in the Microcender where the biner ordinarily goes. Then I take the sling back to the biner, wrap it around it two or three times, then pass the sling through the Microcender, then wrap around the biner two or three more times, and finally I push the end of the sling a third time through the Microcender hole. (It will go through if you push hard.) Then I attach a biner to the end of the sling, so that it doesnít accidentally slip back through the hole. The object is to tie the Microcender snug to the biner. While climbing, if the connection between the Microcender and the harness (via the sling) is snug, if I fall, I only fall a couple inches. To prepare to switch to descend, I run the rope through an ATC a few inches below the Microcender and then clip the ATC and rope loop to a biner on the harnessí belay loop in the usual manner. I also tie a back-up autoblock to the rope below the ATC and clip it a leg loop in the usual manner.

With the above done, Iím ready to switch my weight from the Microcender to the ATC. I hold the brake line below the ATC (but above the autoblock) with my right hand in the usual manner. Then I use my left hand to unclip the biner from the end of the sling, and I put the biner on a gear loop. Then (again with the left hand alone), I push the sling back through the hole on the Microcender, unwrap it from the biner, then push it back through the hold on the Microcender again, etc. until the Microcender comes free of the biner and the sling is hanging between my legs. At some point during this unwinding process the weight gradually shifts to the ATC. The entire transfer from Microcender to ATC shouldnít take any more than five minutes if it goes as planned. It can be done even while hanging in mid air. Then I rap down, guiding the Microcender down the rope with my left hand if it wonít come on its own.

Note that I donít extend the rappel with a sling because to do so would mean a fall the length of the sling after the weight comes off the Microcender until it goes on the ATC, thereby shock-loading the sling. With the recommended set-up, the fall during the transfer should be no more than a couple inches. What I like about this system is that I donít need to unweight the Microcender by standing on a foot loop, a procedure that I fear I might not be able to accomplish in a critical situation, especially if Iím fatigued. I also donít need to tie off the ATC with a mule at any point.

For a back-up while ascending, there are two options. One is to tie a loose friction knot (e.g., a Kleimheist) above the Microcender and attach it to the same biner or another one, but with adequate slack so that the Microcender, not the friction knot, is taking the weight. (If I do this, I carry a razor blade in a small box in my pocket in the unlikely event that the friction knot winds up taking my weight and I canít unweight it to make the transfer). The better back-up IMO is to tie loops in the parallel rope at periodic intervals with either an Alpine butterfly or a figure eight (I prefer the butterfly) and use two quick draws. As I ascend, I attach one quick draw to a loop. Then when I get higher, I attach the second quick draw to the higher loop and remove the first quick draw from the lower loop, etc. Some dispense with this, but I think itís the ultimate safe back-up. (Donít forget to unclip from the knot before rappelling.)

When I have a chance, Iíll post a picture.

Comments from others would be appreciated.


JimTitt


Nov 17, 2011, 11:18 PM
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Re: [seniormoose] ascending to descending [In reply to]
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Deliberately weakening the tie-in to the Microscender by using a sling through the hole is silly, they make karabiners and maillons for this.
To change to descending:-
Fit ATC/whatever below ascender.
Wrap rope around foot a few times.
Stand up.
Unclip ascender.
Sit down.
Remove ascender.
Descend.


sp115


Nov 18, 2011, 4:47 AM
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Re: [JimTitt] ascending to descending [In reply to]
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JimTitt wrote:
Deliberately weakening the tie-in to the Microscender by using a sling through the hole is silly, they make karabiners and maillons for this.
To change to descending:-
Fit ATC/whatever below ascender.
Wrap rope around foot a few times.
Stand up.
Unclip ascender.
Sit down.
Remove ascender.
Descend.

If there is a climbing-god in heaven this thread will end right here.


(This post was edited by sp115 on Nov 18, 2011, 4:48 AM)


seniormoose


Nov 18, 2011, 5:33 AM
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Re: [JimTitt] ascending to descending [In reply to]
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I tried standing up on a leg loop to unweight the ascender, and I didn't find it so easy to do. I don't feel confident I could do it in a pinch. That's why I designed this approach.
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JimTitt


Nov 18, 2011, 8:18 AM
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Re: [seniormoose] ascending to descending [In reply to]
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seniormoose wrote:
I tried standing up on a leg loop to unweight the ascender, and I didn't find it so easy to do. I don't feel confident I could do it in a pinch. That's why I designed this approach.
In reply to:

Canīt you Prusik then either?


seniormoose


Nov 18, 2011, 10:46 AM
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Re: [JimTitt] ascending to descending [In reply to]
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Thanks for asking. Yes, I've tried to unweight the ascender by tying Prussik to the rope above it attached to a sling and then stepping on the sling. I can do it, but I find myself twisting in the air a lot. I certainly wouldn't want to do this without first tying off the ATC with a mule or Bubba knot, which is a pain. I'm just not 100% confident with this.


wivanoff


Nov 18, 2011, 11:00 AM
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Re: [seniormoose] ascending to descending [In reply to]
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seniormoose wrote:
...To ascend one of the ropes, I use a Petzl Microcender. Until recently I was using a Petzl Shunt, but the Microcender has less drag and also is safer. I do not attach a carabiner to the Microcender. Instead, I take a 24Ē Dyneema sling and girth hitch it to a biner attached to the tie-in loop on my harness....

I use a Gibbs ascender - similar to your Microcender. But I simply attach it to my harness belay loop with 5 feet of 7mm cord. I pass the cord through the ascender eye and belay loop three times and tie off the tails with an EDK - done. The ascender ends up nice and close to my belay loop. Simple and no 'biner in the mix.

Yeah, I know. I'm gonna die. Eventually, but not from this. This has worked for me for over 30 years and hundreds of falls.

seniormoose wrote:
Note that I donít extend the rappel with a sling because to do so would mean a fall the length of the sling after the weight comes off the Microcender until it goes on the ATC, thereby shock-loading the sling...

Not sure how you would shock load a sling that's attached to a climbing rope. That's like saying: "When I fall tied into my climbing rope, I'm going to shock load the tie in points on my harness". Don't you think your climbing rope will stretch?

I VERY rarely have to switch from self belay TR ascending to rappelling. On those rare occasions, I attach my ATC below the ascender with a short sling to extend it. That allows some slack for me to stand up in a foot loop and unload the ascender or pull the pin. But, if I'm stuck, most times I simply use a foot loop, move the ascender up a couple of moves and finish the route.

I understand how your system works and you HAVE put a lot of thought into it. Maybe too much thought, though. I truly think you've over complicated things.


seniormoose


Nov 20, 2011, 3:06 PM
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Re: [wivanoff] ascending to descending [In reply to]
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Thanks for your thoughtful comments. I'll try the 5 foot 7mm cord.

The sling used to extend the rappel would not be attached to rope, but rather to biner that holds ATC and loop of rope passing through the ATC. With the distance between the ascender and the harness being neglibile, when the ascender is disconnected, I would have to fall the langth of the sling that would be extending the rappel its own distance until it became taut. That's why I don't extend the rappel.

If you rarely have to switch from self belay TR ascending to rappelling, then how do you get back down to the ground after your climb?


wivanoff


Nov 20, 2011, 3:56 PM
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Re: [seniormoose] ascending to descending [In reply to]
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seniormoose wrote:
Thanks for your thoughtful comments. I'll try the 5 foot 7mm cord.

The sling used to extend the rappel would not be attached to rope, but rather to biner that holds ATC and loop of rope passing through the ATC.

Yes, I understood that. I should have been more specific in my reply. The sling is still "attached" to the rope via the ATC and carabiner, right? The rope goes to an anchor at the top of the cliff. You're hanging from some length of dynamic climbing rope. Whether you bounce up and down or fall on your sling, the climbing rope is going to absorb energy and you won't shock load the sling, right? We'd worry about shock loading if the sling was attached to a static anchor. But, it's not in this case.

Is this really that different from a TR fall with a little slack in the system?

seniormoose wrote:
With the distance between the ascender and the harness being neglibile, when the ascender is disconnected, I would have to fall the length of the sling that would be extending the rappel its own distance until it became taut. That's why I don't extend the rappel.

Up to you. You should do what you feel most comfortable with.

Here's what I do: Hanging from the ascender, I feed a 60 cm sling through my harness tie-in points. I attach the ATC/carabiner below the ascender. I clip both ends of the sling to the ATC carabiner. This gives me about 12" leeway to stand in a loop of the climbing rope and unload the ascender. I really don't need all of the 12" and I can easily 'step down' 12" in the foot loop to load the ATC and rappel

seniormoose wrote:
If you rarely have to switch from self belay TR ascending to rappelling, then how do you get back down to the ground after your climb?

Usually, I climb all the way to the top, move the anchor, rappel and climb another route ;)

BTW, before I start, I often clove hitch a carabiner to the strand my ascender is attached to and hang my approach shoes for a little weight so my ascender feeds nicely. Added bonus: I can haul them up, change shoes and walk off.


seniormoose


Nov 22, 2011, 4:55 PM
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Re: [wivanoff] ascending to descending [In reply to]
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Thanks for all the good ideasl

If one gets close to the top, there isn't much climbing rope to stretch out. It's almost like static rope.


wivanoff


Nov 23, 2011, 5:46 AM
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seniormoose wrote:
If one gets close to the top, there isn't much climbing rope to stretch out. It's almost like static rope.

Fair enough. I agree that less rope, less stretch. Some rhetorical questions for you to think about:

If one gets THAT close to the anchor, isn't one already at a stance and not hanging on the rope? How did you set your anchor to begin with? Wasn't there a stance? Wouldn't your anchor be back far enough away from the edge that there's still plenty of rope?

Unless...Are you setting your anchor and extending the master point so that it hangs over the edge? Perhaps you should re-evaluate where you put your master point and simply pad the edge (if necessary) for your climbing rope.

In your case, you said you use two separate rope legs to self belay: ascender on one, backup knots on the other. Aren't you still tied to the second rope when you make your transition from ascending to descending? Do you worry about that becoming "almost like static rope"?

Really, how long is the rope leash when people use the climbing rope to clove hitch themselves to the anchor on multi-pitch climbs?

Personally, when TR self belaying, I prefer a flexible connection to the ascender instead of clipping directly with a carabiner. But, I would not attach myself to the ascender with a load releasable knot.

Again, do what you're most comfortable with but myself and others have suggested that you are over complicating this.


seniormoose


Nov 23, 2011, 1:44 PM
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I appreciate the time you're taking to give me these good ideas. My concern about this issue originated in a post I read on the following site:

http://cremnomaniac.wordpress.com/2010/04/16/ups-and-downs-of-solo-top-roping/

I realize that the likelihood of finding myself in such a situation may not be very high, but better to think about it before rather than during.

I reason that a biner on a knot is less likely to fail than a sling in a factor 1 fall. However, I admit the latter is is also unlikely. However, the 12' fall after disconnecting the ascender is still a bit frightening. My way there is no fall at all. Also, the load-releasable knot cannot untie itself untill I untie it.

If you saw me make the switch from ascend to rappel, you might not think it's so complicated. And I don't have to stand up to do it.

Thanks again.


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