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Cds26


Nov 4, 2012, 9:17 PM
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Rope Soloing Help
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Hello everyone, Im currently looking into rope soloing (trad, sport, and multipitch). I can competently climb trad and sport. Ive looked at a variety of different methods and devices, so here are my questions. CLEAR answers would be appreciated, step by step, because honestly its really hard to find information about rope soloing (at least it has been for me).
1) What device do you use?
2) With the silent patner (or other device of choice) how do you tie a backup knot? (This has really got me confused).
3) How do you set up a rope solo (mostly interested in lead climbing responses) for a trad route/sport route? Do you just build an anchor at the bottom of the climb? How does this apply to multipitch?
I know thats a lot of questions, mainly just looking for explanations of overall procedure and how to tie backup knots. Otherwise I think I am starting to understand. Thank you!


JimTitt


Nov 5, 2012, 12:02 AM
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Re: [Cds26] Rope Soloing Help [In reply to]
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1) Modified Grigri
2) Pull up some rope (say 10m) when convenient and tie a knot, clip to harness. There are other methods.
3) Build a multi-directional belay at the bottom of each subsequent pitch (you will be abseiling and re-climbing the previous pitch as well as leading the next). Bolts are good.


trisgo


Nov 5, 2012, 5:36 AM
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Re: [Cds26] Rope Soloing Help [In reply to]
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I use a silent partner. One thing to keep in mind with multipitch is that it becomes really difficult if the route deviates and has a lot of traverses. You build the anchor at the bottom, lead the pitch, build an achor at the top, rap down the pitch cleaning gear as you go, jug back up the rope to set up for the next one. You could see how a long traverse could be a pain and lead to some pendulums. Another thing to keep in mind is that if you have that much loose rope hanging around, the more likely it will snag on something and get stuck (inevitably when you're halfway through the crux). Some people flake the rope with pre-tied back up knots into a bookbag and pull rope out as they go. I've found the best thing to do is get a lot of practice simulating it on flat ground.


csproul


Nov 5, 2012, 5:51 AM
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Re: [Cds26] Rope Soloing Help [In reply to]
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Cds26 wrote:
Hello everyone, Im currently looking into rope soloing (trad, sport, and multipitch). I can competently climb trad and sport. Ive looked at a variety of different methods and devices, so here are my questions. CLEAR answers would be appreciated, step by step, because honestly its really hard to find information about rope soloing (at least it has been for me).
1) What device do you use?
2) With the silent patner (or other device of choice) how do you tie a backup knot? (This has really got me confused).
3) How do you set up a rope solo (mostly interested in lead climbing responses) for a trad route/sport route? Do you just build an anchor at the bottom of the climb? How does this apply to multipitch?
I know thats a lot of questions, mainly just looking for explanations of overall procedure and how to tie backup knots. Otherwise I think I am starting to understand. Thank you!
1)Soloist
2)Overhand on a bight on the non-anchored side of the rope every so often. Don't have to clip it to your harness since you can rely on the knot jamming in the Soloist, but you can if you want to keep some weight off of that end of the rope.
3) Anchor to the ground for an upward pull, hopefully tensioned off of a higher piece of gear to keep it in that orientation. Multi pitch is no different. Anchor at top (good in both directions if doing another pitch). Rap to bottom, re-ascend/climb pitch (can clean on way up or down as required). Repeat.

It's not that hard to find information on how to do this. Read the directions for the Silent partner, you can download them from RockExotica. They are pretty clear. After reading the directions and thinking it through, you really should be able to visualize how this works. If you can't then you should think twice about soloing.
http://www.rockexotica.com/...downloads/belay.html


(This post was edited by csproul on Nov 5, 2012, 6:22 AM)


vinnie83


Nov 5, 2012, 10:44 AM
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Re: [Cds26] Rope Soloing Help [In reply to]
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Do a search. When I first started rope soloing many years ago I found a ton of info here on RC.com and other online resources. Some of it is helpful and some isn't, I guess you'll just have to decide for yourself. With the exception of the silent partner/soloist manuals and the book Speed Climbing I don't think you're going to find much info in print, and Speed Climbing had a really basic/brief overview on a few methods.


healyje


Nov 8, 2012, 2:14 PM
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My own approach here - every one has to sort out what works for them.

http://www.rockclimbing.com/..._among_many_675.html


herites


Nov 8, 2012, 3:19 PM
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Unmodded Grigri, backpack, no backup knots, using the first bolt as multidirectional anchor, not soloing trad. Rope feeding sometimes suck, but too lazy to mod the grigri.


avalon420


Nov 8, 2012, 5:02 PM
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Re: [healyje] Rope Soloing Help [In reply to]
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healyje wrote:
My own approach here - every one has to sort out what works for them.

http://www.rockclimbing.com/..._among_many_675.html
PERFECT !


healyje


Nov 8, 2012, 6:20 PM
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Re: [avalon420] Rope Soloing Help [In reply to]
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avalon420 wrote:
healyje wrote:
My own approach here - every one has to sort out what works for them.

http://www.rockclimbing.com/..._among_many_675.html
PERFECT !

Thanks, but a word of caution that while that approach may be 'perfect' for me, it may or may not work well or at all for you or anyone else. Look at all of them and figure out what works for you.


(This post was edited by healyje on Nov 8, 2012, 9:19 PM)


moose_droppings


Nov 8, 2012, 10:34 PM
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Re: [avalon420] Rope Soloing Help [In reply to]
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cspoul has some good info for one way,
but like Joe said,
In reply to:
every one has to sort out what works for them.

Which ever way your first approach to it is, make dang sure you've got it dialed before you leave the deck. Stay well within your climbing abilities even then for a while. Make sure you know what to do if you should get into any trouble by yourself. With mileage your system should become smoother. Don't rely on it becoming automatic, there's no one there to double check all your rigging but your self.

In the end, have fun. It's great not having to rely or wait on anyone else to go out and enjoy a day of climbing.


healyje


Nov 8, 2012, 10:48 PM
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moose_droppings wrote:
Don't rely on it becoming automatic, there's no one there to double check all your rigging but your self.

Good advice there. Rope soloing requires constant inspection, re-inspection, and vigilance from start to finish.


Partner oldsalt


Nov 9, 2012, 7:07 AM
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Searching for info is best, as there have been numerous threads and hundreds of posts about the subject over the years.

A serious caution:

Most who lead solo prepare for every conceivable eventuality, but rarely test their systems in the field.

Reasons:

1. A test means you want to be sure it works. Don't do this kind of test 20' off the ground. I did my testing in my garage, rigged to a beam in my attic. Some tests failed while I was designing tools, and I only fell about 4 feet.

2. Real rock is not forgiving.

3. Real rock is reality.

Every second of every solo lead that I have done after building and checking my anchor multiple times, has been spent assessing my current stance, the next anchor or intended placement, and considering the one after that. I also keep in mind how best to retreat if something goes wrong.

I personally believe that roped soloing is not to prove anything to anyone except yourself, if even then.

It is intensely satisfying when all goes well, but keep in mind the old saw, modified from US Navy divers:

There are bold climbers, and there are old climbers, but there are no old, bold climbers.

SPECIAL HAZARD NOTE:

My first solo lead at Sand Rock (AL) was the Standard Route, the one on the corner next to the large boulder. I secured my rope to a projection on the underside of the huge section of the boulder that overhangs by about 4 feet.

The projection was about 20" wide and 4" high, like a very large flake of rock. I sent the route and lowered off the same anchor. No problems.

A few months later, I looked under the boulder to show someone the flake that I used for my anchor. The flake was laying on the sand, completely detached from the overhang.


(This post was edited by oldsalt on Nov 9, 2012, 8:48 AM)


Cds26


Nov 9, 2012, 8:41 PM
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Thanx for all the detailed responses! The system pretty much makes sense, I do have two questions though. 1) are screamers necessary? Normally the belayer is a factor in reducing the stress on the system, but if you build an anchor with a sling or 2, or cordelette, or whatever, the rope would pull straight on the anchor. I am not concerned about not having a bomber anchor, moreso would this be an ok setup? I assume so since I dont know anyone that if they took a fall on a cam would retire it immediately and your essentially falling on the webbing held in place by the cam.
2) Once your system is really dialed, do people push themselves to the point of falling when rope soloing?


csproul


Nov 10, 2012, 7:52 AM
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Cds26 wrote:
Thanx for all the detailed responses! The system pretty much makes sense, I do have two questions though. 1) are screamers necessary? Normally the belayer is a factor in reducing the stress on the system, but if you build an anchor with a sling or 2, or cordelette, or whatever, the rope would pull straight on the anchor. I am not concerned about not having a bomber anchor, moreso would this be an ok setup? I assume so since I dont know anyone that if they took a fall on a cam would retire it immediately and your essentially falling on the webbing held in place by the cam.
2) Once your system is really dialed, do people push themselves to the point of falling when rope soloing?
This is the way that I think about the screamer issue: Think about a human belayer. They are not a static non-moving anchor. They have some "give" to them that can reduce the force felt on the gear/climber. A static anchor does not, and introducing a screamer might mitigate the consequences of a hard fall. Also, even if all anchor points failed at the belay (assuming your top gear held!) there would still be the mass of your belayer to eventually counteract your fall. Not so with a solo anchor...that anchor is all you have. A screamer is just more insurance. That said, I don't own any screamers and don't use them when soloing.

People certainly do push themselves and fall while soloing, but I'd venture a guess that they are in the minority. Compared to the numbers of climbers, not many climbers rope solo (lead), and I'd bet that even fewer are really hanging themselves out there and falling a bunch (aid soloist excepted?). I have rarely fallen while rope soloing and almost all of those falls have been while aiding.


herites


Nov 10, 2012, 9:23 AM
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Depends. When lead soloing I've never fallen, but I TR solo to work routes (you do feel the the static belay though, when I first fell it was a surprisingly hard catch)


csproul


Nov 10, 2012, 12:07 PM
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herites wrote:
Depends. When lead soloing I've never fallen, but I TR solo to work routes (you do feel the the static belay though, when I first fell it was a surprisingly hard catch)
I agree. I was talking more in context of leading.


healyje


Nov 11, 2012, 2:16 AM
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You're right, few people lead rope solo, fewer still do it very often or very long, fewer still climb anywhere near their limit or risk falls.

And that's ok. The bottom line? You really [, really] want to have miles of yardage in with a system and have everything happening second-nature before you even think about starting to push any 'limits' with it.

All my climbing is trad climbing, two thirds of it multipitch, 75% of all my climbing is lead rope soloing, and most of it on .9s and .10s. I usually take a fall between one and three times a year these days, but then I've been lead rope soloing on a fairly regular basis since 1976.

My advice - DON'T RUSH THE DIFFICULTY (in fact, forget the difficulty) - do it on routes you love and have dialed and do it as often as possible until you get your system and movement dialed-in and operating seamlessly and smoothly. And to be honest, it could realistically take a decade or more to get to where it's entirely second-nature. For the first two decades I was always somewhat 'unsettled' the first pitch or two before it all calmed into complete bliss and I still get that same unsettled feeling the first 5-10 pitches each spring (I generally buckle down and just work over the winter here in Oregon and don't do much climbing).

Think of it like 108-form Tai-Chi where there are many individual forms you eventually learn to link into smoothly flowing movement - you may or may not 'master' it in a lifetime, but it will certainly take many years to really embed it within yourself. Treat lead rope soloing the same way - difficulty shouldn't be your goal, dialing it all in and getting comfortable should be. Focus on yardage you enjoy and if you stick with it long enough the distinction between it and climbing with a partner will eventually start to blend / blur and likely difficulty with it. Either way don't sweat that aspect of it.


Cds26


Nov 11, 2012, 7:12 PM
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Wow, I have received a lot of good information. I have been using a silent partner and I believe I have it set up correctly (clove hitch rope running to top of device) but the last route I tried at about 60 ft the rope drag was severely noticeable. Id prefer not to carry loops or a backpack but is this necessary?
I believe I saw a picture in Hans book on Speed Climbing with a silent partner attached to the anchor. Would this work well for eliminating rope drag and is it possible? I realize by doing this you forego backup knots, but with this device is it something you personally would do?
I do agree that getting the system dialed is very good and its encouraging to hear that it can eventually become second nature btw.


healyje


Nov 12, 2012, 2:10 AM
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Cds26 wrote:
...but the last route I tried at about 60 ft the rope drag was severely noticeable.

Something was undoubtedly not right then though there is no way of speculating what over the internet.

Cds26 wrote:
Id prefer not to carry loops or a backpack but is this necessary?

This is one of those "to each his own" sort of deals. I personally much prefer carrying the rope than having it hang off me.

Cds26 wrote:
I believe I saw a picture in Hans book on Speed Climbing with a silent partner attached to the anchor. Would this work well for eliminating rope drag and is it possible? I realize by doing this you forego backup knots, but with this device is it something you personally would do?

I believe the picture you refer to is a suggestion for 'parking' the SP while you rap, not something he or anyone else do for roped soloing. It just wouldn't do to have the device at the anchor as you would lose all control over it once leaving the ground and you could easily be done in by a misfeed due to an odd kink in the rope or any other reason.

Cds26 wrote:
I do agree that getting the system dialed is very good and its encouraging to hear that it can eventually become second nature btw.

Yep, it's all about time and yardage.


csproul


Nov 12, 2012, 7:56 AM
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Cds26 wrote:
Wow, I have received a lot of good information. I have been using a silent partner and I believe I have it set up correctly (clove hitch rope running to top of device) but the last route I tried at about 60 ft the rope drag was severely noticeable. Id prefer not to carry loops or a backpack but is this necessary?
I believe I saw a picture in Hans book on Speed Climbing with a silent partner attached to the anchor. Would this work well for eliminating rope drag and is it possible? I realize by doing this you forego backup knots, but with this device is it something you personally would do?
I do agree that getting the system dialed is very good and its encouraging to hear that it can eventually become second nature btw.
There should be no rope drag problems. Something is definitely not right. That is one of the few benefits as compared to climbing with a partner...there should be zero rope drag problems as the rope is not moving through the gear. You are sliding along the rope. There are issues of having the rope weight on either side of the device causing rope to run through the device.That has to be dealt with by "re-belaying" ie fixing the rope to a piece, usually by a friction hitch of some sort. I usually only have to do this once or twice a pitch, so it is possible that this is what you ran into at 60 ft?

It is possible to carry only one loop at a time for back-up. This means pulling up rope, tying your new back-up knot, and then releasing the old one. It's a trade off of either carrying a whole bunch of rope or having to tie/untie knots and let the rest of the rope hang. With the Silent Partner, I beleive you need to clip the knot to your harness and not allow the knot to hang free and rely on it jamming (I can do this with the Soloist).

As far as having the device at the belay...I have never heard of or seen anyone do this. It seems like a bad idea to me. Even if it is a viable method (I doubt it) I'd be certain you are as proficient as possible with using the device as it was intended before trying and modifying your system. Even the best/most efficient system "for you" will probably feel cumbersome and awkward until you have practiced it a bunch.


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