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infiniti


May 4, 2013, 5:13 AM
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Top Rope Solo
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So after free climbing for a year I've been busted and pressured into getting some gear. Week by week I can afford a little more but today I thought I would have a go at my first top rope solo.

Very keen to get as much advice, criticism, etc as possible. The guys at my climbing store have shared some great tips and the guys I bump into at the climbs have been very sharing with their experience although none I've met have actually done it before.
I lack friends who are enthusiastic about climbing and the guys I do climb with I barely trust to belay me!

Today I anchored my 60m dynamic half way with a fig 8 through the opposing biners, so I had 2 ropes to play with. (These anchor biners were each slinged to anchor ring bolts ie: \/
I pre-tied fig8 loops down one rope for backup, which I alternated quickdraws into as I climbed.
On my climbing rope I used a Micro-traxion attached to my harness with a belay biner to prevent cross-loading etc. which ran really smoothly (first time I used it...)
I carried a gri gri up with me to self-belay back down.

Main issues I found with today's experience was the back-up rope system was a pain in the ass to keep fumbling with. It also posed a threat of getting caught as I took my next move, thus pulling me down and off balance.
The micro-traxion became an issue when the rope became too tight to move (lack of available slack..)
I also felt really uncomfortable self-belaying with the gri gri. I don't know why but it felt unreliable. It also kept twisting the rope over or under the brake.

I'm thinking next time, to wait until I can afford a second traxion for backup, possibly a mini-traxion, and run both at once - doing away completely with the second rope backup.
Otherwise maybe using the gri gri underneath the micro-traxion and just feeding the slack through as I go.

Still... Any recommendations for another method of self-belaying?
Any criticism / advice at all would be most welcome.

Cheerz!


qwert


May 4, 2013, 8:23 AM
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Re: [infiniti] Top Rope Solo [In reply to]
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infiniti wrote:
So after free climbing for a year I've been busted and pressured into getting some gear. Week by week I can afford a little more but today I thought I would have a go at my first top rope solo.

Very keen to get as much advice, criticism, etc as possible. The guys at my climbing store have shared some great tips and the guys I bump into at the climbs have been very sharing with their experience although none I've met have actually done it before.
I lack friends who are enthusiastic about climbing and the guys I do climb with I barely trust to belay me!

Today I anchored my 60m dynamic half way with a fig 8 through the opposing biners, so I had 2 ropes to play with. (These anchor biners were each slinged to anchor ring bolts ie: \/
I pre-tied fig8 loops down one rope for backup, which I alternated quickdraws into as I climbed.
On my climbing rope I used a Micro-traxion attached to my harness with a belay biner to prevent cross-loading etc. which ran really smoothly (first time I used it...)
I carried a gri gri up with me to self-belay back down.

Main issues I found with today's experience was the back-up rope system was a pain in the ass to keep fumbling with. It also posed a threat of getting caught as I took my next move, thus pulling me down and off balance.
The micro-traxion became an issue when the rope became too tight to move (lack of available slack..)
I also felt really uncomfortable self-belaying with the gri gri. I don't know why but it felt unreliable. It also kept twisting the rope over or under the brake.

I'm thinking next time, to wait until I can afford a second traxion for backup, possibly a mini-traxion, and run both at once - doing away completely with the second rope backup.
Otherwise maybe using the gri gri underneath the micro-traxion and just feeding the slack through as I go.

Still... Any recommendations for another method of self-belaying?
Any criticism / advice at all would be most welcome.

Cheerz!
What you describe sounds somewhat close to the accepted practice, but i would really advice against toprope soloing as a beginner!

While it might be better than getting belayed by someone you do not trust, it is still considered a rather advanced technique.

So try to find better partners, and/or go on a climbing course together.

qwert


moose_droppings


May 4, 2013, 11:26 AM
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Re: [infiniti] Top Rope Solo [In reply to]
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Your pretty safe that way as long as your anchor is truck.

I use a Petzl Rescucender with a little weight on the bottom of the rope. No downward travel at all before it clamps down, easy on ropes.


JAB


May 14, 2013, 10:42 AM
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Re: [infiniti] Top Rope Solo [In reply to]
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infiniti wrote:
So after free climbing for a year I've been busted and pressured into getting some gear.

I assume you meant to say free solo climbing. Free climbing is something else entirely (for example top rope soloing).

In reply to:
Today I anchored my 60m dynamic half way with a fig 8 through the opposing biners, so I had 2 ropes to play with. (These anchor biners were each slinged to anchor ring bolts ie: \/

If the anchor is above the edge and the route you are climbing is traversing even a tiny bit there is a real risk of major rubbing of the slings when you fall, so make sure to protect the slings/rope going over the edge with the rope bag / mat / rope protector.

In reply to:
I pre-tied fig8 loops down one rope for backup, which I alternated quickdraws into as I climbed.
I suggest tying alpine butterfly knots instead as the figure-8 is not optimal for taking a sideway load. Quickdraws are generally not considered safe in this configuration, so autolocking lockers would be much better. You need two, so that one is always locked.

In reply to:
On my climbing rope I used a Micro-traxion attached to my harness with a belay biner to prevent cross-loading etc. which ran really smoothly (first time I used it...)
I carried a gri gri up with me to self-belay back down.
Good. Do you have a plan what to do in case you get stuck midair and can't get higher?

In reply to:
Main issues I found with today's experience was the back-up rope system was a pain in the ass to keep fumbling with. It also posed a threat of getting caught as I took my next move, thus pulling me down and off balance.
True, there is a tradeoff of being safe or being smooth. I suggest starting off being safe.

In reply to:
I'm thinking next time, to wait until I can afford a second traxion for backup, possibly a mini-traxion, and run both at once - doing away completely with the second rope backup.
Many of these devices dont work well if you get into strange positions (like roofs or getting inverted), so I prefer a second rope with loops & lockers. I also think rope damage is a real risk (again, if your rope is going over the edge) so having a second rope is essential.

I know many people top rope solo with rather sketchy setups (for example a single shunt with no backups) and seem perfectly ok with that, but understand that lack of failure is not the same as success.


infiniti


May 14, 2013, 8:22 PM
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Re: [moose_droppings] Top Rope Solo [In reply to]
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I'll be sure to check out the rescuecender.
Do you use any kind of backup system though?


infiniti


May 14, 2013, 8:50 PM
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Re: [JAB] Top Rope Solo [In reply to]
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Hey thanks for your reply :)

Yes I guess I meant free solo climbing (without rope).

In reply to:
If the anchor is above the edge and the route you are climbing is traversing even a tiny bit there is a real risk of major rubbing of the slings when you fall, so make sure to protect the slings/rope going over the edge with the rope bag / mat / rope protector.

I'm pretty conscious of the wear on the anchor system. If it seems at all harsh, i'll avoid it - at least until I get something to protect the gear.

In reply to:
I suggest tying alpine butterfly knots instead as the figure-8 is not optimal for taking a sideway load. Quickdraws are generally not considered safe in this configuration, so autolocking lockers would be much better. You need two, so that one is always locked.

Interesting you brought that up. The same thing occurred to me that night and the Alpine Butterfly Knot was the first I thought of. It also occurred to me to use the Directional Figure 8 Loop... What do you think?
Regarding the quickdraws: I actually replaced the harness end of each quickdraw with locking biners.
It didn't occur to me to use auto-locking biners at all and I will certainly consider using them next time.

In reply to:
Good. Do you have a plan what to do in case you get stuck midair and can't get higher?

I think I know what you mean. To be honest, no, not a really solid plan. It did occur to me and I figured I would make a leg sling with the backup rope. Either by just tieing a loop or tieing a Blake's Hitch onto it or both.
I'm glad you brought it up though - any suggestions?

Again, much appreciate your input. Cheers


moose_droppings


May 15, 2013, 7:27 AM
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Re: [infiniti] Top Rope Solo [In reply to]
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Sometimes I'll tie backup knots as I climb, sometimes not. It's a personal choice I weigh each time. I've also used a microcender as a backup at times.


ski.ninja


May 25, 2013, 1:34 PM
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Re: [infiniti] Top Rope Solo [In reply to]
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There are climbing operations that offer courses on top-rope soloing, you may be best served by taking one of those. Petzl recommends using two ropes/devices when self-belaying. Typically, I'll just use an isolated strand of climbing rope with a series of loops that I clip with a locker as a backup.

If you're going to buy a device for roped soloing, then you may as well get a device designed for the purpose. Like the Soloist. http://www.rockexotica.com/.../all_solo_belay.html

Having a complete plan in place before you leave the ground is essential. More than a few would-be soloists have died or become permanently disabled because they a) didn't use their systems properly/at all, b) experienced system failure, or c) injured themselves and were unable to call for help. Maybe think about getting a SPOT to go with that solo device.

Choosing what to climb is also important. Your new redpoint project may not be the best place to start. I mostly use mine on easier routes when I'm trying to build endurance and nobody wants to belay me up 20 pitches of 5.8.

Finally, roped solo climbing involves advanced rigging and self-rescue skills. You should, for example, at least be aware of how much force a fall will put on the device, and how the device will behave when it is overloaded (shredding vs. chopping vs. sliding.) Taking the time to be thorough in your preparation and finding good instruction will pay off.


infiniti


May 26, 2013, 3:52 AM
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Re: [ski.ninja] Top Rope Solo [In reply to]
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Hey thanx for the reply.

I'm going to check out that soloist gear now, cheers for link.. I've seen something on YouTube solo lead climbing tutorial where he used a ren soloist.
I'm looking at doing a lead climbing course at my local gym soon,
In reply to:
no doubt I'll come away with some good pointers.

I'll google it anyway but what do you mean by a SPOT?

Good tips - much appreciate u taking the time. Cheerz


JAB


May 26, 2013, 9:44 AM
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Re: [ski.ninja] Top Rope Solo [In reply to]
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ski.ninja wrote:
There are climbing operations that offer courses on top-rope soloing, you may be best served by taking one of those. Petzl recommends using two ropes/devices when self-belaying. Typically, I'll just use an isolated strand of climbing rope with a series of loops that I clip with a locker as a backup.

If you're going to buy a device for roped soloing, then you may as well get a device designed for the purpose. Like the Soloist. http://www.rockexotica.com/.../all_solo_belay.html

Having a complete plan in place before you leave the ground is essential. More than a few would-be soloists have died or become permanently disabled because they a) didn't use their systems properly/at all, b) experienced system failure, or c) injured themselves and were unable to call for help. Maybe think about getting a SPOT to go with that solo device.

Choosing what to climb is also important. Your new redpoint project may not be the best place to start. I mostly use mine on easier routes when I'm trying to build endurance and nobody wants to belay me up 20 pitches of 5.8.

Finally, roped solo climbing involves advanced rigging and self-rescue skills. You should, for example, at least be aware of how much force a fall will put on the device, and how the device will behave when it is overloaded (shredding vs. chopping vs. sliding.) Taking the time to be thorough in your preparation and finding good instruction will pay off.

Not sure why you posted all that, since you seem to be talking about solo lead climbing, something else entirely than top rope soloing. The soloist is way overkill for top rope soling. Also all that rigging stuff only applies to lead soloing. Setting a toprope is hardly rocket science.


ski.ninja


May 26, 2013, 12:20 PM
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Re: [JAB] Top Rope Solo [In reply to]
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JAB wrote:
Not sure why you posted all that, since you seem to be talking about solo lead climbing, something else entirely than top rope soloing.

No, we're both talking about the same thing.

In reply to:
The soloist is way overkill for top rope soling. Also all that rigging stuff only applies to lead soloing.

Hardly! I'm going to say that you've never used one, and also that you've never experienced a system failure using another device. You're way too pedantic to have been doing this very long (or just exceptionally anal in real life.) Do you know what the difference is between the rescuecender and the soloist? One of them will chop your rope, the other is designed to slip first (I'll let you guess which.)


P.S. The SPOT http://www.findmespot.com/en/index.php?cid=102


(This post was edited by ski.ninja on May 26, 2013, 12:48 PM)


moose_droppings


May 26, 2013, 2:24 PM
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Re: [ski.ninja] Top Rope Solo [In reply to]
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I own a Soloist and a Rescucender. The soloist is a poor choice for top rope soloing, but It does do the job well for lead soloing.

I'll also repeat my preference for top rope soloing. The Rescucender and Microcender are the best suited for this IMO. It takes very little weight at the bottom of the rope for them to slide freely up the rope with me and catch immediately when going back down the rope without any harm to the rope.


infiniti


May 26, 2013, 9:29 PM
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Re: [ski.ninja] Top Rope Solo [In reply to]
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Ah yes now I know what u mean.
I'm already looking at getting something similar to the SPOT. I borrow a friends emergency thingy sometimes which u just pull a pin out of and emergency help comes. BIG HEFTY fine apparently up to $50000 for abuse...
I also have my phone set up with an emergency gps app.


csproul


May 27, 2013, 1:39 PM
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I own a Soloist and use it pretty often. It is not the best tool IMO for solo top-roping. Hell, I'm not even sure it's the best tool out there for lead climbing (I have only used a Silent Parnter a couple of times). I'd much rather use a pair of micro or mini-trax for top-roping. But, the Soloist is what I own and so I lead and TR with it. I would not recommend it to someone who wanted to use it exclusively for top-roping.


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