Shock absorber off the anchor for aid soloing


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Rocky IV

Social climber
Topic Author's Original Post - Mar 21, 2013 - 03:20pm PT
I could probably use the search function and find some answers on my own but a actual climbing related thread (even if it's redundant) can't hurt.

I have some big wall soloing aspirations starting in a little over a month and wanted to iron out my system, what's the best way to avoid the kidney rupturing (and gear ripping) catch from a fall on a gri gri? The obvious choice is a screamer incorporated into the anchor but I'd like something that's resettable. Using the haul bags might work too, but it seems like a possible clusterf*#k and consequential nightmare after a fall on it. Should I just not worry about it? I'm using a rope with high dynamic elongation (35%) and a impact force of 8.6 kN.


Mar 21, 2013 - 03:27pm PT
Allow me...

wait for it....

Yer gonna die!!!Italic Text


Big Wall climber
san jose, ca
Mar 21, 2013 - 04:10pm PT
To quote PTPP from another thread

Speaking of which, you describe taking Factor Two solo aid falls while practising. Dude, you abso-tively posi-lutely have to eliminate this possibility before you leave your belay station! The easiest way is to run your lead rope, starting at your anchor, down to the top of your pig [add a Screamer here] and then back up through your first piece, which may even be part of the anchor. This way if you fall on the first move, you already have all that extra lead rope built into the system, along with the Screamer to help reduce the shock load. GET IT??
Magic Ed

Trad climber
Nuevo Leon, Mexico
Mar 21, 2013 - 05:33pm PT
Personally I wouldn't worry about it. I do a lot of aid soloing and feel that a good rope and a good anchor is enuff. Maybe its 'cuz I only weigh 130 lbs.--well, maybe 150 with all that gear on.

Big Wall climber
san jose, ca
Mar 21, 2013 - 05:40pm PT
I personally haven't done any solo aid harder than c2 right off the anchor so I have been worried about falling that close, so I haven't worried either FWIW.

Trad climber
under the sea
Mar 21, 2013 - 05:57pm PT
I dont worry if the aid is easy and the anchor bomber (bolts...) for natural anchors set an oppositional for upwards pull and clip the bag as pete suggests even if you dont have a screamer, then clip back through the highest anchor piece (or the closest piece to the start of the pitch). Even without the screamer if you fall the force of your fall will pull the bag upwards taking some of the impact. Do not use this method if you have your bag set off a cargo hook to haul from.
Rocky IV

Social climber
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 21, 2013 - 06:39pm PT
So I guess I'll take a couple feet of rope, tie a alpine butterfly, and clip it into my bags. I hope I'm not factor twoing onto the belay but that would add a little rope to the system in that event. I've f*#ked around with solo belaying with a gri in a gym, taking 20 foot falls, and the catch is always really hard. I guess I'll just have to keep my anchors organized and (obviously) not hang my bags from a fifi.
Paul Brennan

Trad climber
Mar 21, 2013 - 07:54pm PT
I wouldn't worry how hard the catch is. When solo falls happen for real, you're shitting your pants too much to notice a brief jolt.The most important thing is to make sure the rope isn't running awkwardly over an edge or arte or other sharp thing. Easy to overlook while soloing as there's no rope drag.
Rocky IV

Social climber
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 21, 2013 - 08:04pm PT
I'm not worried about the forces on me, it's ripping gear due to a static catch that freaks me out.

Trad climber
Las Vegas
Mar 21, 2013 - 10:42pm PT
I like Tom Rohrer's solution...
A huge galvy spring.

see if I have a picture...)

Trad climber
the tip of god's middle finger
Mar 21, 2013 - 10:50pm PT
i usually just hike up my skirt
and 'ava go.

works so far.

which is exactly where i've never been.
the Fet

Mar 21, 2013 - 11:31pm PT
Preserving the integrity of the anchor is #1, reducing impact on your body and gear is #2.

So as mentioned your anchor must be multidirectional for upwards downwards sideways pulls.

I wouldnt want to run the rope down to a bag that weighed less than me and have it go flying into the anchor.

I always want the Jesus nut for solo or partnered leading. The Jesus nut is that first bomber piece off the belay so if you fall you fall on it not the anchor, you never have a factor 2 fall. A screamer here would prob do more good than in the anchor. I try to reach as far from the anchor as I can or climb up a little if it's real easy to place it. If there's nothing I'll use 1 piece where the anhor is.
Slabby D

Trad climber
B'ham WA
Mar 22, 2013 - 12:16am PT
rgold wrote an excellent analysis of impact forces pdf during a fall on the various components of the system (you, the anchor and the piece your falling on). While it was only a model (i.e. simpler than reality) there were a lot of good take aways in it.

The piece takes the greatest impact force, the anchor the smallest. So screamer your first several pieces to minimize impact to both the anchor and you.

And if you really do take the big Factor-2 whipper like you said your rope has a Max Impact Force of 8.6kn. Presuming you've got a multi-bolted anchor (not to many walls without) and nothing crossloads the anchor will be just fine and eventually so will you.

Examine the numbers in this linked chart -- in the chart "anchor" is the piece your falling on and the impact to the belay anchor = force on "anchor" - force on climber.
Peter Haan

Trad climber
Santa Cruz, CA
Mar 22, 2013 - 12:27am PT
Rocky, it is true both in partner climbing and in soloing: you have to do everything you can to eliminate the possibility of a Factor 2 fall onto the anchors. It's an infrequent situation though. So your query is appropriate. Similarly, we avoid daisy chain falls, need I say more.

Usually there is at least something to mitigate that F2 possibility, be it immediate placements or easier climbing to good placements. So some odd creative setup is not needed and more a manifestation of one's lack of true hardcore experience. And a moderate length F2 fall will however actually and easily break carabiners. A hell of a lot of KN are generated, dwarfing equipment etc. Keep this in mind. People have broken carabiners just testing aid placements...

Connecting the haul bags with a couple feet of slack probably does not dispel enough of the KE and may be an illusion. I don't think the kinetic energy involved lifting a 60 lb sack three feet is enough, in other words.

Using screamers with ultimate tieback probably is real enough in those rare situations that really require special tactics, maybe double ones even. If they are equalized and in parallel, they might need too much to activate, so in series. In a roped situation where there is a F2 fall onto the anchors, an experienced party will be prepared to provide the world's most dynamic belay. We don't have any devices that actually mimic this. I use a Silent Partner and so should you, by the way. Not a grigri. For many reasons.

When you really study it, soloing (roped) a route requires a certain amount of additional savy as there is added risk here and there, even in the simpler parts of your system and the climb. Your experience level should well exceed what you are muddling around on by your lonesome. Anything less and one could have a pretty lame time one way or the other and have a terrifically embarassing time facing the SAR.

Remember you want to do as much climbing as you can, in order to get skillful, empowered, creative, have a great climbing life. And not get stuck piddling around with solo efforts that render very little ground per day. This is stagnation and a kind of defensiveness, actually.

It is usually best to network with partners and brave all that that might entail. It will be quite a bit richer experience as well as being considerably safer and quite a bit less drudgery. I speak from fifty years climbing experience here.

Mar 22, 2013 - 12:32am PT
I hear Bilstein makes good shock absorbers .......

Mar 22, 2013 - 12:55am PT
Well said in everyway Peter!

Good luck Rocky!


Trad climber
the middle of CA
Mar 22, 2013 - 01:08am PT
Obviously these aren't perfect, but fun to play around with and compare to your gear ratings.
Rocky IV

Social climber
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 22, 2013 - 02:02am PT
I don't have anyone I can sucker into doing a wall with that early in the season, so aid soloing is pretty much my only option. Plus I'm stubborn and dumb, so I wont listen to any reasonable advice.

I'm planning on having heavy as f*#k bags, so the counterweight issue shouldn't be too bad.

Boulder climber
Mar 22, 2013 - 02:21am PT

Trad climber
under the sea
Mar 22, 2013 - 10:42am PT

neat kinda like a screamer but reusable (for 5 falls?)

Anyone try these yet? They are 22 euros...about 29$US...

looks like metal bends as it absorbs.

If it ever breaks the metal I'd hate those sharp edges near the sling. hopefully that does not happen.
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