Petzl Mini Traxion Self Belay - Human Error almost tragedy


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Matt M

Trad climber
Alamo City
Feb 24, 2011 - 10:33am PT
Last time I was out with my dual Mini Trax setup I ran into the same issues where the loop used to keep the top mini "tight" got semi-tangled in the cam. Not a huge deal but unnerving for the rest of the day. I like the idea of the mini gibbs on top and a trax on the bottom. Plus I think it would make switching over to lowering easier. The teeth on the mini trax are hard to disengage AND are mega grabby. The microscender should work better in this regard.
Dingus Milktoast

Gym climber
Who'll stop the reign?
Feb 24, 2011 - 11:12am PT

I won't make the claim that this rig is any less prone to keeper-cord jamming, I think the girth hitch helps keep it out of the works AND serves to insure the top trax will not lever open and allow the rope to slip (which I think for any well used trax is the bigger worry).

I also attach the top trax to a Yates daisy. I know... it won't hold a high force fall. What it does do is offer a 'punch out' release if left dangling on something this old boy can't climb. I can put a grigri on the rope under the top trax (that's what the empty locker is for, to go on rap with both traxes still on the rope) then 'punch the button' and I'm off the trax and on the grigri, just that fast, departure imminent.

Oh I prefer a cord to a sling for the keeper cord to chest harness attachment. Its just easier to work with. I also adjust that keeper cord, shorter or longer, depending on the angle of the rock. Just like with jugging, the steeper the shorter....

Social climber
Davis, CA
Nov 11, 2011 - 04:19pm PT
I have fallen on my setup with the top device (pro traxion) not having the cam engaged. I fell onto my backup, which trails probably 12-18" below the protrax. The teeth didn't catch at all.

The backup I use is a wildcountry ropeman. THe ropeman is spring loaded, and if it is on the rope, it is engaged. No retracting that one without removing it. I like the ropeman as backup for that reason, in addition to it being light and cheap. It does not have a pulley, but with the rope weighted properly I barely feel it, it feeds just fine.

Trad climber
Nov 11, 2011 - 05:28pm PT
since this came up, i'll mention that i tried and like brian's stretchcord-for-the-keeper idea.

i'm using girth-hitched it through the loop and then over my head at a tightness that keeps the trax running.

it works much better than the chest harness, takes up less space, and seems less likely to gank if the trax hits a knob or something.

finally sent the climb i almost cratered on last year.
Big Mike

Trad climber
Nov 11, 2011 - 07:02pm PT
I use an Ushba and I back it up with a prusik knot. I must admit I haven't always. It runs smooth and I don't have to touch it.

I clip a locker through my tie in loops alpine style for the prusik and I use a DMM belay master biner and put the belay side on the belay loop and the keeper side on the Ushba.

I also make sure the rope is tight by clove hitching it to the rope bag with the rest of the rope in it for a weight at the bottom.

Good Ushba set up
Good Ushba set up
Credit: Big Mike

Apr 13, 2012 - 01:55pm PT
Le Bruce. The black diamond locker you show has a potential fatal weakness to be aware of. That is that any device can slide over to the screwgate and with a quick sideways twist, pop the entire gate off. This was the motion that a figure 8 in an Aussie style rap did to a young man on an Munter style HB locker that led both to his death and HB being sued.

The dmm belaymaster addresses and eliminates that issue, whereas the Gridmaster does not. I have a Gridmaster, and for that reason alone, I think it's a piece of crap. For using a grigri or Cinch, I have some Fixe twistlocks I much prefer where the twist lock is so big that the devices cannot slide over the gate and cause a catastrophic failure if you are not watching the biner/device orientation.

The DMM would work much better for this application.

Andrew F

Trad climber
Sunnyvale, CA
Apr 13, 2012 - 02:58pm PT
For those of you using two mini traxions on one rope, what happens when the top device fails? It seems like your bottom mini is going to bang into the top one and lever against it in weird ways. I would be worried about it disengaging the cam or doing something weird. Wouldn't it be better to have the bottom mini on a tighter connection that wouldn't allow it to touch the top mini?

I just ordered a micro traxion. I will report back on how it works for solo TR. I think I will now use the micro as my primary device, and use backup knots or my mini traxion on a separate rope for backup.
Mark Hudon

Trad climber
Hood River, OR
Apr 13, 2012 - 03:01pm PT
Have you seen this thing? It's a Petzl ASAP. It's nice because it can slide up and down a rope without catching. When you fall the circular cam activates a lock and you stop. Petzl sells it for industrial work but not for climbing. I've used it for a couple seasons doing laps at the local gym for endurance training.

You need to have the rope anchored a the bottom of the climb, similar to solo TRing with the Mini-Trax system.

Credit: Mark Hudon
Damn this looks high

Trad climber
Temecula, CA
Apr 14, 2012 - 10:00am PT
I've been using the Rock Exotica Solo-Aid but recently switched to the Soloist. Really can't understand why you'd want to modify or use something other than the latter--are Mini-Traxion's or GriGris better? Can't imagine how. The Soloist works for TR and lead solo.
What am I missing?
Credit: Damn this looks high

Trad climber
the green triangle, cali
Apr 22, 2012 - 11:01pm PT
interesting post markHudon; just curious, do you back it up with anything/knots when you run that?

unfortunate that you need so large a size of rope, seems to be 10+ on that as well?

climber a single wide......
Apr 22, 2012 - 11:59pm PT
Topic has been hashed and rehashed- but re; Soloist

It is still my preference for TR's. Just know it does not hold an upside- down fall so tie backup knots every so often. I am mostly climbing easy and sub-vert, so have never taken an upside-down fall on it.

Apr 23, 2012 - 08:49am PT
I've been using Ascender with knots whenever I've got a free hand, but after seeing this:

I might reconsider.

Trad climber
Seymour, CT
Apr 23, 2012 - 10:21pm PT
I use a Gibbs ascender tied to my belay loop. I thread a meter of 7mm cord through the ascender eye and my belay loop three times and tie the ends off with an EDK. That keeps the ascender nice and close to my harness and doesn't run the risk of crossloading a carabiner.

Been using this setup for TR soloing for over 20 years and hundreds of falls. No incidents yet.

Trad climber
Apr 23, 2012 - 10:54pm PT
so the micros been out awhile.

anyone got some mileage?

dont be shy.


Apr 23, 2012 - 11:11pm PT
A lot of people know how to do a mini traxion top rope belay type setups correctly.

Some don't.

Petzl is scared of getting sued so that's why the warnings.

The warnings are also there to remind and show some of the potential pitfalls.

Their diagrams are not particularly complete, just general layouts.

There's idiosyncrasies to every tool used for this type of belay system.

Knowing all those idiosyncrasies is what will keep you alive .....


Trad climber
Apr 24, 2012 - 10:38pm PT
Werner, what idiosyncracies should we keep in mind? Thanks.


Trad climber
Apr 24, 2012 - 10:58pm PT
Re ushba, it won't work unless it can freely rotate to engage the caming action.
So if anything touches it, it might not cam.
I experimented with it as a solo belay with an ascender as backup.
Decided it definitely wasn't for me as it seemed way to easy for something, anything, to keep the cam from engaging.

The guy that might not have been because he grabbed the rope.
Unless he grabbed the rope right above the ushba, grabbing would not interfere.
Report said the ushba was below his crotch.
Most people grab the rope at chest level.
Just sayin, maybe his t shirt or something else got in the way of the cam.


Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
Apr 24, 2012 - 11:15pm PT
Damn that looks high: The Soloist works for TR and lead solo.
What am I missing?

Be aware that on lead the Soloist can also fail if you just end up horizontal in a fall as opposed to fully inverted. Old partner of mine found this out the hard way decking to the tune of a couple of ribs, elbow and head.

Apr 25, 2012 - 12:15am PT
The Petzl website has all of the information that you need about top rope soloing with their products.
Chris McNamara

SuperTopo staff member
Jun 27, 2012 - 04:55pm PT
Here is an article we just posted on setting up a Mini Traxion with a separate rope for safety which is the way Petzl recommends
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