The plunge...Deputy comes out alive but shaken


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The Larry

Moab, UT
Oct 10, 2012 - 02:08pm PT
Wow! I'm glad Scott is alright. Cheers bro.

Oakland, CA
Oct 10, 2012 - 02:15pm PT
I don't know, Tom. I think the takeaway is that you have to be 100% distrusting of any device you use on the solo, gri gri or not. Treat every single piece in your system like it will fail, hope that you're wrong about the rope + harness, always have a knot between you and the deck.

Side: I've used both the gri gri and the solo aid. The solo aid is, as you say, designed for the purpose. But if a fifi gets caught in the mix during a fall, pinched between the cam and the rope? All bets are off, I'm guessing.

Trad climber
Placerville, California
Oct 10, 2012 - 02:17pm PT
wow tom,
you in charge!
overseer of our ethical practices, our safety systems;
what next? spiritual destinations assigned by eye-on-the-ground?

i bow to thee with
my solo system, of infinite backup knots
(disclaimer: this system is NOT blessed by Dave T.)

cheers, or something like that,

Credit: Norwegian

Trad climber
'cross the great divide
Oct 10, 2012 - 02:52pm PT
Pretty sure that was not Boulos that lost his rope on the Zodiac.

In regards to the plunge, I can only imagine that speed soloing the NIAD would require some shortcuts that massively increase the risk of the climb. A climber with the experience and skill to pull off an impressive accomplishment like that must have known the risks. Critizing Scott seems pointless. I am glad it didn't turn out bad for him.

And Tom, a Soloist is specifically made for soloing, but it doesn't feed well enough (in my opinion) to realistically free climb very much (or very fast). Also, it doesn't lock up if you fall upside down. Just because it is made for soloing doesn't mean it is necessarily an effective and safe tool for soloing. The accomplished soloists that I know all seem to think the Grigri is good for soloing. Maybe the disclaimers made by Petzl are just the covering-their-@$$ statements that must be made in a litigious society such as ours.

Social climber
The internet
Oct 10, 2012 - 02:54pm PT
The Valley climbing scene has been better with a little adult supervision.

I think the lesson here is more about backup knots than whatever device you choose. They all can and do fail.

The Grigri has likely had more rope solo mileage than any other device out there. It's difficult to ignore the inherent safety in that fact.

EDIT: I thought I had a solid memory of Boulos - but I could have things mixed up - 14 years ago now...

Oct 10, 2012 - 04:00pm PT
tell people when they ask you... "what do you use for soloing?"

It's actually simple.

Just tell whomever asks "I use this system and it's totally bunk and unsafe and I could die, but this what I use because it works for me."

"Don't blindly copy the "Pros" and if ya don't know what system to use, use the system made for the sheep"

Both the Pros and the sheep will definitely fuk it up too.

Murphy's law and "Your numbers up law" .......

Big Wall climber
Terrapin Station
Oct 10, 2012 - 04:03pm PT
In regards to the plunge, I can only imagine that speed soloing the NIAD would require some shortcuts that massively increase the risk of the climb.

That's why I prefer other devices, and back-ups. It's much more important to keep living than to solo fast.

***The exception is when soloing fast is the best option to continue living...heh heh...

I've done a moderate share of speed climbing, but for me, it diminishes my experience of endless sky and having time to reflect on the beauty of the world.

Trad climber
Oct 10, 2012 - 04:21pm PT
WoW. That man ought to buy a lottery ticket!!!


Trad climber
Placerville, California
Oct 10, 2012 - 04:25pm PT
just the other day
i was strollin through pasture
and a sheep tried to f*#k me.

i was like,


and then i bucked it with my hoof.

Oct 10, 2012 - 04:37pm PT
“Every day is a new box, boys…You decide if it’s a gift or a coffin.”

Big Wall climber
Terrapin Station
Oct 10, 2012 - 04:41pm PT
Thanks Captain Conundrum.

I know it's all about freedom of choice and reincarnation and what not, but for the n00bs out there, don't solo with a grigri and no tie-in.

Just my 2.

Big Wall climber
Crestline CA
Topic Author's Reply - Oct 10, 2012 - 11:28pm PT
I'll tell you what Norwegian... I am not in charge of anything... I have never rope soloed anything... I am no longer a climber... I have nothing to gain from anything I post... but I am here every day and see and hear things that go on. I have posted things that any moron, and I have been called one, would post about if they were standing here every day, like I do. So I post what is going on, and like you guys, have an opinion, which like anyone's, is just that, an opinion.

It is you guys who take the information and work through it. All I seek is for people to work the problem and not the personalities involved. Scott is one of my very best friends and an extremely competent climber and this post is not about him at all. It could have happened to any number of climbers. It is about something that happened that was not good. When bad news comes our way, here on the Taco, we always want to know all the details... why? So we can understand what happened so that perhaps in the future it can be prevented. So I post things that I feel are important to all climbers. This is one such case.

Some of the top speed solo climbers will tell you that having loops of rope hanging down will often get caught on obstructions along the way, fixed gear, bolt hangers, flakes, and in converging cracks etc. What happens then... you have to go down and deal with the mess. A free hanging rope can slither along pretty well and you can make good time. So... so what? You can work out the problem for yourself, but please give it some serious thought.

Grigri's are not meant to rap on either. They have a very small surface area and thus don't radiate heat away very efficiently. I had a new rope when Dave and I rapped off Lurking Fear a few years back. He rapped on his grigri with the haul bag. By the end of the raps the rope was glazed for most of its length. Why? The grigri heats up and doesn't get rid of the heat, so the rope gets it instead. It was not designed to have rope sliding through it for long distances. Ever notice the fixed lines on EC? Almost all of them eventually become glazed. What are most climbers using to rap single lines these days? You tell me.

People are not using devices that were made for rapping but for belaying where the sliding is short and soon over. The grigri is so convenient that is used for things for which it was not designed and thus we have problems.

Totally my opinion of course. Use things at your own risk and like the post somewhere above said... don't trust anything... good advice. So don't come back on me saying I am making some kind of a power grab here.. What a joke and an insult because I am not. I merely point out things that any climber would notice if here in my place.

Oct 10, 2012 - 11:38pm PT
Relax Tom. We all appreciate the heads up. Glad dude is OK. The reality is that speed soloing is a rarefied work of art that is by it's nature somewhat unsafe. Errors will be compounded. That's why everyone was aghast and amazed at Honolds link up of the big 3 not long back.

The BD boyz just tested how hot they could get it on a rap to see if that's something that might be fatal. Unfortunately, they didn't use a grigri. But they did use a pickup truck:-) Short answer: No. Longer answer, heavy and fast will heat it more and glaze yer ropes, so slow down - especially with weight.

Nobody is going to stop using a Grigri to rap a single line, they work too good and have multiple uses. They just need to slow a bit apparently.

Thanks again for the heads up!

I stuff the rope in a pack when soloing. (which I dislike to do). Don't have many photos of it, but you can see the rope draped over the shoulder in the photo below. I own several solo devices but prefer an Edelrid Eddy. I'm curious how the wonder boys get that kid of speed?


Oct 10, 2012 - 11:44pm PT
I never rappelled with a grigri.

Piece of sh!t for rappelling.

I used the Petzl Stop for that. That's where the grigri originally came from.

Using the Petzl Stop rappelling from station to sation down fixed lines from above Camp 4 on the Nose in 10 minutes to the ground.

The Petzl Stop was smoking though when I touched the base .....

Oct 10, 2012 - 11:46pm PT
I have a Stop too Werner, but to carry it for climbing is just like carrying a door stop. It raps very nice but climbs like shit:-) It's a one trick pony.

Oct 11, 2012 - 12:12am PT
Using the Petzl Stop rappelling from station to sation down fixed lines from above Camp 4 on the Nose in 10 minutes to the ground.
Now that would be the way to rap The Nose! When were there fixed lines at each station all the way down from camp 4?
Jim Brennan

Trad climber
Vancouver Canada
Oct 11, 2012 - 12:20am PT
I agrigri with Werner, you have to multitask your concentration on one thing...

Sometimes it's good to get tangled up in knots though.
Captain...or Skully

Oct 11, 2012 - 01:11am PT
I always figured that rule 1 states that anyone can f*#k up anything at any time.
If you're watching what you're doing, then a gri-gri is no more hazardous than any other self belay rig. Mine works fine.

Trad climber
Montuckyian Via Canada Eh!
Oct 11, 2012 - 01:46am PT
Good stuff Tom......Checking in from the Bow Valley and yes it is snowing here in the Great White North...I see that the women are still kicking arse big time.........Thanx for the great report........


Social climber
Oct 11, 2012 - 07:31am PT
hey there say, tom, scott, and all...

whewwwwwww... :O

sure am glad he lived through this...

lots of reading and lots to learn, too, for us other folks...
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