RAD System for Top-Rope Soloing

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Mickster

Social climber
New Jack City, CA
Topic Author's Original Post - Feb 5, 2014 - 10:58pm PT
A RAD SYSTEM FOR TOP-ROPE SOLOING

Notice:
Petzl has not approved this system's components for the techniques described below. In fact, Petzl states that "self-belaying with a Grigri is prohibited." The company does, however, market a RAD system for industrial rope ascending and descending, using a Petzl Rig descender and Petzl Ascension ascender, illustrated in this link.

Introduction:
My interest in the "off-label" system for top-rope soloing that I will describe stems from my desire to make repeated climbs for exercise on routes that are comfortably below the limit of my climbing ability. Going solo allows me to do as many laps as I want, and hang-dog for as long as I want, without trying the patience of a climbing partner.

I am willing to assume the inherent risks of not having someone who can check my anchor, harness and rigging, and assist me in an emergency. I endeavor to reduce these risks by taking my time when setting things up, and I double-check everything, using a written checklist, before I leave the ground. I also carry a cell phone and knife, and of course, wear a helmet.

Equipment:
Sterling SuperStatic2 3/8" low-stretch nylon rope, 200'
Petzl Grigri 2 belay device (post-recall model)
Petzl Freino auto-locking aluminum carabiner with friction spur
Petzl Basic ascender (2013 model)
Petzl Go oval steel quick-link (2)
C.A.M.P. small mobile pulley
BlueWater 9/16" climb-spec tubular nylon webbing, ~48" (2)
Sterling 6mm nylon, 42" Purcell Prusik, as a personal tether
Belay gloves (optional)

Setup:
My rope is fixed to a bomb-proof top-anchor built following the SERENE principles. I make sure that my Grigri is attached to the rope correctly. The free end of the rope exits where the hand diagram is located on the device. I clip the Grigri to my belay loop with the Freino, which has less tendency to cross-load than an HMS carabiner.

I clamp the Basic to the rope above the Grigri. The two quick-links are fastened to the Basic's lower hole. The free end of the rope runs up from the Grigri and back down through the pulley that's connected to one of the Basic's quick-links.

The Basic's other quick-link is attached to an approximately 30-36" sling of tubular webbing, tied into a loop with a water knot, and girth-hitched to my harness tie-in points. I want the sling to be taut when I slide the Basic up the rope almost as far as my arm can reach. My personal tether is girth-hitched to my harness tie-in points on the other side of the belay loop.

The rope is weighted about five feet above the ground with a couple of pounds of anything, clipped into a loop knot. This knot will serve as my last line of defense against ground-falls. Weighting the free end of the rope helps the Grigri self-feed while climbing.

Redirecting the Grigri's brake strand upward via the Basic's pulley accomplishes three things:
1. It creates a mechanical advantage for self-feeding and ascending.
2. It helps the Grigri lock-off more reliably in the event of a fall.
3. It holds the Grigri in a higher position, reducing a fall's impact.

Attaching myself to a single rope using two progress capture devices provides a degree of redundancy. If the Grigri (my primary device) should fail to catch my fall, the Basic serves as a backup. Because the Basic is not designed to arrest a fall, it is necessary to reduce its potential for being "shock-loaded" by limiting the slack in its sling when working a difficult section of the route.

Technique:
As I climb, I keep shoving the Basic up higher, and prevent slack from developing anywhere in the rope. When I reach the top-anchor, I can clip-in with my personal tether. However, regardless of where I am on the route, I can make a quick change-over to rappel without needing to unweight the rope. Whenever I want to descend, all I have to do is hang on the Grigri and remove the Basic from the rope with one hand. I can clip the Basic to my harness, or let it dangle by its sling. Then, I'll put on my gloves and descend with the Grigri.

The Freino's spur makes it easy (with practice) to smoothly control my descent by using friction, rather than trying to find the sweet-spot for the Grigri's cam-release lever. My brake hand is always on the free end of the rope, unless I do a leg-wrap or tie-off the Grigri. It can release unexpectedly if accidentally pressed against a surface. The Grigri can also get very hot on long rappels, with the possibility of scorching the rope. It is best to descend slowly and smoothly.

Conclusion:
I have found this to be a relatively simple and safe way to self-belay on a fixed top-rope, with the added benefit of being able to quickly and easily change over to rappelling or ascending whenever I want. By clipping a foot-loop (~48" nylon sling) to the Basic, I can convert this self-belay system to a sit-stand ascending system; pull on the free end of the rope with one hand, pull on the Basic with the other hand, and stand-up on the foot-loop, all at the same time. As a single-rope technique (SRT) for rapid ascending and descending (RAD), it is similar to what is used by some professional arborists and military special forces. As an experiment, I have adapted the RAD system to top-rope soloing in service of a particular purpose.

As always, when in doubt, back it up! You can tie safety knots at intervals in the rope below you, or you can use your personal tether to clip into loop-knots tied on a separate dynamic fixed rope. Endeavor to climb directly below your anchor, as traversing routes will require additional rigging and precautions beyond the scope of this article.

Climbing is dangerous. Do not blindly accept advice or follow suggestions from strangers on the Internet. Even climbers with lots of experience can give you bad advice. Please obtain expert instruction from certified climbing professionals (which I am not) before trying this method, or any new technique, on your own.

References:
RAD System for Recreational Tree Climbing (Video by Cornell University's Tree Climbing Institute).
Solo Top-Rope Self-Belay Advice (Article by Chris McNamara).
Double Mini Traxion Setup (Article by Matt Samet)
Self-Belay Techniques (Web Site by Petzl)
Grigri 2 for Ascending and Descending (Web Site by Petzl)
Rope Soloing in "Climbing Self-Rescue" by Tyson & Loomis (2006) - pages 120-123.
Vertical Rope Access Techniques in "Rappelling" by Bob Gaines (2013) - pages 141-145.
briham89

Big Wall climber
san jose and south lake tahoe, ca
Feb 5, 2014 - 11:37pm PT
I guess I'm a visual learner because you lost me half way through. Sounds cool though.
tooth

Trad climber
B.C.
Feb 5, 2014 - 11:39pm PT
Pictures needed
Kalimon

Social climber
Ridgway, CO
Feb 5, 2014 - 11:41pm PT
A mini-trax works just fine.
WBraun

climber
Feb 5, 2014 - 11:53pm PT
RAD SYSTEM FOR TOP-ROPE SOLOING

Good grief!

At the crag today everyone was top rope soling.

Nobody was using such an overly technical system.

Everyone was cruising along just fine .....
le_bruce

climber
Oakland, CA
Feb 6, 2014 - 12:03am PT
Mini or GTFO.

The Guy

Trad climber
Portland, OR
Feb 6, 2014 - 01:00am PT
What does RAD stand for?
Wade Icey

Trad climber
www.alohashirtrescue.com
Feb 6, 2014 - 01:09am PT
wtf is top rope soloing? If you're on a toprope you aint soloing.
Mickster

Social climber
New Jack City, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 6, 2014 - 07:52pm PT
Thank you, everyone, for your comments and suggestions. I'll keep striving for greater clarity. My post has been updated, and now has links to a diagram and a short video:

https://www.treestuff.com/store/images/pdf/Petzl_RADRIG.pdf

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LF-xkQrb-6s&t=1m52s

Top-rope soloing means using a fixed (anchored at the top) rope and belaying yourself on it as you climb. I'm sorry if I didn't make that clear enough. Check out this article by Chris McNamara covering the "conventional wisdom" on the subject:

http://www.supertopo.com/a/How-to-Set-Up-a-Self-Belay-for-a-Solo-Toprope/a11526n.html

I'm all for following the KISS principle, but don't want to compromise anyone's safety by leaving something out. If you think there's too much detail in my post, you don't have to read it. If you think this is an overly technical or complicated system, you don't have to use it.

What I've presented is a RADically different perspective on self-belaying, using a system that has the added advantage of being able to quickly and easily convert to rappelling or ascending. There's no need to take offense if that's not the way you're used to doing things. Keep Traxioning, or Shunting, or whatever, and disregard the post.

Peace
klk

Trad climber
cali
Feb 6, 2014 - 08:01pm PT
sounds more like weight training.
locker

Social climber
Some Rehab in Bolivia
Feb 6, 2014 - 09:12pm PT


"Keep Traxioning, or Shunting, or whatever, and disregard the post."...



LOL!!!...




OK...
MisterE

climber
Feb 6, 2014 - 09:16pm PT

Mickster

Social climber
New Jack City, CA

So, you are the guy living at New Jack City?

I didn't even think he climbed - LOL...
Mickster

Social climber
New Jack City, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 6, 2014 - 10:02pm PT
My motto: "If I can't open someone's mind, at least I can piss them off."

LMAO
le_bruce

climber
Oakland, CA
Feb 6, 2014 - 10:08pm PT
No anger from me, Mickster - my post was tongue-in-cheek, though I do prefer the mini. Cool that you found a system you like.

Happy climbing out there!
klk

Trad climber
cali
Feb 6, 2014 - 10:23pm PT
mickster,

you might be too sensitive for this venue.
couchmaster

climber
pdx
Feb 6, 2014 - 10:28pm PT
Right on. Re:
"I clip the Grigri to my belay loop with the Freino, which has less tendency to cross-load than an HMS carabiner."

I don't get how the Freino is less likely to cross load. ???

These are locking carabiners I'm familiar with that are designed to reduce crossloading:






In case anyone missed seeing it, in my mind the Mammut Element kicks ass in this category. X2. Upper right biner.
Mickster

Social climber
New Jack City, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 6, 2014 - 10:53pm PT
The Freino is less likely to cross-load because the movement of the Grigri is quite restricted by the gate lock on one side, and the friction spur on the other side. See this photo:

http://www.petzl.com/us/pro/special-aluminum-carabiners-0/freino

I have used both the EDELRID HMS STRIKE FG and the DMM BELAY MASTER 2 anti-cross-loading biners, and prefer the Freino/Grigri 2 combo for both standard belaying and self-belaying. I prefer the Edelrid FG for belaying and double-rope rappelling with an ATC-XP. YMMV….

Rankin

Social climber
Greensboro, North Carolina
Feb 6, 2014 - 11:42pm PT
Hey I'm all for people sharing their systems. With that said, top-rope soloing is relatively straight-forward with today's equipment and doesn't require more than a photo of the set-up to explain how it works. Now if someone can come up with a better technique for rope soloing on lead that isn't a pain in the butt, then I'm all ears. Still though, TFPU.
couchmaster

climber
pdx
Feb 7, 2014 - 09:49am PT
I see it now Mickster. Thanks.



I might buy one of those for my kid, the ability to wrap the rope around it quickly (say while rapping on thin lines) is a nice safety feature.
MisterE

climber
Feb 7, 2014 - 10:08am PT
What does RAD stand for?

Rapid Ascent and Descent
Norwegian

Trad climber
dancin on the tip of god's middle finger
Feb 7, 2014 - 10:14am PT
sometimes i use the monkey-fist hitch
(blake's hitch)
and i don't need any damn gadgets,
except for the anchor hardware.

each link in the system
compromises the continuity of
the critical load path.

neversummer

climber
30 mins. from suicide USA
Feb 7, 2014 - 10:38am PT
Credit: neversummer
Mickster

Social climber
New Jack City, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 7, 2014 - 04:33pm PT
"i don't need any damn gadgets, except for the anchor hardware." -- Norwegian

Some climbers really enjoy their gadgets, while others (like Alex Honnold) don't need any damn ropes. Each to his/her own.

"you might be too sensitive for this venue." -- kik

I've been called a lot of things, but never sensitive. Thank you!

Re this venue: It never ceases to amaze me when people are eager to render an opinion about something that they've never even tried. And, I don't get it when people make a point of stating how they go about rope soloing, when nobody asked them and it is off the topic. There are many other threads where people can go on about the merits of Mini Traxions vs. Micro Traxions vs. Shunts vs. Microcenders, etc., but that's not relevant to this thread.

I do welcome your sincere questions, although I might not have the answers. I'd also appreciate comments and suggestions, provided they are based upon your personal experience with RAD systems for TR soloing. Otherwise, GTFO.

I mean that, tongue-in-cheek, of course.
mucci

Trad climber
The pitch of Bagalaar above you
Feb 7, 2014 - 04:41pm PT
Shunting is going to be a new descriptor, for various activities.

j-tree

Big Wall climber
Classroom to crag to summer camp
Feb 7, 2014 - 05:14pm PT
Unless I'm missing something, the RAD setup isn't self-feeding, requiring you to move the basic up the rope every two feet or so. The general system of two hands-free minitrax (or myriad of variations of device) doesn't require you to tend to your devices and thus, allows for climbing rather than being interrupted by the system.

Generally, people who TR solo don't want to sacrifice the difficulty of the grade in order to deal with a system. No matter how beneficial it is on the changeover from climb to rap.
westhegimp

Social climber
granada hills
Feb 7, 2014 - 05:20pm PT
Small drift- my Mammut Express plastic piece popped off the very first day of use. I was aid climbibg, solo, useing a grigri on this anti-crossload biner. On my first lead fall the plastic piece poped off and was never found. For me the plastic and thinner wire devices are not going to do the trick as well as the more substantial devices. JM2C.
Mickster

Social climber
New Jack City, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 7, 2014 - 08:20pm PT
"Unless I'm missing something, the RAD setup isn't self-feeding…" -- j-tree

j-tree, you are correct. If you will need both hands when solo top-roping at your limit, the RAD system would be a hinderance. As I mentioned in my introduction, I use this system for doing laps on routes that are comfortably below my limit. Tending the Basic by pushing it up the rope has not been a problem in that situation, even though it does require a free hand much more often than clipping a quickdraw on a sport route or placing a piece of pro.

If I'm climbing something more difficult, I might just use a Grigri 2 by itself, with an improvised chest harness to keep it in a high, upright position, and back-up knots. However, when I'm climbing at or near my limit, I don't self-belay, period. I rely upon a trusted climbing partner to belay me when I'm going for it and am much more likely to fall. That way, I can forget about gear and devote my total attention to climbing.
WBraun

climber
Feb 7, 2014 - 08:34pm PT
The RAD System is for the paranoid climber.

Stupid system for the application.

Whatever floats your boat dude ......
Mickster

Social climber
New Jack City, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 7, 2014 - 09:00pm PT
"The RAD System is for the paranoid climber." -- WBraun

A rope is for the "paranoid" climber who doesn't want to hit the deck. Aside from the AMGA best practices, everything else in the way of gear and rigging seems to be a matter of personal taste.

Of course, you're entitled to spout off your opinion, but does anybody really care what it is? I certainly don't.
WBraun

climber
Feb 7, 2014 - 09:26pm PT
It doesn't matter whether you care or anyone else cares to me.

But it is a stupid system for this particular application.

It doesn't freely slide up the rope.

It constantly requires user intervention.

You have a device (jumar) with teeth as your main protection.

Make a couple of hard moves where you have no free hand and there becomes good amount of slack in the system before user intervention can be applied.

If you fall at that time where a significant amount of slack is in your system the potentials onto the main teethed device ie jumar can damage the rope or the device itself.

Many in the climbing world know the dangers of taking rope falls onto devices with teeth.

Like I said whatever floats your boat dude ....
klk

Trad climber
cali
Feb 7, 2014 - 10:49pm PT
plus two for werner's comments.

it's a system for croutons. you have a gri-gri, a jug, two steel links and then the usual stuff, and it doesn't actually work. you have to drag it with your frickin hands.

if i'm soloing ledgy 5.7 with hands-down rests every eight feet, i'm not likely to use a rope. why even set-up a tr on something that has a hands-down rest every bodylength? you could get a better workout on a boulder circuit.

what time you may save with yr changeover you give back yanking the cluster.
Mickster

Social climber
New Jack City, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 7, 2014 - 11:45pm PT
"You have a device (jumar) with teeth as your main protection." -- WBraun

Not so! The Grigri 2 serves as my primary protection. Check out Petzl's RAD diagram and you'll see that.

Maybe people should try out a system before they ignorantly knock it, or make assumptions about it being used on routes with closely spaced ledges, etc.

I have not been saying that this is the "best" way to top-rope solo, or even a "good" way, since it obviously has its limitations. For some people, however, it might be a convenient way to climb multiple laps for exercise, on real rock instead of plastic.
WBraun

climber
Feb 7, 2014 - 11:50pm PT
Huh????

The device with the teeth is on the top.

Just try and visualize ......

Good luck dude .....
j-tree

Big Wall climber
Classroom to crag to summer camp
Feb 7, 2014 - 11:56pm PT
Mickster, you may indeed be too thin skinned for this venue.

Plus, there's probably few out there more qualified to talk about safety systems in climbing than WBraun (Werner Braun.) For that reason, people give a lot of clout to what his opinion and what he has to say.Look him up. Lots of great stories and eventually you'll find the knee high socks and ghetto blaster photo of him to lighten the mood.
Mickster

Social climber
New Jack City, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 8, 2014 - 12:15am PT
"The device with the teeth is on the top." -- WBraun

You are correct about that. But notice that the rope runs from the Grigri up to the pulley that's attached to "the device with the teeth" above it. That puts the Grigri first in line to catch a fall, and by golly, it actually does.

I don't have to visualize this system, because I personally use it and I know how it works. I can attest to the fact that the Grigri self-feeds, and has caught me every time I needed it to. If shoving the Basic up the rope is a hassle, then don't use this system.

BTW, just because someone is famous doesn't mean they always know what they are talking about. I'm sure I could learn a lot from people who are far more experienced than I am. I'm not so sure I could get past the disdain and arrogance that some of them have displayed here. But, maybe that's because I'm just too sensitive….

Peace, dudes.
WBraun

climber
Feb 8, 2014 - 12:57am PT
Yes

You're correct as to the grigri being first in line.

I'll try this setup to see if it self feeds .....
Mickster

Social climber
New Jack City, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 8, 2014 - 11:09am PT
"I'll try this setup to see if it self feeds ….." -- WBraun

Werner, thank you for now having an open mind and being willing to test out this system yourself. Make sure to weight the free end of the rope so the Grigri will self-feed from the get-go.

I appreciate your concerns regarding toothed ascenders. Some people using this RAD system for top-rope soloing have substituted a Petzl Microcender for the Basic because of that concern. Other people have done away with the sling that connects the Basic to their harness, considering a backup ascender unnecessary, and relying entirely upon their Grigri to catch a fall.

It is my impression that the Grigri's apparent reliability in catching falls when used in this way is due to how the rope is redirected upward by the pulley that's attached to the ascender above it. I have tried using other ascenders instead of the Basic, including the Microcender, but keep coming back to the Basic because of its light weight and the fact that it is so easy to remove from the rope with one hand. I'm sure that if it had shredded my rope in the process of catching a fall I would feel differently about it.

Respect gets respect.

Pax
Dingus Milktoast

Gym climber
U.N. Ambassador, Crackistan
Feb 8, 2014 - 11:16am PT
Why not keep a shorter leash on the higher device and allow the grigri to push it up the rope, instead of your hand? That whole one handed business is a non-starter with me. I don't clip back up knots either.

My setup is also RAD, using two mini trax, allows no slack to develop and I can be on rappel in like 30 seconds at the top and back on TR in 30 seconds at the bottom.

Additionally my RAD method allows for me to 'get off the rope' in the event a fall on steep terrain leaves me dangling in space.

To each their own indeed.

DMT
Roots

Mountain climber
Tustin, CA
Feb 8, 2014 - 11:48am PT
[quote]What does RAD stand for?

Here in SoCal it actually stands for "Radical"...just say'n dude.

Too complicated up top - I use traxion and prusik. Simple.
locker

Social climber
Some Rehab in Bolivia
Feb 8, 2014 - 11:56am PT

"Of course, you're entitled to spout off your opinion, but does anybody really care what it is?

I certainly don't."
...

~~~ Mickster

(referring to Werner's opinions)




"Werner, thank you for having an open mind and being willing to test out this system yourself...

I appreciate your concerns regarding toothed ascenders"
...


~~~ Mickster to Werner





Dude is confused...















EDITED:

"My setup is also RAD, using two mini trax, allows no slack to develop and I can be on rappel in like 30 seconds at the top and back on TR in 30 seconds at the bottom."...



DITTO!!!...



chappy

Social climber
ventura
Feb 8, 2014 - 12:20pm PT
I'm firmly in Werner's corner on this one. Having a self belay system that doesn't self feed makes it a pain. The whole idea other than catching you when you fall is that you can climb unhindered.
Chappy
locker

Social climber
Some Rehab in Bolivia
Feb 8, 2014 - 12:32pm PT
"Having a self belay system that doesn't self feed makes it a pain. The whole idea other than catching you when you fall is that you can climb unhindered."...


X 10 ...

Rhodo-Router

Gym climber
sawatch choss
Feb 8, 2014 - 12:35pm PT
These are not the opinions you are looking for….
Mickster

Social climber
New Jack City, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 8, 2014 - 02:36pm PT
"These are not the opinions you are looking for…."

I'm looking for opinions derived by critical thinking, that is, discerning truth from falsity by reasoning to conclusions that are based upon empirical evidence. What value is an opinion about a particular method when it comes from someone who has never experienced the method under consideration? How can one arrive at objective evidence that can validate, or invalidate, their opinion, if they've never even performed the experiment?

At least Werner has opened his mind to possibilities beyond his initial opinion, and is willing to perform an experiment with this method. I give him credit for that, and on the basis of this new information, I have revised my opinion of him.

As for the hassle/complication/pain of having to momentarily remove one's hand from the rock to do something beside grabbing the next hold, shall I assume that those of you who object to the RAD system because you want to climb "unhindered" never dip your hand into a chalk bag?

LMAO at the people who've been getting their panties in a bunch over my posts. Lighten up, already! Climbing is supposed to be fun, and one size does not fit us all.

I'm going climbing, my way. Have a nice day, y'all.
klk

Trad climber
cali
Feb 8, 2014 - 03:39pm PT
I'm looking for opinions derived by critical thinking, that is, discerning truth from falsity by reasoning to conclusions that are based upon empirical evidence. What value is an opinion about a particular method when it comes from someone who has never experienced the method under consideration?

i have experienced manual feeding solo systems many times. they are basically useless to me outside of improv emergency or other specialized applications.

moreover, all others things equal, manual-feed systems are potentially more hazardous than comparable self-feeding systems because they generate opportunities to fall with slack in the system or to gank a tracking grab. worse, a complicated system with lots of gear, that is only functional on routes that can be climbed with one-arm, are likely to prove most attractive to the kinds of folks who shouldn't be rope-soloing in the first place.

smoothness, flexibility and reliability of feed are the things i most dream of improving.

if your system improves on that aspect of the current preferred grigri system, or it if even equals it, then tell us how. better, post a video so we have something like "empirical evidence."

i'm with dmt on his changeover comments, btw. dremel mod and bungee instead of tape for the keeper has made laps pretty smooth.
tradmanclimbs

Ice climber
Pomfert VT
Feb 8, 2014 - 04:27pm PT
this is my favorite method of top rope soloing;)
My trick to keep the rap rope within reach in case of equiptment or ne...
My trick to keep the rap rope within reach in case of equiptment or nerve failure. just remember that you are NOT on belay;)
Credit: tradmanclimbs
running my rap rope through the biner means i can do laps without trailing the rope or backpacking it and still know that the rope is handy if i throw a crampon.
j-tree

Big Wall climber
Classroom to crag to summer camp
Feb 8, 2014 - 05:06pm PT
What value is an opinion about a particular method when it comes from someone who has never experienced the method under consideration? How can one arrive at objective evidence that can validate, or invalidate, their opinion, if they've never even performed the experiment?

Most of us that TR solo or lead-rope-solo for that matter have dealt with a system that requires the climber to constantly manage the rope or the devices in the system. It's just part of the process of trying out a bunch of different things until you find what's right. This empirical evidence allows us to know that ANY system that requires this is a nonstarter.

You're trying really hard to act like you're taking the experienced high ground against all the people you perceive are speaking without knowing anything just because they haven't used your exact system. Obviously, acting the way you've chosen makes sense because it gives you the ability to ignore tangible critiques of the overall system while you cling to specifics of parts of the system that are irrelevant to the overall critique.

Have fun climbing out there, or at least, have fun climbing well below your limit and mucking about with your gear. Hell, if you're that into playing with systems, just get into bigwalling; you'll get all the clusterf*** you can handle.
tradmanclimbs

Ice climber
Pomfert VT
Feb 8, 2014 - 05:08pm PT
my system is no hands zero hassel. rope runs free as a bird:)
moosedrool

climber
Stair climber, lost, far away from Poland
Feb 8, 2014 - 05:15pm PT
Sorry Mickster, self feeding system is more efficient and most of the time safer.

From my own experience.

Andrzej
j-tree

Big Wall climber
Classroom to crag to summer camp
Feb 8, 2014 - 05:17pm PT
In referring to WBraun:
BTW, just because someone is famous doesn't mean they always know what they are talking about.

Sad that your research stopped at only that Werner is "famous" which in itself has nothing to do with safety systems. A bit more might have yielded this pertinent info:

7 The longest-standing SAR-siters are Werner Braun and John Dill, who have been working for YOSAR since 1971 and 1974, respectively. Braun is 61, and Dill is 70.
http://www.climbing.com/climber/10-things-you-didnt-know-about-yosar/

locker

Social climber
Some Rehab in Bolivia
Feb 8, 2014 - 05:34pm PT


"Most of us that TR solo or lead-rope-solo for that matter have dealt with a system that requires the climber to constantly manage the rope or the devices in the system. It's just part of the process of trying out a bunch of different things until you find what's right. This empirical evidence allows us to know that ANY system that requires this is a nonstarter."...

+1...


"You're trying really hard to act like you're taking the experienced high ground against all the people you perceive are speaking without knowing anything just because they haven't used your exact system."...


X 3.3...

Mickster

Social climber
New Jack City, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 8, 2014 - 09:51pm PT
"i have experienced manual feeding solo systems many times. they are basically useless to me outside of improv emergency or other specialized applications." -- kik

As I stated in my original post, my particular system IS for a very specialized, personal application: It's a quick and dirty way for me to safely do solo laps, strictly for the exercise, and nothing more. I certainly never suggested it as a replacement for the self-tending systems that top-rope soloers are currently using, and which I have also used myself.

Just to be clear, I'm not suggesting that the people who haven't personally put the RAD system I've described to the test don't know anything. I'm sure that every one of the contributors to this forum knows a lot more about climbing than I do. I am only challenging the comments made about this specific and admittedly unusual TR soloing system, which has been adapted for one particular purpose, because nobody has actually subjected this system to unbiased testing within the parameters of its intended purpose.

So far, the criticisms of the RAD system I've described have been:

1. It's complicated.
Perhaps, but so is a system with two Mini Traxions, and/or using two ropes, plus having to rig a separate rappel device to descend. My hat is off to those people who can accomplish the change-overs in 30 seconds flat.

2. It doesn't work totally hands-free.
Correct, but that's not a problem for me within the scope of my particular application. I wouldn't want to use this system in situations where having to tend it becomes a barrier to my climbing safely.

3. It is less efficient than a self-feeding system.
When it comes to the act of free climbing, I agree. When it comes to the multiple change-overs between ascending and descending, I have found it to be more efficient in my clumsy hands. If you're one of the 30-second change-over guys, YMMV.

4. It is not as safe as a self-feeding system.
I'd need to see the data supporting that claim before I'll buy into it. Anecdotes and accident reports are not persuasive enough by themselves, because there are so many variables involved. Testing devices under controlled, laboratory-like conditions is a much better way to gather reliable data.

5. It is only functional on routes that can be climbed with one arm.
Did I forget to mention that I only have one arm, and one leg? Not really, but that comment does raise the question of whether a RAD system would be useful for climbers with physical disabilities, or people who might want to temporarily aid climb to get past a crux. I'm still wondering if, for some people, using a chalk bag requires a one-armed route?

6. The system has a greater potential for developing hazardous slack in the rope.
That is generally true when it comes to manual-feed systems. However, I have not found slack build-up to be a problem with this particular system, in the way that I use it. If it did demand greater attention to rope management, I would avoid it in most situations.

7. It's a pain to use.
I guess we differ in our pain thresholds. It's all relative, isn't it? If it's a pain to build a bomber anchor, then you can always free-solo like Honnold, right?

8. It's a stupid system for the application.
Sorry, but it appears we were talking about different applications. My clearly stated application is quite limited, while everyone else seems to be talking about maxed-out solo climbing on a fixed rope using a self-tending system.

I am looking forward to one or more people on this forum putting this particular RAD system to the test and commenting on both its strengths and weaknesses.
moosedrool

climber
Stair climber, lost, far away from Poland
Feb 8, 2014 - 10:10pm PT
Give it up, Mickster.

I bet you $10 nobody is gonna tested.

And, of course, yer gunna die!

;)

Moose
Spider Savage

Mountain climber
The shaggy fringe of Los Angeles
Feb 8, 2014 - 10:19pm PT
From the diagram in the original post, this system seems expensive and complicated.

My Rock Exotica Solist has workd great for 20 years. Simple, and it works; one device, chest harness. Not foolproof but I'm no fool.
couchmaster

climber
pdx
Feb 8, 2014 - 10:32pm PT
Mr Bean said:
"I just tie a heap of alpine butterflies in my rope and have two cows tails so that one is always clipped in, its just like sport climbing except you have the clips right where you want them."

I've done that and feel very comfortable. Usually occurs when a partner bails. If you can double the rope cause it's a 1/2 pitch length or less, or have 2 ropes, rap a single line and tie the knots in the other (I usually do figure 8's) right at the cruxes and good stances. I'll usually keep 3 lockers with knots clipped to them on my loop and drop one when needed.

Other things I've used with backup knots:

*Single Jumar. -Yeah, don't fall.
*Ushba Titanium Ascender -
*Microtrax
*Grigri (by itself)
*Soloist
*Silent Partner

The soloist is the best of the bunch but it still makes me nervous and needs to be set up right. The knowledge that it won't hold an inverted fall is a reminder not to be climbing out over roofs or forgetting your backup knots.

For leading I like Healys system of a Eddy best.

Mickster, thanks for the update you what you like. Have you tried the 2 MiniTrax system? BTW, don't get on anything too hard where you go for it and don't keep it snug unless you move to a dynamic line and pad it at the edges.


j-tree

Big Wall climber
Classroom to crag to summer camp
Feb 8, 2014 - 10:47pm PT
It's a quick and dirty way for me

I don't think that phrase means what you think it means.
Mickster

Social climber
New Jack City, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 8, 2014 - 10:57pm PT
"Quick-and-Dirty"

See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quick-and-dirty

"...an easy way to implement a workaround or "kludge," Its usage is popular among programmers, who use it to describe a crude solution or programming implementation that is imperfect but which solves or masks the problem at hand, and is generally faster and easier to put in place than a proper solution."

Works for me.
WBraun

climber
Feb 8, 2014 - 11:02pm PT
The soloist is the best of the bunch but it still makes me nervous and needs to be set up right.

Yes very very smooth device for top roping.

Bomber.

I used it to belay myself soloing Astroman once.

Only needed it on the 5.11 sections, the rest I just free soloed dragging the rope.

Didn't use any back up knots nor ever tied into the end.

Just left the end hanging in free space.

Mickster, I haven't had a chance to try your system yet.

It's been pouring rain nonstop.

I did clip a grigri into one of our 12mm ropes, the same ropes we use for mini traxion top rope.

The damn grigri wouldn't move without extreme effort by user intervention where's the mini traxion slides up the 12mm rope effortless.

What am I doing wrong?????
j-tree

Big Wall climber
Classroom to crag to summer camp
Feb 8, 2014 - 11:12pm PT
"...an easy way

I don't think that word means what you think it means.
Mickster

Social climber
New Jack City, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 8, 2014 - 11:38pm PT
"What am I doing wrong?????" -- WBraun

Werner, neither does my Grigri 2 self-feed with thick and fuzzy ropes. However, with my newish 3/8" (9.5mm) rope, plus enough weight on the free end, it will self-feed, although a little hesitantly at first, when it is hanging down from my belay loop and the rope is exerting a downward pull.

Having the pull of the weighted rope directed upward via the pulley that's attached to the ascender becomes a game-changer. In that situation, the Grigri 2 self-feeds quite well, and also requires less weight on the rope, because having the pulley in the system increases its mechanical advantage.
WBraun

climber
Feb 9, 2014 - 12:37am PT
So now I have to switch all the ropes to smaller size.

I'm not famous.

No one knows me.

When I was in the Amazon jungle the Indians there laughed at me and called me a stupid white man ......
cuvvy

Sport climber
arkansas
Feb 9, 2014 - 02:10am PT
I'm gonna start bowling. Seems like it might be a lot easier
Mickster

Social climber
New Jack City, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 9, 2014 - 09:12pm PT
"So now I have to switch all the ropes to smaller size." -- WBraun

No, you'll need to keep those 12mm cables for SAR. Maybe you could just hit up a sport climber and borrow some lighter ropes and a Grigri 2 for testing purposes.

When it comes to the various methods that have been proposed for TR soloing, perhaps a judicious application of the scientific method could help delineate the "best practices" for a given set of conditions. Formulating testable hypotheses, and repeating experiments with only one variable changed at a time, would yield valuable data with which to refine our hypotheses or improve our practices.

Whenever a scientist discovers something new, they typically share their findings with colleagues so their experiments can be independently replicated to see if they will produce the same results in different hands. This process of independent testing is crucial to the advancement of scientific knowledge, be it rocket science or "rock science."

Werner, I appreciate your interest in replicating my "experiment" and look forward to your results. As far as I know, nobody else has tried this system for TR soloing. Until someone else does, I will retain my precarious position as the reigning expert on top-rope soloing with this particular RAD system.
Hummerchine

Trad climber
East Wenatchee, WA
Feb 24, 2014 - 02:00pm PT
Just ran across this thread. I like your setup, but not for solo-toproping. It just seems overly complex, and having to slide the Basic up by hand is a deal-breaker for me. I've done massive amounts of solo-toproping for about 25 years, and I've experimented with many types of rigging and devices. Personally, I don't want to have to do anything manually with the system...it should feed automatically. Two Micro-Ascenders are my personal favorite...sometimes on one rope, one attached to belay loop, the other to a half-runner girth hitched to harness. Sometimes I'll jury rig a chest harness with a double runner to keep the top unit higher with zero slack. Sometimes I'll even use two ropes. The stuff Petzl has posted on their website is excellent.
JimT

climber
Munich
Feb 25, 2014 - 03:34am PT
When it comes to the various methods that have been proposed for TR soloing, perhaps a judicious application of the scientific method could help delineate the "best practices" for a given set of conditions. Formulating testable hypotheses, and repeating experiments with only one variable changed at a time, would yield valuable data with which to refine our hypotheses or improve our practices.

Whenever a scientist discovers something new, they typically share their findings with colleagues so their experiments can be independently replicated to see if they will produce the same results in different hands. This process of independent testing is crucial to the advancement of scientific knowledge, be it rocket science or "rock science."

But since you haven´t organised a series of trials you don´t have any reported findings so you don´t know that your system has probably been tried hundreds of times before and rejected.

I´m not as famous (or old) as Werner but at least in the age stakes getting there and use the setup described for bolting routes for the last 20 years or so and one does solo a fair bit trying moves and particularly getting over the top to change the anchor or whatever. It sucks producing a cluster-f*ck at the belay loop with the sling catching on everything going.
Moving the Basic up by hand is impractical on anything harder than a path and once you have the whole length of the rope hanging below the adding the pulley makes it more than twice as hard anyway (with a 1:2 and a long rope you´re going to have to push best part of 15kg UP the rope against your struggling finger in that crap mono, something my old joints don´t need). Once I start soloing I dump the Basic off the rope and rely on the GriGri alone because once the griGri moves up underneath the Basic the self-feeding is appalling.
For toprope solo I use a Shunt on one strand and a modded GriGri 1 on the other or just the GriGri on a single strand or depending on the ropes a RollnLock (same as a Microtrax) or whatever I feel like on the day.
raymond phule

climber
Feb 25, 2014 - 05:32am PT
I really didn't understand the system in question but my system works very well.

Attach the middle point or two ropes at the anchor. Use a clog, ascender minitraxion etc on one rope and a grigri on the other rope. The grigri is used as an backup (pull in the rope once in a while) and it make it possibly to very easily get into rappelling.
justthemaid

climber
Jim Henson's Basement
Feb 25, 2014 - 09:22am PT
Oy... there's simpler and more "rapid" methods.
Lorenzo

Trad climber
Oregon
May 17, 2014 - 06:56pm PT

What does RAD stand for?

Rapid Ascent and Descent

Isn't the idea to limit the rapid descent part?
The Larry

climber
Moab, UT
May 17, 2014 - 07:25pm PT

Shunting is going to be a new descriptor, for various activities.

I think I just shunt my pants.
Lasti

Trad climber
Budapest
Sep 26, 2014 - 04:38am PT
OK, OK, I tried it, but just to go for first-hand experience. I am happy with my current system. This one is - in my view - less useful for TR climbing and rappel than a traditional TR Solo system, but might be good for arborist/rope access etc. work where you would be jugging frequently.

It is not especially difficult to set up, not necessarily more gear than a traditional TR solo setup (i.e. two devices on a rope either way, only plus is the pulley).

What do you want from a RAD system?
Security - aspects:
1. slack in rope: though in theory the rope does self feed between pushes of the upper pulley/ascender and everything is nice and upright if you fall, in practice self feeding does need a bit of nudging, especially on cable-esque ropes.

2. rope damage: Again, in theory, if you fall your belay device will catch you, in practice this requires the rope to be tight (e.g. smoothly self feeding) and your tether to the ascender to be loose. This is difficult to achieve, hence if you fall, it is more likely than not going to be a ways (inches) onto your ascender. Ropes do not enjoy that.

Speed - aspects:
1. moving up - free climbing: this can be quick, if you get into the habit of pushing up the ascender with every move.

2. moving up - jugging: in my opinion the only added value of the whole rig is that jugging up the line is easy. Given, there are simpler and more efficient ways to do that. With this system, you can bust two or three free moves (well protected) and then jug a bit and free again with relative ease.

3. changeover to descent and descent: all you have to do is remove the ascender, given that the rope is tight in your GriGri, and down you go.

Ease of use:
1. UP:
This is where this particular RAD system is a bit lacking. Given the setup, if you want to fall on your GriGri and have it self feed, you have to move the ascender up every two, with freakishly long arms, three feet. This is not particularly amusing. As and added problem, pushing up the ascender against the weighted rope gets tiring by the top of the route.
2. Down: fine.

Verdict
Objectively, in a vacuum:

Safe and quick if you have the energy to push the ascender along every two feet. If a few - or many - jugging moves are to be expected, maybe even efficient as it makes that possible and still protects a few free moves in between.

Real world FREECLIMBING applications:

Pushing the ascender sucks. Period. Even on a staircase.

Not safer, even when used properly than other available, systems using backups (caveat: most other non-TR-solo-specific device using self feeding systems would have you caught by teethed devices, in theory this RAD system is better if the GriGri engages before the ascender, in practice, it rarely works perfectly).

Not quicker to change to descent than say a two rope, one MiniTrax one Grigri using system.


BOTTOM LINE:

Compared to other systems using a GriGri or similar device as one device, the only pro is the quick changeover to inefficient jugging.

The main con is pushing the ascender with the weighted rope every two or three feet, which can easily become a safety issue if you have to bust a move too many.

Their are easier to use systems that provide the same safety, same quick changeover to descent and are easier to use.


Lasti
couchmaster

climber
Sep 26, 2014 - 08:13am PT
Thought I'd put Petzls RADrig diagram up that Mickster is describing. This is a common way that some folks use this for ascent of ropes on the Captain (with a grigri) and lots of places in lieu of jugging with 2 ascenders. Would be a much better system for traversing jugging if you were following a pitch as well I would imagine. Note that Petzl diagrams using a D21a (AKA Rig), which is a $150 industrial device similar to a Gri Gri. I don't know what the differences are between the Rig and a Grigri, but would expect that there are some.

They appear to be suggesting that it is suitable for jugging a rope, can anyone find where Petzl suggests that this is a good way to toprope a climb? I suspect that they would not want anyone doing such.

Anyhoo, I'm with Werner on the teeth thing. Like probably everyone here, I've toproped with nothing but a Jumar and a backup knot, but there are better ways. The trick is to not take any kind of a fall with slack in between your jug or you could risk desheathing the rope.


Petzl's RADrig diagram.
Petzl's RADrig diagram.
Credit: couchmaster
Bill Mc Kirgan

Trad climber
Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Sep 26, 2014 - 11:27am PT
I use the RAD rig for climbing photography (just a hobby). I set up just like I would for top rope solo: working line is static, and the safety is dynamic. I put the rig on my working line, and tie loops to clip a cowtail to the dynamic line.

Easy to move up or down the rope with a RAD, but it seems cumbersome for rope solo.

In fact, at times when I need to climb a bit, I just remove the ascender and pulley and use the grigri (and pull slack as needed) and continue clipping/reclipping backup loops on the safety line.


Bill





Mickster

Social climber
New Jack City, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 1, 2015 - 03:53pm PT
Thank you, Lasti, for your testing and analysis, and thank you, couchmaster, for posting Petzl's RADrig diagram. Here's a photo of the RAD system that I've been using:
Mickster's RAD System
Mickster's RAD System
Credit: Mickster

Notice that I use a Petzl Basic ascender instead of an Ascension, and a Grigri 2 instead of the industrial-strength Petzl RIG. The redirecting pulley is attached to the Basic's lower hole with a quick-link. The yellow sling is my tether to the Basic. The orange sling is an optional foot-loop that I keep on my harness in case I need it for ascending. I do not use a separate backup rope with this system.

With the free-end of the rope weighted, the Grigri 2 self-feeds as I climb, and locks-off if I fall. It is my primary self-belay device. The Basic serves as a secondary backup device. Since it has a toothed cam, I make certain to remove any slack if I'm going to risk falling. Fortunately, the Grigri has caught me every time (so far, knock on rock), and the Basic has never had to sink its teeth into my rope to arrest a fall.

For the record, I've experimented with Shunting (using a Petzl Shunt), Traxioning (with a Petzl Micro Traxion), and Cinching (using a Trango Cinch) as self-belay methods. I'll use only one device at a time on my low-stretch, fixed climbing rope. For backup, I'll clip into a series of alpine butterfly knots pre-tied on a dynamic rope that's attached to the same top-rope anchor.

I have to report that it is less of a hassle for me to self-belay with my RAD system, than it is to clip and unclip loops on a backup rope. YMMV with this RAD system, and I'm open to suggestions for improving it, short of using yet another belay device, ascender, progress-capture pulley, or encouraging me to go free-soloing instead.
Ojai Alex

Trad climber
Ojai, CA
Mar 1, 2015 - 04:04pm PT
"Mini or GTFO."

Pretty much.
TheSoloClimber

Trad climber
Vancouver
Mar 1, 2015 - 10:45pm PT
This is just me personally, and I know a lot of people who climb have vastly different comfort levels, but if I'm going to go through the effort of actually setting up a system for the purpose of TR soloing it, it's gotta be something that is worth the effort. IE, something that challenges me and I'm probably going to fall on it. Ergo, I'm not going to have extra effort to put into sliding an ascender.
If it's something that allows me to free up a hand for the purpose of moving my system every couple moves, chances are it's easy enough for me to do away with the rope and climb it in half the time it would take to set up a solo system anyways.
But that's just me.

However, when I'm climbing at or near my limit, I don't self-belay, period. I rely upon a trusted climbing partner to belay me when I'm going for it and am much more likely to fall. That way, I can forget about gear and devote my total attention to climbing.

What happens when it comes time to lead that pitch and gear becomes a very real issue? TR soloing with a completely hands free system on something that is at or beyond your limit may get you ready to go for the redpoint, without having to waste your partners time while you work out the moves on toprope.
Gnome Ofthe Diabase

climber
Out Of Bed
Mar 2, 2015 - 02:49am PT
Well a lot of very good posts went up since i started this response
, maybe it adds some thing, . . . Right, the point is climbing technology has moved on
+, It has always been a little like best taught in person and then the 1st rule of fight club,
used to?? apply now???
NOT SO MUCH !!

Do Not Try To Copy Anything You Might think You See Here.

Your On Your Own On This One > You Could Die!!

With the web any warning is silly, if you can learn via video, go for it.

If you recognive these items and how to build the system needed;

you are half way up or down a cliff,

but it is not rocket surgery !
Credit: Gnome Ofthe Diabase
++
Credit: Gnome Ofthe Diabase
+++
Credit: Gnome Ofthe Diabase
A Robot,was a tool of choice before the grigri
it can be configured to auto-block mod from rappel mod quickly.
The slide clamps the rope tight under body weight. It is a multi use device
Credit: Gnome Ofthe Diabase
this is one that shows wear,

That and that ,

using language that sets a competitive & some-what dismissive tone
,
that was easy to mistake for arrogance, leaves me feeling a bit cold towards you,

To some , myself , any way, it appears that you are looking for a hi-five for getting it right.
where you clearly just took your test or whatever?? which you survived so. . . .Good On Ya'!!
the standard just a few years ago. . V
Credit: Gnome Ofthe Diabase


Credit: Gnome Ofthe Diabase
now it is this . . V .V .V
Credit: Mickster


Some very sage 'long in the tooth' climbers responded to you in a less taciturn manner than WBraun.
Who is the top person to get rope work advice from !
You need to learn how to take advice,
We Can only Try to mentor,
you have to want to get
The message.



Did you really not notice how nice every one has tried to be, you should climb with others and learn from climbing with your peers. You might get to climb with a superior climber.
jaaan

Trad climber
Chamonix, France
Mar 2, 2015 - 07:19am PT
Mickster, I'm a bit confused - though I could well have missed something while reading through the thread...

You describe and illustrate a technique that climbers have used for decades to ascend a fixed rope. You then propose it as a top rope soloing technique, something that is clearly done much better by a shunt, gri gri, mini trax etc. Highly experienced climbers such as JimT have pointed this out to you but you seem to insist that your system is better. Just how/why is it better? Does it boil down solely to the quick change to descent mode (something that a gri gri on its own would do anyway)?

Serious/unloaded question, by the way, and apologies in advance if I've misunderstood something. Thanks.
Sewellymon

climber
.....in a single wide......
Mar 2, 2015 - 10:04am PT
i still use a Rock Exotica Soloist. interesting to read Werner belayed himself on a Soloist during the 5.11 portions of Astroman..

what I like about the Soloist is when I lean way far back, it turns into a rap device. this requires some good judgement on the part of the climber (i.e.- have your backup knot tied nearby if you plan to take upside down falls...

Soloist is not fully redundant. If your 8 mil tie-in blows, you're gone.
Double trax is fully redundant is a big reason it's considered the best/ safest way to fly (that - and it's simple, and self- feeds great...
Mickster

Social climber
New Jack City, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 12, 2015 - 11:34pm PT
jaaan, let me clear up a few misconceptions about my posts:

I am NOT promoting the RAD system as the best way to TR solo, or even as a "good" way to do it. I've simply put it out there as an alternative way to get in a lot of laps when climbing easier routes. I like that the change-over to rappel is so quick and easy. No need to reach the top anchor. This system works well for me when all I want to do is get some exercise… pumping rock. For "serious" TR-soloing, I employ other options.

The system I've described uses a Grigri, since lots of climbers seem to have one in their kit. As for the Soloist, they're not sold anymore, probably for good reason. Neither is the Ushba Ascender. Petzl gives the RAD system their blessing for vertical rope access work when it's used with the Rig, their Grigri on steroids. Petzl warns against using their Shunt for self-belay. The Micro Traxion seems to be safer than the Mini Traxion, but I'm just not comfortable using a toothed pulley as my primary device.

The problem with the Grigri as a self-belay device is that it doesn't self-tend when in its typical position hanging from one's belay loop. Redirecting the (weighted) free end of the rope through a pulley above it solves that problem. It feeds automatically when used in the RAD configuration. The Basic ascender serves only as a backup to arrest a fall in the very unlikely event that the Grigri fails to catch me.

Sure, pushing the ascender up the rope is a bother, and takes more effort the higher I climb, but I'm doing this for exercise. One rope, two devices, and I can climb, hang, ascend, and rappel to my heart's content. I'm just thinking outside the box here, and sharing something that I haven't seen posted anywhere else in SuperTopo. If this information benefits anyone, all the better. If not, so be it.
healyje

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
Mar 13, 2015 - 12:21am PT
i.e.- have your backup knot tied nearby if you plan to take upside down falls...

Not just upside-down falls. My old partner who is incredibly strong, talented, and experienced with the soloist ended up taking a fall where he just went just horizontal and had the soloist fail resulting in broken ribs and elbow. YMMV.
Mickster

Social climber
New Jack City, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 22, 2015 - 11:10am PT
I'd like to express my sincere appreciation to the five people who actually provided well thought-out, relevant and coherent feedback on this particular ascending/descending system, and its possible adaptation to top-rope soloing on climbs that are well below one's limit.

As for all the off-topic posts saying "this is how to top-rope solo," or only saying, without further explanation, "there are better ways to do it," you apparently missed my point, which I've surely repeated ad nauseum. Just because you have an opinion about something doesn't mean it will be valued, especially when you're not accurately addressing the strengths and weaknesses of the specific system that was presented.

I simply don't know how to respond appropriately to anyone who brags about their free-soloing exploits or alludes to their expertise in lead soloing, when it has nothing to do with this topic. "Bully for you," perhaps? And, I confess that I am totally mystified by rambling posts that seem to be about how TR-soloing was done in the old days.

To those who don't like my attitude, or take issue with me on a personal level, all I can say is that I'm glad I've stirred things up, and thank you for playing.

Climb on!
JimT

climber
Munich
Mar 22, 2015 - 11:20am PT
If you didn´t want our opinion then why did you post in the first place?
Big Mike

Trad climber
BC
Mar 22, 2015 - 11:23am PT
Lol! Exactly Jim...
Brian More

climber
Rancho Palos Verdes, CA
Aug 9, 2015 - 06:48pm PT
I'm psyched to see this post, must have missed it in 2012. I've tried the mini-traxion method, and I got in trouble when I was gassed and wanted to get down. I wasn't able to unweight the device to attach a rappel device. After I thrashed around for a minute I think I went batman or something-fuzzy memory- and walked off the back . Anyway, after that I came up with the "F.A.R.T." system (Warren Harding acronym-wink wink). "Famously Asinine Ridiculous Theory". Seriously though: run an 11mm static line through some anchors, walk back down, tie one end to your harness with a figure eight. Run the tag end through the gri gri (the correct direction-ha), get on the climb, suck up the slack with your free hand as you ascend. No back up, but if you did whip (not really-ha) then even so the gri would catch you-right? Maybe a little slippage? I've used the "F.A.R.T." method for a while now and have yet to crater-my route selections are dyno free. Note: tried it on ice and the gri- gri doesn't like the wet rope. I'm ready for "slayage" but thought I should let you know that if it gets too bad I'm the poster formerly known as "Weld-it". Ha- Thanks!
tripmind

Boulder climber
San Diego
Aug 9, 2015 - 10:58pm PT
Too much expensive hardware for me to really care enough to try it.

I was thinking of a simpler method, perhaps a bit more dangerous.

The method would mean tying upwards of 4-8 inline figure 8 knots with a loop into a standard dynamic rope. The loops/knots should be placed about 5 feet apart, you would then walk to the top of the climb and very securely attach it to a SOLID anchor, 3 bomber attachment points mandatory.

Recommended using 7-9mm power cord to synch the normal double harness loops together so that fall forces would be on the intended part of the harness, after synching the loops close together, knot the cord with a figure 8 leaving a loop with a very solid knot to keep the cord tied together, that loop will then be your clip in point, and its intended to prevent cross-loading a carabiner. You could also use two cords for redundancy.

Simply put you will clip yourself into each loop as you climb. From here you would have several options for clipping in.

1. Each loop would have its own carabiner, you will remove one carabiner for each one you clip in as you climb
2. Use only two carabiners, one will stay clipped into your harness while you move the other carabiner to the next loop on the rope
3. Leave every carabiner and loop of rope clipped into your harness for extra redundancy

The main problem that this will permit is the lack of shock mitigation that having a belayer would normally provide.

I'm thinking if you could get your hands on an industrial size spring device, perhaps something similar to those large spring scales that were once used to weigh large chunks of meat on a large hanging scale during older times, they could provide some mitigation of shock loading to prevent short rope falls. I'm sure there is some sort of device still in use today in the industrial world that does just this and probably doesn't cost a ton.

Welp, that's my idea for a simple rope solo'ing method. Has anyone tried something similar? Would anyone think this idea to not be too crazy? I'd be willing to give it a shot on a relatively easy climb if anyone wanted to see it tested...
Gnome Ofthe Diabase

climber
Out Of Bed
Aug 10, 2015 - 12:32am PT
Tripmind
Yup!
Often clipped high and low. - Sometimes using locking or doubles 'biners, and completely separate points of pro. To hang - or not, but gives a third , at the ready - backup to the backups.
That is my redundant system, I have a pre tied dynamic rope with loops custom set at various points along the length of rope. for a specific project. Sometimes very tight ,small loops that 'lock' the 'biners' orientation
when I have had to I have fixed the rope with clip in points on both sides of the anchor point. This when for directional or something, overgrown or needing work, I leave that bit set with ( trickery ) any thing from prussic to the wall- hauler. ( if that makes any sense?)haha hay your mileage WILL vary!

Then,????

I can't tell from your post but - two independent lines anchored at the top.-

I am on a' semi-static' 'program' rope through the Gri" " also by adding weight to this line you creat a self feeding (ish) set up . Here the OP adds . . . . . .and there is nothing wrong with that.

Getting the climbing line weight rite - the amount of slack if it or the back-up are fixed. Has been key.


I am a big fan of both the Croll and the Shunt, and as I showed, for entertainment, and curiosity, the 'Robot ' which does an awesome job.


. . . . . . . . .. . . ..
After this thread some climbers that I had known for many years got the chopp TR rope soling,
The causes of the catastrophic failure were all user error, no one will ever know for sure, bees? A moment of incomprehensible lack of focus? Due to complacency?, no way to know hard to comprehend.

I have since substantially cut back on roped soloing and looked in to getting a modern device.

I have used the same soloing system for years and only once ever had the misfortune to fall slowly, thus sliding, not locking the Gri" " I was clipped in to loops low and slid off into space. That was on vertical to over hanging terrain though. Then to trolley or pull in to get back on the rock, requires the climber to be at risk of stock loading that protection, ( no 'dentil floss' draws) if they blow off short directly onto the backup looped line so it is key that dynamic webbing or climbing rope is used. . . . . . .

back from re reading your post.

CHEST HARNESS! I was also able to go with out and in a pinch use an over the shoulder noose! Ha ha, any way it sounds like you have it right.


But you should never trust any information that you see on the Internet, it is worth being shown how to use the newest and best technology available by a person who knows what they are doing , and then, doing it in front of that person on a third top rope with a standard belay.
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