RAD System for Top-Rope Soloing


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

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.

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.


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.

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.

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.

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

Stupid system for the application.

Whatever floats your boat dude ......

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.

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 ....

Trad climber
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.

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.

Feb 7, 2014 - 11:50pm PT

The device with the teeth is on the top.

Just try and visualize ......

Good luck dude .....

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.

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.

Feb 8, 2014 - 12:57am PT

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

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

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.

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.


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.

Social climber
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.

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