rope soloing state of the art?

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i-b-goB

Social climber
Wise Acres
May 16, 2018 - 03:00pm PT
$115.96
SALE PRICE

https://www.backcountrygear.com/revo-wild-country.html?gclid=Cj0KCQjwre_XBRDVARIsAPf7zZjSla435XPuOaM8j0igyCrVNKNfCELUFFW1F35rQcv-bpipA6n5gjkaAm41EALw_wcB



Self Belay Devices
http://storrick.cnc.net/VerticalDevicesPage/Belay/SelfBelayPages/SelfBelay0627.html
Mtnmun

Trad climber
Top of the Mountain Mun
May 16, 2018 - 03:48pm PT
I was rope soloing the left side of Eagle Buttress at the Leap back when there were no closures. Using a Silent Partner, I had already led the second pitch and was re-climbing it after cleaning. My foot slipped off a little nub as I dyno'd for the top of that big block at the top of the second pitch. Next thing I knew I was dangling in mid air. Nice, I exclaimed, the frickin thing works! Whoohooo, That was the only time I remember falling on it.

The first day of rope soloing required many cuss words as the rope gets all screwed up. Or, you are on the crux move and forget to release your back up knot. After a bit of practice though you get really good at it.
AE

climber
Boulder, CO
Jun 4, 2018 - 06:07pm PT
1970's: Fed rope thru a basic Sticht plate, belaying myself with variable knots that required one-hand untying as each would jam at the plate; got so I could untie and re-tie if needed. Minus, there really was no belay effect in a fall until the knot jammed, because we - me, the system, and rope - were weightless, falling together. Learned to avoid falling. Worked on NW face of Half Dome.
1990: Solo-aid was marginally better, but took too much extra rope finagling to prevent slide-back, and feeding was entirely in advance, manually.
2000: Silent Partner,the biggest, heaviest, safest self-lead belay to date. It is NOT a seat belt system. It's beauty is the centrifugal catch that locks the large barrel once it spins too fast - but most of the force is caught by the rolling clove hitch, as it locks tight as soon as the barrel seizes. A bitch to loosen and move on, and a joke for rappelling the line.
The Revo looks promising, again a locking roller that does not directly apply the major loads against the locking mechanism in a catch.
However, NEVER use anything without a backup knot minimum, and a loop to the waist better. You're already going to be slow; is your life not worth an extra fifteen seconds here and there?
benthic

Trad climber
Cambridge, MA
Jun 4, 2018 - 06:25pm PT
I use the GriGri+ for free and aid; I've heard of two possible downsides to the GriGri:

1. Handle getting caught in a fall and releasing the device. I've switched to the GriGri+, and the anti-panic feature makes me feel a lot better.

2. Single clip-in point. I use a quicklink instead of a locker, and it feels pretty bomber. Added benefit is that the opening on my quick link is too small to remove the GriGri without first opening the plate, which makes me much less likely to drop the device when I'm loading/unloading it.

I stack my rope in a backpack with a drawstring closure and no brain, and leave the drawstring a little bit loose to allow the rope to feed more easily.

The backpack makes tying backup knots impractical, so I skip em. If the handle gets caught and the GriGri+ anti-panic feature somehow fails, I imagine the drag of the rope coming out of the backpack would be enough to lock the device.

IIRC Colin Haley uses GriGri and backpack for his alpine solos, and if it feeds fast enough for him, it's plenty fast for me.
the Fet

climber
Tu-Tok-A-Nu-La
Jun 4, 2018 - 06:30pm PT
My 2 cents:

If the device only has one biner hole use a steel locker. Much stronger when cross loaded (that's the usual failure mode) than aluminum. (edit: quicklink idea above is probably even better since it's multi-directional)

Test your system on a single pitch with a second rope top rope with butterfly knots every ten feet or so to clip into. Try falling on your lead system, lowering, etc. Having knots to clip into instead of a mini-trax will allow your lead system to catch falls, etc., so the second rope will only be a backup.

If find the gri-gri works best if there's some rope (weight) hanging under it. If the rope goes right into a bag then there's not enough tension to lock up the gri-gri cam quickly. (edit: also a good idea above to cinch down the opening of the backpack to provide friction to lock up the gri-gri instead of having it hanging where it could get in the way or hung up)

I'd guess you'd only want a mini-trax to ascend the rope if you wanted to free climb and clean. If you wanted to jug the rope and clean use ascenders.




On another note:

I did a ropes course and one of the challenges was jumping off a platform and being caught/lowered by one of those gym auto belay things. Even though I've jumped off things thousands of times and climbed on those in the gym a few times it was spooky because I had to trust someone else's gear that I never even touched.
Daniel Fullmer

Trad climber
VT
Jun 4, 2018 - 08:55pm PT
I have owned and occasionally used the silent partner for over a decade now. I deliberated over the same questions and options (although fewer options then). I have led mostly long trad lines 5.8-5.10 trad and 5.10-5.11 sport using the back pack method. My high water mark with the system was doing some of the long moderates in the El Potrero canyon in a day, which was fun and exhausting but I didn't die. Initially I had tried to re ascend the line but because the climbs were not steep or difficult I found it was easier and faster to re-climb the route rather than jug the dynamic line so I quickly ditched the ascenders. I started by creating a separate top rope line then intentionally fell repeatedly while 'lead' climbing to gain comfort with the device, a practice that really helped.

Recently I have been eyeing some long routes in Zion that I think would be fun to solo with the SP so i bought the metolious rope bag/backpack and a lighter (9.8) 70M lead line for the effort. Point is I think the soloing is fun, safe as the user is smart, and benefits from practice optimizing gear choices.

Enjoy!
BeeTee

Social climber
Valdez Alaska
Jun 5, 2018 - 10:21am PT
I've rope soloed a number of ice or alpine routes....love it....soloist with the rope in the pack....occasional back up knot but feels confident and that's what's it's about....just stay a little below your flash point....plus you get to admire your work by seconding on a toprope...mini taxi on or the the bigger one ...I wore out a mini before....70 meter rope....leave your bigger pack and extra line at the belay....do shorter pitches....I think it works great...way better than free soloing!
Riska

Trad climber
CA
Jun 5, 2018 - 11:19pm PT
I have used Soloist over span of 2 decades and it was a nightmare, felt like a was climbing with crotch getting stuck in a crack- it took me all afternoon to do Corrugation Corner 5.7 at Lovers on its retirement outing. . I upgraded to Silent Partner, which was merely a heavier nightmare. They belong in the tar pit with hexes, tricams and bongs.
My best outings were with old school knots. Canít wait to hear if the new gadgets have promise.
healyje

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
Jun 6, 2018 - 12:20am PT
AE wrote: However, NEVER use anything without a backup knot minimum, and a loop to the waist better.

As benthic mentions below, backup knots don't really work with backpack systems and, while I use them aid soloing with an unmodded grigri, I've never used them or found them necessary in free lead rope soloing with the rope in a backpack with either a modded grigri or the Eddy.

benthic wrote: I use the GriGri+ for free...Colin Haley uses GriGri and backpack for his alpine solos, and if it feeds fast enough for him, it's plenty fast for me.

The rope runs the wrong way through the grigri for rope soloing so can't quite fathom continuing to use it after the Eddy came out let alone trying to use it for fast alpine - but it's definitely a to each his own deal and everyone needs to sort out and dial in a system that works for them.

the fet wrote: If the device only has one biner hole use a steel locker. Much stronger when cross loaded (that's the usual failure mode) than aluminum. (edit: quicklink idea above is probably even better since it's multi-directional)

Yeah, I used a CE-rated mallion rapide with the grigri, but with the Eddy's clamshell design I just back up a regular locker with a short 8mm sling on a separate small locker:

CE-rated mallion rapide
CE-rated mallion rapide
Credit: healyje

The sling doesn't ever touch the rope or interfere with the connection...
The sling doesn't ever touch the rope or interfere with the connection in any way and is a backup in case the locker breaks
Credit: healyje

BeeTee wrote: ....plus you get to admire your work by seconding on a toprope...

Yeah, cleaning your own pro is a benefit of seconding all the pitches normally which is what I do and my placement skills evolved dramatically after the first couple of years of rope soloing constantly swearing at the as#@&%e who did the placements. So much so that I got to the point I where basically never 'set' passive pro but rather learned to rely on the geometry of the placements instead.

...70 meter rope...

A 70m won't fit in my backpack and I wouldn't want the additional weight.

...do shorter pitches...

Hmm, I do the opposite running pitches together whenever I can...



Again, for free lead rope soloing:

 '75-'92 I used knots (Bastille Crack was my first rope solo)

 '92-'04 Tab-Modded grigri

 '04-Pres Eddy (did a 40th-anniversary rope solo of the Bastille Crack in '15)

Easily have in a thousand or two trad multipitch pitches in by each of the three methods and generally can do multipitch routes 1/4 to a 1/3 faster rope soloing than climbing with an efficient partner.

Due to all that history and mileage, I have my system completely dialed in and am as comfortable (or more comfortable) rope soloing as I am climbing with a partner. Here are a couple of routes I rope solo fairly regularly: Wushu Roof is a single-pitch route I rope solo multiple times each spring getting back in shape waiting for our main climbing crag to open in July and did it again this past Sunday (this pic is from a go of it with a partner).



And I do this route fairly often once our main crag opens:



As I said, definitely up for evaluating the Revo, but it would have to significantly out-perform the Eddy for me to switch given I have everything so dialed in.
perswig

climber
Jun 6, 2018 - 03:53am PT
They belong in the tar pit with hexes, tricams and bongs.

Hey, now! Let's not get hasty...
Dale
Jay

Trad climber
Fort Mill, SC
Jun 11, 2018 - 11:01am PT
It's worth reading this article about a fatality with a Soloist device that occurred a few years ago at Crowders Mtn near Charlotte NC.

https://carolinaclimbers.org/feature-story/crowders-fatality.html

-Jason
AP

Trad climber
Calgary
Jun 11, 2018 - 11:23am PT
I call rope soloing "The State of the Too Scared To Fall"
I have done a fair amount of climbing with a Silent Partner and I can say this stuff is a pain in the ass but better than not climbing at all.
benthic

Trad climber
Cambridge, MA
Jun 11, 2018 - 06:08pm PT
The rope runs the wrong way through the grigri for rope soloing so can't quite fathom continuing to use it after the Eddy came out let alone trying to use it for fast alpine - but it's definitely a to each his own deal and everyone needs to sort out and dial in a system that works for them.

I flip the GriGri around so that the fixed end feeds out the bottom and the free end feeds over my shoulder from the backpack.

I also use a skinny rope (~9mm) which feeds pretty easily but still locks up fine, at least with the GriGri+. If I have more than ~100ft of rope out without much drag, the device sometimes auto-feeds due to rope weight; but at about 150ft it starts to lock itself up and require manual tending again.

Would love to try the Eddy some time, but haven't bought one because inevitably I'd find myself without it on days my partner bails or runs out of psyche :)

As a side note, the lack of rope drag when rope soloing is really nice.... I carry mostly quickdraws, and only need to extend placements if there's a sharp roof / edge I want to avoid.
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