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Haul Bag Tricks using a Mini or Micro Traxion
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By Mark Hudon
Sep 8, 2012
On the North America Wall in 1977.

So let’s say you’re pulling the bags up the last couple feet to Peanut Ledge on the Zodiac, Long Ledge on the Salathe or maybe the sloping ledge at the beginning of the KB Traverse on Iron Hawk. The haul system takes up some length and maybe when your partner tied the bags in short to the haul line, he tied a knot with a long loop causing the bags to hang that much lower. You want to get the bags up closer to the bolts to make getting into them easier or maybe you hauled from the center bolt on the anchor and now want to move them to one side. You’re tired, your hands are sore, maybe you’re soloing and no one is around to help you pull the bags closer to the anchor.

How do you move the bags?

If you had a Mini, or Micro-Traxion as your attachment point to your haul bags, you would have a 2:1 advantage and a rope grab already built into your system that would allow you to move the bags, quickly, easily and safely.

Moving the bag example.
Moving the bag example.


In the photo above, your haul system would have been on the right cord, in place of that biner and knot. You would dock your bags, take apart your haul system and tie a knot with a small loop in your haul line and clip it to the part of the anchor that you wanted to tighten the bags up to or where you wanted to move them to. You would then run the rope up to another part of the anchor and through a spare pulley or a Revolver biner (the one with the little roller in it). The rope going down to the Mini/Micro-Trax and up is the 2:1, the pulley simply allows you to change the direction of pull, it does not contribute to the mechanical advantage in any way, all it does is change the direction of the pull.
Now, someone like me, at 125 pounds, can easily move haul bags that weigh 250 pounds with ease! I attach my Gri-gri to the down rope on the left, suck in the slack and pull, causing the bags to “crawl up” the rope to the anchor. That’s one of the beauties of this technique, the Mini-Trax is a pretty good pulley //and// it is also a rope grab. As you pull down on the cord on the left, the bags move up and stays secured on the rope on the right.

Eventually, the Mini-Trax will come tight to the knot where you can retie your docking cords and leave it. Ta-Da!

On top of Zodiac, or on any route where the anchor is right at the edge (New Dawn) and where pulling the bags over the edge is sort of dangerous and clustered, get on top and run the haul line to something about 30 or 40 feet back. Go back to the edge and pull the bags up over the edge using the rope on the down side of the Mini/Micro-Trax thus creating a 2:1 advantage (you only have to pull with fifty pounds of force to raise bags that weigh 100). The bags will move up the rope, towards your anchor far from the edge, and will be secured, when you need to move or rest, by the Mini/Micro-Trax’s cam. Easy Peasy!

Micro-Trax in use
Micro-Trax in use


BTW, I've hauled 6 El Cap routes with this technique and have never damaged the rope or had the Mini/Micro Trax slip.


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By "Pass the Pitons" Pete Zabrok
From Oakville, Ontario
Mar 27, 2013
Left to right - me, Sam Adams, Thomas Huber, Alex Huber

Bump for great stuff!


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By Justin Lofthouse
From Utah
Apr 10, 2013
The Platform

What is that little cord between the mini traxion and the locker?


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By Mark Hudon
Apr 10, 2013
On the North America Wall in 1977.

Just a "don't drop it" cord.


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By divnamite
From New York, NY
Apr 10, 2013

Mark, do you prerig the micro or do it only when needed?


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By S Denny
From Carbondale, CO
Apr 10, 2013

prerig, by the time you need it, it's too late to rig


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By Mark Hudon
Apr 10, 2013
On the North America Wall in 1977.

It's always on there. I find a use for it on almost every pitch so it's always there ready to go.


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By Taylor Bentz
Apr 11, 2013

Hey Mark, I stopped by HR Coffee this winter to say hi after my buddy and I bailed off Zodiac, but you weren't in. (we're both HR locals)

Just wondering why you don't use a gri instead of the mini trax? It's easier to unload, and its only negative is increased friction when being used as a 2:1 and an inch or two of play.

Your thoughts?


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By Mark Hudon
Apr 11, 2013
On the North America Wall in 1977.

You could certainly use a Gri-gri to replace the Mini-Trax as the Haul Bag tie in point and it would have advantages that the Mini or Micro Trax doesn't but I'd have to have a one dedicated there for the whole route. That's not a bad idea at all though.

I can't say I'd like it for the rope grab at the top of a 2:1 system, it could be used that way, but that inch or two you lose every time becomes very annoying.

Sorry I missed you!


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By Moof
From Portland, OR
Apr 13, 2013

Here's my swivel rig for this year. I bar-tacked a couple 9/16" slings onto a swiva-biner to reduce cluster. I've never used the far-end-hauler tie in, just an alpine butterfly.

Previously I used a Petzl swivel with 1" webbing loops tacked on, this saves a few ounces and more importantly shortens the whole rigging up by a good 3 inches.

Swivel arrangement
Swivel arrangement


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By "Pass the Pitons" Pete Zabrok
From Oakville, Ontario
Apr 15, 2013
Left to right - me, Sam Adams, Thomas Huber, Alex Huber

Is the rig above for two pigs? One pig on red and one pig on blue?

I find I don't need a Far End Hauler when climbing with a partner. The benefit to the Far End Hauler is to free stuck pigs when you are soloing, which you couldn't otherwise do. It also does offer some benefits with the adjustable suspension point.

However, these benefits come with a cost - the cost of an additional hauling device which you may not already own. And more significantly, the "cost of distance".

I like to "dock my pigs high", getting them as close as reasonably possible to the hauling anchors. The problem with putting in a Far End Hauler is that you are increasing that distance above your pig by the length of the hauling device + additional carabiner. The benefits of the adjustability do not outweigh the cost of the height you lose, at least to me.

Besides, you don't need the Far End Hauler when climbing with a partner because your partner can free the stuck pigs. I remember starting a wall or two with a partner and a pre-rigged Far End Haul, and later removing the Far End Haul for the reason described above. I never used it, and it makes the pigs necessarily hang lower.

I do recall once setting up a Far End Haul on Excalibur when my partner was busy solo leading in blocks, and I was doing all the hauling. That was tricky! Much better to set it up beforehand. If you are leading in blocks and one person is doing all the hauling after cleaning while the other leads, it might be an idea to set I up ahead.

You want your pig up nice and high when the wall is steep, so that everything is closer to the rock, and not swinging around so much. Not having a Far End Hauler when you don't need it keeps everything that much higher. You will understand exactly what I mean if you find yourself bivying on a very steep section of wall, where your ledge and pigs don't even touch the wall! [Think about it...]


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By Mark Hudon
Apr 15, 2013
On the North America Wall in 1977.

So Pete, in ALL of your nights on El Cap, how many were there that it was critical that you had your ledge as tight to the anchor as possible so that it didn't dangle? How many spots were so overhung that the bags dangled to such an extent that it was a hassle?

In all of my experience, from the 70s till now, I've had that problem exactly zero times. IMHO the whole need to get everything tight to the anchor is much wasted effort over very little return.


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By "Pass the Pitons" Pete Zabrok
From Oakville, Ontario
Apr 15, 2013
Left to right - me, Sam Adams, Thomas Huber, Alex Huber

All I can do is tell you this - unless I'm soloing, I don't want that inverted ascender plus extra crab stuff in the way because I don't like it in the way, and its benefits to me when I have a partner are so minimal as to not make up for it being in the way.

I like my stuff up tight against the anchor, then it doesn't swing, and my bivi is more comfortable for me.

But of course the Better Way is whatever works best for you.

One of my concerns is that I have done most of the trade routes, and since I'm trying to climb different routes without repeating anything, I find myself on more obscure routes which are less likely to have multitudes of good bolts. Accordingly I am often forced to build more complex anchors to equalize more stuff, which necessarily means that everything starts to hang just that much lower. I can think of a few anchors that ended up being real "science projects".

Plus, I just like cranking my pig up as tight to my Kong as I can.

And did I mention, I just don't like having the Far End Hauler in the way when I have a partner? ;)


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By Moof
From Portland, OR
Apr 16, 2013

"Pass the Pitons" Pete Zabrok wrote:
Is the rig above for two pigs? One pig on red and one pig on blue?


Yep. I agree with trying to minimize the distance between the bolts and the bottom of the bags. It creates a lot of hassle when you basically have to downclimb the anchor to get to the bags. Inches can matter when diving for water, or the buried hammer.


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By Mark Hudon
Apr 16, 2013
On the North America Wall in 1977.

We've already gone over how having that Mini, or Micro Trax on top of the haul bag set up in no way lowers them any further than an Eight knot does. in fact, if "I just like cranking my pig up as tight to my Kong as I can" , looking at the photo of my Micro Trax set up, you can get it to within an inch of the Main Haul Bag biner, something you could never do if you had tied a knot there.

Moof's set up in no way is shorter than my set up. In fact, his two sewn slings are much longer than the biners I use.

So in truth, the technique you two fellows use, does in fact force you to hang your bags lower!


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By Moof
From Portland, OR
Apr 17, 2013

Mark Hudon wrote:
We've already gone over how having that Mini, or Micro Trax on top of the haul bag set up in no way lowers them any further than an Eight knot does. in fact, if "I just like cranking my pig up as tight to my Kong as I can" , looking at the photo of my Micro Trax set up, you can get it to within an inch of the Main Haul Bag biner, something you could never do if you had tied a knot there. Moof's set up in no way is shorter than my set up. In fact, his two sewn slings are much longer than the biners I use. So in truth, the technique you two fellows use, does in fact force you to hang your bags lower!


I generally avoid biner to biner chains, and prefer having a sling between the swivel and the tie-in biner. I could have gone shorter, but when I have tried making that connection much shorter, the haulbags crush against each other more than I like, making re-packing at hanging belays a pain. My comment "shorter" comment was about the swiva-biner vs swivel plus biner.

Just my $0.02 for a big wall slacker.


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By mucci
From sf ca
Apr 18, 2013

Rigging plates are worth every inch.

Also, you guys are discussing the inherent benifit of an extra inch....


BWHAHAHAHAHaH!!!


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