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Rope-soloing system
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By Bill Dugan
From San Bernardino, CA
Feb 14, 2012
I'm trying to fine tune my rope-soloing system. I've been using a grigri with a modification similar to this. I connect the grigri to my harness using a DMM Belay Master 2 biner and the upper orienting mini-biner to a Petzl Torse chest harness. Anyone familar with the Torse? I like the system because I can pull slack out of the Torse to keep the grigri tight so it feels like it will remain oriented correctly during a fall (and prevent cross loading of the locking biner). My concern is having the tension around my neck. It seems like a fall could put some stress on the back of my neck. Anyone use this system?


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By Carquinez
Feb 14, 2012
I use a Soloaid....simple no fuss and no chest harness

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By brian hess
From Logan, Utah
Feb 23, 2012
the glorious pitch 7
I use the grigri but I don't use a chest harness. I just tie back up knots, seems to me if you fell it'd be pretty much the same as taking a regular lead fall. Even if the biner got crossloaded and failed you land on your back up knot. I'd say the simpler you can make rope solong the better.

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By D Condit
From Colorado Springs, CO
Feb 23, 2012
North Maroon
I switched to a Grirgi from a Soloaid but switched back after a bad experience. I took a fall and managed to compress my Grigri against my body such that it slid. I had a backup knot but had not been diligent and slid far enough to lose some skin. The Grigri is maybe just slightly simpler, but the Soloaid is designed for the job and avoids potential unintended issues.

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By Carquinez
Feb 23, 2012
DC.
I have a friend who had a similar thing happen. He fell GriGri somehow got locked open and he fell 50' to the end of his rope. Doing hook moves at the time so no real gear in place. Bad rope burns went along with the ride. This guys has done dozens of solo walls,he is no noobie, so it can happen to anyone.

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By Drew McLean
From Colorado
Mar 2, 2012
Summit shot
Has anyone used the Soloist? Like the modified GriGri, the Soloist auto-feeds. The design seems to have a soloing as the primary use for the device. Is there is the same risk, or other risks, using the Soloist as supposed to a modified GriGri? I notice Rock Exotica does not have the Solo-Aid on their product list anymore. Although you can still purchase them elsewhere. The Solo-Aid also does not auto feed so it would not be ideal for free climbing.

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By csproul
From Rancho Cordova, CA
Mar 2, 2012
Summit of Wolf's Head with Pingora in the background
Drew McLean wrote:
Has anyone used the Soloist? Like the modified GriGri, the Soloist auto-feeds. The design seems to have a soloing as the primary use for the device. Is there is the same risk, or other risks, using the Soloist as supposed to a modified GriGri? I notice Rock Exotica does not have the Solo-Aid on their product list anymore. Although you can still purchase them elsewhere. The Solo-Aid also does not auto feed so it would not be ideal for free climbing.

I use a Soloist occasionally. It feeds ok, not as nice as a Silent Partner, but better than a Grigri. There are a couple real downsides to the Soloist. You have to wear a chest harness, and some people don't like that. It also will not hold falls if you are inverted, so you need to be diligent with back-up knots in situations where that might happen. Inverted falls seem to happen to me more when aid climbing too. IMO, the soloist does ok for most soloing applications, but does not excel at any of them. i.e. a Silent partner may work better for free climbing, and a Solo-aid/Grigri might do better for pure aid climbing, but the Soloist does both just ok. Similarly, the Mini-trax works better for TRing, but the Soloist does ok.

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By Carquinez
Mar 2, 2012
CSProul is right on the mark in my opinion. In solo free climbing rope feed is crucial in aid it is not a big deal. I use the Solaid and I don't mind the self feeding of the rope, it becomes another simple step in the aid process and is no big deal.

I have have had all three devices and sold the soloist and silent partner. I like the design and simplicity of the solaid. I don't like complicated setup and trying to make gear do things it was not designed to do, so for me the solaid is best, but that I know is only my opinion

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By nbrown
From western NC
Mar 2, 2012
Top of Shortoff with the Bonsai
I've used the soloist extensively for many years, both for free climbing, and for aid (unclip from chest harness and let it hang to prevent inadvertant disengagement).

I've also used the silent partner and the clove hitch method, but not the gri gri (which is essentially a soloist with spring loaded tension on the cam).

I'd be happy to answer questions to anyone willing to take the time to shoot me a PM with any specific questions.

I will say this: Bill, the torse looks good. I'm not sure if it's the same with the gri gri, but with the soloist you must beware of tensioning the device too much, because the tighter it is, the more readily it will disengage when you lean back (because there is less slack/give). This is most noticable on slabs where there is already a comprimise in the angle of the set up.

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By Steve86
Mar 2, 2012
nbrown (or anyone else with experience across these devices),

Are there any real downsides to the SP (aside from cost) compared to the rest of the devices? If you could only have one of the devices, independent of cost, for all of your soloing pursuits (free and aid) which one would it be?

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By Carquinez
Mar 2, 2012
To me the real downside of the SP was it's sheer size and weight. IMHO asking one device to be all things is too much. I would get one for free and one for aid.

JV

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By Steve86
Mar 2, 2012
Carquinez,

Would your ideal setup be a SP for free and a solo-aid for aid? I've never had the opportunity to use any of the devices but from my understanding a major limitation of the SP is that you can't "take" as easily as you would with the solo-aid. Basically in order to engage the clutch on the SP you would have to generate enough speed to cause it to lock. Maybe you can do this by yanking on the rope but that's just speculation. If my understanding is incorrect, please let me know. Are there other downsides to using the SP as an aid device other than the above "take" issue and the size?

Thanks guys

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By csproul
From Rancho Cordova, CA
Mar 2, 2012
Summit of Wolf's Head with Pingora in the background
Steve86 wrote:
Carquinez, Would your ideal setup be a SP for free and a solo-aid for aid? I've never had the opportunity to use any of the devices but from my understanding a major limitation of the SP is that you can't "take" as easily as you would with the solo-aid. Basically in order to engage the clutch on the SP you would have to generate enough speed to cause it to lock. Maybe you can do this by yanking on the rope but that's just speculation. If my understanding is incorrect, please let me know. Are there other downsides to using the SP as an aid device other than the above "take" issue and the size? Thanks guys

That would prob be my choice. You are correct about the SP, you cannot "take" on the rope like you can with a soloist. My prob with either/or, is that I like the option to climb free when I'm aiding and I don't like to have to pull out rope as you would with a solo-aid. That was kind of why I chose the Soloist, thinking it would be a good compromise. Not sure I'd make the same choice again. I'd like to have more time on both the solo-aid and the SP to really make that choice.

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By Carquinez
Mar 2, 2012
I got rid of my soloist because I got a SP, then I got rid of the SP because honestly the rope running through it and the speed needed to engage it kind of freaked me out. With a soloaid It is a drag to pull out slack to bust a free move on aid, but aid is hard anyway so for me it is no big deal.

I also have all but given up soloing free routes. I prefer climbing with a partner for free routes and solo only on aid routes.

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By Steve86
Mar 2, 2012
Thanks for the input. Interestingly enough, rock exotica doesn't list the solo-aid on their site anymore nor is it in their 2012 catalog. It's still in stock at various retailers though.

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By Carquinez
Mar 7, 2012
You can usually get a used one on ebay or MP. Normally they have no use. Soling always seems like a good idea until the day to start then people back out and sell their solo gear.

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By Mark Hudon
Mar 15, 2012
On the North America Wall in 1977.
I'm planning on using a Silent Partner on Lost in America this spring. Just last weekend I soloed a 5.11 sport route and it seemed to work pretty nice. I jumped off to test it a couple times and it held just fine. You certainly can't "take" with it and you'll need two hands to loosen the rope after falling on it.

I've soloed two El Cap routes with a Gri-gri and that device works fine for aid but not for free climbing. On an aid solo, your Gri-gri is your constant companion and when leading, it pretty much needs almost constant attention. You need to feed yourself rope to move up and you need to make sure it is not back feeding by itself.

I'm eager to give the Silent Partner a try this spring.

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By Princess Mia
From Vail
Apr 7, 2012
Chillin' at City of Rocks
I use a silent partner and love it!!! Super easy and safe. I would caution using any system like a grigri and tying knots.......studies have shown that the knot is a weak link in the system and if it got shock loaded by slamming into the grigri or similar device, the rope can break...... Pretty basic science really.....

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By Chuck Manburger
From Denver,CO
Apr 7, 2012
Manburger!!
Mia Tucholke wrote:
I use a silent partner and love it!!! Super easy and safe. I would caution using any system like a grigri and tying knots.......studies have shown that the knot is a weak link in the system and if it got shock loaded by slamming into the grigri or similar device, the rope can break...... Pretty basic science really.....


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NO SALE! I don't buy it!

Would love to see some PROOF on this situation happening.....especialy in AID!!!

GOT LINKS to that info??

OP....Gri-gri w/No mod with Knots or... soloaid. No chest harness....What if you go for a head first fall? Now gri cant orient correctly? Stress on neck could be.. No Buenno!?!

Whip on it!

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By Chris Plesko
From Westminster, CO
Apr 7, 2012
OMG, I winz!!!
Yea Mia, what? You are saying no backup knots? You know soloing on cloves works just fine too right?

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By Chris Plesko
From Westminster, CO
Apr 8, 2012
OMG, I winz!!!
Like your harness tie in? Knots are not going to fail dynamically using climbing rope.

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By Daniel Winder
Apr 8, 2012
If the Silent Partner fails the backup knots will still slam into the device. It won't cut the rope. Neither will any of the above situations cut the rope. Please offer some proof of this.

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By Mark Hudon
Apr 8, 2012
On the North America Wall in 1977.
I think you're skating on thin ice here, Mia.

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By $t0& 960
From Colorado
Apr 8, 2012
s
the rope will not cut but tying the knotts is just pia, i would use a loose prussik. i never lead solo but for tr solo ushba on one line and grigri on a backup line work well ushba self feeds grigri is easy to single hand feed so its a very good system.

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By csproul
From Rancho Cordova, CA
Apr 9, 2012
Summit of Wolf's Head with Pingora in the background
Mitch Zimmerman wrote:
the rope will not cut but tying the knotts is just pia, i would use a loose prussik. i never lead solo but for tr solo ushba on one line and grigri on a backup line work well ushba self feeds grigri is easy to single hand feed so its a very good system.

You'd rather have a prussic catch a (lead) fall than a back-up knot? Not me, I'll take the time/effort to tie back-knots. If you're only TR'ing then I'd either use two devices that self feed (mini-trax) or one device that self feeds and clip back-up knots in a 2nd strand. No pulling the rope through a device, no tying of knots (already pre-tied) while climbing.

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By Mark Hudon
Apr 9, 2012
On the North America Wall in 1977.
I'll be writing a Big Wall Soloing Tip soon but it'll be long and it's going to take me some time. I'll probably have it done before I leave for Yosemite in late May though.

El Cap Route Panoramas and Big Wall Tips

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