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Solo gri gri question
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By NYClimber
From New York
Apr 22, 2012
Awesome slab climb right out of the water! Rogers Rock, Lake George, NY. Summer 2013.
How does all this apply to the newer GriGri 2 device?

I am seeking to do some easy top rope climbs with my GriGri 2 device and am tired with always trying to connect with other climbers who are off from work when I am and vice verse.

???

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By berl
From Oregon
Apr 22, 2012
first let's lock this thread and put it into the MP museum as Exhibit A:
A thread containing helpful information, strong opinions and intelligent discussion on the topic of rock climbing.

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By logan johnson
From West Copper, Co
Apr 22, 2012
Flakey Pull Roof v5
^^^ This.
I used to like this site a lot, but.... if the OP was posted yesterday they would have been called names and told that if you had to ask you have no business climbing at all. You may notice that Hudon and Zabrok don't really contribute to this site anymore, which is a real shame, they have a lot of good experience on the topic of solo climbing to share.

My opinion on the best solo belay for me: un-modded GriGri for aid, Silent Partner for free. The mini Trax systems I have seen look pretty cool, but I have never tried them.
+1 for the SP having a lot less slip on fuzzed ropes- took my first fall on the SP on a brand new 10.2 and slid about 4'after the initial catch, but did not hit the backup knot before I stopped.

Best rope solo tip I ever got was: tie backup knots! Your primary belay system can fail. Properly tied backup knots will send you for a hell of a ride (in the event of a belay failure,) but they will also save your life.

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By Sam Lightner, Jr.
From Lander, WY
Apr 22, 2012
The Shield
I use a Gri Gri. I put a Ropeman on my harness... every 15 feet or so I pull a bunch of rope through the Ropeman. That is the slack rope, and it holds the weight of the rope from sliding back against the Gri Gri. Try it and you will understand what I mean.

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By Peter Stokes
From Them Thar Hills
Apr 23, 2012
Wall Street, Moab, UT
Sam Lightner, Jr. wrote:
I use a Gri Gri. I put a Ropeman on my harness... every 15 feet or so I pull a bunch of rope through the Ropeman. That is the slack rope, and it holds the weight of the rope from sliding back against the Gri Gri. Try it and you will understand what I mean.


That's what I do as well, but with a Mini Traxion instead of a Ropeman- both work fine, but I seem to fumble around with the Ropeman more than the Mini Trax.

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By Bob Dobalina
Apr 26, 2012
So what you guys are saying is use a Ropeman/Mini Trax INSTEAD of backup knots? Sounds easier on a few levels actually. Nice.

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By Max Supertramp
Apr 27, 2012
As your attorney I must inform you that

YER GUNNA DYE!

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By Peter Stokes
From Them Thar Hills
Apr 27, 2012
Wall Street, Moab, UT
Bob Dobalina wrote:
So what you guys are saying is use a Ropeman/Mini Trax INSTEAD of backup knots? Sounds easier on a few levels actually. Nice.

The simple answer is devices used for handling the slack rope do not replace backup knots.

I can't speak for Sam, but I don't use backup knots with my system. I put my Mini Trax on the same steel locker with the Gri Gri, and if it's done correctly the Gri Gri will either stop the fall right away or the slack rope will run out through the Gri Gri until it comes taught (sideways) between the Mini Trax and the Gri Gri, at which point the Gri Gri engages from the extra resistance on the feed rope.... hopefully. It's not perfect, so I don't use this setup at or near the limit of my ability. Rope soloing is more dangerous than climbing with a partner no matter how you slice it, but this system has worked pretty well for climbing something easier in order to move the rope over to the anchors on something harder that I could top rope solo- not a bad way to work a project that might bore a partner.

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By NYClimber
From New York
Jul 14, 2012
Awesome slab climb right out of the water! Rogers Rock, Lake George, NY. Summer 2013.
I have and have used a slightly modified GriGri 2 for roped soloing. The only mod I did was adding a small accessory cord to the GriGri via a small drilled out hole into the housing near the edge. When using the GriGri I used backup knots every 8 ft or so and clipped them into my harness. Feeding rope out isn't a chore but more of a PITA then anything else - requiring one hand to pull the rope thru the device. OK on easier routes but not ideal on some very hard routes where you need both hands most of the time.

Since then I have found a better system on here that members report works well and I am going to try this week. It involves using a Expedition Ascender (like a Clog, Petzl, etc) between the waist harness and a chest harness and trailing a Petzl Mini Traxion as a backup that slides freely along the rope un-noticed. Both slide up the rope (weighted rope) as you climb freely w/o requiring you to pull the rope out thru each device as does the GriGri system involves.

Good luck...

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By NorCalNomad
From San Francisco
Jul 14, 2012
Floyd Feldspar wrote:
A little more food for thought. IMO the worst thing about a mod gri is the chance of being caught like this...


Actually Petzl says this happening is perfectly fine for the rope and the GriGri. I believe it's in the "GriGri Experience" document

John Shultz wrote:
Add up the price of the Gri Gri plus the modification equipment (swages, chest harnesses, malion rapids, etc). Add this to the time it takes to make the modifications times your hourly wage (or the rough equivalent for salaried folks).


Other than then two small holes for the cord, that's all you HAVE to modify. You don't have to make a swage, and your connection to the chest harness (which can be a loop of cord) doesn't and shouldn't be load bearing.

My "solo" mod took all of 10 minutes to make (dremeling the holes), and $0 additional cost.

Michael Urban wrote:
Since then I have found a better system on here that members report works well and I am going to try this week. It involves using a Expedition Ascender (like a Clog, Petzl, etc) between the waist harness and a chest harness and trailing a Petzl Mini Traxion as a backup that slides freely along the rope un-noticed. Both slide up the rope (weighted rope) as you climb freely w/o requiring you to pull the rope out thru each device as does the GriGri system involves. Good luck...


This method kicks ass for TP soloing, now I only use the grigri for lead soling. (le me resting on the setup)

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By NYClimber
From New York
Jul 14, 2012
Awesome slab climb right out of the water! Rogers Rock, Lake George, NY. Summer 2013.
I agree C Blank! My mod took all of about 10 mins to do, and the keeper cord isn't 'load bearing' at all! It's merely to keep the GriGri vertically oriented during use is all. I too had to drill 2 holes in the house to allow the keeper cord to be threaded thru the device.

I now use my GriGri for lead soloing on multi-pitch climbs and my Petzl ascender and Petzl Mini Traxion for top rope lead solo's. Both systems work great for each individual application - be it I am top roping or doing a multi-pitch climb.

When doing multi pitch climb with the GriGri - I have to lead the pitch placing pro as needed as in any lead climb, then rap down via a separate rope to clean the pitch, then re-climb the pitch again. A lot of rope work - but it works. I wish there was an easier way and if there IS - I don't know it.

If anyone has any experience with any OTHER system(s) that perhaps works better I'd love to hear about them as well.

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By NYClimber
From New York
Apr 25, 2013
Awesome slab climb right out of the water! Rogers Rock, Lake George, NY. Summer 2013.
"Pass the Pitons" Pete Zabrok wrote:
The Silent Partner is also huge and big and expensive and klunky, and offers no real benefit over an unmodified Grigri for aid soloing. For free climbing soloing, I hear it's pretty good, even though it's huge and big and expensive and klunky.


I agree. I have used a GriGri2 and Silent Partner for roped solo with backup. The SP is heavy as hell, costs 2-1/2 times what a GriGri2 costs, and once locked up - it's a SOB to loosen until unweighted entirely - unlike the GriGri that once loaded - one can simply pull the lever and descend if too tired to get back on route, etc.

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By Mark Hudon
May 8, 2013
On the North America Wall in 1977.
The Gri-gri is not recommended by its manufacturer for soloing and it has tangled up with other gear and dropped climbers all the way to their back up knot or the end of their rope.
The Silent Partner was designed for soloing and has never been known to fail.
I've soloed two El Cap routes with a Gri-gri and one with a Silent Partner. True, a Gri-gri is a far more versatile tool, smaller and cheaper but it is simply not the safest tool to use as a solo belay device. I will never again use a Gri-gri to solo.

Functionally, a Silent Partner is a far easier tool to use. A Gri-gri requires that you use re belays every 40 or so feet to prevent the weight of the rope from "back feeding" through the device. You might think you're on a nice belay but not know that the device has been back feeding and you actually have a large loop of rope hanging down at the anchor. A Silent Partner requires only one rebelay per 100 feet of climbing before it back feeds.
A Gri-gri requires constant attention, it will not feed out rope while you move up, a Silent Partner will.

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By mark55401
From Minneapolis
Aug 7, 2013
14K
"A Silent Partner requires only one rebelay per 100 feet of climbing before it back feeds."

Mark, thanks for posting, both in this thread and elsewhere.

By "rebelay", I imagine something like a clove hitch on a single piece -- just something to take the weight of the lower section of the rope off the SP. Is that accurate?

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By csproul
From Rancho Cordova, CA
Aug 7, 2013
Summit of Wolf's Head with Pingora in the background
mark55401 wrote:
"A Silent Partner requires only one rebelay per 100 feet of climbing before it back feeds." Mark, thanks for posting, both in this thread and elsewhere. By "rebelay", I imagine something like a clove hitch on a single piece -- just something to take the weight of the lower section of the rope off the SP. Is that accurate?

You CAN use a clove hitch of other knot to rebelay, but you are effectively increasing the potential fall factor by removing the length of rope available to stretch in the event of a fall. A better method is to use cord to tie a prussic or other friction hitch to take the weight of the rope but still allow it to move during a fall.

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By Mark Hudon
Aug 8, 2013
On the North America Wall in 1977.
csproul wrote:
You CAN use a clove hitch of other knot to rebelay, but you are effectively increasing the potential fall factor by removing the length of rope available to stretch in the event of a fall. A better method is to use cord to tie a prussic or other friction hitch to take the weight of the rope but still allow it to move during a fall.


Exactly. I use a Klemhiest knot made with 5 mil cord. A 3 foot loop should do it.

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By Abram Herman
From Golden, CO
Aug 8, 2013
Viking helmet cover, yep.
I actually just use tiny pieces of crappy twine for a klemheist, with the idea that it will break and give me a softer catch if I fall.

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By Mark Hudon
Aug 8, 2013
On the North America Wall in 1977.
Abram,

I don't understand your comment. How will the sling breaking give you a softer catch?

The Klemhiest is a one way knot. It will hold one way and release the other way. If you fall, and have your Klemhiest slings built from a 3 foot loop of cord, the knot will move up with the stretch of the rope, hit the biner at the piece its anchored to and release. Later, as the rope moves back down, the knot will grab again. I saw this happen when I fell on Zenyatta Mondatta alongside my rope. When I cleaned the pitch, the knot was again holding the rope.
Sweet, eh?

Klemhiest knot
Klemhiest knot

See how the stretch in the rope would cause the Klemhiest knot to hit the green biner? That will cause the knot to release, allowing the rope to flow through it and provide you all of the advantages you expect from a dynamic rope.


See that big loop of rope?
See that big loop of rope?

I didn't feel the need to use a Klemhiest to hold the weight of the rope on this pitch. I didn't think the Gri-gri was back feeding.
This was on a pitch rated A4 on Zenyattata Mondatta (it wasn't really) but you can see that I would have gone for an additional 30 had I fallen.

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By Abram Herman
From Golden, CO
Aug 9, 2013
Viking helmet cover, yep.
Mark, I didn't mean my system gave a softer catch than what you mentioned, I just meant a softer catch than if the rope was directly tied to the piece. I like your system in that it would still hold the weight of the rope after taking a fall, allowing you to lead on without lowering down to set up the rebelay again. The only thing I like about my system is that it only requires you to carry a few tiny loops of twine, but I suppose slings/cord aren't much more weight, and they can be used in multiple ways. Good tip!

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By Mark Hudon
Aug 9, 2013
On the North America Wall in 1977.
Oh, yes, I see.

Yeah, the cords don't weight much and if you are using a Silent Partner you only need a couple.

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By Aaron InternetHardman Stireman
From San Luis Obispo, California
Aug 22, 2013
Crapping pants on crux. Stuck it.
Pretty raw video, but bottom line is it works. Lots of ways to screw it up, but with the right diameter rope and the right preparation its easy to lead or shortfix with it efficiently. I always tie a stopper knot to the end I'm leading on - no need to find yourself free soloing 10 pitches up on accident if the rope backfeeds completely - something easily avoidable with an alpine butterfly tied to a piece to take some rope weight off. A step down in speed from the PDL, but a step up in safety for the little extra effort of piling your line into a backpack before you set off on the next pitch. Not to mention being able to completely climb alone.

Pete or Hudon - any suggestions? Thanks...



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By "Pass the Pitons" Pete Zabrok
From Oakville, Ontario
Oct 25, 2013
Left to right - me, Sam Adams, Thomas Huber, Alex Huber
Holy crap. I get really nervous when I see that gigantic loop of rope in Mark's photo above!!

Having just completed my first big wall solo in something like ten years, here is what I can tell you:

- I self-belayed with a regular Grigri on 11mm rope, plus a backup knot

- I used long upside-down Klemheist rebelays about three or four times per pitch. These worked superbly! Not only did they prevent unnoticed and unwanted slack from slipping through the Grigri, they also rebelay the rope during cleaning. Properly tensioned, what this means is that when you clean, your weight is taken by each subsequent Klemheist directly above you, and not the upper anchor. So instead of the rope rubbing across edges all the way up the pitch while you jug and clean, you can prevent it from rubbing *anywhere* with the Klemheists! What this meant was that I started my solo with a brand new unabraded rope, and I finished with a brand new unabraded rope!

- This method above kicks the sh|t out of any other system like rubber bands or duct tape because of its simplicity [easy once you get the hang of it] and the rope rebelay benefits

- I brought a separate mountaineering half rope, and used this as a double tag. I had two piglets side by side on fifis [the new style with the slots, thanks to Mark Hugedong for introducing me to these, and to Mike for giving me his to use equipped with the quick links!] and I backed them up with my slippery overhand knot invention. As I rapped to clean the pitch, a hundred pounds of weight went up for free.

- This double tagging system was fundamental to the enjoyment of my big wall camping system! I only blew it once, but once I got it dialled it worked pretty much perfectly. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

- I was using a 60m rope, instead of my usual 75m rope or so. What this meant that it was problematical tagging a load up to mid-pitch. This is because the load is too heavy to do by hand, and I had to put the lead rope through a Micro-Trax to haul it up. But the rope was too short, and limited when I could do it. It was also too much of a pain to set up an anchor mid pitch

- Accordingly, I would just throw my whole lead rack on when I started the pitch. Only a few times did I have to rap back to the anchor to grab more stuff. I found it asphyxiating wearing so much crap at the start of each lead - I could hardly even breathe, let alone move! This might have been the part of soloing I hated the most.

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By Mark Hudon
Oct 26, 2013
On the North America Wall in 1977.
Pete,
When you pull up your tags bags while you rap, what do you do at the bottom of the pitch to secure them above you? Do you have their ropes through a mini-trax or something like that?

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By Mark Hudon
Oct 28, 2013
On the North America Wall in 1977.
Aaron, I just noticed your vid. He was using a Gri-Gri to self belay? You know, for the most part, a Gri-Gri is fine. That said, it might get tangle up in your gear and drop you to your backup knot. If you are diligent, and checking things all the time, you'll probably be fine. BUT you are taking that chance.

Btw "internethardman" Ha! Aren't we all, eh?

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By Aaron InternetHardman Stireman
From San Luis Obispo, California
Oct 28, 2013
Crapping pants on crux. Stuck it.
Mark, yes. Its a Grigri that I ground some of the back plate off of, and installed a piece of 3 mil in the bottom of to keep it oriented correctly - ie slack comes from above and leaves downward toward my last piece/anchor. Sort of a hybrid of a few of the pictures earlier in this thread. Both mods basically are just so the rope has less contact with the cam inside the Grigri, making it feed smooth enough for actual free climbing. I don't use any backup knots, as I tested it extensively with a toprope backup and it caught me 100% on falls up to around 30'. I'm sure it would catch bigger ones, I just didn't TEST it farther than that. It feeds fine for dynamic moves and climbing at my limit. The big things that scare me with it are making sure that it is ACTUALLY closed when I clip into it (pretty easy to do when you orient the handle toward you like I do((easier for rapping)), and slow slab falls - which can be changed with a rope thicker than mine. I use a 9.8mm for the mod to work smoothly and consistently. My *rebelay* is an alpine butterfly when I feel like the rope is going to pull itself through to the end. Never had an issue with it 'getting all tangled up in my gear.' ...now I just need to figure out how you big kids dock your bag on the fifi :)

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