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Which is best - mini or micro traxion for top rope soloing?
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By EugeneK
From Cambridge, MA
Dec 1, 2013
I've read up a bunch but didn't see any recommendations or opinions of whether there's any reason to prefer a mini over micro or vise versa for top rope soloing. Anyone have any experiene with both and like to comment?

Thanks

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By Eric Klammer
From Boulder, CO
Dec 1, 2013
Heading up the best pitches of the route. Perfect rock at a nice relaxed angle!
Just picked up a micro last week. So far it's seen maybe 5-6 toprope laps, so I'm not super experienced with it but I've got a few impressions.

The orientation of the 'lock' button is a little worrisome, as when it is attached to your belay loop the button faces inwards. It seems just barely possible that the device could be accidentally locked open if it rubs against you in a very certain way while climbing. This problem looks like it could be easily solved though with the removal of the small cast pin on the toothed cam.

Other than that, the unit is small, light, seems to be well built, and does it's job. The small size was especially nice as it made the device barely noticeable and I was able to get as close as I wanted to the rock. The pulley is very smooth, and the device easily runs up the rope with little resistance. I've also used it once for some light hauling and it worked great.

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By Jeff J
From Bozeman
Dec 1, 2013
EugeneK wrote:
I've read up a bunch but didn't see any recommendations or opinions of whether there's any reason to prefer a mini over micro or vise versa for top rope soloing. Anyone have any experiene with both and like to comment? Thanks


I like the Micro, it feeds a bit better than the Mini. I have maybe 200 laps on mine and like Eric K above said you have to be aware of the lock open button. I bump it by accident and realized this mid pitch. I yanked the rope to give my self a "take" to adjust some gear and realized that the device was locked open. This has happened once and only once and I am not entirely sure how the lockopen button got bumped.

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By JCM
From Seattle, WA
Dec 1, 2013
Jeff J wrote:
I like the Micro, it feeds a bit better than the Mini. I have maybe 200 laps on mine and like Eric K above said you have to be aware of the lock open button. I bump it by accident and realized this mid pitch. I yanked the rope to give my self a "take" to adjust some gear and realized that the device was locked open. This has happened once and only once and I am not entirely sure how the lockopen button got bumped.


Soloing setup questions with the micro: Do you use a chest harness/bungie to hold the device higher, or do you just let the device drag behind at the bottom of the belay loop (and bump it up when you need to)? Do you use the micro by itself; how confident are you in this?

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By bearbreeder
Dec 1, 2013
1. devices which have the ability to disable the progress capture (traxions) are inherently more unreliable than those that dont (microascender)

2. there has been at least one incident where the guy was lucky to walk away ... and its something petzl warns about

was doing top rope laps on a short climb using my Mini Traxion. The rope was a used 9.9 and it was anchored off at the middle. I had the Mini Traxion on a Petzl OK oval carabiner. As a backup to the belay loop that the oval was connected to, I had a quick draw connected from a leg loop to the oval biner (big mistake). I was on my 3rd lap and had already sat down on the mini traxion about 6 times that lap, so it was on the rope correctly. I went to sit again – looked down at my Mini Traxion - all looked good - I saw that it was pointing downward so I figured I had not even a foot of distance before I would stop. But I fell 18 feet and stopped 2 feet above the ground – just above the coils I had tied in the rope as a counter weight. (When I came to a stop, the Mini Traxion was not touching the coils, but about a foot above). The back of my leg was really rope burned. I looked at the Mini Traxion and it was NOW engaged. Working. Teeth tight on the rope…I got super lucky. That back-up draw I used thinking I was being extra safe (to back up the belay loop) interfered with the opening mechanism – even if for a split second. There is a big groove on the right side of the Mini Traxion and a little pin – and I interfered with this. I also should have taken the time to time to tie a back up knot a little ways off the ground. And next time I will use 2 Mini Traxions. And I now backup my belay loop with a piece of webbing – looks like a 2nd belay loop - that acts just as a backup to the real belay loop.


supertopo.com/climbers-forum/1...

MINI TRAXION: The jamming function can remain deactivated without the climber's knowledge and visual verification isn't always easy. There is the possibility that the device will not jam due to an external object interfering with the cam (sling, shoelace, twig, etc.).

....

Warning!

Petzl has studied the current usage of the MINI TRAXION as a self-belay device on a fixed rope. Serious accidents and many handling errors have been reported.
The risk of using the device with the cam held open is significant, as well as the possibility of accidental opening of the cam when climbing.
Consequently, the MINI TRAXION must be paired with a different ascender: ASCENSION, BASIC, MICROCENDER...
Petzl does not recommend using a system consisting of only two MINI TRAXION for self-belayed solo climbing with a fixed rope.


petzl.com/en/outdoor/product-e...

3. with any soloing device, failure is always a real possiblity ... personally i use 2 ascenders on 2 independent lines ... that way i have full confidence i can fall all day and not die ... this also makes rapping/ascending mid pitch much easier if it comes to that

self belay devices fail, your system should plan for that ... heres a real life example ...

On April 14 I was climbing Hominey (5.8) on the Vittles Wall, a 25-foot crag near Hammond Pond. I’ve been climbing for five years, and although I have easily completed routes rated more difficult than this, I have struggled and fallen repeatedly on the crux bulge at the top of Hominey. Although I was without a partner, I had a few free hours that morning and was in the area, so I decided to take another shot at Hominey on self-belay. I was using a Petzl Basic on a fixed line. The Petzl Basic documentation warns that the cam that locks on the rope can be jammed by foreign material and fail to close. Petzl recommends tying backup knots on a redundant line. Having repeatedly fallen on my Basic over the previous year without mishap, I neglected to tie backup knots. On other occasions I had felt that spending time and energy tying these knots weakened me just as I needed strength for hard moves. This time I easily reached the crux but, as usual, struggled to get over it. Twice, I decided to downclimb to a rest just below the bulge. Both times I had to open the cam on the Basic to allow the rope to pass through the device. On the third attempt, I popped off my holds and heard the rope whip through the device without any resistance. I had enough time during the fall to realize that, although it was unlikely that I would die, this would be a serious accident.

I landed on my left foot. The impact felt incredibly violent, and I could tell immediately that I had broken my left tibial plateau badly. I stood on my right leg to disconnect myself from the rope, and lay down to call 911. I had taken a wilderness first-aid course two years ago, and realized that blood circulation was important for the survival of my leg, so I straightened it into a position of function. The Vittles Wall is a bit off the beaten path, so I was on the phone for 45 minutes while the Newton firefighters looked for me. Eventually the 911 dispatcher suggested I yell to help them locate me. Another climber heard me yell and led the firefighters in my direction. The Newton firefighters did an incredible job carrying me out on a board. I spent the next 52 days in Beth Israel Hospital in Boston. I’ve had 13 surgeries, two metal plates, too many screws to count, and a post-op infection for nearly a year. I might need knee replacement surgery.

Analysis

I’m not sure why the cam did not close. It’s possible that the tip of my belt managed to get into it and hold it open. It’s also possible that after the second downclimb I left it locked in the open position, which is possible with the Basic.

(Source: Streph Treadway, 44.) (Editor’s note: She mentioned not tying backup knots, but did not indicate whether they would have prevented grounding out. They may well have. Also of note is a recurring theme: the value of having taken a wilderness first-aid course. )


publications.americanalpineclu...

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By Jeff J
From Bozeman
Dec 2, 2013
JCM wrote:
Soloing setup questions with the micro: Do you use a chest harness/bungie to hold the device higher, or do you just let the device drag behind at the bottom of the belay loop (and bump it up when you need to)? Do you use the micro by itself; how confident are you in this?


I just let the device hang from a HMS style locking biner on my belay loop. What I do for a back up. As noted above I only use it ice climbing...
I set my TR and rap off. Than I bundle the rope off the ground to give the necessary weight so the micro slides well. Every few feet I put in an ice screw. So if I do end up falling and if the device does not grab I will still get caught by the rope like a lead fall. Like I said earlier I never climb anything that I think I would fall on either.

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By mrnutty
Dec 2, 2013
I think the mini feeds marginally better, but the micro is smaller and its cam is less likely to open.

Always use a backup and a chest harness. Its incredible how much slack can build up just making a couple of moves without one, and taking a 10 foot fall when you're expecting a 6 inch fall is unpleasant.

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By Jackxc925
Dec 2, 2013
I just picked up a camp lift rope progress capture pulley. It's in between sizes of the petzl, and does not have those rope grabbing cams that I'm worried I'll trash a rope with.

it feeds easily and I'm psyched to use it.

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By ERolls
From Custer, SD
Dec 2, 2013
Devils Tower Summit
Jeff J wrote:
I never climb anything that I think I would fall on either.

This is very good advice.

No matter what device/system you use, lead or TR, you need to have a backup knot. You may still get hurt but at least you won't deck.
Personally, I tie in short with the rope to my belay loop.

No one ever said rope soloing was safe or easy. So if you need to hang mid-pitch to deal with fall potential or rope management...just do it.
Now for those of you think you're not climbing in good form by hanging on the rope or clipping in to a bolt or pro to tie a knot, get over it. If you really need that flash or onsight then wait for your partner to have a day off.

-E

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By Ryan Nevius
From The Range of Light
Dec 2, 2013
Mt. Agassiz
Micro on one line (with a double-length sling used as a "chest harness" to keep it oriented upright), GriGri on another. Advantage is that I can fall all day on the Micro, and only have to worry about feeding the GriGri every 15 feet or so (at good rests). When I get to the top, or if I can't finish, I simply pull up on the GriGri, undo the Micro, and rap. Fast change over, redundant, no hassle.

I rarely TR solo something I know with certainty I won't fall on. The whole point for me is to work routes that are hard.

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By doak
From boulder, co
Dec 2, 2013
Drinking with Moses
I like the method that this guy on youtube uses for tying into his Traxion using a bit of cord. No worry about cross loading a biner, and the device stays oriented and close to the body.



However, it doesn't address the issue of the micro-traxion locking open. This can, and does, happen. One of my partners witnessed this happen to him, and now backs up his micro with something else.

Filing down the lock is one approach. Other than lowering a bag when it's rigged for hauling, I can't think of too many times holding it open would be too much of a pain and you'd want to lock it open.

I'd feel comfortable with 2 micros, each filed off. Or a micro + grigri, I suppose. Or a micro with backup knots. Or a micro + jumar.

I'll add that micros are awesome for simul-climbing, slap it onto the anchor and keep climbing.

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By bearbreeder
Dec 2, 2013
Jeff J wrote:
I just let the device hang from a HMS style locking biner on my belay loop. What I do for a back up. As noted above I only use it ice climbing... I set my TR and rap off. Than I bundle the rope off the ground to give the necessary weight so the micro slides well. Every few feet I put in an ice screw. So if I do end up falling and if the device does not grab I will still get caught by the rope like a lead fall. Like I said earlier I never climb anything that I think I would fall on either.



do you mean you put in an ice screw below the ascender? and tie the rope to it or leave it dangling?

if you do, if the ascender fails you are hitting that screw without any rope being stretched ... a fall against a very static object ...

also for you folks that use a grigri ... i would recommend tying a knot/knots on that line even if its only a backup ....

its known that a gri gri may not arrest a "slow" fall ... it can also slip on some ropes, even a new slick 10.2mm tendon ambition can slip in a gri gri ... not to mention the cam can be blocked rather easily or the lever get caught when its left danglling

thebmc.co.uk/gri-gri-unmasking...

someone mentioned the camp lift ascender ... be aware that there was an accident where it was threaded incorrectly ...

FALL ON ROCK - ASCENDER THREADED INCORRECTLY, DEHYDRATION

New Hampshire, Cathedral Ledge, The Prow

On August 8, a climber (40s) from Center Conway survived a 100-foot fall at Cathedral Ledge.

The Prow ascends the nose directly below the fenced-in viewing area at the top of the cliff. It’s renowned both as a free climb and as a popular aid climb.

The two climbers were there to do the route as an aid climb; both were familiar with that type of climbing. They got several rope-lengths up over the course of the day and were several hundred feet off the ground.

The victim’s partner took between 45 minutes and an hour and a half to climb to the next stance where he anchored the rope. The victim was supposed to ascend the rope, cleaning any gear as he went, but according to Rick Wilcox, head of Mountain Rescue Service (MRS), “He apparently suffered dehydration.” He was having trouble setting up his gear and he fumbled and dropped a crucial ascending device. Without it, he had to rely on a backup device with which he was unfamiliar. “The backup device didn’t work, which he was counting on,” his partner said. The victim was hanging in space when he disconnected himself from the anchor.

“That was the last thing tethering him to the line. He had a 50-foot loop under him, so he fell 100 feet,” Wilcox said.

The rope caught him before he sailed to the ground below. Their rope, it turned out, had taken a beating in the fall. The sheath was singed for 30 or 40 feet. More than half of it was either burned or shredded.

Local climber, guide, and MRS member, Jim Surette rappelled down to the victim, who was once again anchored high on the cliff, but whose condition was quickly getting worse. He wasn’t losing consciousness, Surette said, but he was unable to pick himself up. “He didn’t want a rescue, but he didn’t want to get up.” Surette lowered him to the ground and put in a call for a rescue litter and a backboard, which Wilcox and other team members brought up to the base of the cliff. “We then lowered him straight through the woods 200 feet,” Wilcox said. When ambulance personnel arrived, they put in an IV, and the rescue team continued the carryout. (Source: Edited from an article in the Conway Daily Sun by Erik Eisele)

Analysis

The device is a CAMP lift ascender. Very interesting... I was truly surprised in looking at it with my partner. We both agree that it is entirely possible and quite easy to thread incorrectly resulting in zero friction. The CAMP device can be oriented correctly in your hand and on the rope and even look correct, but still not be. Not at all (what) I expected. The Grigri and Mini-Traxion are far more visually user friendly (and are) not impossible, but far less likely, to be improperly installed. With all that said, I suppose it is always possible I installed it correctly, but on my tie-in side of the rope. A difficult proposition to admit. I only say this because the wear on the devise negligible. (Source: The victim, who wishes to remain anonymous)


publications.americanalpineclu...

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By Ryan Nevius
From The Range of Light
Dec 2, 2013
Mt. Agassiz
bearbreeder wrote:
also for you folks that use a grigri ... i would recommend tying a knot/knots on that line even if its only a backup ....


To each his/her own. I have 100% confidence in my micro's ability to stop my fall. The GriGri is only there for the 0.001% chance that my main device fails. Tying backup knots below my backup device would be overkill.

Again, as with many things in TR soloing, there is no single correct way to do things, and we each have to make our own decisions regarding how safe is "safe enough." For some people, that may mean they're happy with a single device on a single, worn out rope. For others, that may mean two devices on two different strands, and backup knots below them. At some point, we have to draw our own personal lines.

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By Locker
From Yucca Valley, CA
Dec 2, 2013
...
I use both still and agree with this:

"I think the mini feeds marginally better."

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By Jeff J
From Bozeman
Dec 2, 2013
bearbreeder wrote:
do you mean you put in an ice screw below the ascender? and tie the rope to it or leave it dangling? if you do, if the ascender fails you are hitting that screw without any rope being stretched ... a fall against a very static object ...


Nope. So To clarify, fixed a top rope as a single line. . .
at the base of the climb, I bundle up the rope so it is just hanging off the ground to keep the rope taught so the microtraxion rides nice and smooth. A couple of feet above the rope bundle insert an ice screw in to the ice and clip it with a quick draw with a screamer. Start climbing, when I get up 3-4 feet above the last ice screw put another in the ice and clip it with a draw, ect ect. Than I can just un-clip the draws on the way back down and clip again as I run laps.
So the purpose is if I fall and IF the micro does not catch; I fall a bit, the rope bundle will jam up against the first draw and I jam up on the highest quick draw that is clipped to the rope.
I tested this method out once WITHOUT the crampons and icetools and it really is a soft catch considering there is no belayer to act as a soft catch.

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By EugeneK
From Cambridge, MA
Dec 7, 2013
Tried the micro-traxion today and it worked really well. Used a tiblocl as backup and also clipped pre-tied knots on the other strand.

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By Peter nichols
Mar 26, 2014
sooooo goooood
heyo,

hoping this post will pop up on some knowledgeable folks radar.

i'm about to invest in some hardware for a top rope soloing set up. i want to climb on a single line and i want to take falls. i'm thinking of one of the following options....

1. 2 micro traxions

2. 1 microcender and 1 micro traxion

3. 2 microcenders

thoughts?

here's a link to petzl's microcender page.
petzl.com/us/pro/verticality/r...

thanks,
peter

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By Locker
From Yucca Valley, CA
Mar 26, 2014
...
Pretty much ALL the info you need has already been posted here.

Pick something and go have FUN!

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By mpech
Mar 26, 2014
As someone who owns both a micro and a mini, who has top-roped soloed on both setups and hauled pigs on both setups:

1) I prefer the minitraxion for top-rope soloing, mostly because it works much better than the micro on large-diameter ropes. I only use one minitrax, but I have modified it so that it can't lock open (this involves just filing away a bit of metal).


2) I prefer the microtraxion for hauling. It feels much more efficient.

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