Solo Belay/Progress Capture Device Recommendations


Original Post
COMtnWoman · · South Platte, CO · Joined Apr 2015 · Points: 0

Okay guys- I'm going to start solo toproping if and when I'm not able to find a climbing partner. So please let the discussion begin about the best and safest device on the market for this right now. Thanks for the input!

Rick Blair · · Denver · Joined Oct 2007 · Points: 268

2 x microscender, Kong duck, mini traction. Top one is held up with elastic cord. Search the forums here.

FrankPS · · Atascadero, CA · Joined Nov 2009 · Points: 275
Rick Blair wrote: Search the forums here.
This. There is a myriad of threads on this subject.
COMtnWoman · · South Platte, CO · Joined Apr 2015 · Points: 0

Thank you for the input!
I like to always assume the best of people so I'm going to assume I was not specific enough in my post. I'm looking for input from anyone who currently solo TRs about what devices they use- like them, love them or devices they tried and hated.
I've searched the previous post and a lot of them mention the Petzl Microscender. But I've been on the Petzl website and it doesn't look like they make or sell this device anymore. Best I can tell, the Petzl Traxion took its place but there is only one recent post that mentions this device.
And as a reminder: if you don't have anything to contribute to my post you're not REQUIRED to respond. Thanks all!

Jay Eggleston · · Denver · Joined Feb 2003 · Points: 17,642

Petzl micro traxions. They don't sell mini traxions anymore.

COMtnWoman · · South Platte, CO · Joined Apr 2015 · Points: 0

Thanks Jay! Have you used them/like them?

Ben Horowitz · · Berkeley · Joined Aug 2014 · Points: 123

I'm in the two ascenders camp; with one (microtraxion) held upright with a sling or something around the chest. I use an ascension as a backup device.

Some other threads/resources:
https://www.mountainproject.com/v/set-ups-for-top-rope-soloing/107660740

http://stephdavis.co/blog/rope-solo-system/

Jay Eggleston · · Denver · Joined Feb 2003 · Points: 17,642

Yes, I use two micro traxions.

COMtnWoman · · South Platte, CO · Joined Apr 2015 · Points: 0

Great! Thanks for the feedback, I'll be using two as well. With an additional backup line of loops on a second rope.

eli poss · · Durango, Co · Joined May 2014 · Points: 456
Rick Blair wrote:2 x microscender, Kong duck, mini traction. Top one is held up with elastic cord. Search the forums here.
not the duck. While i love it as lightweight ascender, it doesn't feed nearly as well as my mini trax.
COMtnWoman · · South Platte, CO · Joined Apr 2015 · Points: 0

Great to know, thanks Eli!

Firestone · · California · Joined Nov 2015 · Points: 509

I use a grigri and a kong duck on two lines. I have found that the grigri feeds fine when the line is weighted just right.

My duck is held with an oval locking biner directly on the belay loop and a tight line so it feeds right off the ground.

My grigri is below the duck on the belay loop and the line has enough slack that it only feeds after a few moves. The slack also makes it possible to lower back down on the grigri without changing over devices. I just remove the duck and lower on the grigri.

I like this system more than two ascenders because I don't like changing over to an ATC style device at the top of every pitch. Also climbing with an ascender as a backup to an ascender makes me nervous. The grigri is definitely a far safer backup device.

Many people say the grigri won't self feed and you need to pull slack but that isn't totally true. When I leave my backpack at the base with the tail end of the ropes and my lunch inside, the grigri points down towards the bag and self feeds just fine.

Firestone · · California · Joined Nov 2015 · Points: 509
eli poss wrote: not the duck. While i love it as lightweight ascender, it doesn't feed nearly as well as my mini trax.
Also the duck doesn't have a moving pulley. It has a generous rope bearing edge but as far as smooth feed the minitrax is definitely better.

Be aware the minitraxion can be locked in the open position and people have had close calls solo climbing thinking they were "on belay" only to find their device disengaged.
Firestone · · California · Joined Nov 2015 · Points: 509
COMtnWoman wrote:Great! Thanks for the feedback, I'll be using two as well. With an additional backup line of loops on a second rope.
Sounds safe on paper but definitely overkill. One device is enough to hold you. Then another device for backup. Throw in two lines in case one gets cut and you're good to go.

The most you need is two solutions. It can be knots and a device. It can be two devices. It can be two lines of knots. But two devices AND knots? You will quickly realize how much better two devices is, knots should be in case you forgot your device at home.
Rick Blair · · Denver · Joined Oct 2007 · Points: 268

Check out the rescuscender, same as microscender just different size. These devices have no teeth and allow for slippage under load. I don't think anything will feed better.

JCM · · Seattle, WA · Joined Jun 2008 · Points: 95
Firestone wrote: Throw in two lines in case one gets cut and you're good to go.
I've never used a second line. How neccesary is this, really? 99% of the time when climbing I only use one rope, why should TR soloing be any different? I understand concern with using a toothed device, like a microtraxion, but has there ever actually been a TR solo accident due to a rope being cut by the toothed device?
James T · · Livermore · Joined Jul 2015 · Points: 80

Because it involves fixed lines, meaning wear concentrated on one spot when over sharp edges. Leading and regular TR move the rope along. Properly padded or extended, a single fixed line is fine.

(I use static for what it's worth)

20 kN · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2009 · Points: 1,352
JCM wrote: I've never used a second line. How neccesary is this, really? 99% of the time when climbing I only use one rope, why should TR soloing be any different? I understand concern with using a toothed device, like a microtraxion, but has there ever actually been a TR solo accident due to a rope being cut by the toothed device?
There have been incidents of fixed lines getting cut. I nearly had it happen to me twice, I know a local climber who fell 60' after his line got chopped, climbers have died in Yosemite from chopped ropes. Climbing fixed lines is dangerous, even more so than leading in many cases. If the line is moving in a loop, the risk is much lower.
Ryanb. · · Chatt or WA · Joined Mar 2014 · Points: 5

I like using a Cinch for the ability to lower instantly at the top of a pitch...nice for running laps

Gunkiemike · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2009 · Points: 2,740
Jay Eggleston wrote:Petzl micro traxions. They don't sell mini traxions anymore.
Petzl also re-designed their Basic ascender a couple years ago. While the former Basic was recommended as a solo TR belay device by Petzl, the current one isn't. I've used the Basic as my sole device (safety is clipping into Fig. 8 loops on a second line every 10-15 feet) for 10+ years, and appreciate its advantages over the mini-Trax and related devices. OP - PM me if might want to buy one of the older Basics; I don't think I'll ever need to get my "spare" out of storage, and it's in new condition.
JCM · · Seattle, WA · Joined Jun 2008 · Points: 95
20 kN wrote: There have been incidents of fixed lines getting cut. I nearly had it happen to me twice, I know a local climber who fell 60' after his line got chopped, climbers have died in Yosemite from chopped ropes. Climbing fixed lines is dangerous, even more so than leading in many cases. If the line is moving in a loop, the risk is much lower.
Were the incidents you mentioned from jugging or TR soloing? Very different laoding scenarios.
Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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