Solo top rope


Original Post
Ken Carrara · · Holtsville, NY · Joined Mar 2015 · Points: 235

I'm looking for the best gear to solo top rope. I want a main device that is safe, doesn't damage the rope, and can stop frequent TR falls

I've looked at petzls pro and sport options- traction, asap, rescucender. The Kong duck and 802 seem better. The kong duck actually lists self belay as a use and the 802 says it can stop a fall factor 2.

Does anyone have experience with any of these products ?

Thank you

CThornton · · Boise · Joined Sep 2015 · Points: 68

The wild country Ropeman 1 is also very similar to the Kong Duck, but can be found for a little cheaper. Either one of those would be better for TR soloing than a Petzl Microtraxion because they are less aggressively toothed and in theory should do less damage to your rope. You'll want to use (or improvise) a chest harness to hold up your primary (top) device to prevent slack from building up. I currently use 2 microtraxions for TR solo, but I intend to get a toothless device for the top to help minimize rope damage.

Jay Eggleston · · Denver · Joined Feb 2003 · Points: 17,632

There is no rope damage if microtraxions are used correctly!

Gunkiemike · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2009 · Points: 2,740

PM me if you want a nearly-new Petzl Basic - the older model that was actually recommended by Petzl for solo TR belay. $45 shipped.

CThornton · · Boise · Joined Sep 2015 · Points: 68
Jay Eggleston wrote:There is no rope damage if microtraxions are used correctly!
Yes that is true, but I still think it's good practice to use a toothless device for TR solo. I see no reason to use a microtraxion when there's cheaper and better solutions.
Jon Rhoderick · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2009 · Points: 845

FWIW I use a minitraxion on bottom and trango vergo on top, which allows me to easily lower and rework sections.

NickO · · Utah · Joined Apr 2011 · Points: 35

Does the vergo feed better than a grigri?

Andy Rasmussen · · MA · Joined Jan 2016 · Points: 45

i use microtrax on belay loop and new rescucender below it with a dogbone extension on quicklink through tie in points. Works very well.

Trevor. · · Boise, ID · Joined Apr 2012 · Points: 834

Toothless device on top, microtraxion on bottom. No rope damage, totally bomber, and a microtrax is well worth owning for reasons other than TR soloing.

Gunkiemike · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2009 · Points: 2,740
Andy Rasmussen wrote:i use microtrax on belay loop and new rescucender below it with a dogbone extension on quicklink through tie in points. Works very well.
When using two devices "stacked" on the same strand of rope, it's critically important that they really operate independently. If the upper device fails and slides down the rope, will it block the needed rope grab action of the lower device?

The rescucender is a "cam loaded device" and is meant to grab the rope when a downward load is applied TO THE CAM rather than the body. You may want to check your setup; my guess is a failed minitrax will push the body of the rescucender down the rope with no grabbing action i.e. you die. I hope I'm wrong.
timinthehouse · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2016 · Points: 0
Gunkiemike wrote: When using two devices "stacked" on the same strand of rope, it's critically important that they really operate independently. If the upper device fails and slides down the rope, will it block the needed rope grab action of the lower device? The rescucender is a "cam loaded device" and is meant to grab the rope when a downward load is applied TO THE CAM rather than the body. You may want to check your setup; my guess is a failed minitrax will push the body of the rescucender down the rope with no grabbing action i.e. you die. I hope I'm wrong.
That's a really interesting point I haven't heard before, would you say the same concept applies to a to a fixed line that has two independent strand of rope with a device on each strand? I know you said the devices should operate independently but what are your thoughts on this happening with the two strands setup?
JCM · · Seattle, WA · Joined Jun 2008 · Points: 95
Gunkiemike wrote: When using two devices "stacked" on the same strand of rope, it's critically important that they really operate independently. If the upper device fails and slides down the rope, will it block the needed rope grab action of the lower device? The rescucender is a "cam loaded device" and is meant to grab the rope when a downward load is applied TO THE CAM rather than the body. You may want to check your setup; my guess is a failed minitrax will push the body of the rescucender down the rope with no grabbing action i.e. you die. I hope I'm wrong.
+1.

When using one strand, rescuecender on top, minitrax below is good. Minitrax on top, rescuecender below is no good, for reasons mentioned above.

Either setup is fine with 2 strands, but i find 2 strands to be a nuisance and not really neccesary. 1 strand with the devices stacked in the right order is the way to go.
Andy Rasmussen · · MA · Joined Jan 2016 · Points: 45

Thanks for the advice, gunkiemike. ill go back to using 2 strands.

Jon Rhoderick · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2009 · Points: 845
NickO wrote:Does the vergo feed better than a grigri?
Yes
Neil Kauffman · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2003 · Points: 178

Gotta use a neck bungee cord to keep the device running along with you, there is no lag and the device is right there, you can just sit back and weight it, rather than taking a little fall onto it. Just a small diameter piece of bungee cord will do, tie an overhand knot at the ends to create a circular piece of cord, girth hitch it through the device and loop it over your neck, charming!

DMarti Marti · · custer,sd · Joined Jun 2012 · Points: 0

I use a petzl microcender and a mini traction below it as a back up. The petzl has a cam lobe looking break so not teeth. I've yet to notice any damage to my rope. I use a webbing chest harness and also attach tge devices thete. This keepd my devices in place, prevents slack and makes a smooth trip to the top.

Ken Carrara · · Holtsville, NY · Joined Mar 2015 · Points: 235
Gunkiemike wrote: When using two devices "stacked" on the same strand of rope, it's critically important that they really operate independently. If the upper device fails and slides down the rope, will it block the needed rope grab action of the lower device? The rescucender is a "cam loaded device" and is meant to grab the rope when a downward load is applied TO THE CAM rather than the body. You may want to check your setup; my guess is a failed minitrax will push the body of the rescucender down the rope with no grabbing action i.e. you die. I hope I'm wrong.
thanks for the info, I had not thought about this. Does the mirco or mini traxion move freely in both direction until engaged? It might not be a bad back up since it will rarely / never be used.
Ken Carrara · · Holtsville, NY · Joined Mar 2015 · Points: 235
Jon Rhoderick wrote:FWIW I use a minitraxion on bottom and trango vergo on top, which allows me to easily lower and rework sections.
is the vertigo recommended for that use? I see people using the grigri but i know its not rated those types of falls. I wish there was a one device to rule them all. lol
Ken Carrara · · Holtsville, NY · Joined Mar 2015 · Points: 235
Jon Rhoderick wrote:FWIW I use a minitraxion on bottom and trango vergo on top, which allows me to easily lower and rework sections.
the vertigo seems like it feeds easier than a grigri.

as far as using auto block belay devices for TR solo. Whats the draw back? The fall forces cant be any worse then sport falls? It is most likely the lever getting snagged but if it's backed up, shouldn't that be fine?
BigFeet · · Texas · Joined May 2014 · Points: 380

Other notable points to mention:

1. Non-toothed devices are not recommended to be used in icy conditions.

2. Be aware of the complete operation of whatever device you are using, as some do have an on/off function that can become compromised, if not forgotten about during stressful situations.

3. Some devices are easy to extract from the rope where others, not so much. Depending on your application and style/type of climbing you are doing (laps, top-out & walk off, etc.), or possible emergency, this function can become an inconvenience at the least.

4. Weight the rope slightly for more efficient device movement up the rope.

5. Remember, you are "solo" which means, you are alone. Double/triple check yourself! It can be all fun and games until it is not. Speaking from experience; a sprained ankle can cause a tedious trek back to camp when you are by yourself and trying to lug gear. Imagine now that you have two blown ankles.

6. Inform someone, and/or leave behind information pertaining to where you are planning on climbing and when you plan on returning.

By the way, I have personally seen what a Mini Traxion can do to a rope on an awkward fall - it can be a day ruining experience.

I recommend two independent lines to climb with a device on each over the single line method. I have done and still do use both methods, but having redundancy is optimal.

Tim Meehan · · Boulder, CO · Joined Apr 2016 · Points: 260

"Does the mirco or mini traxion move freely in both direction until engaged?"

Not while climbing. You can flip a lever and it will go free for descent.

"FWIW I use a minitraxion on bottom and trango vergo on top, which allows me to easily lower and rework sections."

Cool idea. Guess I'll have to borrow a Vergo and try it out.

"I wish there was a one device to rule them all."

Yup. Maybe the WC Revo will be a step forward -- a modern Silent Partner that is lighter and cheaper and on the shelf. We'll see.

"The vertigo seems like it feeds easier than a grigri."

I'll have to check that out. Some say an Edelrid Eddy feeds well, too.

"As far as using auto block belay devices for TR solo. Whats the draw back?"

One issue is whether or not they run freely during ascent. Progress capture devices work great for this. Another is, for them to catch reliably, you are supposed to have your brake hand on the rope. Lots of folks trust them to catch regardless. That's your call.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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