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Rock exotica soloist tips


Original Post
Kevin Mcbride · · Nelson · Joined Jan 2017 · Points: 160

I recently acquired a rock exotica soloist, I've figured out the system and how to use it safely, but does anyone have any secret tips and tricks they figured out for optimal performance with this device. Thanks!

Healyje · · PDX · Joined Jan 2006 · Points: 290

Yeah, don't do routes with cruxs that are close to the ground - the soloist can fail to lock up on upside down falls, but also falls where you end up horizontal to the ground. Friend took a beating the latter way once, but it as a 12a with a crux right off the ground.

Michael McNutt · · Boise, Idaho · Joined Jun 2015 · Points: 5

Have you led with it yet? One major thing that will make the climb miserable is if you twist your anchor line and free end. Avoid by not crossing the ropes when clipping. Backup on lead with clove hitches to non lockers. When the hitch gets to you, simply unclip the biner and keep going.

On long routes, the device will self feed. Fix this issue by tying the anchor line to your pro to keep the weight of the rope from pulling the line through your device.

Find some way to ensure that the device stays in a certain position on the biner attaching it to your chest harness. Also, make sure that the cord you are using to attach the bottom of the device to your belay loop is as short as possible. If it's too long, the device will try to catch in a horizontal position, which will obviously mean that it won't catch.

Anything else you want to know? I'm pretty well versed with this death contraption.

Kevin Mcbride · · Nelson · Joined Jan 2017 · Points: 160
Michael McNutt wrote:Have you led with it yet? One major thing that will make the climb miserable is if you twist your anchor line and free end. Avoid by not crossing the ropes when clipping. Backup on lead with clove hitches to non lockers. When the hitch gets to you, simply unclip the biner and keep going. On long routes, the device will self feed. Fix this issue by tying the anchor line to your pro to keep the weight of the rope from pulling the line through your device. Find some way to ensure that the device stays in a certain position on the biner attaching it to your chest harness. Also, make sure that the cord you are using to attach the bottom of the device to your belay loop is as short as possible. If it's too long, the device will try to catch in a horizontal position, which will obviously mean that it won't catch. Anything else you want to know? I'm pretty well versed with this death contraption.
Thanks for the advice. Only leading I've done on it have been on my home wall, trying to get the system as safe and efficient as possible before going out to the crag. I never thought of using clove hitches for backups, definitely sounds a lot easier than trying to untie the knots.
Richard Dingman · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2016 · Points: 0

I've used the Soloist for some years off and on for solo leading and always use a chest harness.  I am very aware of the dangers of allowing the device to move out of vertical and have tested it by just leaning back.  Never taken any significant fall and am very conservative about doing so, since I am alone and if anything should go wrong maybe I can't self-rescue.  I always tie back-up knots.  Lately, while lying awake one night I wondered if the chest harness attachment actually made it more likely that the device would move out of vertical if/when I moved out of vertical in a fall.  However, not clipping into a chest harness would allow the device to flop around awkwardly between my legs when not engaged.  So now I'm not sure what is best.  For the time being I am continuing with the chest harness clip-in.  Any better advice?

Gunkiemike · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2009 · Points: 2,745
Richard Dingman wrote:

I've used the Soloist for some years off and on for solo leading and always use a chest harness.  I am very aware of the dangers of allowing the device to move out of vertical and have tested it by just leaning back.  Never taken any significant fall and am very conservative about doing so, since I am alone and if anything should go wrong maybe I can't self-rescue.  I always tie back-up knots.  Lately, while lying awake one night I wondered if the chest harness attachment actually made it more likely that the device would move out of vertical if/when I moved out of vertical in a fall.  However, not clipping into a chest harness would allow the device to flop around awkwardly between my legs when not engaged.  So now I'm not sure what is best.  For the time being I am continuing with the chest harness clip-in.  Any better advice?

Maybe use a stretchy or break-away material for the chest harness?

As for preventing self feeding - if you tie the rope to intermediate gear, that becomes your anchor; it had better be bombproof for an upwards pull. What I do is rather than tying the rope, I put small slip knots in the rope that sit on top of the rope end biners of the draws. These biners are small (BD Neutrino or equivalent) so the knot doesn't fall through. Under load these slip knots should pull out, allowing the whole length of the rope to be involved in the catch (lower impact force but farther fall). I have heard that others put little prusiks on the rope to suspend the rope's weight on gear to prevent feeding. Use 2mm cord or maybe even a fat rubber band for this.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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