Top rope soloing rope?


OAW King · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2009 · Points: 35
eli poss wrote:

Go ahead and try that on a 300 ft climb with a dynamic rope. You'll probably end up falling further and being more likely to damage your rope because you're falling 10 or 15 feet. Normally dynamic is the way to go but if you're TR soloing 3 or 4 pitches at once, things change.

True you will have more elongation towards the beginning with that long of rope. Maybe you can fix the rope to each pitch to mitigate that elongation?

Dirt Squirrel · · Golden , co · Joined Mar 2015 · Points: 50

The simple math of static elongation says that for a 240 ft rope x 11% the static elongation is almost 30 ft. Obviously 50 ft is hyperbole. But even dropping 5 ft from the rock can put you Too far from the rock to get back on with some routes. Just use a static rope. It's way easier. 

OAW King · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2009 · Points: 35
Dirt Squirrel wrote:

The simple math of static elongation says that for a 240 ft rope x 11% the static elongation is almost 30 ft. Obviously 50 ft is hyperbole. But even dropping 5 ft from the rock can put you Too far from the rock to get back on with some routes. Just use a static rope. It's way easier. 

You can easily remedy that with clipping you're rope into bolts or gear on the rap down. Using a static is not a good recommendation and not recommended by the manufacturers.

Nathan Hui · · San Diego, CA · Joined Feb 2016 · Points: 0

Agreed, for such a long route, you need to do rebelays, i.e. reanchoring the rope every so often.  This is commonly done in caving and similar fields, where long rappels/pitches are common.  At the bottom of even 100 ft rappels, there can be enough rope stretch that just weighting the rope at the bottom is a PITA because the rope stretches.  This also helps isolate sections of the climbing system, so that if something fails, it doesn't affect the entire route.

Dynamic rope means that the rope is what is gently absorbing the energy of the fall.  Static rope means that the rope is NOT absorbing as much energy.  As a result, if you go directly into the rope with a progress capture, the energy from the fall is going to go pretty much into your body.  In rope access systems, the fall arrest system generally has some type of energy absorber in it, such as a Petzl Absorbica.  And I'm not talking something as puny as a screamer, I'm talking something that will extend several feet in a fall.  This is what you need if you're going to take falls on static rope.  Or don't take falls (i.e. keep the rope constantly weighted so that the fall factor is always zero or near zero).

Dirt Squirrel · · Golden , co · Joined Mar 2015 · Points: 50
OAW King wrote:

You can easily remedy that with clipping you're rope into bolts or gear on the rap down. Using a static is not a good recommendation and not recommended by the manufacturers.

Dirt Squirrel · · Golden , co · Joined Mar 2015 · Points: 50

No manufacturer recommends you top rope solo, but if you do... it's been suggested by climbing magazine and the professionals that a static rope is used, with a chest harness for the top device. You'll never shockload a rope if you have it set up properly with a chest harness. If you think the dynamic rope is better because it gives a Softer catch for a top rope solo fall, I'd argue you don't know what you're doing yet.

OAW King · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2009 · Points: 35
Dirt Squirrel wrote:

No manufacturer recommends you top rope solo, but if you do... it's been suggested by climbing magazine and the professionals that a static rope is used, with a chest harness for the top device. You'll never shockload a rope if you have it set up properly with a chest harness. If you think the dynamic rope is better because it gives a Softer catch for a top rope solo fall, I'd argue you don't know what you're doing yet.

Well climbing magazine is not a manufacturer and Petzl does advocate top rope soloing, so technically you are wrong, because if you understood rope properties between the static rope and dynamic rope then you would understand how physics relates to each thus knowing the resultant force between a fall onto a static rope vs. dynamic rope always results in a higher peak force in the static rope vs. a dynamic rope when dropping from the same height. Either way you set up your rope system wether if its unnecessarily wearing a chest harness with a micro or mini traxion or not then its always going to be a just slightly over doubling of the static load. But you will always produce a higher peak force with a static rope vs. dynamic rope when dropping a load from equal heights. Thats just physics 101 for ya. 

Dirt Squirrel · · Golden , co · Joined Mar 2015 · Points: 50
OAW King wrote:

Well climbing magazine is not a manufacturer and Petzl does advocate top rope soloing, so technically you are wrong, because if you understood rope properties between the static rope and dynamic rope then you would understand how physics relates to each thus knowing the resultant force between a fall onto a static rope vs. dynamic rope always results in a higher peak force in the static rope vs. a dynamic rope when dropping from the same height. Either way you set up your rope system wether if its unnecessarily wearing a chest harness with a micro or mini traxion or not then its always going to be a just slightly over doubling of the static load. But you will always produce a higher peak force with a static rope vs. dynamic rope when dropping a load from equal heights. Thats just physics 101 for ya. 

The point that you missed is not that a dynamic rope offers more energy absorption, that's obviously true and thanks for again highlighting that fact, but that it isn't a significant safety consideration in this system. I've never taken a fall top rope soloing (and again this is my N=1) where I went "garsh, glad that static rope didn't rip my body in two on that fall" and that is because the system I use is essentially the petzl diagram. You keep the rope taught and weighted so the device slides, no slack is generated, and you keep the top device, which is attached to your tie in points via a sling, suspended upwards with a chest device (mine is a bungee cord with a small carabiner). What you have then is a situation where if you fall there is no slack in the system. 

As far as performance characteristics between the two ropes types is concerned, what I have been thankful for is a predictable fall, over and over again, which doesn't leave me dangling in space on an overhanging rock climb. Sure, I'll give you the "dynamic is better" but only for lead climbing is it an absolute necessity.

Also, somebody argued earlier that rebelays are an important consideration when using a dynamic rope for this type of activity. For one, Cavers use static ropes. Also, by setting up a rebelay in the caving world you are attempting to mitigate a cord's property to elongate whether it's static or dynamic (3% vs 10%) or mitigate the potential for rope damage by this technique. The imporant part here is that both ropes "stretch" and You should rebelay when rappelling over roofs and then climbing on the fixed rope (Rebelay below edge). Sawing the rope on an edge is no good for anybody.

Lastly,I see a lot of people on here argue "theory" which is great, but there's a huge disconnect between theory and real world and it's called "clinical relevance". If you are worried about the peak forces on your static rope on a fall with a rescuscender, I'd still argue that you revisit the bigger picture of "is my anchor garbage? Do I really think I'm going to rip the bolts out of a wall with just me using my properly set up system? Is there something more dangerous in my system I should be worried about (old harness, locking carabiners that can cross load)? is my body too frail to participate in anything more than shuffleboard?"

OAW King · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2009 · Points: 35
Dirt Squirrel wrote:

The point that you missed is not that a dynamic rope offers more energy absorption, that's obviously true and thanks for again highlighting that fact, but that it isn't a significant safety consideration in this system. I've never taken a fall top rope soloing (and again this is my N=1) where I went "garsh, glad that static rope didn't rip my body in two on that fall" and that is because the system I use is essentially the petzl diagram. You keep the rope taught and weighted so the device slides, no slack is generated, and you keep the top device, which is attached to your tie in points via a sling, suspended upwards with a chest device (mine is a bungee cord with a small carabiner). What you have then is a situation where if you fall there is no slack in the system. 

As far as performance characteristics between the two ropes types is concerned, what I have been thankful for is a predictable fall, over and over again, which doesn't leave me dangling in space on an overhanging rock climb. Sure, I'll give you the "dynamic is better" but only for lead climbing is it an absolute necessity.

Also, somebody argued earlier that rebelays are an important consideration when using a dynamic rope for this type of activity. For one, Cavers use static ropes. Also, by setting up a rebelay in the caving world you are attempting to mitigate a cord's property to elongate whether it's static or dynamic (3% vs 10%) or mitigate the potential for rope damage by this technique. The imporant part here is that both ropes "stretch" and You should rebelay when rappelling over roofs and then climbing on the fixed rope (Rebelay below edge). Sawing the rope on an edge is no good for anybody.

Lastly,I see a lot of people on here argue "theory" which is great, but there's a huge disconnect between theory and real world and it's called "clinical relevance". If you are worried about the peak forces on your static rope on a fall with a rescuscender, I'd still argue that you revisit the bigger picture of "is my anchor garbage? Do I really think I'm going to rip the bolts out of a wall with just me using my properly set up system? Is there something more dangerous in my system I should be worried about (old harness, locking carabiners that can cross load)? is my body too frail to participate in anything more than shuffleboar

I hope this helps... https://www.petzl.com/US/en/Professional/Ascending-the-rope-in-self-rescue--take-care-when-approaching-the-anchor?ProductName=MICRO-TRAXION#.WQA6DBTMwb0

https://www.petzl.com/US/en/Professional/Static-tests?ProductName=MICRO-TRAXION#.WQA61BTMwb0

Dirt Squirrel · · Golden , co · Joined Mar 2015 · Points: 50
OAW King wrote:

I hope this helps... https://www.petzl.com/US/en/Professional/Ascending-the-rope-in-self-rescue--take-care-when-approaching-the-anchor?ProductName=MICRO-TRAXION#.WQA6DBTMwb0

https://www.petzl.com/US/en/Professional/Static-tests?ProductName=MICRO-TRAXION#.WQA61BTMwb0

Again... if you are worried about shockloading your top rope solo rig, you have some learning to do. 

With a microtraxion, sheath damage happens around 4kn... don't factor 1 fall to create 4kn force. 

Tips:

Weight rope so your device runs smoothly and so can't pull up 3 ft of slack and fall six. Or 1.5 and fall 3. It's pretty easy to avoid the factor 1 fall in a system properly rigged.

Use devices of differing functions. My rescuescender is my primary device. Micro traction is back up. There's logic to this. 

Ascending with an ascender is also a little different than top rope soloing, FYI. 

Kevin Stricker · · Evergreen, CO · Joined Oct 2002 · Points: 575

Couple things to add.  One, just girth hitching a piece of shock cord through the micro and holding over you head is going to make a big difference in rope wear over time as you decrease your fall (and the associated shock) by close to a foot with every fall/take.  Also a second device can then be used hanging from your belay loop as a back-up.  I would always recommend a back up device when rope soloing on a static rope as you can't use knots in the rope as back-ups.  Second, I recommend using intermediate anchors to help with re-directing and preventing any damage from edges as well as rope management.  You don't want to rope solo a 200m pitch, but you can use a 200m rope to solo 3-4 pitches.  I usually would just clove the rope into pieces or anchors with 5-10 feet of slack depending on if the pitch is traversing. Third, 9mm static works fine for TR soloing but is a bit scary IMO.  I used a 200m line down from the top of the FreeRider to Round Table ledge and had some challenges feeling super psyched trying hard.  I had on other occasions Mini-trax'ed on 10 and 11mm static cords on the Salathe headwall and had a lot more confidence.  As for the weight, yes it's going to be heavier, but if you are working hard routes I would stick to a cord you can feel good about.  Anyways you will have a couple pulleys to help coil it at the end of the day.  I recommend bringing a rope bag and pulling it up in sections on your final run so you don't have to make an unexpected trip back down if the wind picks up and tangles up the rope.  

p.s. The top half of the Free Nose in the Black is an awesome TR solo.

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

For top rope soloing, I have been using a Bluewater Big Wall 10mm low elongation rope, https://www.bluewaterropes.com/product/10mm-big-wall/.  It stretches a bit more than a true static rope and it's got a tough sheath. I actively avoid slack build up and only ever take very short falls on it (1 +/- 1 ft) and I've never noticed any jolting.  There are a lot of other places for give in the system, with the harness and knots and anchor rigging.  It has worked well so far, no complaints.  By the way, the PCDs I use are a microsender on top (extended from belay loop with a 6 inch sling, improvised chest harness or neck loop keeps it up high) and a roll-n-lock on the bottom (no extension) and the rope runs very smooth through them when it is properly weighted.

OAW King · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2009 · Points: 35
Dirt Squirrel wrote:

Again... if you are worried about shockloading your top rope solo rig, you have some learning to do. 

With a microtraxion, sheath damage happens around 4kn... don't factor 1 fall to create 4kn force. 

Tips:

Weight rope so your device runs smoothly and so can't pull up 3 ft of slack and fall six. Or 1.5 and fall 3. It's pretty easy to avoid the factor 1 fall in a system properly rigged.

Use devices of differing functions. My rescuescender is my primary device. Micro traction is back up. There's logic to this. 

Ascending with an ascender is also a little different than top rope soloing, FYI. 

Im not worried about shock loading my device since i use it in the correct manner and am always aware of it in relation to the rope. The 4-5kN force rating though doesn't offer a lot of margin for error, so using a static line only brings you that much closer to that rope damaging margin. 

Dirt Squirrel · · Golden , co · Joined Mar 2015 · Points: 50
OAW King wrote:

Im not worried about shock loading my device since i use it in the correct manner and am always aware of it in relation to the rope. The 4-5kN force rating though doesn't offer a lot of margin for error, so using a static line only brings you that much closer to that rope damaging margin. 

Ok. Since it wasn't clear enough... 

The petzl microscender I use is meant to slip at 4 kn. That's why it's my top device. The rope shredding capabilities of a micro trax make it less than ideal as the top device... You said it yourself, and agree that shockloading is essentially a non issue on any rope, with a correct set up. So, following the idea that 1) shockloading is possible, yet unlikely if you have a properly set up system, and 2) that the main device slips and dissipates energy when >4 kn is applied (barring a caribiner breaking for which I use bd magnetron to prevent crossloading), the margin of error is pretty high regardless of rope used. How high? I dunno, but the margin of safety is high enough that it allows me to sleep at night. If you are still worried about generating 4kn when you essentially sit back into your harness, I'm sure Aleks Sebastian has a training plan for you to lose some man meat. 

Kirtis Courkamp · · Golden · Joined Mar 2011 · Points: 384

I just switched from TR solo on an old big dynamic rope, to a static rope.  Game changer,  never going to use a dynamic again.  I was hesitant at first but if your system is set up right meaning some type of chest harness/loop of elastic material around your neck its allot more enjoyable. "Caldwell drapes a headlamp strap around his neck and clips this to his device." Climbing magazine (http://www.climbing.com/skills/solo-toproping/).  I believe using a static rope is safer esp in bing multi-pitch situation. You will never generate the forces needed to damage/sheath your rope if your system is set up right.  

slim · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2004 · Points: 1,045

i agree with Kirtis, after switching to using a static rope the last few years i would hate going back to a dynamic.  too bouncy, etc.  i have several static ropes that i use.  for typical 1 pitch stuff i have a couple blue water 10mm ropes.  solid, tough, etc.  i also have a pair of 200m petzl static ropes.  one is a 10mm and the other is a 9mm.  i use the 9mm in cases where the approach is long and i am not as worried about cutting, etc.

Dirt Squirrel · · Golden , co · Joined Mar 2015 · Points: 50

Wow, so I'm not crazy. Go figure...

ABB · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2007 · Points: 0
OAW King wrote:Where problems occur is when the device is not doing its job and running up the rope with you thus creating a lot of slack, then if you fall you will cause a significant loading of the system. This is why you should be using dynamic rope in case this scenario plays out...I have climbed several hundreds of thousands of feet with the micro alone and have had no issues.

Problems occur due to inattentiveness. It's really no big deal to ensure proper feed.

Use a static rope for goodness sake! If having a casual, light TR session, dynamic is fine. If working pitches, beating the daylights out of your rope, cycling it over coarse surfaces, falling no further than necessary and feeling mighty secure are up your alley, static. (Falling or sagging onto a dynamic rope with 40-70m between me and the anchor? No thanks. Futzing with otherwise unnecessary mid-pitch' tie-offs...no thanks.)

Lugging and managing a 180-200m rope sounds hellish - bring a knife. Or get a couple 90-100m cords instead. The Bluewater Big Wall (10mm) is a very good option.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

Post a Reply

Log In to Reply