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Top rope solo


Ben Williams · · Live in a van · Joined Sep 2015 · Points: 30

Rather than starting a new thread, figured I'd post here. First time today playing around with toprope solo climbing. Would love some feedback on my set and things I should possibly change. 

Gear in use:

Primary - uascend 

Secondary - mini traxion

I also have a grigri that I could swap for another piece in the system.

So far I've realised I would like to extend the top device. 

Eplumer400 · · Cleveland, OH · Joined May 2016 · Points: 115
Stephen Felker wrote:

With your third hand?

Not at all. Here's two different examples.

At the top of a pitch: Clip into anchors with quickdraws, unweight the rescucender, remove it from the rope. Tie your prusik to either strand of rope, grigri strand or the now free strand, and attach to belay loop. Pull up your grigri, remove extension, reattach your grigri to your harness, pull it taut, pull up on the anchors to unclip your draws, lower.

Halfway up a pitch: Pull your grigri up to rescucender height. While hanging, tie your prusik, attach to belay loop with either your quickdraws for clipping the anchor, another locker or (not recommended), pull on a hold to unweight the rescucender and use that locker. Once your prusik is on, then unweight the rescucender and remove, then lower. 

Perhaps this isn't the most efficient means of lowering or top rope soloing in general, but for what I have it works well. For what it's worth I've tried bringing an ATC up and tried rappelling down as well, way more work and way more sketchy to me. 

Tim Neumann · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2017 · Points: 40

Hi folks,

a few months ago I've done some TR solo routes to see if that's something that I'd like to get into. The pictures show the setup I've been using back then. I've decided to go with a two rope / two devices kind of system for safety. The main line being the right one with the micro trax and the left as a backup with a slightly extended tibloc (girth hitched to the tie in points) which is dragged along but usually never weighted. I do realize that a tibloc is not ideal considering possible sheath damage, but it was what I had at the time.

Now I'd like to try some other routes and I'm wondering if there are any improvements to my system. I probably would go with non rotating carabiners on the devices next time. Is it alright to keep using the tibloc as a backup device or would you recommend a proper rope grab? 

Nate Tastic · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2016 · Points: 10
Tim Neumann wrote:

Hi folks,

a few months ago I've done some TR solo routes to see if that's something that I'd like to get into. The pictures show the setup I've been using back then. I've decided to go with a two rope / two devices kind of system for safety. The main line being the right one with the micro trax and the left as a backup with a slightly extended tibloc (girth hitched to the tie in points) which is dragged along but usually never weighted. I do realize that a tibloc is not ideal considering possible sheath damage, but it was what I had at the time.

Now I'd like to try some other routes and I'm wondering if there are any improvements to my system. I probably would go with non rotating carabiners on the devices next time. Is it alright to keep using the tibloc as a backup device or would you recommend a proper rope grab? 

Okay, "better safe than sorry" comments coming but, you did ask for improvements:

Assuming I had the extra carabiner, I'd put another one on the backup side (like you did on the right side of the anchor; do that to the left.) But, you're asking about Self-Belay setup so moving on...

I'd girth hitch the backup sling to the rope tie in points instead of the belay loop (traxion stays on belay loop, however.) 

Actually, instead of the sling, I'd spend the 10-14 bucks or whatever and buy a 17cm Petzl Express dogbone along with a GO P15 oval screw. The Express comes "equipped with STRING to hold the carabiner in position and protect the webbing from wear." The Express and String keep the backup device in place rather, the carabiner in place, as it's fairly stiff. It makes for a nice ride up the rope all on its own. The belay loop and main ascender seem to go up nice too, as it's tighter to your body and the belay loop is fairly stiff as well.

Something like the DMM Rhino might keep the ascenders in place on top of the biner if you're having issues with that but, not sure. You'd have to test it. I went with the recommend Petzl OK (SL/TL) carabiners. They seemed to work fine.

Lots of people are already carrying a wrench and you might be too. If not, and if you go that route, you'll need one for the GO (I brought along a 12mm box wrench, which has a small loop of 2mm accessory cord tied to the one end for attaching to a biner on my harness; it's just long enough to reach the screw while still being attached to the biner/harness so I don't drop it.)

REI has both the Express and the GO (they call it "Oval Screw.") I picked'em both up, on sale, for under $10.

I keep a Tibloc on my harness as a backup for my backup (a CT Roll-N-Lock) and this should I drop one of the mains or something and it's nice to have along just in general while on non self-belay routes. 

Will the Tibloc do the job? Yeah, I'm sure it will. Do I feel a bit more comfortable with a "regular" ascender? I think I do. To each their own, of course. Take away from that what you will.

Note: I've only used my setup once so far. I think I like the MicroTraxion. I haven't decided what I think about the Roll-N-Lock from a grip standpoint. I'd like to try it as the main to get a better feel for it before I comment on said CT device.

Tim Neumann · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2017 · Points: 40

Thanks for the input mate. I'm going to go for the dogbone and oval screw on the tibloc. Seems like a big improvement for a reasonable investment.

Andrew Ingals · · Lake Forest · Joined Mar 2017 · Points: 435
Jay J wrote:

I used to TR solo with an ascender on my harness on one rope and a chest ascender on the other, but I don't think Petzl reccomends using their chest ascenders this way.  Otherwise it was just like the publications show.

Weighing down the rope at the bottom with a backpack helps.

One thing to watch for is arriving at the top with some travel in the rope so you can slide the ascender up while disengaging the camming mechanism.  If you push it up against a knot, the teeth can catch on the sheath of the rope as you fight the thing getting it off the rope.  Just something to think about before topping out.  

Wow!  The timing of this post is so fortuitous!  I recently received two brand new ascenders and have been learning to TR solo in my gym with them.  Based on the gyms setup, I've really spent more time using one ascender on one dynamic line.  I started keeping well within my limits, but recently started playing around at my limits.  I've fallen, but he ascender has caught me every time.  I plan to TR solo outside in the near future and will double up my lines and use both ascenders - one on each line.  Is this a recipe for disaster?  

Gabe Cisneros · · Baltimore, md · Joined Feb 2016 · Points: 10

Keeping this thing alive...

Recently was reading the petzl self belay info and every picture had the ascension on the bottom but i love it on top because of how easy it is to use the top hole to hold it up with a headlamp strap and keep the rope in the ascender. 

Thoughts?

Jack Servedio · · Raleigh,NC · Joined Feb 2016 · Points: 35

If my rope folded in half reaches the ground, I'll hang both strands, but only use one strand for both my devices and leave the second one hanging for quick raps. Even if you are free hanging, using an atc on the free strand you can boink your weight onto it or clip a foot loop to your top device just to get the atc up high enough to take all the weight.

Since I use a mini trax on top and a microscender on the bottom, once I'm on the atc on the second strand, I can lock the trax open and use the microscender as a backup for the rap down. Never have to take either of your devices off the rope to get down and never have to break out a prussik. You can do laps really quickly like this.

On gear or natural anchors, doing this you can hang your climbing strand way over the edge to keep it clear of anything sharp and hang your free strand way above the edge for you to rap down on from above without having to shimmy your ass over the edge.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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