Adventure Projects is hiring a web engineer to join us in Boulder, CO
Mountain Project Logo

Progress capture for simul-climbing on doubles


Original Post
Derek DeBruin · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2010 · Points: 585

Would like to get thoughts on progress capture options when simul-climbing on doubles. With a single the GriGri/microtraxion combo is the go-to. On doubles a Megajul makes a passable replacement for a GriGri, but looking for thoughts on the progress capture part of the equation. I have a few ideas, but don't want to stifle the discussion, so give me the best strategies you have. Thanks in advance. 

Cor · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2006 · Points: 1,460

Put one rope away..

Derek DeBruin · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2010 · Points: 585
Cor wrote:

Put one rope away..

I've definitely considered that. But if using thin doubles, this can still create rope diameter concerns with many progress captures and/or belay devices. It also doesn't solve the party of three, where two ropes (or one folded) are in play.

FrankPS · · Atascadero, CA · Joined Nov 2009 · Points: 275

A microtraxion for each rope?

that guy named seb · · Britland · Joined Oct 2015 · Points: 205

Use a single for christ sake if you are simul climbing there should never be a need for double ropes, if there is you're in over your head and you should stop before someone gets hurt.

Nick Sweeney · · Spokane, WA · Joined Jun 2013 · Points: 661

The answer is to use one rope.  If simulclimbing as a party of three, one person will need to tie into the middle of the rope.

Mikey Schaefer · · Terrebonne, OR · Joined Jun 2014 · Points: 246

I've used double ropes and two mini traxions for simul climbing and I definitely wasn't in over my head.  It is a useful system for a team of 3 on rambling steps of ice/alpine climbing (only when the rope isn't ice up though).  I don't find it as useful for rock climbing because it is less of a concern and easier to have two climbers tied close to each other on one rope.  But when ice climbing where it is generally preferable to have the followers side by side instead of on top of each other due to falling ice the system works well.  

If I am on rock and have two people following below I don't have one person tied into the middle.  I'm not sure why that would be preferable to having a climber 15ft above the other tied in with a cow's tail.  If you are on a glacier ok, but on technical terrain it is generally easier if the followers are tied in close to each other.  This puts more rope between the leader and the followers and makes communication easier for the followers.  Also depending on the terrain the upper climb can pull out the directionals instead of re clipping them which save some time.  If the climbers were far apart this might not be a good idea.  With that being said I have had one climber tie into the middle for traversing pitches but usually not simul climbing those pitches.

There are a lot of different techniques, scenarios, and comfort levels in climbing.  Some people might not be comfortable with all techniques or have the skill required to safely use them but that does not mean that these are invalid or dangerous techniques for everyone. 



Paul Hutton · · Idaho · Joined Mar 2012 · Points: 740

Petzl Shunt

Derek DeBruin · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2010 · Points: 585
Mikey Schaefer wrote:

I've used double ropes and two mini traxions for simul climbing and I definitely wasn't in over my head.

How thick were the ropes? I've definitely thought about two microtraxions, but I get a bit concerned under 8mm given that's the minimum rating for the device. I know Petzl did a fair amount of testing of smaller diameter ropes (of many makes) when developing the RAD line and determining compatibility with the microtraxion. The results were not always pretty with the toothed cam and skinny ropes. If it's just gonna cut the rope in the event of a fall, might as well not deal with the hassle of simuling with a rope and simul-solo, short pitch, or short fix. This is what gives me pause: 

https://m.petzl.com/US/en/Sport/Belaying-a-second-with-the-MICRO-TRAXION-=-danger-?ActivityName=Multi-pitch-climbing

In the case that it's double ropes but party of two, anyone care to speculate on just using one microtraxion on one strand (i.e. not using a progress capture on both strands)? Think a falling second would be arrested prior to pulling on the leader?

Derek DeBruin · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2010 · Points: 585
Paul Hutton wrote:

Petzl Shunt

Good idea, but more than twice as heavy and also only good down to 8mm.

Klimbien · · St.George Orem Denver Vegas · Joined Apr 2009 · Points: 480

what route or routes are you looking at?


Chad Hiatt · · Bozeman, Mt · Joined Oct 2015 · Points: 85

Just use 8mm doubles.  Your options will be endless.  

Derek DeBruin · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2010 · Points: 585
Chiatt Hiatt wrote:

Just use 8mm doubles.  Your options will be endless.  

Good point. Maybe that's the answer.

Derek DeBruin · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2010 · Points: 585
Klimbien wrote:

what route or routes are you looking at?

No particular route, just in general. Trying to figure out how light I can go and weigh the pros and cons. Lighter typically means some kind of tradeoff. In this case, it might limit the tools and rope systems that can be used. Was using a set of Beal Gully ropes this weekend. They were pretty great, but raised questions for me about simul-climbing.

Brian Abram · · Celo, NC · Joined Oct 2007 · Points: 478

FWIW, I’ve used a single Beal Gully extensively for simulclimbing easy stuff up to 5.9, and I’ve found it pretty dang durable. I have two of them, but one has been cut to 25/35m, and the 25 is my goto for fun linkup days

Another possible consideration when it comes to half ropes: I got a 100m half from Tendon. No knots to tie or get hung up on rappels. 

Derek DeBruin · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2010 · Points: 585
Brian Abram wrote:

FWIW, I’ve used a single Beal Gully extensively for simulclimbing easy stuff up to 5.9.

Single rope or double rope system? (I assume single since you mentioned the durability?) Do you use a belay device and/or progress capture at all?

Brian Abram · · Celo, NC · Joined Oct 2007 · Points: 478

Used as a single. I’ve used a Microjul and a DMM Pivot with it and prefer the Pivot, even though it doesn’t give as much friction. The Microjul does allow adjustments on the fly that are sorta kinda like a grigri

No progress capture devices on it. I’m curious if the new orange Tibloc with the springy action might work better with small diameter ropes. I’ve seen the testing Petzl did with low diameter static cords, and they were all over the place. Though the larger cords were almost acceptable, Petzl alluded to the fact that cords are much less predictable than ropes. Does that mean that the 7.5mm class ropes do produce acceptable results?

Derek DeBruin · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2010 · Points: 585
Brian Abram wrote:

The Microjul does allow adjustments on the fly that are sorta kinda like a grigri

No progress capture devices on it. I’m curious if the new orange Tibloc with the springy action might work better with small diameter ropes. I’ve seen the testing Petzl did with low diameter static cords, and they were all over the place. Though the larger cords were almost acceptable, Petzl alluded to the fact that cords are much less predictable than ropes. Does that mean that the 7.5mm class ropes do produce acceptable results?

Certainly not implying the Microjul works as well as a GriGri, but I think it does allow the follower to take in or pay out slack with some care. 

No idea on the new Tibloc or whether 7.5mm ropes would be acceptable. I agree that I'd prefer rope to large diameter cord. I haven't looked at the RAD line construction super closely to know how it stacks up, but I've gotta imagine the Unicore technology would stack the odds more in your favor in this case.

Bogdan P · · Boulder, CO · Joined Jul 2012 · Points: 312

Faced the same conundrum myself recently. I've climbed on Sterling Evolution Duetto 8.4s and Fusion Photon 7.8s. The 8.4s are rated to 1.5 falls as singles, so when new, I'd just simul climb using one as a single if needed. With the 7.8s I haven't been able to figure out what their rating as singles are, and also no progress capture device I know of is rated for below 8mm. From what I can tell though the mechanism on my kong ducks (my preferred progress capture device) still engages on the 7.8s, and at least one progress capture device that is not rated below 8mm is nevertheless rated to work on webbing (e.g. CT Rollnlock), which begs the question, why the 8mm lower limit? And why is it seemingly universal with all these devices?

It could be nothing, simply lack of testing due to the specifications of the UIAA certs, but supposing it's not, there are two concerns in particular that came to mind.
1. Even though the clamp appears to engage when I've played around with it at home, this won't work consistently in the field below 8mm.
2. the progress capture device will damage the rope somehow. John Harlin comes to mind (died in the alpine while jummaring up a skinny rope that snapped).

I couldn't find any data on this, despite rousing a bit of interesting when posting about it on the alpine climbing facebook page. I think the only solution is to run some tests at home using an 80kg weight that is not you in a controlled environment to see what happens.

In the end I haven't run the tests (need to get some old 7-8mm rope I can test to failure), although I hope to at some point, instead simply using the progress capture device on one of the 7.8s only, so that if it damages the rope I have the other rope as a back up. When doing this I use the 7.8s as twins, not halfs or singles.

I've also had some concerns regarding how the unicore technology now in use by beal/edelweiss would work with these devices, and suspect they might perform differently from traditional rope designs, so additional tests on thin unicore ropes would also be informative.

Kyle Tarry · · Portland, OR · Joined Mar 2015 · Points: 226

I suspect that Unicore construction is a definitely plus for simuling, as a cut sheath won't result in the progress capture device sliding down the core like it theoretically could on a non-unicore rope.  There's no reason to believe it would be a problem, since people belay and haul on unicore ropes all the time.

Realistically, the difference between 7.8 mm and 8.0 mm isn't that significant.  It's only 2.5%.  While there are probably reasons to be wary of simuling on a rope this thin, it's not because of the 0.2 mm difference between it and the "rated" 8 mm line, in my opinion.

eli poss · · Durango, Co · Joined May 2014 · Points: 489
Kyle Tarry wrote: Realistically, the difference between 7.8 mm and 8.0 mm isn't that significant.  It's only 2.5%.  While there are probably reasons to be wary of simuling on a rope this thin, it's not because of the 0.2 mm difference between it and the "rated" 8 mm line, in my opinion.

Wouldn't it be more useful or meaningful to look at the 0.2mm as a percentage of the device's range rather than as a percentage of the rope's diameter? Assuming your progress capture device is rated for 8mm to 11mm ropes, that is 6.6667%. Regardless, I wouldn't be very concerned about it not catching on a thin rope but rather be concerned about it being easier to cut and/or less durable than a thicker line.

Think about whether the weight saved by .2mm is worth the extra durability/cut resistance. That's a question that can only be answered by you, not us. 
Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

Post a Reply to "Progress capture for simul-climbing on doubles "
in the Mountaineering

Log In to Reply