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Solo Belay/Progress Capture Device Recommendations
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Aug 19, 2016
Okay guys- I'm going to start solo toproping if and when I'm not able to find a climbing partner. So please let the discussion begin about the best and safest device on the market for this right now. Thanks for the input! COMtnWoman
From South Platte, CO
Joined Apr 21, 2015
0 points
Aug 19, 2016
Rock Climbing Photo: This is a novel auto blocking belay device.  I thi...
2 x microscender, Kong duck, mini traction. Top one is held up with elastic cord. Search the forums here. Rick Blair
From Denver
Joined Oct 16, 2007
376 points
Aug 19, 2016
Rick Blair wrote:
Search the forums here.


This. There is a myriad of threads on this subject.
FrankPS
From Atascadero, CA
Joined Nov 19, 2009
284 points
Aug 19, 2016
Thank you for the input!
I like to always assume the best of people so I'm going to assume I was not specific enough in my post. I'm looking for input from anyone who currently solo TRs about what devices they use- like them, love them or devices they tried and hated.
I've searched the previous post and a lot of them mention the Petzl Microscender. But I've been on the Petzl website and it doesn't look like they make or sell this device anymore. Best I can tell, the Petzl Traxion took its place but there is only one recent post that mentions this device.
And as a reminder: if you don't have anything to contribute to my post you're not REQUIRED to respond. Thanks all!
COMtnWoman
From South Platte, CO
Joined Apr 21, 2015
0 points
Aug 19, 2016
Rock Climbing Photo: Berlin
Petzl micro traxions. They don't sell mini traxions anymore. Jay Eggleston
From Denver
Joined Feb 5, 2003
18,388 points
Aug 19, 2016
Thanks Jay! Have you used them/like them? COMtnWoman
From South Platte, CO
Joined Apr 21, 2015
0 points
Aug 19, 2016
I'm in the two ascenders camp; with one (microtraxion) held upright with a sling or something around the chest. I use an ascension as a backup device.

Some other threads/resources:
mountainproject.com/v/set-ups-...

stephdavis.co/blog/rope-solo-s...
Ben Horowitz
From Berkeley
Joined Aug 14, 2014
137 points
Aug 19, 2016
Rock Climbing Photo: Berlin
Yes, I use two micro traxions. Jay Eggleston
From Denver
Joined Feb 5, 2003
18,388 points
Aug 19, 2016
Great! Thanks for the feedback, I'll be using two as well. With an additional backup line of loops on a second rope. COMtnWoman
From South Platte, CO
Joined Apr 21, 2015
0 points
Aug 19, 2016
Rock Climbing Photo: en route to wham ridge  Photo by Carl Schnitker
Rick Blair wrote:
2 x microscender, Kong duck, mini traction. Top one is held up with elastic cord. Search the forums here.

not the duck. While i love it as lightweight ascender, it doesn't feed nearly as well as my mini trax.
eli poss
From Durango, Co
Joined May 9, 2014
422 points
Aug 19, 2016
Great to know, thanks Eli! COMtnWoman
From South Platte, CO
Joined Apr 21, 2015
0 points
Aug 19, 2016
Rock Climbing Photo: Double dog dare
I use a grigri and a kong duck on two lines. I have found that the grigri feeds fine when the line is weighted just right.

My duck is held with an oval locking biner directly on the belay loop and a tight line so it feeds right off the ground.

My grigri is below the duck on the belay loop and the line has enough slack that it only feeds after a few moves. The slack also makes it possible to lower back down on the grigri without changing over devices. I just remove the duck and lower on the grigri.

I like this system more than two ascenders because I don't like changing over to an ATC style device at the top of every pitch. Also climbing with an ascender as a backup to an ascender makes me nervous. The grigri is definitely a far safer backup device.

Many people say the grigri won't self feed and you need to pull slack but that isn't totally true. When I leave my backpack at the base with the tail end of the ropes and my lunch inside, the grigri points down towards the bag and self feeds just fine.
Firestone
From Mountain View
Joined Nov 23, 2015
480 points
Aug 19, 2016
Rock Climbing Photo: Double dog dare
eli poss wrote:
not the duck. While i love it as lightweight ascender, it doesn't feed nearly as well as my mini trax.


Also the duck doesn't have a moving pulley. It has a generous rope bearing edge but as far as smooth feed the minitrax is definitely better.

Be aware the minitraxion can be locked in the open position and people have had close calls solo climbing thinking they were "on belay" only to find their device disengaged.
Firestone
From Mountain View
Joined Nov 23, 2015
480 points
Aug 19, 2016
Rock Climbing Photo: Double dog dare
COMtnWoman wrote:
Great! Thanks for the feedback, I'll be using two as well. With an additional backup line of loops on a second rope.


Sounds safe on paper but definitely overkill. One device is enough to hold you. Then another device for backup. Throw in two lines in case one gets cut and you're good to go.

The most you need is two solutions. It can be knots and a device. It can be two devices. It can be two lines of knots. But two devices AND knots? You will quickly realize how much better two devices is, knots should be in case you forgot your device at home.
Firestone
From Mountain View
Joined Nov 23, 2015
480 points
Aug 19, 2016
Rock Climbing Photo: This is a novel auto blocking belay device.  I thi...
Check out the rescuscender, same as microscender just different size. These devices have no teeth and allow for slippage under load. I don't think anything will feed better. Rick Blair
From Denver
Joined Oct 16, 2007
376 points
Aug 20, 2016
Firestone wrote:
Throw in two lines in case one gets cut and you're good to go.


I've never used a second line. How neccesary is this, really? 99% of the time when climbing I only use one rope, why should TR soloing be any different? I understand concern with using a toothed device, like a microtraxion, but has there ever actually been a TR solo accident due to a rope being cut by the toothed device?
JCM
From Seattle, WA
Joined Jun 9, 2008
65 points
Aug 20, 2016
Rock Climbing Photo: el cajon
Because it involves fixed lines, meaning wear concentrated on one spot when over sharp edges. Leading and regular TR move the rope along. Properly padded or extended, a single fixed line is fine.

(I use static for what it's worth)
James T
Joined Jul 1, 2015
45 points
Administrator
Aug 20, 2016
JCM wrote:
I've never used a second line. How neccesary is this, really? 99% of the time when climbing I only use one rope, why should TR soloing be any different? I understand concern with using a toothed device, like a microtraxion, but has there ever actually been a TR solo accident due to a rope being cut by the toothed device?

There have been incidents of fixed lines getting cut. I nearly had it happen to me twice, I know a local climber who fell 60' after his line got chopped, climbers have died in Yosemite from chopped ropes. Climbing fixed lines is dangerous, even more so than leading in many cases. If the line is moving in a loop, the risk is much lower.
20 kN
From Hawaii
Joined Feb 2, 2009
1,219 points
Aug 20, 2016
Rock Climbing Photo:
I like using a Cinch for the ability to lower instantly at the top of a pitch...nice for running laps Ryanb.
From Chatt or WA
Joined Mar 6, 2014
7 points
Aug 20, 2016
Jay Eggleston wrote:
Petzl micro traxions. They don't sell mini traxions anymore.


Petzl also re-designed their Basic ascender a couple years ago. While the former Basic was recommended as a solo TR belay device by Petzl, the current one isn't. I've used the Basic as my sole device (safety is clipping into Fig. 8 loops on a second line every 10-15 feet) for 10+ years, and appreciate its advantages over the mini-Trax and related devices. OP - PM me if might want to buy one of the older Basics; I don't think I'll ever need to get my "spare" out of storage, and it's in new condition.
Gunkiemike
Joined Jul 29, 2009
2,617 points
Aug 20, 2016
20 kN wrote:
There have been incidents of fixed lines getting cut. I nearly had it happen to me twice, I know a local climber who fell 60' after his line got chopped, climbers have died in Yosemite from chopped ropes. Climbing fixed lines is dangerous, even more so than leading in many cases. If the line is moving in a loop, the risk is much lower.


Were the incidents you mentioned from jugging or TR soloing? Very different laoding scenarios.
JCM
From Seattle, WA
Joined Jun 9, 2008
65 points
Aug 20, 2016
Hi
I top rope solo at least once a week, sometimes more. My top, and main device is a Cinch, quick-linked to a 5 inch sling extension, that is girth-hitched through both tie-ins. The Cinch is kept upright with a shock cord over/around one shoulder. My lower, secondary device is a microtraxion, clipped to my belay loop with a locking oval. By using a climbing specific quick-link on my Cinch, its arc of travel is shorter than the micro on its carabiner. Therefore, the Cinch locks up just before the Microtraxion. It took a little bit of finagling to get it just right. I use a single 10.5 burly Sterling rope, and I always use these coiled-tube, orange rope protectors on any wear spots. Two ropes just seemed too cumbersome. Carefully protecting potential wear spots, and not hang-dogging on the rope seems to be a reasonable and safe compromise. The Cinch is practically frictionless. Once at the top, I throw an autoblock on between the Cinch and Micro, remove the Micro, and rap down on the Cinch. It's a Cinch! Cheers, Glen
P.S. I use a 1 liter Nalgene as my rope weight.
Glen Prior
Joined Jul 21, 2015
0 points
Aug 20, 2016
Rock Climbing Photo: Double dog dare
JCM wrote:
I've never used a second line. How neccesary is this, really? 99% of the time when climbing I only use one rope, why should TR soloing be any different?


You don't toprope with your rope running over an edge do you? If your solo rope isn't bent over any edges Then you can probably argue that one rope is safe enough but it still isn't redundant. In all the cases I've heard about with two lines, when one was cut the other still held the victim.

I choose to use one 60m tied at the middle. One device on each line, both tied to a backpack.
Firestone
From Mountain View
Joined Nov 23, 2015
480 points
Aug 20, 2016
I used to use the climbing tech roll and lock, but discovered that if you pass the rope over your hip instead of in between your legs it won't lock. So right now my TR solo rig is sidelined. Also I strongly recommend knots in your rope beneath your belay device. jacob m s
From Provo, Utah
Joined Apr 19, 2011
111 points


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