/ Self belay

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Davon - on 02 May 2014
Hi I know this has been talked about before , but I would like views please . I am relatively new to climbing and wish to do small climbs on my own , when i want ( not having to depend on someone being free etc). I have a grigri 2 and would like to know what ascender/etc people think is best to accompy it to make a safe system .
I am not talking big climbs here just something to fill a couple of hours in . ( before people tell me a buddy is the only way )

Many thanks

Dave
Duncan Bourne - on 02 May 2014
In reply to Davon:

I always used a shunt when I was self-belaying, probably better than a gri-gri. I always set up a top rope and weighed the bottom end with a rucksack to make pulling the rope through he shunt easier.
mrdigitaljedi - on 02 May 2014
In reply to Davon:

A petzl traxion is for ppl who want to self belay, just make sure your anchors are bomb proof and u weight the bottom of your rope or it wont work.
blackcat - on 02 May 2014
In reply to Davon: I always use a shunt.The thing to make sure is if you cant get up the climb,you need a system to get urself down safely.

splat2million on 02 May 2014
In reply to Davon:

GriGri2 is a pain to self-belay with because you need to pull the rope through yourself. If you make a couple of moves without pulling the rope through, you have lots of slack in your rope so if you fall you go further, and put more force on the anchors (although if you're self belaying the anchor should ideally be able to hold an elephant anyway). There's also the (theoretical?) risk that the leaver on the GriGri2 gets caught in something and held open and so it doesn't catch you.
I use a shunt on my belay loop and a handle ascender attached to me via a sling on a backup line from the anchor. Works great for me, but you must never grab the shunt if you fall.

You may already have seen this, but it gives some good options for the setup: http://www.petzl.com/en/outdoor/product-experience/self-belay-solo-climbing/introduction
The Ex-Engineer - on 02 May 2014
In reply to Davon: There has probably been more written on the internet about self-belaying in the last two decades than on any climbing related topic - and that even includes debate about the grade of Three Pebble Slab...

To save you the bother, I'll give you a quick summary of the 34,456,568 previous posts on the subject, including those from the deepest darkest depths of usenet...

- Most people don't die, apart from those that do
- There are lots of ways to do it; there is only one way to do it
- It's really safe; it's not really safe; it's really not safe (well out of 34,456,568 conflicting posts, someone must be right)
- Seventy three and a third different people will tell you that fourteen and a half varied methods, some possibly even including mystical incantations, work for them
- Someone will recommend a method they don't use but would have used theoretically five years ago despite not having climbed since Denali in '79.
- 47 people will tell you that various previous posters have a death wish and are 'GONNA DIE!!!'
- A pedant will complain about the capital letters, spelling and excessive punctuation.
- A genuine master in pedantry will then correct the previous pedants grammar.
- Someone will post a link to the dated Lyon Equipment report or the Petzl website to demonstrate that Shunts are a death-trap waiting to happen.
- Someone else will say state they've use a Shunt since before they were invented and they aren't going to change
- At that point a link to a video will be posted that shows <insert latest famous climber> ignoring absolutely everything anyone has said about redundancy and working a route using just a GriGri.
- The thread will diverge to solo lead climbing and the mythical Wren Silent Partner.
- Various people will return to topic and recommend a Troll Rocker (camming ascender) as the best thing for your back-up - far safe than the 'deadly' Shunt and smoother than the awkward Microcender that Petzl now recommend.
- 9 posters will race to remind everyone that Troll no longer exists but ISC now make them.
- A bright spark will mention that DMM's equivalent is the 'Buddy'.
- Finally, common sense will prevail and someone tell you from personal experience that it is just all too much hassle and it's just far easier to find a proper buddy to climb with.

PS In all seriousness, just read the excellent Petzl link above...
deepsoup - on 02 May 2014
In reply to The Ex-Engineer:
You have nailed it like it's never been nailed before.
At last! A definitive answer! :o)
Davon - on 02 May 2014
In reply to The Ex-Engineer:

Ha ha thanks .
Fancy the shunt.
So if some one was learning how to belay say on an indoor wall a shunt would be good to wear until they are competent??
Cheese Monkey - on 02 May 2014
In reply to Davon:

Use a shunt. Back it up (saved me once). Having 2 lines makes things easier. Be proficient with prussics. Make your anchor bomber. Protect the ropes. Simple.
Matt Bill Platypus - on 02 May 2014
In reply to Davon:

Just start soloing. It'll make you more confident and will save loads of time.
Dave Mahon - on 02 May 2014
In reply to Davon:

+1 for the shunt.

I use it frequently eg if I get to the crag before my climbing mates or if I take my kids climbing and they fancy a rest. Clip your rucksack (not too heavy) to the bottom of the rope and off you go. Pick routes which go straight up and check the rope is going through the shunt on overhangs - you will probably move it up a bit when it gets tricky anyway. On southern sandstone, I can shunt 10 routes per hour.
ex0 - on 02 May 2014
In reply to Davon:

Dual mini-traxions for me, both on the same line. Weight the rope first and once you're about 15ft up the rope starts moving much cleaner through the trax. Learned about it from a blog post Steph Davies made, here's a pic of her setup which is the same one I use:

http://www.highinfatuation.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/photo-53-e1337705590439-450x600.jpg
The Ex-Engineer - on 03 May 2014
In reply to ex0:
> Dual mini-traxions for me, both on the same line.

Not sure if you are aware, but that set up is one of those that Petzl specifically recommend NOT not to use.

From the link above (http://www.petzl.com/en/outdoor/product-experience/self-belay-solo-climbing/introduction ):
Warning!
Petzl has studied the current usage of the MINI TRAXION as a self-belay device on a fixed rope. Serious accidents and many handling errors have been reported.
The risk of using the device with the cam held open is significant, as well as the possibility of accidental opening of the cam when climbing.
Consequently, the MINI TRAXION must be paired with a different ascender: ASCENSION, BASIC, MICROCENDER...
Petzl does not recommend using a system consisting of only two MINI TRAXION for self-belayed solo climbing with a fixed rope.
The Ex-Engineer - on 03 May 2014
In reply to deepsoup:
> At last! A definitive answer! :o)

Not quite. Unfortunately I inexplicably overlooked the half million or so posts that have been made about 'Death Modified GriGris' ;-)

Davon - on 03 May 2014
In reply to Dave Mahon:

Hi

Am I right in thinking this device will only work on a fixed line . if the belayer fails this wont provide any protection ?IE you can only climb with it with a anchored top rope system , weighted at bottom
deepsoup - on 03 May 2014
In reply to The Ex-Engineer:
D'Oh! So you did. Ah well, still brilliant. ;o)

Regarding the mini-traxion thing - if anyone has one that they use for self-belay this mod to sacrifice it's ability to latch the cam open seems like a good idea:
http://www.supertopo.com/photos/1/71/138598_20946_L.jpg

(Photo from this supertopo thread: http://www.supertopo.com/climbers-forum/1038522/Petzl-Mini-Traxion-Self-Belay-Human-Error-almost-tra... )
ex0 - on 03 May 2014
In reply to The Ex-Engineer:
Realistically they have to recommend that though, don't they? They do the job well, have held falls and i've had no problems using this method. Nor has anyone else I've ever heard of.

The only significant point of that warning is:

> The risk of using the device with the cam held open is significant, as well as the possibility of accidental opening of the cam when climbing.

First point is ridiculous, second has never happened to me and if you own a mini traxion you can see for yourself how hard it'd be to disengage the camming action on one by mistake. Not only that, but to disengage it on 2 of them at once, since only one locks on a fall and the other is strictly a backup. I guess you could mitigate the risk a bit by by anchoring the middle of the line and clip into preplaced knots on the other strand (the one that you're not using the traxions on).

Worth bearing in mind that Petzl also claim that the grigri shouldn't be used as a hands free descender, yet everyone does. Most without a backup, because it's perfectly safe. (or the chance of failure is low enough to roll the dice!)

Better photo showing the traxion setup from Deepsoup's link: http://www.supertopo.com/photos/1/71/138637_31022_L.jpg
Post edited at 12:54
atthedropofahat on 03 May 2014
In reply to Davon:

Suggest you look at Andy Kirkpatricks website he tells you how, he soloed el cap... roped solo leading is fun although nuts. Just try not to fall as falling hurts.

I use an edelrid mega jul on a 10mm rope with an ropeman. It's safe enough. The mega jul will lock off if you fall, the ropeman on the same rope will ensure it like a prussik on an abseil. It's a little fiddly to use one handed but you should only be doing easy stuff. Make sure you've got bomber belays that can take a large upward force.

If you are relatively new I wouldn't recommend it, then again you wouldn't be the first to start with these dark arts.
David Coley - on 03 May 2014
In reply to Davon:

> Hi

> Am I right in thinking this device will only work on a fixed line . if the belayer fails this wont provide any protection ?IE you can only climb with it with a anchored top rope system , weighted at bottom

CORRECT!!
David Coley - on 03 May 2014
In reply to atthedropofahat:

> ... roped solo leading is fun although nuts.

Not nuts, but very slow.



David Coley - on 03 May 2014
In reply to ex0:



> First point is ridiculous, second has never happened to me and if you own a mini traxion you can see for yourself how hard it'd be to disengage the camming action on one by mistake.

I think using one trax is fine for me, two rock-solid. However, there have been the odd case of the cam opening when crawling over a ledge or up a chimney and another where the thing filled with mud/sand on a desert climb. I guess the reason they suggest using two different devices is because you would have to make two different mistakes to still kill yourself.

My main check is to climb two feet and drop off to check the thing grabs the rope and I have clipped it to me. I do this on EVERY climb.

I once watch a friend climb an E2 in Torbay on a trax. When he got to the top he realised he had the elastic and trax around his neck and rope, but the trax was not clipped to the belay loop. If he had fallen he would have decked. He leads VS, so it was close.
Andrew Mallinson - on 03 May 2014
In reply to The Ex-Engineer:

Sorry Ex,
You are TOTALLY WRONG...............















...it is plainly obvious that the most common thread is..................













...Is Kinder Downfall in yet ?











ANdy
The Ex-Engineer - on 03 May 2014
In reply to Andrew Mallinson:
> ...Is Kinder Downfall in yet ?

Sorry, no ;-)

Dave Mahon - on 03 May 2014
In reply to Davon:

yes. This thread is about self belay isn't it? ie you are on your own and the rope is anchored at the top. Unless you are working a route to death, shunting works best if there are bolts on top or lots of trees, otherwise you will spend most of your time setting up anchors.
LizS on 03 May 2014
In reply to Davon:

> So if some one was learning how to belay say on an indoor wall a shunt would be good to wear until they are competent??

Think you'd need to check with the wall to see if they permit self-belaying with your own device. If they do then they might insist on a particular system so perhaps they'd be the best people to ask.

J.A.Thomson - on 04 May 2014
In reply to Davon:

where are you thinking of indoor, outdoors.
what rope are you going to be using static, semi static or
dynamic
Jonny2vests - on 04 May 2014
In reply to The Ex-Engineer:

> - Various people will return to topic and recommend a Troll Rocker (camming ascender) as the best thing for your back-up - far safe than the 'deadly' Shunt and smoother than the awkward Microcender that Petzl now recommend.

> - 9 posters will race to remind everyone that Troll no longer exists but ISC now make them.

Yes. Those things.
Jonny2vests - on 04 May 2014
In reply to J.A.Thomson:

> where are you thinking of indoor, outdoors.

Indoor self belay? Erm,... nevermind.
Milesy - on 04 May 2014
I've done it a few times and quite honestly I just wasn't worth the effort.

My simplest effort was tying several figure of eights on the bight on one strand which I clipped into with a cows tail, and the second strand I clove hitched to myself and adjusted as I went. I replaced the clove hitch with a shunt and still used the first backup clip in as well.

The time it took me to set up the top rope, put the bights in then abbing down a single strand (I hate abbing at the best of times and I hate abbing on a single worse), then the faff when climbing and then dismantling the top rope, it was just too much fecking about. Find more partners lol
floss_81 on 04 May 2014
In reply to Davon:

If you look at it from a rope access point of view. IRATA say to use two ropes one your working line for the ascender and one your safety with your shunt. They dont have any problems and its a tried and tested system.
ads.ukclimbing.com
In reply to The Ex-Engineer:

> PS In all seriousness, just read the excellent Petzl link above...

Interesting to see that as an occasional user of the shunt for top roped soloing that Petzl have (after many years of showing how to do this) now said not to! Anyone else given up on using a shunt for self top roping because of this?
David Coley - on 04 May 2014
In reply to TobyA:

Yes, me. (Now use traxion.) But I'm sure a shunt is fine most of the time.
Milesy - on 04 May 2014
In reply to Davon:

I also looked into some of dmm rope access / professional kit. The dmm buddy looks good as a backup fall arrester on your second line while shunting on the first.

http://dmmprofessional.com/products/buddy-red-back-up-device-bud200/
J.A.Thomson - on 04 May 2014
In reply to Jonny2vests:

you have never set routs inside
and worked them on a self belay
never mind
J.A.Thomson - on 04 May 2014
In reply to Davon:
Hi I use a ropeman2 and a stunt
If you are new to self belay and are not working routs use a ropeman2 they are bomber,if you want to work a crux on a rout the shunt cant be replaced because you can just loop your foot and lower your self down to work a section.You need to now about looping your foot if you get a shunt because if you take a good fall they lock and you will need to get you weight of the shunt and give it a good tug, im shore you now how to do that lol. I would not use the shunt on a dynamic rope only semi static where the ropeman will be ok on both have fun soloing if you not to shore and live in the devon area i dont mind going through it with you
Post edited at 12:46
jezb1 - on 04 May 2014
In reply to Davon:

Ropeman 2 is the version with the sharp, spiky teeth right? Wouldn't be keen on falling on one of them personally, however small the fall might be, sounds like a recipe for stripping the sheath?
atthedropofahat on 04 May 2014
In reply to Milesy:

Sounds a bit dangerous, fig 8s are really poor at being cross loaded and can easily flip out meaning each bight above the one you are clipped into could undo. if a couple came undone you could fall a good few metres easily.
Jonny2vests - on 04 May 2014
In reply to J.A.Thomson:

> you have never set routs inside

> and worked them on a self belay

> never mind

I've set plenty, and worked moves on a shunt etc. But doing entire routes? No, it's usually too steep and belayers are not in short supply.
Milesy - on 04 May 2014
In reply to atthedropofahat:

You're right I'm talking balls. It was alpine butterfly's.
J.A.Thomson - on 04 May 2014
In reply to jezb1:
Its funny you say that, i did have a petzl asender the teeth were so sharp they did that, have not had a problem with the ropeman
Post edited at 21:47
needvert on 04 May 2014

If the goal is safe then there are much better choices than a shunt for a solo TR.

Petzls teethed ascenders don't damage ropes in my limited experience(probably less than 100 solo TR laps.) If I had an ascender that did cut sheaths I'd be returning it to Petzl.

I suspect two people working things on top rope with a solo TR is more time efficient than the regular bottom belay. There's no need for anything more special anchorwise than in a normal TR setup either.

Caving references will describe changing over from ascending to descending.


And yeah....follow petzls recommendations. They are at odds with how some of UKC likes to do it (single rope+shunt, worrying about teethed ascenders), but its the best document I've seen for the task at hand.
Post edited at 23:12
rurp - on 05 May 2014
In reply to Davon:

Few tips.
I use minitraxion with a bungee cord over shoulder off the top of the belay loop and back up with a shunt off a small sling directed thru bottom of belay loop.

Holy grail crag has lots of routes ending at a single point with a tree and not many people. Setting up takes 30 mins. Climbing 40m takes about 2 so great if you can do multiple routes from same anchor.

I always abseil from the anchor before climbing otherwise when I climb I find fear the the belay is not good enough affects me. If I have abseiled on it I trust it.

Leave a rucksack in line with the chosen route at the base of the crag a long way out. It is often hard to see lines from above. So annoying after30 mins setting up belay to find it is in the wrong place.

When setting up top . I carry 30m of old rope and put an anchor a long way back, then I can approach the edge of the cliff and peer over to see my rucksack before finding an anchor in the spot.

Leave sea cliffs with hanging changes from abseil to shunt for a bit till you are sure!

The above represent some tips based on 15 years of personal f!!k ups!!!

Good luck


Davon - on 05 May 2014
In reply to rurp:

Sound advice rurp . Thanks

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