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Solo Lead Climbing with slings - Pros and Cons

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 Philoosh 24 Sep 2021

Ahoy hoy,

So, a scenario.

Lets say that you want to go top rope soloing on a sport climb but cant get to the anchor from above in order to set up the tope rope. What is the best way to get up the wall, without soloing, to get your rope up? Climb with 2 slings and do the up/down/up approach or something more complicated?

I've thought about clip sticking into bolts and ascending a static rope from bolt to bolt also.

Any other techniques?

Phil.

 john arran 24 Sep 2021
In reply to Philoosh:

Not sure what your up/down/up approach entails, but any chance of falling directly onto a sling of any length is very likely to cause it to break. Avoid doing it under any circumstances.

The most common technique would be to progressively stick-clip your way up, but be aware that there are plenty of risks to doing that too, especially if you don't really know what you're doing.

 Philoosh 24 Sep 2021
In reply to john arran:

Hi John,

In using nylon instead of dynema slings the shock load wouldn't be as damaging if used. The up/down/up would be to go up to a bolt and clip in with a sling. Go to the next and clip in with another sling. Go down to the first and unclip. Then up to the next available. 

Either way is inherently risky though. 

 Kevster 24 Sep 2021
In reply to Philoosh:

I know nothing about rope soloing. But had a beer and surfing the forum. 

My guess from your profile, it's academic?

Clipsticking is obvious, as is ascending a route or two next door and traversing or pendulem in. 

Aid climb solo has some methods which you could apply. Sky hooks etc etc.

Climb with someone better? And put a pull line in.. is it worth the efforts?

Most bolted UK crags are clipstickable. If you're in the higher grades, there's a circle of others around or a common method on the outliers. 

If Dave McLeod et Al can work cutting edge nails remote routes with a bit of rope work and a touch more hard work... It can't be impossible in most places. 

 Kevster 24 Sep 2021
In reply to Philoosh:

I don't think nylon or dynema are a good material to fall directly on without a rope etc attached. 

Either you or they fail is the bottom line. Neither is good for life. 

 Ciro 24 Sep 2021
In reply to Kevster:

> I don't think nylon or dynema are a good material to fall directly on without a rope etc attached. 

> Either you or they fail is the bottom line. Neither is good for life. 

Indeed. A broken back is not fun.

Use a clipstick and a dynamic rope.

 wintertree 24 Sep 2021
In reply to Philoosh:

> In using nylon instead of dynema slings the shock load wouldn't be as damaging if used.

Taking an FF2 on to a sling of either material is outright dangerous IMO - it shock loads the bolt, the sling and you.

There are ways to lead climb solo whilst self belaying.  Not something that interests me, but a lot of people have put a lot of thought in to how to do it safely.  

https://www.ukclimbing.com/articles/skills/series/pete_whittaker/how_to_rope_solo_-_with_pete_whittaker-11160

Please don't ever put yourself in a situation where you might reasonably take an FF2 fall on a sling.  It's a really bad idea.

Post edited at 22:55
 Philoosh 24 Sep 2021
In reply to wintertree:

I've read a lot and watched a lot of stuff relating to this. The main issue with this setup is that it needs upwards facing anchors to load against the rope to gain tension. A std single pitch sport climb doesn't necessarily have that. A loaded bag to tie the rope off when shunting is enough to allow gear movement up the rope but not for a rope solo technique. And let's not forget the silent partner. Wouldn't know where to get one of them, even if I could afford one....

In reply to Philoosh:

> Any other techniques?

My method for getting the rope to the top of a climb I want to top rope is to ask my daughter to lead it.

Note: a daughter is not required, other family members or friends can also be used as rope monkeys.

In reply to Philoosh:

I've ascended bolts to get to the top of sport routes on my own, lots of times.

I would never use slings as you mention.

I put a knot in the rope and clipstick it to the first bolt, then clipstick all the ones I can reach. Jug up the free rope to top bolt, clip in hard to harness, clipstick again, until your at the top.

Its not free of risk, you need to understand what your doing, and be aware of the importance of the first bolt, and how the clip rotates on it to an upward pull. I add a tree on the ground if there is one present to back it up.

Once you get used to it, it only takes 5-10 mins to rig a route, and its not too hard to swap to an adjacent lower off.

Post edited at 23:54
 redjerry 25 Sep 2021
In reply to Philoosh:

Slings ...no.
Stick-clipping:  
1. Best not to use static rope
2. Use gri-gri for jugging, not toothed device.

Problem is that in the event of some sort of problem with upper bolt (bolt failure, issue with biner etc) both static rope and toothed device can result it catastrophic failure.

3. optional backup with "upside down" shunt (or similar) on inside rope. Maybe a bit of faff but perhaps worth it for the first few bolts.

 Philoosh 25 Sep 2021
In reply to Steve Claw:

Thanks Steve. I've done that method also in other areas. But it seems the common opinion to use that technique. I thought there might be another alternative I'd not heard of before

 Philoosh 25 Sep 2021
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:

Champion reply there , Tom 👏

 Philoosh 25 Sep 2021
In reply to redjerry:

Not thought to use my shunt upside down. Worth a look at that. Cheers

 Holdtickler 25 Sep 2021
In reply to Philoosh:

I've done this quite a few times. I like to start with an upward facing ground anchor. Next I'll stick clip as many bolts as I can reach from the ground (and will usually clove hitch the rope to a locker on the 1st bolt to back up the ground anchor). I then ascend the loose end with a gri and a jumar to the high point (with stick on harness), go in hard on the bolt and repeat till I make it to the anchors. It's a bit of a faff tbh, much easier to use a crag you can get to the top of. Even easier, go with a partner and lead. 

This is not something I'd recommend unless you have a good chunk of experience and are confident with your self rescue skills. You need to be able to safely problem solve, as there are always little technical things that pop up. But that is the case with all solo roped systems really.

 C Witter 25 Sep 2021
In reply to Steve Claw:

Out of curiosity, why do you clip a knot to the first bolt rather than, e.g. tying yourself into the rope? I'm struggling to understand what is gained from this. Thanks in advance!

Post edited at 23:02
In reply to Philoosh:

I lead rope solo and use a clip stick to clip the first two bolts as anchors. I clip the first with an autolocking steel biner and the second with a special extender I made from a petzl ring and an autolocking steel crab. If the first bolt fails for whatever reason, its unlikely that it would be the steel biner breaking, is it would slam into the ring of the extender and hopefully not break. Other methods, you could tie off the second biner with a knot. For a belay I use a grigri two, inverted with the dead rope going through an inverted microtraxion to hold the weight of the rope. I’ve climbed to 6a+ like this and its definitely more faff than normal, but quite rewarding.

In reply to C Witter:

The rope needs to be fixed, so that you can jumar up it. 

The can do done from the ground (boulder/tree), and clipstick as far as you can reach, and/or the first bolt. Ideally both but often there is no good ground anchor.

 Philoosh 25 Sep 2021
In reply to C Witter:

Mostly to stop the rope from falling through the system as you pull it up. Also to allow the arresting equipment to slide in one direction and not to pull the rope up with you. It's a good idea now that I think of it. I didn't think about tying into the first bolt and then moving up the free part of the rope. I always tried to get both ends into my shunt

 Philoosh 25 Sep 2021
In reply to Steve Claw:

Really good advice on that Steve. Thanks. I've spent all day thinking on your method and how to incorporate it into my gear/setup/routine. 

 Philoosh 25 Sep 2021
In reply to beardy mike:

Hi Mike. Could you send me a pic of your home made device ?

 C Witter 26 Sep 2021
In reply to Steve Claw:

Thanks for taking the time to reply. I see that  the rope needs to be fixed, but why to a bolt rather than yourself? Now I think more, though, suppose it might be less efficient tying in, as you have to jug twice as far. Thanks again!

 Enty 26 Sep 2021
In reply to Philoosh:

> Hi John,

> In using nylon instead of dynema slings the shock load wouldn't be as damaging if used. 

>

Yer gonna die mate....

E

 Philoosh 27 Sep 2021
In reply to Enty:

Isn't that loverly. I so do appreciate your input......😒

 C Witter 28 Sep 2021
In reply to Philoosh:

> Isn't that loverly. I so do appreciate your input......😒

I think the "yer gonna die" is an in-joke reference to a well-known US climbing forum! Don't take it personally

 jkarran 28 Sep 2021
In reply to Philoosh:

> In using nylon instead of dynema slings the shock load wouldn't be as damaging if used. The up/down/up would be to go up to a bolt and clip in with a sling. Go to the next and clip in with another sling. Go down to the first and unclip. Then up to the next available. 

On the off chance you actually think that's remotely sensible, whether using nylon slings or not... It isn't. It's a terrible idea and there's a very high chance of getting seriously hurt.

I'd clip stick a jumar line up as high as I could reach then protect the ascent with a rope soloing technique using the bolts I passed on the way up. Repeat until you reach the top. Actually I wouldn't, I'd go bouldering, it sounds like a right ball ache and a big problem if something goes wrong.

Jk

 jkarran 28 Sep 2021
In reply to Philoosh:

> I've read a lot and watched a lot of stuff relating to this. The main issue with this setup is that it needs upwards facing anchors to load against the rope to gain tension. A std single pitch sport climb doesn't necessarily have that. A loaded bag to tie the rope off when shunting is enough to allow gear movement up the rope but not for a rope solo technique.

There's always the 1st bolt. Back it up with the second as you pass it if you're a belt and braces sort (I would). 

> And let's not forget the silent partner. Wouldn't know where to get one of them, even if I could afford one....

Clove hitch on an HMS would be fine. GriGri is pretty commonly abused in this role too.

With the GriGri the 'how do I escape after a fall?' question is answered as it must be before you leave the ground.

Jk

 Offwidth 29 Sep 2021
In reply to Philoosh:

You need to think on tests like those described in the link below. Nylon slings can also snap with high fall factors (especially if old and worn) but just as important, the shock loads on your body can be damagingly large. It's why we climb on dynamic rope. Don't use slings.

https://dmmclimbing.com/Knowledge/September-2013/Slings-at-Anchors


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