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Solo top Rope?

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 Explorer-Jason 10 Oct 2020

Hi guys and gals. 

Just wondering what the best set up is for top rope soloing? Do you use two pulleys or add a prusik? 

New to it so would appreciate your advice. 

Thank you 

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 wbo2 10 Oct 2020
In reply to Explorer-Jason:

I've got a shunt.  If I can tie off the rope at the top anchor I've also used a gri gri for a single rope. Neither device is recommended by Petzl though for this.

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In reply to Explorer-Jason:

I use a Petzl Basic Ascender on the belay loop of my harness. With a bit of weight on the bottom of the rope it's very smooth. I don't bother with a second back-up device, so I'll leave it to those who do to suggest the best thing.

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 Jezz0r 10 Oct 2020
In reply to Explorer-Jason:

Everyone has a slightly different system, some are safer and faffier than others.

I use two lines (well usually one rope knotted in the middle at the anchor), with a microtraxion on one, which is weighted at the base, and a grigri on the other as a backup, unweighted and manually fed.

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 JStearn 10 Oct 2020
In reply to Explorer-Jason:

Usually 2 lines (knot in middle of a single) with a Microtraxion on the belay loop and a RollnLock on a small runner on the tie-in loops, like this: https://www.petzl.com/US/en/Sport/Setting-up-a-self-belay-system-on-two-ropes-with-two-ascenders?ActivityName=Rock-climbing

Weight the lines at the bottom with a small pack and this feeds automatically and smoothly. You can also put both devices on the same line if they are separated from interfering with each other.

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 Michael Gordon 10 Oct 2020
In reply to Explorer-Jason:

Get a shunt

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 TXG 10 Oct 2020
In reply to Explorer-Jason:

Hey Jason. Take a look at the "Top Rope Solo" group on facebook. A quick scroll through and You'll find every possible variety of rig and discussion of advantages and disadvantages of each.

Really useful group to get yourself going.

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 Hooo 10 Oct 2020
In reply to Explorer-Jason:

It's worth doing a search on here as there has been a lot of discussion about this. I use a SAR Rocker on a static rope with no backup, but then I only use it on Southern Sandstone.

The one thing I always say to anyone giving rope soloing a go is to try it a few times with someone backing you up first. Have a plan of how to get down again if you find yourself hanging in space, pumped or injured and can't ascend any further, and test this plan with a backup before you need it for real.

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 nikoid 10 Oct 2020
In reply to Explorer-Jason:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kd13IaWS8gQ&

This Dave MacLeod video has some good tips for using a shunt.

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 Donotello 10 Oct 2020
In reply to Explorer-Jason:

This is becoming a weekly topic 😴😴

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In reply to Explorer-Jason:

Probably worth searching UKC for topic, eg top rope solo, including older threads.

Petzl have several setups described on their website, they do not recommend their shunt, but then many do use it eg  Dave Macleod's often recommended video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kd13IaWS8gQ&

I found one thread especially interesting, Shunt vs Grigri. One person strongly advocated a Rocker which is made for the purpose but still has disadvantages including needing a minimum 10.5 mm diam rope.

Personally I'm considering buying a Micro Traxion and backing it up by linking to a rope with a free running maillon to be stopped against knots if the device fails.

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 TimMorgan 11 Oct 2020
In reply to Explorer-Jason:

I use two strands of a single rope, fig 8 bunny ears as the knot at the top. Camp lift on short dog bone as the upper device on one strand micro trax clipped to belay loop on the other. The camp lift is held up by a shoelace around my neck with a the loop of the shoelace joined by a toggle thing for tightening a drawstring, hence if it gets snagged both strands will pull through the toggle rather than strangle me.

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 Blanche DuBois 11 Oct 2020
In reply to Donotello:

> This is becoming a weekly topic 😴😴

Yeah, heaven forbid that the interminable Brexit, Trump and Covid threads should be interrupted by something that tangentially involves climbing.

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In reply to Explorer-Jason:

Practising hard routes on a rope solo a gri-gri on a dynamic rope is a good option for the first looks as you can come down very easily to re-practice moves.

For linking bigger sections its defiantly safer and smoother using a Petzl shunt on a mallion straight to your belay loop (this is used instead of a locking carabiner as they are smaller and hold it closer to your harness so there is less slack in the system). A weight must bestsellers tied onto the bottom keeping the rope taught for this (walking boots). 

Always tie a knot between you and the ground.

hope this helps somewhat.

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 redjerry 12 Oct 2020
In reply to Explorer-Jason:

Always a bit surprised that in UK forums The Shunt is seen as a 1st choice for a  primary tr solo device. As Petzl note, that's not what it was designed for, and it's far from an ideal tool for that purpose. Aside from some safety limitations, it simply doesn't work very well.
 

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In reply to redjerry:

> Always a bit surprised that in UK forums The Shunt is seen as a 1st choice for a  primary tr solo device. As Petzl note, that's not what it was designed for, and it's far from an ideal tool for that purpose. Aside from some safety limitations, it simply doesn't work very well.

I agree. I much prefer the Basic Ascender to the Shunt for this.

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 Michael Gordon 12 Oct 2020
In reply to redjerry:

Well, Dave MacLeod uses one and he's probably a strong contender for most use over the years!

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 Michael Gordon 12 Oct 2020
In reply to jacob shieldhouse hadley:

I can't think of a reason why you'd choose to use a dynamic rope other than it being the only thing available at the time?

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 Dogwatch 12 Oct 2020

I've used a shunt a few times on SS. I stopped doing it because to me, the faff outweighed the pleasure. Memorable moment, a group of small children below me singing "Oh-oh, he's in trouble". I wasn't.

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 Hooo 12 Oct 2020
In reply to Dogwatch:

I'm the opposite. I faff way more when I have a partner to faff with. When rope soloing I just get on with it.

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In reply to Michael Gordon:

> I can't think of a reason why you'd choose to use a dynamic rope other than it being the only thing available at the time? <

I can see the advantages of a low stretch rope but for some it involves buying another rope. Also I presume if a primary device fails to grip and the climber falls back to a blocking knot on a low stretch rope then there will be a greater impact on the gear and climber (I think I've read the shunt is at higher risk of breaking than other devices, perhaps a reason to use a free running maillon as a backup).

Note: I have no personal experience of any of these systems yet. My infrequently used top rope "system" accepts that one will fall some distance and involves clipping into successively higher fig of 8s......at least those are well tested for the purpose.

Post edited at 10:23
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 troybison 12 Oct 2020
In reply to Michael Gordon:

I use 2 different ascenders (Microtraxion at chest & Rollnlock at belay loop) as per Petzl advice. Works nice & smoothly as long as you keep going upwards! I can see why it wouldn't be suitable for people like Dave MacLeod who are working hard routes & need to keep descending to retry sections.

It's very difficult to release a loaded Microtraxion whereas the Shunt has a handle. Obviously there are safety implications to that such as the risk of grabbing the Shunt's handle in a fall or the handle tangling on something & being pulled.

This Andy Kirkpatrick article is good - he prefers the Shunt (or DMM Buddy) over toothed ascenders.

https://www.andy-kirkpatrick.com/blog/view/self-lining

Post edited at 11:27
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 alfmeister 12 Oct 2020
In reply to Michael Gordon:

As you say most likely the dynamic is available but also you can build up a fair bit of slack before you have chance to yard it through the gri gri

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 Ceiriog Chris 12 Oct 2020
In reply to Hooo:

> It's worth doing a search on here as there has been a lot of discussion about this. 

 

you don’t say

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 agent_smith 14 Oct 2020
In reply to Explorer-Jason:

Hello 'Explorer-Jason',
You'll find endless opinions and a bewildering array of 'recommended' configurations on this forum and other social media forums.
Here are some hard and potentially uncomfortable facts to consider:
1. The rope access industry has looked at the issue of fall-arrest devices on EN1891 low stretch ropes in great detail. You should look to this industry for advice.
2. Given that this forum appears to be geo located in the UK - IRATA is an excellent source of information on fall-arrest devices.
3. IRATA have struggled considerably with phasing out the Petzl Shunt from their training and assessment methodology, and also from their code of practice. Petzl no longer recommend the Shunt as a fall-arrest device - it took them a while to come around to this line of thinking because it meant reduction in sales (and also 'politics'). There is a huge installed user base of industrial rope access operators out in the wild who were originally trained and indoctrinated on the Petzl Shunt. Both Petzl and IRATA have had to be quite diplomatic to avoid upsetting their user base of customers.

Have a look at this technical paper - its reasonably well written and informative:
Link: https://www.heightec.com/app/uploads/Industrial-Rope-Access-Back-up-Devices-A-Review.pdf

Some additional comments:
1. Don't use toothed devices to arrest a free-fall on EN1891 human rated ropes.
Video link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4P5DX2mgPoM&

You'll hear endless arguments about this - but what is largely overlooked is the concept of a free-fall. A free-fall will result in hitting the ground or a ledge in the Earths gravity field. To stop this potentially damaging impact - your fall needs to be arrested. A lot of energy has to be converted and transferred to the rope. Body mass is a key factor and so is the condition and diameter of the rope. Many climbers have a body mass greater than 100kg (think about the implications of body mass). Regardless of what commentators may state, you cannot 100% eliminate the risk of a free-fall (such a risk is inherent to the activity and cannot be swept under the carpet). Most Standards documents define a free-fall as anything exceeding 600mm (which isn't much).

Most forum commentators neglect to mention things like 'hands-free' operation of the fall-arrest system. For example, you might be climbing up - but what if you want to reverse and down climb a short distance? Does the device need to be manipulated to 'reverse' it? Or, does the device require manipulation to travel 'up' the rope? The 'ideal' device would function fully hands-free (ie require no human manipulation whatsoever).

You also need to decide if you are going to use 1 rope or 2 ropes (there are no laws governing this (ie, you wont be arrested and prosecuted simply because you chose to use 1 rope) - its a personal choice based on your particular configuration. You'll also hear endless debates about 1 rope or 2 ropes. People who come from a rope access background will likely choose a 2 rope (dual) system.

And here is one more food for thought...
Think carefully about the human panic grab reaction - that is, what is the likelihood of instinctively trying to grasp your fall-arrest system in the event of a sudden fall?
This instinctive reaction is known as 'panic grabbing' - and can cause the device to be overridden (leading to device failure or malfunction).
Some might declare.... "I would never panic grab my device" blah blah blah... but the reality is somewhat different. Its a very important consideration... in that; if an instinctive panic grab could result in the device being overridden - then you should reconsider that device/system.

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 Michael Gordon 14 Oct 2020
In reply to agent_smith:

I am guilty of panic grabbing at times, but only the rope! The handy thing about the shunt is it follows you up the climb (slightly below waist level), not vice versa. If it was above you I could see more risk of grabbing it by accident. 

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 wbo2 14 Oct 2020
In reply to agent_smith: I think perhaps you underestimate how much people think about the concept of the free fall - else this thread wouldn't exist !

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