UKC

/ Rope Soloing Setup

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samsmith on 12 Apr 2018

I recently saw the video of  Pete Whittaker rope soloing el cap and I can't figure out how he's doing it? What system is he using?

Rob Parsons on 12 Apr 2018
In reply to samsmith:

He's using a 'Silent Partner' device. They're no longer manufactured - but see https://www.rockexotica.com/media/wysiwyg/rockexotica/tn/silent-partner-tech-notice.pdf for the manual.

sor1n3l - on 13 Apr 2018
In reply to samsmith:

Well this also look similar to a marine pulley really but they are not actually meant to be used for climbing even if they are really powerful performers. I like the ones from Harken though (don't say I used them - not for sailing) but they are good.  You can buy them from http://www.harken.co.uk/ but they are bit pricey. Anyway, you can also get them from a chandlery. I get mines from https://www.foxschandlery.com/pulley-blocks-handling

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misterb - on 13 Apr 2018
In reply to sor1n3l:

Looks rather similar to the Revo belay device wildcountry have been trying to develop ??

 

routrax - on 13 Apr 2018
In reply to sor1n3l:

I think a pulley would be an interesting choice for a self belay device. Would certainly keep you focused on not falling off. 

Pretty sure Pete Whittaker used a silent partner though. 

sor1n3l - on 14 Apr 2018
In reply to routrax:

You are right! As said ... they are not designed for rock climbing but if we look over their specs they are really strong! Can easily hold a body weight. 

5
Tradical on 14 Apr 2018
In reply to sor1n3l:

A gurt big steel girder can take body weight, so can an IKEA desk, doesn't mean it's suitable as climbing gear, what are you on about?

3
routrax - on 14 Apr 2018
In reply to sor1n3l:

The silent partner looks like a pulley and acts like a pulley until you fall off, then its job is to suddenly not be a pulley and lock.

The rope is attached by a clove hitch which rolls when you are climbing, when you fall, the 'pulley' wheel locks (like a seat belt ratchet when you have a car accident) and the clove hitch tightens. 

Please don't use a pulley as a self belay device, no matter how good it is, it's not going to catch you! 

Post edited at 23:46
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d_b on 15 Apr 2018
In reply to misterb:

As far as I can tell the enthusiasm for the revo as a potential self belay device comes from a lot of wishful thinking and the observation that it is round.

Having said that I would still take it over a pully.

d_b on 15 Apr 2018
In reply to sor1n3l:

Re reading the thread I think everyone else has been too polite, so I will lay it out:

Words can not describe how bad this advice is.  If you attempt to follow it you will get maimed or killed.

Please do not offer any techical advice to anyone ever again.

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Stefan Jacobsen - on 16 Apr 2018
In reply to sor1n3l:

> You are right! As said ... they are not designed for rock climbing but if we look over their specs they are really strong! Can easily hold a body weight. 

During the exam for the single pitch award one guy came up with similar arguments regarding his equipment. He failed of course. 

deepsoup - on 16 Apr 2018
In reply to Stefan Jacobsen:

He wasn't trying to use a Harken pulley as a belay device as well was he?  I can see how a keen sailor with just enough imagination to be dangerous might think something like a 76mm Midrange Hexaratchet would be good for top-roping a bunch of kids.  (Rig it at the top, don't bother with a belay device at the bottom.)

Strong enough to hold bodyweight (or five-times-bodyweight) is not necessarily the same as strong enough to hold a fall of course.  Also, while the pulley itself is indeed very strong the ratchet mechanism is not.  If you take the thing to bits and have a look it's a worryingly delicate looking plastic pawl that engages teeth around the inside of the sheave.

Petzl have a new device in the pipeline, called the 'Maestro'.  It's a ferociously expensive cross between a progress-capture pulley and a descender, designed for rescue teams to use for hauling and lowering without the need to re-rig to go from one to the other.  I had a chance to play with one briefly a few months back, looks brilliant.  I don't know if it would be possible to (mis)use one of those for lead self-belay.  (No doubt it would almost certainly be a really bad idea.)

Rob Parsons on 16 Apr 2018
In reply to d_b:

> As far as I can tell the enthusiasm for the revo as a potential self belay device comes from a lot of wishful thinking and the observation that it is round.

There's genuine interest in its potential for roped soloing; why wouldn't there be?

 

d_b on 16 Apr 2018
In reply to Rob Parsons:

I agree that on ukc there has been little more than vague interest.  I was thinking of threads in a couple of other places where people have got a bit carried away...

A couple of people on mountainproject have tried it btw.  I got the impression it didn't really do what they wanted, and that the need to pull the dead rope to unlock made it problematic.  It's a beautiful machine though!

MischaHY - on 16 Apr 2018
In reply to d_b:

I've rope soloed couple of times with a Revo I got from work and have a mind to try it again with a bit more air under my feet and a backup rope. Climbing/clipping with it worked extremely well and got me very stoked. Falling was similar for the first three falls under the clip which resulted in a very quick lock. This was quickly supplanted with surprise at the first jump above a bolt (about 1 foot above) when I managed to hit my backup knot about 4 meters down. Needs to be tested more in a safe environment but certainly has great potential. 

Stefan Jacobsen - on 16 Apr 2018
In reply to deepsoup:

No, he intended to use a metal ring, he found on a forklift, instead of two opposing lockers in a toprope setup. Its capacity was imprinted and appeared to exceed body weight by a couple orders of magnitude. But it was neither UIAA or CE approved and thus not intended for climbing. I'm glad he failed his SPA. Climbing instructors giving advices to novices that anything goes, are dangerous, and even bad and dangerous advices on a forum or youtube might be followed if left undisputed.

d_b on 16 Apr 2018
In reply to MischaHY:

Have you used it much for "normal" belaying?  Do you think it adds much to the existing devices there?

MischaHY - on 16 Apr 2018
In reply to d_b:

It's certainly something else. It works well and makes it practically unlikely to drop anyone, moreso than semi-auto devices like the smart etc. I found it annoyingly heavy to belay with in a traditional fashion but it can be used in a similar style to a GriGri (rope looped through hand that is loosely holding the device) which makes things somewhat more comfortable. It also doesn't cope super well with skinny ropes on routes without much friction - I found it kept locking up when I didn't want it too whilst lowering but it depended on route and sometimes worked fine - perhaps I've just got used to lowering people fast with the likes of the Reverso and Jul 2 etc. 

If it came purely down to the belaying performance, I'd still take a grigri as it suits my purposes better - but extracurricular use makes it attractive from a rope solo perspective, and for people who are climbing trad or don't expect to be projecting (the lack of an easy lock function is frustrating) it is an excellent choice. It offers a softer catch than a GriGri IMO so should be better for trad in that respect as well. 

Personal choice for me is still GriGri or Jul 2 for sport projects, Reverso for training/laps/trad (fast lowering and soft catch) and a combo of the above for alpine multipitch/Verdon etc depending on how light/compact I want to go as the Jul 2 is a fair bit smaller than the GriGri and it's very nice having a semi-auto device when your partner is taking repeat falls of the 14th pitch after 10+ hours on the wall. That said, the AustriAlpin Fish is even better and lighter than the Jul 2 - I just don't have/need one. If they made one with guide mode I'd buy it in a heartbeat.  

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sor1n3l - on 19 Apr 2018
In reply to d_b:

Hi D B! Sorry I wasn't actually offering any technical advice to anyone and I DO NOT ADVICE using any of the marine pulley blocks to be used for climbing. It's true that you can find some of the gear u need into a local chandlery but let's not forget that a chandlery is not a place where they sell gear for climbing! They sell gear for sailing!! 

Post edited at 17:23

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