/ INTERVIEW: Pete Whittaker on his Rope Solo of El Cap

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UKC Articles - on 15 Nov 2016
Pete making the infamous “Hardest move on Rock," the tricky 11c move off Heart Ledge, 3.5hrs after leaving the ground, 3 kbEarlier this week we reported that Pete Whittaker had made an 'all-free' rope solo ascent of Freerider (5.12d) on El Capitan. The route took him just 20 hours and 6 minutes, smashing the previous fastest time of 4 days. Pete flashed the route in 2014, perhaps making it the ideal route for him to try alone. We caught up with Pete to ask him about his experience on the wall. We also tried to get some photos from him, but he left his phone on El Cap...

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Rob Parsons on 15 Nov 2016
In reply to UKC Articles:

"... in a passing conversation with Andy he released another gem of information to me, which I don’t think is that important to most rope soloists who aid climb. But it completely changed it for me, as I wanted to free climb. ..."

What was the 'gem'?

"Can you talk me through the systems that you use?
"Leading - I’ll fix the rope to the anchor, then use a solo device to attach myself to the rope. I call the device Mike, named after a very postive friend ..."

What was the device?
planetmarshall on 15 Nov 2016
In reply to Rob Parsons:

> "... in a passing conversation with Andy he released another gem of information to me, which I don’t think is that important to most rope soloists who aid climb. But it completely changed it for me, as I wanted to free climb. ..."

> What was the 'gem'?

Presumably not to bother tying back up knots if you're free climbing, which he mentions further down the page.
troybison - on 15 Nov 2016
In reply to Rob Parsons:
Re: What was the device?
Very probably a (Rock Exotica) Silent Partner as this is what Andy Kirkpatrick's book (Me, Myself & I) mostly recommends for big wall rope soloing.
I agree with planetmarshall that presumably the 'gem' meant not having a backup knot which means having a large rope cache-loop hanging below which has to be periodically re-tied.

Rob Parsons on 15 Nov 2016
In reply to troybison:

> Re: What was the device?

> Very probably a (Rock Exotica) Silent Partner ...

It'd be nice to have that confirmed. Those things aren't available to buy any more, so I was wondering if Pete had something else up his sleeve.

Nick Brown - UKC - on 15 Nov 2016
In reply to Rob Parsons:

Hi Rob,

It's definitely a Silent Partner - I'll add that into the article.

Thanks,

Nick
Rob Parsons on 15 Nov 2016
In reply to Nick Brown - UKC:

Thanks.
Blake - on 16 Nov 2016
In reply to UKC Articles:

Definitely a silent partner - I spoke to Pete in camp 4 right after he did it (he even had the silent partner in his hand and we spoke about it).
yodadave on 17 Nov 2016
In reply to Rob Parsons:

I can't believe they've discontinued the silent partner!!
a quick search revealed a youtube video claiming one had stopped working after 10 uses but prior to that I've never heard of issues. I wonder why? any idea of alternatives? do wren industries still exist?
beardy mike - on 17 Nov 2016
In reply to UKC Articles:

Have been wonering if the WC revo might be any good for roped soloing... but I would haver thought Pete would have thought of that seeing as he'll have been on the testing crew!
troybison - on 17 Nov 2016
In reply to yodadave:
> do wren industries still exist?
It's now Rock Exotica - http://www.rockexotica.com/silent-partner/
they make a lot of other climbing stuff - pulleys etc. Just says SP is discontinued.
Rob Parsons on 17 Nov 2016
In reply to troybison:


Not really. Rock Exotica has been around for a long time (I first heard of them in the late '80s), and previously made devices like the 'Soloist' and the 'Soloaid' - now also both discontinued I think.

Wren Industries - a distinct company - first manufactured the 'Silent Partner', but must then have transferred/sold the rights to Rock Exotica.

Edit: some related comment at http://www.supertopo.com/climbers-forum/719307/is-Wren-Industries-Silent-Partner-etc-defunct
Post edited at 18:13
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troybison - on 17 Nov 2016
In reply to Rob Parsons:

Rock Exotica owned the designs for the solo devices but then got bought out by Petzl but got Wren to manufacture the (smaller volume) solo devices which were then sold under that name eg Wren Soloist.
The founder,Rock Thompson, later bought himself out from Petzl & became independent again & Rock Exotica reappeared. See http://www.rockexotica.com/about-us/
Anyway, it's important not to confuse them with Rock Erotica ;)
https://www.amazon.com/Rock-Hard-Star-Musician-Erotica-ebook/dp/B00NR5LMZ2

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