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Petzl Microtraxion for top rope soloing
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By Peter Stokes
From Them Thar Hills
Mar 5, 2013
Wall Street, Moab, UT

I've done many hundreds of TR solo pitches using Petzl devices with very little rope damage, and the key is not to get a lot of slack in the line above you (which is avoided by weighting the rope below you so it passes through the device easily). One thing I'll say, though, is I've found the Basic (ascender) better than the Mini-Trax for getting on and off the rope easily, not attaching incorrectly (upside down), and not dropping (has an extra hole for a leash/biner).


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By Locker
From Yucca Valley, CA
Mar 5, 2013
...

"the key is not to get a lot of slack in the line above you"



Yep!


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By wivanoff
Mar 5, 2013
High Exposure

Will S wrote:
You guys are nuts and paranoid


"Nuts" maybe. But "paranoid"?

I use a single 10+mm retired beater rope and a single ascender for self belayed TR. Most times I don't bother with a backup * - at least not at my local crags. But, I'm usually climbing some pretty easy/moderate routes. I usually tie my approach shoes on the rope to keep some tension so the ascender feeds nicely. If I'm doing this at the Gunks on the last pitch of some route I'll tie a knot in the end, rap down and when climbing back up I'll tie in with a Fig 8 on a bight from time to time.


* Disclaimer: ALWAYS use a backup. Just because I choose not to doesn't mean you should.


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By gary ohm
From Paso Robles
Mar 5, 2013

I use two mini-trax on separate strands of the same rope. This is way overkill in all likelihood. I am much more concerned with my rope being damaged by dragging over the same piece of rock on a lip or overhang than I am about the mini-trax's teeth. I also keep slack out of the line to the best of my ability.
I still try to think of the poor dirtbag big wall climbers in Yosemite. Most of them probably don't have rope sponsors, or real full time jobs. They have to use their gear to the fullest extent they can. If they trust two mini-trax's on a rope of tons and tons of routes, I think I should too for the comparatively minuscule amount of climbing I do...


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By teece303
From Highlands Ranch, CO
Mar 5, 2013
Aiding.

I agree, it does not seem to hurt the rope. Of course, my experience is limited.

But I've climbed on Locker's ancient rope with the Mini Traxions, and it is still humming along fine. And I think that rope is older than me! :-)

If slack builds up, as in a lot, you may sheath your rope. OK, but you're not dead! The only reason I really worry about the wear on the rope is I'm broke right now, so the older top rope line and the new lead line are all I have.


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By Unassigned User
Mar 5, 2013

Timothy.Klein wrote:
I agree, it does not seem to hurt the rope. Of course, my experience is limited. But I've climbed on Locker's ancient rope with the Mini Traxions, and it is still humming along fine. And I think that rope is older than me! :-) If slack builds up, as in a lot, you may sheath your rope. OK, but you're not dead! The only reason I really worry about the wear on the rope is I'm broke right now, so the older top rope line and the new lead line are all I have.


I agree - and I have 2 brand new ropes at $150 ea and $200 ea and don't REALLY wanna ruin either of them from a solo fall - tho I don't plan on getting THAT far ahead of any device anyway - but one never knows!


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By Locker
From Yucca Valley, CA
Mar 5, 2013
...

"I've climbed on Locker's ancient rope with the Mini Traxions, and it is still humming along fine"


It is finally getting a bit OLD.

I plan to retire it soon. Thinking maybe August 6, 2017 is about right.


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By Unassigned User
Mar 6, 2013

I agree...


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By Kelley Gilleran
From Sacramento, Ca
Sep 24, 2013

Tie the rope in the middle. Don't need two ropes. Assuming your pitch is half a rope long... but then you have to rap when you leave and retrieve your rope anyway. Extend the anchor with slings so it doesn't lie on any edges and attach one device to one side and the other to the other. Two devices, two lines, and if you tie a knot to each bolt on the anchor its more redundant. Weight the ends of the lines to ensure the rope hangs taut. Easy to rig the rap weight one unweight the other. The chances of everything failing at the same time is pretty low. I agree using a sling around your shoulder to maintain the slack in the system (Only really needed on the climbing side not the backup side) does limit the free fall distance to practically nothing. You will experience clean climbing without having to tend the line. You will also probably die using this method.


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By John Farley
Sep 24, 2013
Out In NV. Photo by D. Salazar

I just started using the Rock Exotica Soloist. While the device is not exactly intuitive, I like it better than a traxion setup.

So far no major problems, however the device leaves a lot to be desired.


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By Climber26
Sep 28, 2013

there john i removed my post for you if you were offended... i am sorry, just putting in my thought like everyone else does on this website. if people want to use the mini or even micro traxion to solo so be it. just please my rope soloing friends stack the odds in your favor. that all i'm saying.


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By David Coley
From UK
Oct 28, 2013

Daniel,
I've have used a mini- and micro-trax for over 1000 top rope solos. I have never had a problem with the teeth harming the rope. I have used it both for single pitches and when returning to the upper anchor when soloing leading with a silent partner or eddy.

Make sure you use an oval carabiner as stated by petzl. Don't fall off near anchors if at all possible. Use a backup knot. I use a piece of elastic around my neck to keep it upright.

On each and every pitch check that it holds your weight before you start climbing - one day you will attach it upside down.


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By Febs
Nov 6, 2013

David Coley wrote:
Don't fall off near anchors if at all possible.


Why this?
Is it less safe than falling everywhere else?

I am reading as much as I can about solo top-roping because I want to do in the safest possible way.

Thank you very much.


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By gary ohm
From Paso Robles
Nov 6, 2013

the closer to the anchors you fall, the more stress you put on the system. The further you are away from the anchors the more rope there is to stretch and absorb impact.

At least that's how I've always thought of it...


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By David Coley
From UK
Nov 6, 2013

Febs wrote:
Why this? Is it less safe than falling everywhere else? I am reading as much as I can about solo top-roping because I want to do in the safest possible way. Thank you very much.


If you fall near the anchor with slack in the rope you will create a higher force on the system as there will be little rope to absorb it. Most of the time this will be fine, but if you jumped off the belay ledge with a loop of rope between you and the anchor you could overload the trax. This is more of an issue with static ropes than dynamic.

So, keep the rope between you and anchor such that slack doesn't occur.


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By wivanoff
Nov 6, 2013
High Exposure

Febs wrote:
Why this? Is it less safe than falling everywhere else? I am reading as much as I can about solo top-roping because I want to do in the safest possible way. Thank you very much.


The common explanation is that there is less rope in the system to stretch and absorb the energy of your fall. That will put a higher load on your anchor and ascender.

I've never had a problem with it. But, most times, my anchors are to trees somewhat back from the edge of the cliff instead of bolt anchors over the lip.


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By WillamR
Nov 6, 2013

wivanoff wrote:
"Nuts" maybe. But "paranoid"? I use a single 10+mm retired beater rope and a single ascender for self belayed TR. Most times I don't bother with a backup * - at least not at my local crags. But, I'm usually climbing some pretty easy/moderate routes. I usually tie my approach shoes on the rope to keep some tension so the ascender feeds nicely. If I'm doing this at the Gunks on the last pitch of some route I'll tie a knot in the end, rap down and when climbing back up I'll tie in with a Fig 8 on a bight from time to time. * Disclaimer: ALWAYS use a backup. Just because I choose not to doesn't mean you should.


Wivanoff,

Do you happen to do tree work?

I think I met you this summer around the Uberfall.


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By wivanoff
Nov 6, 2013
High Exposure

WillamR wrote:
Wivanoff, Do you happen to do tree work? I think I met you this summer around the Uberfall.


No, I don't do tree work. But, it's possible we ran into each other at the Uberfall...I was there fairly often this summer. Weekdays mostly.


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By Febs
Nov 6, 2013

Brian Hudson wrote:
How about the new mechanized prusik? the Petzl Zigzag.


By the way!
Petzl Zig-Zag has been declared insecure and Petzl recalled it.

www.petzl.com/en/pro/news/safety-information/2013/04/22/safe>>>


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By Gunkiemike
Nov 6, 2013

David Coley wrote:
So, keep the rope between you and anchor such that slack doesn't occur.


A good way to do this is to anchor the TR rope well above the lip (yes, this is contrary to good TR practice!) if you can e.g. fix the rope back in the woods on the anchor tree. Pad the lip appropriately of course. You can get away with it since the rope is never moving over the edge, as it would be in a bad TR setup. More importantly, doing this avoids the very sketchy situation of topping out ABOVE the anchor with a self belay device. It's possible to take a very harsh fall (nominal Fall Factor >>2) if you fall off above the anchor, with the Traxion (or whatever) run up tight against the knot.


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