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By YuenglingTrad
From NOVA, VA
Dec 31, 2012
West side of the Crime Buttress, Foster Falls, TN. I forgot what the routes name or what grade it was.

Hello Mountain Project Community! I'm new so I'll introduce my self. I'm am a 26 year young male. The biggest passion in life is rock climbing. I've been doing it for about five years, not to long, and have had a blast every time I'm out. I've started top-roping, then to lead, and learning trad. I am really into being as safe as possible when climbing which brings me to why I am posting a new topic.

Before you go on about how it is dangerous not to have a partner, or how dangerous it is to self belay, I know, I've read tons and tons of other people's experiences of this matter. I also have read tons of posts where they start off by talking about self-belay with a Reverso, but it always gets sidetracked by individuals suggesting a Petzl mini-traxion, a modified Grigri, or something of the sort.

I don't have a problem purchasing any of these devices, but I would like to know if anyone has any experience or thoughts about using a Reverso while on self-belay. I have not gotten a chance to try out my setup, with a partner on backup belay, due to the weather. I am planning to use the Reverso attached to my harness on a fixed top-rope with bomber anchors placing a over hand on a bite for safety knots (since they can be tied one handed). From what I've read it's somewhat of a reliable system, with back-up knots, but I have not ran into a post where they can stay on topic. The only routes I am willing to try this on are routes where I can have a fixed top-rope. I enjoy the fact that you have to read the route and pull rope at strategic and safe places. I think this best simulates lead climbing on a self-belay setup. I also have a plan to self rescue if I were not able to complete the route by bringing prusiks and an extra belay device along.

After reading a lot of posts on this forum I respect the opinion of many climbers on this site. Please, I expect the same. Don't be mean. This may not be the ideal way to do things but I am just trying to add to the ever growing book of skill sets that I have for climbing. Please keep this a discussion, not a lecture. I look forward to the conversation! Thanks in advance!


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By Finn the Human
From The Land of Ooo
Dec 31, 2012
Mathematical!

Sure it would work, but talk about a pain in the neck...


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By Matt N
From Santa Barbara, CA
Dec 31, 2012
OTL

Taylor Ogden wrote:
Sure it would work, but talk about a pain in the neck...


Yeah, simply not the way to go.

If you want to TR self belay, look into other setups.


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By javi
From saint george area
Dec 31, 2012
Javi at cerebrus

Check out brasovia.com ushba ascender copies ( get 2) ive only used ushba but these look spot on and will work like a charm for tr soloing they work by bending the rope instead of teeth and they just go with you when you climb


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By John Wilder
From Las Vegas, NV
Dec 31, 2012

In guide mode and not in atc mode, i guess. sure wouldnt want to take a fall on it as the braking friction is supplied by the rope being rubbed against itself. any fall you did take would, at a minimum, give you a glazed sheath and at a maximum, a core shot (or worse).

i think that, at a minimum, your backup knots should be tied on a separate line if you choose to use this system.


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By YuenglingTrad
From NOVA, VA
Dec 31, 2012
West side of the Crime Buttress, Foster Falls, TN. I forgot what the routes name or what grade it was.

John Wilder wrote:
In guide mode and not in atc mode, i guess. sure wouldnt want to take a fall on it as the braking friction is supplied by the rope being rubbed against itself. any fall you did take would, at a minimum, give you a glazed sheath and at a maximum, a core shot (or worse). i think that, at a minimum, your backup knots should be tied on a separate line if you choose to use this system.


Isn't that what the device was designed for? I wouldn't think that it would do that if it were set up in normal reverso mode when belaying someone from the top.

If I were to use a separate rope for my backup knots what is the best way that you think would work?


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By Healyje
Dec 31, 2012
girl40

YuenglingTrad wrote:
I also have read tons of posts where they start off by talking about self-belay with a Reverso...


Hmmm, I've seen maybe two "start off by talking about self-belay with a Reverso" and this is the second one. And when you say "self belay" I hope you mean TR soloing vs. free, lead rope soloing. Regardless, there is a reason "it always gets sidetracked", that's because we're always trying to keep folks uninjured and alive so please consider the possibility it might be best to heed that advice.

In fact, when you see folks again and again suggesting any xyz technique isn't the way to go, there's generally some pretty sound reasoning around why that is.


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By austin luper
From Fayetteville
Dec 31, 2012
shes a beaut

you'll get more burned out belaying yourself than climbing....seriously

besides that it works good. id use a typical tr rope solo set up climbing with the device on one line and figure 8's every 3 feet to clip into for back up. tying them as you climb would suck badly with the reverso


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By wivanoff
Dec 31, 2012
High Exposure

YuenglingTrad wrote:
Before you go on about how it is dangerous not to have a partner, or how dangerous it is to self belay, I know, I've read tons and tons of other people's experiences of this matter.

It would be hypocritical for people who do it to tell you not to do it. You want advice from those of us who actually do this regularly. Not from people who have never done it and jump in to give you the full benefit of their inexperience.

YuenglingTrad wrote:
I also have read tons of posts where they start off by talking about self-belay with a Reverso, but it always gets sidetracked by individuals suggesting a Petzl mini-traxion, a modified Grigri, or something of the sort.

There are reasons for that. I might use a Reverso or ATC-Guide to ascend the rope. But I'd never use either of those to self-belay.

YuenglingTrad wrote:
I don't have a problem purchasing any of these devices, but I would like to know if anyone has any experience or thoughts about using a Reverso while on self-belay.

Besides don't do it?
Be safe(er). Get a device that's a better fit for what you want to do. It's going to be a PITA to climb with the setup you describe.

My personal choice is to use a Gibbs Ascender that I tie directly to my harness with three passes of 7mm cord and a EDK on the tails. I like having a "soft" connection where I don't worry about crossloading a carabiner. You cannot do that with some other ascenders. Other people have other methods that are equally valid.

You say you've done the research. My advice would be to get a device based on your research. You'll enjoy the solo climbing much more if you don't have to futz with the Reverso.


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By John Wilder
From Las Vegas, NV
Dec 31, 2012

YuenglingTrad wrote:
Isn't that what the device was designed for? I wouldn't think that it would do that if it were set up in normal reverso mode when belaying someone from the top. If I were to use a separate rope for my backup knots what is the best way that you think would work?


No. Its designed for top rope use with a close belay. Any fall you'd take on it (even on TR) would effectively amount to a lead fall in forces.

Listen to Healyje- he probably has logged more pitches solo than anyone else on here.


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By YuenglingTrad
From NOVA, VA
Dec 31, 2012
West side of the Crime Buttress, Foster Falls, TN. I forgot what the routes name or what grade it was.

Healyje wrote:
Hmmm, I've seen maybe two "start off by talking about self-belay wih a Reverso" and this is the second one. And when you say "self belay" I hope you mean TR soloing vs. free, lead rope soloing. Regardless, there is a reason "it always gets sidetracked", that's because we're always trying to keep folks uninjured and alive so please consider the possibility it might be best to heed that advice. In fact, when you see folks again and again suggesting any xyz technique isn't the way to go, there's generally some pretty sound reasoning around why that is.


I do mean top-rope soloing. I do appreciate the advice, I think that there are way too many people that under educated in climbing out there not asking questions that get hurt. This is not my preference, I like having a partner, but I like to learn different techniques with the gear that I have incase I were to need it.


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By Jeff J
From Bozeman
Dec 31, 2012

It totaly doable to a TR solo with a reverso, but it sucks balls. it feeds like crap and its more work than you would really want to do. You have to climb a bit than pull the rope through, climb pull, climb pull and it is a lot of work.

I use a micro Traxion, its small compact and feeds way better than the mini. I use one for TR solo ice, I rarely have to think about the device being "there" while climbing it is that smooth. it just slids up the rope, a fall is maybe 1 foot with the slack the carabiner that attaches the device to your harness and rope stretch.


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By MTKirk
From Billings, MT
Dec 31, 2012
Me on Supercrack

I hate to admit it but I have actually used an ATC Guide for top rope self-belay. I used it in a inefficient, potentially dangerous way that I won't describe. You can see the method described here for self-belay lead www.mountainz.co.nz/content/article/article.php?article=2204>>> For self belay top rope it works the same way, the difference being the anchor is above you instead of at the base of the route.

Top rope self belay is my main mode of climbing. In season I climb three or more days a week for two to four hours on self belay top rope. Not that I'm a great climber or anything, it's just my preferred form of exercise (beats the hell out of jogging!) I've tried many devices including:
ATC Guide
Various Friction knots (a Bachmann can work as well as most of the devices & costs next to nothing)
Handled Ascender
Petzel Mini-traxion
Petzel Microscender
Petzel Gri-Gri
Trango Cinch

Conclusions:
Eventually they will all let you down so you must have a back up.
If you don't dial them in perfectly, the toothy ones will cost you a fortune in ropes.
The friction knots and the Microscender are easier on the rope, but fuzz them up making them feed horribly through belay devices.
Petzel Gri-Gri is easy on rope, easy switch to rappel, feed- not the greatest.
Trango Cinch is easy on rope, easy to switch to rappel (but gets really hot rapping), feed is awesome (if you put the lever on the right, contrary to manufacturers instructions-these also say not to use the device for top rope self belay).

I began to realize the safest method is to have a separate line hanging down from the anchor that you periodically clip into (see Petzel diagrams www.petzl.com/us/outdoor/product-experience/self-belay-solo->>> the single device two ropes version). Sometime later I came to the conclusion that the device is actually not needed at all (of course no equipment manufacturer is going to tell you this). Sufficient redundancy and safety (at least from my perspective) is achieved by having two lanyards secured to your harness, at the ends of these lanyards should be two LOCKING carabiners. As you climb you simply clip a lanyard into a loop in the rope (either pre-tied or tie as you go) as high as you can reach. Don't unclip the lower carabiner until you have the next carabiner clipped in, you are always connected to the rope with at least one locking carabiner at all times. www.mountainproject.com/images/40/9/107924009_large_d97a3c.j>>>

WARNING!!

Use of any roped climbing system (particularly the knot and rope top rope self belay system described here) can expose you to potentially lethal fall forces. Unless you have a thorough understanding of the concept of fall factor, and how to control it in a roped climbing system STICK TO BOULDERING!


Most of the time I don't use any device, that way I can down climb (and re-climb as many times as I want) the route without having to stop, great aerobic workout! Sometimes I pre-tie the knots (if you do that on slab the rope gets abraded where the knots contact the rock). When I'm working on a red-point I tie the knots on the go (one handed AlpineButterfly) when I can do a route this way I know I'm ready to find a belayer and go for the lead.

For my lanyard I use about seven feet of dynamic climbing rope (I cut it from clean sections of the ropes I ruined with my Mini-Traxion). I tie the middle of the rope section to my harness with a Bowline on a Bight (you can use a figure eight re-thread, it's just a little tricky to tie in this situation). I secure locking carabiners (Twist locks that can be operated with one hand and key-lock noses are nice) to both ends with a Double Fisherman's loop knot. This also makes a superb PAS system (if you're into that sort of thing).

My two cents? Skip the device and climb the knotted rope for a while (Tie your rope in half and keep another strand for rapping off or jugging up if needed). Once you get this dialed in try whatever device you like on the other strand, just realize it's a convenience device and your true belay is coming from the rope you are clipped into.


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By YuenglingTrad
From NOVA, VA
Jan 2, 2013
West side of the Crime Buttress, Foster Falls, TN. I forgot what the routes name or what grade it was.

Thank you for all of the info on this topic!

I think that I'm going to go out and try it. I'll have a backup belay just in case something goes wrong. I'm going to set up the Reverso on my harness with a BD Grid Lock so there is less chance of cross loading. Fixed ropes with one having pre-tied figure 8's like MTKirk suggested. I'll post when I can about my results...but I'm expecting a PITA. Either way, I'll be outside on a wall...what's better than that?

Thanks again for all your comments!


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By YuenglingTrad
From NOVA, VA
Jan 9, 2013
West side of the Crime Buttress, Foster Falls, TN. I forgot what the routes name or what grade it was.

Hello all!

I finally got the chance to get outside and try a couple different setups. I'll keep this short and sweet to try and avoid all the told ya so's. :) Self-Belay with a Reverso is totally possible but only on a fixed top rope system in my opinion.

This was my setup: Top rope set up with the middle of the rope at the anchor tied off with a figure eight on a bite. This gave me two static (on a dynamic rope) lines. One of these lines I had pre-tied figure eights approximately a body length apart from one another in places where it would be possible to clip on my particular route. I did this by repelling from the top on the other line with the Reverso and a prussic backup (so I could tie the knots). Once at the bottom I set up the Reverso in guide mode clipped to my harness tie in points with a Black Diamond Grid Lock carabineer to try and prevent cross loading. I then girth hitched two shoulder length slings to my belay loop with wire gates at the end.

Climbing with this setup was a little scary at first, but I got used to it. Operation was pretty simple. I climbed to where I would usually clip like on a sport route, clip the pre-tied rope with my draw that's girth hitched to my harness, pull rope, climb, clip with the other draw, pull rope, un-clip the previous draw, and continue climbing repeating the cycle until the top.

Here is the but...it was a PITA, fun, but a PITA. haha You guys were right just as I expected for you to be, but I had to try it! I did take a lot of test falls, Reverso held every time. I didn't see any damage to my rope such as glazing or tearing up the sheath. But I would almost have to insist that if someone were to try this that they use some sort of locking carabineer to clip into the rope as they went. Also, use a Grid Lock or similar device to help prevent cross-loading at the Reverso. After taking all of the test falls that I did, I saw the possibility of the rope coming unclipped from the backup line if the Reverso was to fail. I wasnít too worried, I had a backup belay. MTKirk did have a good point about fall factor that I had not taken into consideration before. In a fixed system with knots there can be high fall factors, especially if you fall a distance near the top. A friend also brought this up at the gym one day, which brings me to another question.

Those of you that do this sort of thing including GriGriís or any self-belay device, do you worry about high fall factors? I was, especially really close to the anchors (I never fell near the top). Do you retire ropes quicker than if you were not soloing? These questions are really for those that use a static (on a dynamic rope) line, but any input is appreciated.

Thanks again! Oh and ya, I bought a GriGri the next dayÖ



  • **The activity detailed in this thread is dangerous and can KILL you. Get training and have back up on backups when learning!!***


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By Larry S
Jan 9, 2013
The wife and I road-trippin on the Connie.

Rather than figure 8's on your backup line, you should use an Alpine Butterfly, the figure 8's aren't meant for that kind of loading.


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By wivanoff
Jan 9, 2013
High Exposure

YuenglingTrad wrote:
....which brings me to another question. Those of you that do this sort of thing including GriGriís or any self-belay device, do you worry about high fall factors? I was, especially really close to the anchors (I never fell near the top). Do you retire ropes quicker than if you were not soloing?


I'm not clear on what you mean by "a static (on a dynamic rope) line"

I don't worry about high fall factors. Typically, I tie the rope to an anchor far back from the edge and pad it. By the time I get to the top there is still rope going to the anchor. Since I tie my ascender in very close to my harness, there's not much chance for a high FF anyway.

I do not retire ropes quicker. Typically, I use a rope that I've retired from leading and just TR on.

- Bill


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By wivanoff
Jan 9, 2013
High Exposure

Larry S wrote:
Rather than figure 8's on your backup line, you should use an Alpine Butterfly, the figure 8's aren't meant for that kind of loading.


No? Perhaps you should tie into your harness with an Alpine Butterfly?


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By Larry S
Jan 9, 2013
The wife and I road-trippin on the Connie.

wivanoff wrote:
No? Perhaps you should tie into your harness with an Alpine Butterfly?


The figure 8 can capsize when the tails are pulled opposite directions, which is what happens when you've got a bunch of them tied going up the rope, that's the reason it not used to join rappel ropes. It won't kill you in this situation, but you might get some unwanted extension. The alpine butterfly is a better knot in this situation, it's meant to have the tails pulled apart.


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By wivanoff
Jan 9, 2013
High Exposure

Larry S wrote:
The figure 8 can capsize when the tails are pulled opposite directions, which is what happens when you've got a bunch of them tied going up the rope, that's the reason it not used to join rappel ropes. It won't kill you in this situation, but you might get some unwanted extension. The alpine butterfly is a better knot in this situation, it's meant to have the tails pulled apart.


Yeah, you're right. Until you posted that, I was thinking inline Figure 8 for this application.


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By Larry S
Jan 9, 2013
The wife and I road-trippin on the Connie.

wivanoff wrote:
Yeah, you're right. Until you posted that, I was thinking inline Figure 8 for this application.


Yeah, the inline figure 8 works too, haven't seen too many people use that one though.

For reference: Inline figure 8 And Alpine Butterfly


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By YuenglingTrad
From NOVA, VA
Jan 9, 2013
West side of the Crime Buttress, Foster Falls, TN. I forgot what the routes name or what grade it was.

Larry S wrote:
Rather than figure 8's on your backup line, you should use an Alpine Butterfly, the figure 8's aren't meant for that kind of loading.


The figure eights are fine, the ends are not getting pulled apart like you think. There is only one side of the rope getting loaded both at the anchor and on the back up line if I were to use it.

wivanoff wrote:
I'm not clear on what you mean by "a static (on a dynamic rope) line


There is a figure eight on a bite at the anchor to prevent the rope from traveling through the carabineer. So there are two lines hanging from the anchor that can not move (Static). The rope is a dynamic.

Figure eight on a bite at the anchor.
Figure eight on a bite at the anchor.
sorry the pic isn't all that great.


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By FrankPS
From Atascadero, CA
Jan 9, 2013

YuenglingTrad wrote:
The figure eights are fine, the ends are not getting pulled apart like you think. There is only one side of the rope getting loaded both at the anchor and on the back up line if I were to use it.


I think you missed the point. Both strands of rope coming out of the figure eight on a bight are getting pulled apart on all the ones above the one you are hanging on (if you end up hanging on one of the backup knots). Like he said, it's not a big deal, but you should understand the concept.


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By wivanoff
Jan 10, 2013
High Exposure

YuenglingTrad wrote:
The figure eights are fine, the ends are not getting pulled apart like you think. There is only one side of the rope getting loaded both at the anchor and on the back up line if I were to use it.

As mentioned by FrankPS, the knots ABOVE you ARE pulled apart. Is this a big deal in your application? Probably not. But, you should know that the Fig 8 knot loaded in this manner could capsize at pretty low loads. Sometimes less than 500 lbs. EDK 8 testing

As Larry S mentioned, that's why it is not used to join ropes for rappelling. In your case, IF the Fig 8 capsized, you would feel a "pop" and fall further before being caught. Maybe not a big deal. However, not understanding this concept when tying ropes together for rappelling could be fatal.

@Larry S: My initial response to you was snarky. Sorry about that. When I do actually use a backup line, I've tied Inline Fig 8s and kind of assumed everyone else did the same. I should have thought more about what other people MIGHT do. Up until recently, I've found the Inline 8 to be easier to tie than the Alpine Butterfly. Seeing this method changed my mind on that

YuenglingTrad wrote:
There is a figure eight on a bite at the anchor to prevent the rope from traveling through the carabineer. So there are two lines hanging from the anchor that can not move (Static). The rope is a dynamic.


OK. That's what I thought you meant. Maybe do a little research about using the climbing rope to tie in on multipitch anchors verses using a static sling. I know it's not exactly the same thing as you're describing but I think it will be helpful to you as far as what's really static and what's really dynamic. It might ease your mind concerning high fall factors in your application.


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By YuenglingTrad
From NOVA, VA
Jan 10, 2013
West side of the Crime Buttress, Foster Falls, TN. I forgot what the routes name or what grade it was.

FrankPS wrote:
I think you missed the point. Both strands of rope coming out of the figure eight on a bight are getting pulled apart on all the ones above the one you are hanging on (if you end up hanging on one of the backup knots). Like he said, it's not a big deal, but you should understand the concept.


Ah you know your right, I am very familiar with the alpine butterfly. I'll use it next time. Glad I didn't have to use the back up line.

wivanoff wrote:
OK. That's what I thought you meant. Maybe do a little research about using the climbing rope to tie in on multipitch anchors verses using a static sling. I know it's not exactly the same thing as you're describing but I think it will be helpful to you as far as what's really static and what's really dynamic. It might ease your mind concerning high fall factors in your application.


I'm trying to learn about multi-pitch this season. I've never done it, and can't wait to get some experiance.


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By MTKirk
From Billings, MT
Jan 10, 2013
Me on Supercrack

YuenglingTrad wrote:
Hello all! I finally got the chance to get outside and try a couple different setups. I'll keep this short and sweet to try and avoid all the told ya so's. :) Self-Belay with a Reverso is totally possible but only on a fixed top rope system in my opinion. This was my setup: Top rope set up with the middle of the rope at the anchor tied off with a figure eight on a bite. This gave me two static (on a dynamic rope) lines.


Your use of the word "static" is confusing people, in climber-speak we refer to this as a "Fixed" line.

YuenglingTrad wrote:
One of these lines I had pre-tied figure eights approximately a body length apart from one another in places where it would be possible to clip on my particular route. I did this by repelling from the top on the other line with the Reverso and a prussic backup (so I could tie the knots).


If you're going to pre-tie the knots why not just tie them while you're safely at the anchor and lower the rope after they're tied? Also learn how to tie a mule to lock off your Reverso, people die from relying on friction hitch rappel back-ups (yes they do have their place).

YuenglingTrad wrote:
I then girth hitched two shoulder length slings to my belay loop with wire gates at the end.


Next time you do this make sure you have a dynamic Y-lanyard. Make your own from climbing rope or get one of these www.petzl.com/en/pro/restraint-and-work-positioning-lanyards>>>

DON"T USE WIREGATES!!! when clipped into rope loops they have an annoying habit of un-clipping themselves, you MUST USE LOCKING CARABINERS!!! preferably ones with a high crossload rating.


YuenglingTrad wrote:
I did take a lot of test falls, Reverso held every time.


Try a test fall with your body in a near horizontal position (under a roof, or climbing a steep section) your results will be different! Also a PITA to unlock the thing after a fall isn't it?

YuenglingTrad wrote:
After taking all of the test falls that I did, I saw the possibility of the rope coming unclipped from the backup line if the Reverso was to fail.


How could this happen if you used locking carabiners?

YuenglingTrad wrote:
Those of you that do this sort of thing including GriGriís or any self-belay device, do you worry about high fall factors?


Yes fall factor is always on my mind when using a rope. First thing; next time you do this make sure you have a dynamic Y-lanyard.
If there is any chance of a fall, Don't climb higher than the top of your dynamic rope. This, and your dynamic lanyards will limit your maximum fall to a factor one (painful, but survivable, most of your equipment can handle this-even a cross loaded locking biner).
Anchors are another matter. Belay anchors with pitches above them are generally designed for worst case factor two falls (we hope), so you'll likely be OK with these. I'm extremely cautious about using anchors that are in single pitch crag areas, a lot of bolters tell themselves "it's only for top roping or rapping, it doesn't need to be that strong". I will almost always back up in these cases (tree, boulder, trad pro). If a crux is at the top of the route right next to the anchor, consider building an upward anchor and using the top anchor as a redirect (uses twice as much rope but gives really cushy catches).

I don't see the figure eights being a problem, even if they do pop it would probably do nothing besides soften your catch (I tie my alpine butterflys loose for this reason). That said, the Alpine butterfly is a much better knot in this application. It uses less rope, can be tied one handed, and is much easier to untie after being loaded.

In case you haven't heard this yet
YER GONNA DIE!!!


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