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soloist for leading trad???
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By Doug Wolfe
From NJ
Dec 15, 2012

Well I just got my soloist last week and finally a chance to use it today on a sport route.. So I tried it out and took about a 6' whipper about 30-35' up the route. Holy shit was that a hard catch! I was wondering if anyone has used the soloist for leading trad??? It seems like it would be super complicated setting up the anchor so it doesn't zipper.. Any experince anyone???
I'm by no means gonna try seems like too much shit could go wrong..


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By 20 kN
From Hawaii
Dec 15, 2012

D.E.W. wrote:
Well I just got my soloist last week and finally a chance to use it today on a sport route.. So I tried it out and took about a 6' whipper about 30-35' up the route. Holy shit was that a hard catch! I was wondering if anyone has used the soloist for leading trad??? It seems like it would be super complicated setting up the anchor so it doesn't zipper.. Any experince anyone??? I'm by no means gonna try seems like too much shit could go wrong..

I have soloed aid. Adding a screamer to your anchor at the bottom will create for a softer catch, but at the expense of $30 per fall. But this is kind of the nature of the beast, completely static belays suck. You can try to offset this a bit by using a very dynamic rope such as one manufactured by Beal.


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By Keith Noback
Dec 15, 2012

There is some advice somewhere online better than mine, but for what it's worth, I used to use a clove hitch on multi-directional pieces (tricam in a horizontal for instance) to backup the anchor. I only ever took one big fall, about a 20 footer, on that system. It worked and the catch was pretty soft due to rope slippage through the cloves and at the cam in the device. The cam glazed the sheath bad enough that I got rid of the rope afterwards. Best not to fall on such a system, IMHO.


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By DannyUncanny
From Vancouver
Dec 15, 2012

20 kN wrote:
I have soloed aid. Adding a screamer to your anchor at the bottom will create for a softer catch, but at the expense of $30 per fall. But this is kind of the nature of the beast, completely static belays suck. You can try to offset this a bit by using a very dynamic rope such as one manufactured by Beal.

I think a kong load limiter would make a lot more sense in that situation.


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By Unassigned User
Dec 15, 2012

I did it for years, never took a whipper and wouldn't want to.


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By Ed Wright
Dec 15, 2012
Magic Ed

Used a Soloist extensively for leading trad but never took any long falls. Nowadays I only use it for aid climbing while bolting on lead.


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By Doug Wolfe
From NJ
Dec 15, 2012

Yeah for a rope solo I use the microcender as well backed with a wild country ropeman. I thought about using the microcender for leading on a sport route but I got a little worried that the little aluminum arm might break with any kind of shock load.
Ok so that's good so when I'm ready to do a solo trad lead I won't have to buy yet another gadget to learn how to use.

Kong load limiter will for sure be something I will be looking into
Next...


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By csproul
From Rancho Cordova, CA
Dec 16, 2012
Summit of Wolf's Head with Pingora in the background

I regularly use a soloist for leading trad. Most any soloing device can give a hard catch since the anchor is fixed...ie there is no active belayer to "give". Use a screamer, or a counter weight haulbag (still fixed to the anchor of course). Or be sure not to fall or not to fall until there is lots of rope out.


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By MTKirk
From Billings, MT
Dec 16, 2012
Me on Supercrack

The Montana Grip of Death

Here's the method I use to obtain a soft catch for lead rope solo. You need an ATC, a locking 'biner for the ATC, one special prusik cord (larger than normal; 7 or 8mm) to hold the brake end, a 'biner to clip the thick prusik into the climbing rope, a regular prusik for first piece, & the ability to tie a couple of knots.

It takes a bit of experimentation to dial in the friction knot holding the brake end. I use a single turn of 8mm nylon on most ropes, when you have it right you can pull the rope through the friction knot with just a fair amount of force (less than you think at first). Usually I have 3 or 4 feet of slack in the bight. The prusik on the first piece keeps the whole thing from becoming a tangled mess & also keeps your anchor pieces correctly aligned. I recommend setting this first piece, & the prusik to hold the rope snug, before you leave the ground.

The worst thing that can happen with the system is that you don't add enough friction and you extend your fall the length of the bight (3 or 4 feet). Just keep that in mind when factoring in ground fall or ledges.

The biggest fall I have taken this system was 10' +/- on about 40' of rope. The friction knot stuck & held after about 2 feet of rope had slid through the ATC, and the catch felt like a normal lead fall.

I've used a Bag filled with rocks tied with some slack between myself & the anchor. Works pretty good, just kind of a hassle, & a little bouncy rapping down.

I don't use a special device for roped solo lead climbing, I just clip into clove hitches in the rope with locking 'biners hanging from my harness (attached with dynamic climbing rope). That way I don't have to worry about my device malfunctioning.

MT Grip of Death
MT Grip of Death


MT Grip of Death, deployed
MT Grip of Death, deployed


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By Unassigned User
Dec 16, 2012

interesting approach MTK thanks for sharing


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By Unassigned User
Dec 16, 2012

I should add that a close friend of mine took an 80 foot fall to a ledge in Yosemite while using the soloist(aid gear ripped). After he hit the ledge it did catch him and he was able to self rescue.

People in Camp 4 had to pull pieces of his walkman (yes it was in the walkman days) out of his ass cheek with pliers.


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By Nick Votto
Dec 16, 2012
Bolton, VT

I've lead trad on the soloist many times, haven't fallen though....I can say it works great and the system isn't overly complicated, just start on easy ground...


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By Jim Titt
From Germany
Dec 17, 2012

MTKirk wrote:
The Montana Grip of Death Here's the method I use to obtain a soft catch for lead rope solo. You need an ATC, a locking 'biner for the ATC, one special prusik cord (larger than normal; 7 or 8mm) to hold the brake end, a 'biner to clip the thick prusik into the climbing rope, a regular prusik for first piece, & the ability to tie a couple of knots. It takes a bit of experimentation to dial in the friction knot holding the brake end. I use a single turn of 8mm nylon on most ropes, when you have it right you can pull the rope through the friction knot with just a fair amount of force (less than you think at first). Usually I have 3 or 4 feet of slack in the bight. The prusik on the first piece keeps the whole thing from becoming a tangled mess & also keeps your anchor pieces correctly aligned. I recommend setting this first piece, & the prusik to hold the rope snug, before you leave the ground. The worst thing that can happen with the system is that you don't add enough friction and you extend your fall the length of the bight (3 or 4 feet). Just keep that in mind when factoring in ground fall or ledges. The biggest fall I have taken this system was 10' +/- on about 40' of rope. The friction knot stuck & held after about 2 feet of rope had slid through the ATC, and the catch felt like a normal lead fall. I've used a Bag filled with rocks tied with some slack between myself & the anchor. Works pretty good, just kind of a hassle, & a little bouncy rapping down. I don't use a special device for roped solo lead climbing, I just clip into clove hitches in the rope with locking 'biners hanging from my harness (attached with dynamic climbing rope). That way I don't have to worry about my device malfunctioning.


I replace the ATC with an Italian Hitch/Munter and the Prusik with my rucksack with the spare gear, water etc.


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By Healyje
Dec 17, 2012
girl40

Jim Titt wrote:
I replace the ATC with an Italian Hitch/Munter and the Prusik with my rucksack with the spare gear, water etc.


I would just replace the cloves with a device as just too slow and the ATC with with a screamer or Kong Kisa.

P.S. Be aware the Soloist may fail if you fall in a horizontal orientation (and has).


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By Doug Wolfe
From NJ
Dec 17, 2012

Yeah I think I've herd enough about the soloist failing. I'm going to look more into the atc method starting tonight in my basement.
Thanks for all the great info.


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By Stich
From Colorado Springs, Colorado
Dec 17, 2012
Coffee after freezing our asses off near James Peak.

I used to have a Soloist and my friend has the Silent Partner. I think the extra money for the SP is worth the piece of mind. I only used my Soloist for aiding.


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By MTKirk
From Billings, MT
Dec 17, 2012
Me on Supercrack

Jim Titt wrote:
I replace the ATC with an Italian Hitch/Munter and the Prusik with my rucksack with the spare gear, water etc.


Great idea to use the Munter! I experimented with weighting the brake strand with the ATC system. Results were inconsistent. I think because varying the angle of the ATC changed the amount of friction. The Munter, being self aligning, probably wouldn't be affected. I will have to experiment some more.


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By MTKirk
From Billings, MT
Dec 17, 2012
Me on Supercrack

Healyje wrote:
I would just replace the cloves with a device as just too slow and the ATC with with a screamer or Kong Kisa. P.S. Be aware the Soloist may fail if you fall in a horizontal orientation (and has).


I'd love to try the Kong Kisa in this & other applications. Have you fallen on one? How'd it feel? Did you tie it on a separate line between two loops?

I find I'm as fast with the clove hitches as with a device, paranoia about the the thing not working slows me down to a crawl while I quadruple check everything & tremble with fear ;)


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By slim
Administrator
Dec 17, 2012
tomato, tomotto, kill mike amato.

Healyje wrote:
I would just replace the cloves with a device as just too slow and the ATC with with a screamer or Kong Kisa. P.S. Be aware the Soloist may fail if you fall in a horizontal orientation (and has).


i did a handfull of tests with a loaded haulbag to simulate traversing falls with the soloist in the late 90's or early 2000's and it failed miserably. also, it doesn't catch very consistently on slab falls (the jerk rate isn't able to engage the cam). for this reason i quit using it.


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By Ed Wright
Dec 17, 2012
Magic Ed

Soloist won't fail if you put the back-up knots in the rope as you're supposed to.


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By slim
Administrator
Dec 17, 2012
tomato, tomotto, kill mike amato.

why not just dispense with the dead weight then?


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By nbrown
From western NC
Dec 17, 2012
Top of Shortoff with the Bonsai

"i did a handfull of tests with a loaded haulbag to simulate traversing falls with the soloist in the late 90's or early 2000's and it failed miserably. also, it doesn't catch very consistently on slab falls (the jerk rate isn't able to engage the cam). for this reason i quit using it."



Slim, it sounds like you're describing the silent partner? I had a lot of problems with that unit myself, which is why I went back to using the soloist. With the soloist, it's the angle in which the rope runs through the device/cam relative to the angle of the rock that is relevant with it's ability to catch. I do a lot of solo climbing on slab and it's definitely something that is always in the back of my mind. It's easily demonstrated on low angle slab when just hanging in a vertical orientation will disengage the device.

As Ed said, tie back up knots. The crux on hard routes is timing the knots so that they can be unclipped from the best stances and not in the middle of the crux sequences.

Also, for aid (I do a lot of mixed aid and free) I just unclip the soloist from my chest (clip a biner through the hole), then let it hang. That, in theory, will prevent the chest harness from disengaging the unit if you fall upside down. But you'll have to manually feed the rope (not a problem with aid). This isn't perfect but it's good for routes that involve mostly free with some aid.


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By Healyje
Dec 17, 2012
girl40

MTKirk wrote:
I'd love to try the Kong Kisa in this & other applications. Have you fallen on one? How'd it feel? Did you tie it on a separate line between two loops? I find I'm as fast with the clove hitches as with a device, paranoia about the the thing not working slows me down to a crawl while I quadruple check everything & tremble with fear ;)


I haven't, I use a screamer in a loop off the anchor when I'm concerned about it which isn't often.

I've free lead rope-soloed with cloves and it is anything but fast. With my Eddy I do pitches at somewhere between quarter to a third faster than I do them with partners and we generally move pretty fast as is. I also link pitches I wouldn't link with a partner. I regularly do one six pitch route as three 60m pitches and do it car-to-car way, way faster than my time with any of my partners.


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By slim
Administrator
Dec 17, 2012
tomato, tomotto, kill mike amato.

nbrown wrote:
"i did a handfull of tests with a loaded haulbag to simulate traversing falls with the soloist in the late 90's or early 2000's and it failed miserably. also, it doesn't catch very consistently on slab falls (the jerk rate isn't able to engage the cam). for this reason i quit using it." Slim, it sounds like you're describing the silent partner?



nope, soloist.


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By Doug Wolfe
From NJ
Dec 17, 2012

Please don't beat me up too bad but how are you guys tying your back up knots??? It took me forever cause I stack my rope in a 20 liter pack and pre tie the knots every 8 or so feet give or take. Is there an easier way????


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By Healyje
Dec 17, 2012
girl40

D.E.W. wrote:
Please don't beat me up too bad but how are you guys tying your back up knots??? It took me forever cause I stack my rope in a 20 liter pack and pre tie the knots every 8 or so feet give or take. Is there an easier way????


I don't, but that's another personal decision and one, oddly enough, I make for safety's sake. But again, that's just me.


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