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Tips on multi-pitch soloing
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By Roswell
From Newnan. Ga
Aug 22, 2012
Baby Rosalyn ready to send <br />

I have soloed several single pitch routes and now want to move into doing some easy multi-pitch solo. I will be using a silent partner, any tips.

I notice one problem i run into is once i get stretched aout a bit it causes the hitch to cinch down which in turn impetes fluid movement. think my technique might be off a bit because once i clove hitch into the partner i leave the rope on the ground and begin to climb. I know on multi- pitch this could be a problem and was thinking that it would work better to take the rope with me and feed out slack as a i climb, i could just use a tip for technique on that.

Also, once i get to my next belay anchor. I will set up an anchor of course and then tie the rope into the anchor so i can rapel down, retrieve my gear, and then jug or climb back up. Does that sound about right?

So in summary, my biggest question is this, rope management while soloing multi-pitch and also effeiceincy.

Thanks for any input.


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By Steve Levin
From Boulder, CO
Aug 22, 2012
Guiding in RMNP

Rope bag.


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By Princess Mia
From Vail
Aug 22, 2012
Chillin' at City of Rocks

I second the rope bag!


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By ParkerKempf
From atlanta, GA
Aug 22, 2012
sweet belay on El Cap Spire, Salathe Wall El Capitan

One way is to clove the rope to your belay loop multiple times in successuvely bigger loops and just drop the cloves as you go. Or just put the rope in a backpack (bd hollowpoint) and feed it from behind between your legs so its not in the way


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By Alan Ream
From Lafayette CO
Aug 22, 2012
Breakfast of Champion slacker climbers.

In addition to the rope bucket - which will make a huge difference, you can try using a short loop of 6 mm cord attached with a locking biner to your belay loop as a way to take some weight and tension off of the solo device. The weight of the rope will then hang off your harness instead of on the solo device allowing it to run more freely. Attach it to the supply side of your rope with a prussic or similar type knot. Give yourself a long enough loop to work with to get you to some sort of stance where you can pull through some rope and do it all again (I usually go with about 10-15 feet at a time).

At each belay you set a multi-directional bomber anchor, head down to clean the pitch, climb back up, re-stack the rope in the bucket, give yourself a loop of slack and start the next pitch. Have fun, be safe. Roped soloing is really rewarding. I also suggest trying the Petzl Basic for following free pitches. Just follow the instructions that come with it. It is the smoothest and most hands free way I have found to follow a pitch of free climbing. I know there are many opinions and ideas around here so try some things out, take your time and find a system that feels best and most secure for you. Peace.


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By Tradoholic
Aug 23, 2012

Do a search in the forums for "Silent Partner" and you will get opinions ad nauseam.

I have used the SP on many single pitches and after 40m or so the rope drag is unbearable, (This might be alleviated by a thinner rope?) then carrying it in a back pack is advisable but I found rope feed still awkward. Also, I don't bother with the clove-hitch back-up, too cumbersome I think. Of course that would be at your own risk ;)

ParkerKempf, with that Hollowpoint pack does it feed from the bottom? Do you still have to pull it out as you go?

From a few SP users I've talked to we agreed that using the SP only gives a slight notch of confidence over just simple soloing. Maybe I'm not good at it but I found the backpack-feed, clove hitch-back-up, rapping and jugging not worth it. Better to find a partner.


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By Roswell
From Newnan. Ga
Aug 23, 2012
Baby Rosalyn ready to send <br />

Thanks for the tips everyone. You have given me good info I can work with. I will practice the different techniques you have given me on some moderate single pitch stuff so i can get a feel of what i really like. Thanks again and keep it coming if anyone has any more input.


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By kenr
Aug 23, 2012

Two packs for long multi-pitch or with long approach: one for the "leading", one for the "following".

The pack for "following" holds water, food, and approach stuff (hiking poles, crampons, ice axe). It is clipped to the bottom anchor while I lead the next pitch.
The pack for "leading" holds the rope, which gets re-stacked into to start each new pitch. I normally do not allow any backup knots to go inside this pack, since I find it's really bad when a knot hangs up at the lip of the pack and prevents the rope feeding while I'm leading.

Then I use the "following" pack to weight the rope below me while I'm re-climbing the pitch the second time -- so the rope will self-feed -- then haul it up when I reach rest spots.

Silent Partner: One thing I like about it is that I can do diagonal and even horizontal traversing pitches -- by down-climbing to clean instead of rappeling (most other devices are at best very cumbersome to use for down-climbing). In that case I usually carry the "follower" pack instead of hauling it, and so often I have to manually feed the rope (so I only do it on pitches where I feel very confident).

Also I just like to practice down-climbing, and using the Silent Partner let's me do that (whereas most human partners for multi-pitch generally do now allow that).

two other ways that leading rope-solo is different from a human partner:

  • rope drag is usually not relevant (tho rope cutting on edges still is) -- therefore can use shorter runners.
  • communication is not relevant, so there's more freedom to link pitches together.

also check the warning by the ever-wise RG about a frequently suggested practice, with clever alternative method in this thread on Gunks.com

Ken


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By kenr
Aug 23, 2012

S.P.L.T. Image wrote:
From a few SP users I've talked to we agreed that using the SP only gives a slight notch of confidence over just simple soloing.


Well I keep my rope-solo leads conservative -- not because I don't trust the Silent Partner, but because there's lots of equipment and procedures which could be screwed up. And I figure some day I will miss on some point, so I want to keep the probability very low that my equipment/procedure mistake will be on the same pitch that I actually take a fall.

Also the easier the climbing, the less backup knots I feel I need, and I think managing backups are yet another complexity that could distract me from following procedures.

One thing different about the Silent Partner is that it's not so easy to "test" it in the middle of a pitch -- unlike most solo devices where you can pull the rope and feel it statically grab (really nice when Top-Rope soloing near my limit).

If people lack confidence that the SP will hold a fall, seems to me the thing to do is just test it on that type of fall while on a separate top-rope belay by a human partner.
Or for just shoring up mental confidence, can do a "horizontal" test: anchor one end of the rope to a tree or something, and run away from it. (But my experience is that the SP does not necessarily self-feed very well in this "horizontal" mode, so it's not a good test of that).

Seems to me the concept of using a clove hitch wrap as a backup for hauling a heavy weight with a winch or capstan in non-climbing uses has been around for centuries (and this is reflected in the name for the clove hitch in the French and Italian languages).

Ken


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By jorgealarcon
Aug 24, 2012

I'd conduct a lot of testing before jumping on solo


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By Roswell
From Newnan. Ga
Aug 25, 2012
Baby Rosalyn ready to send <br />

Thanks for the detailed description of how you solo. I will definately use the technique of using two packs as you described. I will be sure to test it out on some easy one pitch stuff before i get into the multi-pitch. The climb i am looking at for my first multi-pitch on solo only gets up to a 5.6 so i think it will be a good day. Definately dont want to get on anything that is going to pumop me out for my first multi solo. But thanks man and thanks to everyone also for the good info. Feeling allot more confident about it.


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By Holyshootdude
Oct 29, 2012

Hi , another tip to avoid rope drag , is to make a prusik with a shoelace when your out 60-80 ft , off a bomber pro, that way the rope that is out won't weight on you and if you do fall right after that , you won't factor 2 , that's why you don't just clove hitch it and go. Have fun!


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