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your top rope solo device
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By William Rhyne
From clayton, nc
May 9, 2012
so what is the best top rope soloing device. the mini traxion, wildcountry ropeman? looking for something i dont have to feed and will still be safe.

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By John D
May 9, 2012
I use a gri-gri but you do have to pull out the slack on that. I think if I were to buy a dedicated device it'd be the mini-traxion, but that's mostly based off of what other people have said about it, and my own experience using a pro-traxion to haul. (very smooth and secure.

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By JCM
From Seattle, WA
May 9, 2012
For TR soloing, the mini-trax is the standard, and for good reason. It works very well. Many people choose to use 2 devices for safety/redundancy; some simply use 2 mini-traxions. Another system I have seen that works well is a Croll held up with a chest harness, backed up with a mini-trax. Most of the rope soloing that I have done is with a mini-trax as the primary device, backed up with a Basic ascender below. I've used this system simply because these are the devices that I have, and it works pretty well.

There is also the new micro-traxion. I haven't heard any review yet, and am not even sure if it is out. This many replace the mini-trax as the best device. It sounds like it does basically the same thing, but is lighter and more efficient.

Some use the Gri-Gri, but it really isn't very well suited to this purpose. It works in a pinch, but is not ideal.

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By Doug S
May 9, 2012
Edge of Time <br />
I'm using a Basic Ascender backed up with a Grigri. It self-feeds. The Grigri needs slack pulled through when I'm at a stance. The Ascender was actually endorsed by Petzl to self-belay while the Mini-trax was not. That's why I chose it. The only complaint I have with the system is that the Basic Ascender won't allow you to traverse or down-climb well without disengaging it.

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By Tristan Higbee
From Cambodia
May 9, 2012
Me on a mixed route Crisco and I did in Rock Canyon.
Doug S wrote:
I'm using a Basic Ascender backed up with a Grigri. It self-feeds. The Grigri needs slack pulled through when I'm at a stance. The Ascender was actually endorsed by Petzl to self-belay while the Mini-trax was not.


Where are you getting that information?

This is what Petzl says about the Basic: "There is the possibility of accidental opening of the cam due to rubbing against the rock, or that the device will not jam due to an external object interfering with the cam (sling, shoelace, twig, etc.). Risk of improper attachment of the device."

And this is what Petzl says about the Mini Traxion: "The jamming function can remain deactivated without the climber's knowledge and visual verification isn't always easy. There is the possibility that the device will not jam due to an external object interfering with the cam (sling, shoelace, twig, etc.)."

Source

That page doesn't say not to use the Mini Traxion or to use the Basic. It does say not to use a Shunt or Tibloc.

I used to use a Gri Gri and now I use two Mini Traxions (one for backup). The Gri Gri was nice because you can lower really easily, but you have to manually take in the slack. The Mini Traxions are awesome because the rope feeds easily, but you can't lower really easily. I prefer using the Mini Traxions.

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By tytonic
From Salem, OR
May 9, 2012
I found the link below on the Petzl website recently. They recommend using any one of a number of devices on the primary line (Ascension, Micro Traxion, Mini Traxion, or Basic) and a Microcender on the secondary/backup line.

petzl.com/us/outdoor/product-e...

Interestingly, Petzl specifically recommends against the frequently recommended use of 2 mini-traxions.

Edit: Looks like Tristan beat me to it.

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By Tristan B
From La Crescenta, CA
May 9, 2012
Hanging out on Royal Arches
I use a mini traxion and a cinch. Then you can just pop off the mini traxion and rap down.

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By Sam Stephens
May 9, 2012
Top half of Melifluous
Cinch and a prussic.

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By Doug S
May 9, 2012
Edge of Time <br />
At the time of purchase (last fall roughly), Petzl listed self-belay as among the intended uses of the Basic Ascender. The Mini-trax was actually listed with a caution against self-belay. I don't have a frame of comparison as to which device actually works better for that purpose. I bought and use the Basic based solely on the manufacturer's specs at the time, which may have changed in the interim?? Dunno

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By steitz
From midcoast, maine
May 9, 2012
the Shunt baby!

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By Bon Temps
From SoCal
May 9, 2012
My device of choice is the Rock Exotica Soloist.
It's often overlooked as a top rope solo device, but it does a great job.

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By Bon Temps
From SoCal
May 9, 2012
steitz wrote:
the Shunt baby!

I've used a shunt before and found that it's simply another way of saying you have a serious death wish.

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By mountainhick
From Black Hawk, CO
May 9, 2012
I have a TR setup in my house on a training wall with two rope strands from the top anchor and a CAMP lift ascender on each, Also bungee-d up to chest harness so it self tends. A ladder is built into the wall so I can easily disengage both ascenders with one hand while using the other to climb down the ladder. Very efficient for doing lots of laps

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By Reid Kalmus
From Breckenridge, Colorado
May 9, 2012
I just use a Mini-trax with a prussik, If want to get real serious you can put a couple over-hands on some bights to completely fail-safe it.. I've seen guy's use a shunt backed up only by over-hands on bights... Not that thats the safest way to do it...

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By Darby
From Snoqualmie, wa
May 9, 2012
USHBA basic ascender with a prussik. It's totaly hands free, I don't need to mess with it or pull through slack while climbing. Cost was $80 I believe. I've used it for 3 years with no concern for my well being. I had fun climbing alone just yesterday.

One trick to point out, lots of people hang a water bottle to give a little downward pressure on the rope so it self feeds easier. I usualy drink my water and don't need it bashing into the cliff so I just tie and hang a small coil of rope a foot or two off the ground.

Lots of options out there, be safe and have fun!

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By Jon O'Brien
From Nevada
May 9, 2012
Croll w sling or chest harness plus back up : ur choice of m tax, cinch, ushba. Plus anti cross load measures on ur locking biners

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By Greg D
From Here
May 9, 2012
Out of the blue.  Photo by Mike W. <br />
Jon O'Brien wrote:
Croll w sling or chest harness plus back up : ur choice of m tax, cinch, ushba. Plus anti cross load measures on ur locking biners



Wow. Lots of stuff.

Petzl Microsender. Locking biner. Done.

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By JohnnyG
May 9, 2012
+1 for getting the best advice / instruction here. Petzl lays out your options clearly.

petzl.com/us/outdoor/product-e...

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By Aric Datesman
May 10, 2012
Doug S wrote:
At the time of purchase (last fall roughly), Petzl listed self-belay as among the intended uses of the Basic Ascender. The Mini-trax was actually listed with a caution against self-belay.


FWIW, the instructions that came with my minitrax years ago listed self belay as an approved use. The confusion about it currently being approved for such use comes from Petzl changing their mind recently about it. Unfortunately I misplaced my copy of the old instructions, so can't provide a pic.

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By William Rhyne
From clayton, nc
May 10, 2012
Greg D wrote:
Wow. Lots of stuff. Petzl Microsender. Locking biner. Done.

ya im looking for something simple . how does this feed?

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By Greg D
From Here
May 10, 2012
Out of the blue.  Photo by Mike W. <br />
William Rhyne wrote:
ya im looking for something simple . how does this feed?


After 5 or 10 feet it tends itself. Tie a small weight to the rope and it will be totally hands free. No sharp teeth either. It was recommended by the manager at Bent Gate. Tie occassional back up knots of course.

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By Brendan Blanchard
From Strafford, NH
May 10, 2012
Obi Wan Ryobi - Darth Vader Crag, Rumney NH
Microcender on a small sling to the belay loop, use a smaller locker to prevent it moving and cross-loading like a larger biner tends to do.

Back up knots would be a good idea, or have another ascender (Basic, Mini-trax) underneath it on a shorter sling, but I tend to just use the microcender.

I know, I'm gonna die.

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By Doug S
May 10, 2012
Edge of Time <br />
Greg D wrote:
After 5 or 10 feet it tends itself. Tie a small weight to the rope and it will be totally hands free. No sharp teeth either. It was recommended by the manager at Bent Gate. Tie occassional back up knots of course.



Yeah... I agree about the sharp teeth. The Basic is not the perfect device IMO. I went looking to buy the Mini-trax and found that Petzl had changed their usage recommendations. That's the only reason I got the Basic.

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By Mike McLean
May 10, 2012
Bon Temps wrote:
I've used a shunt before and found that it's simply another way of saying you have a serious death wish.


This should be qualified.

Dave McLeod doesn't agree with you at all, and I sort of trust that guy. Cause he knows what he's doing. Massively.

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By Bon Temps
From SoCal
May 10, 2012
Mike McLean wrote:
This should be qualified.


Blew a hold on a less than vertical slab. The shunt was pinched between myself and the rock which caused the shunt to release. I fell maybe 10 feet then bounced off the rock enough to where the shunt caught again.
Lost faith in it knowing that it would release that easily.

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By bradyk
May 10, 2012
If you are rope soloing to work a route then I would use a gri with back-up knots so you can go up and down easily to work a certain move numerous times. If you are going up a route that is fairly easy and you are not going to work a certain move more than once, then an ascender (or two) of any choice is the best way to go.

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