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Suds

Solo Aid Self Belay Device

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I'm thinking about trying some solo aid and was wondering if anybody had recommendations for a self belay device.

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My Gri-Gri rigged for solo. Works very smoothly, the chest cable is crucial (duh) thumbs_up.gif

 

6grigri1.jpg

 

I also have a soloist but I prefer the grigri because it feeds better for me. Just remember to tie back up knots at regular intervals in case of some freaky failure.

 

Double clove hitches are also good if your on a budget .

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The swaged cable loop attaches to a chest harness to keep the device oriented vertically to prevent jamming or catching that might compromise its ability to clamp and lock down on the rope properly. As with a soloist, if you fall upsidedown the device will NOT lock up, hence the back up knots on the loose rope side of the device. thumbs_up.gif

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Suds

I would steer you towards a solo aider from Wren Industries... it’s the same design that Roc Exotica (division of Petzl back in the day I believe) offered.

 

The device is constantly locked (one manually feeds rope through the device) so you can use it for tension when top stepping in aiders... a nice feature. Additionally one can fall upside down (or any other orientation) and the device will still function… even with out a chest harness as the device is constantly locked… with that said I would still highly recommend wearing a chest harness anytime you are wearing a large rack as the weight in combination with the likely hood of catching a foot over a daisy chain greatly increases the likelihood of an upside down fall. Also the device is designed to accommodate a chest harness (biner holes as apposed to the swedge cable design shown above).

 

Speaking of which Chirp: how strong do you think that swedged cable loop actually is? I would encourage you to look into swedge cable ratings and reconsider you current step up. You might be bidding on the farm…

 

Suds: if you do plan to also solo rock climb with it buy a silent partner… the best one going for a smooth feed. And if you are interested in trying out a soloist or solo aider I have both and would be happy to let you borrow them as a prepurchase test drive.

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Speaking of which Chirp: how strong do you think that swedged cable loop actually is? I would encourage you to look into swedge cable ratings and reconsider you current step up. You might be bidding on the farm…

 

Definitely worth the thought, but the cable is for the chest connection only and shouldn't bear alot of weight. The modifications were done by Brian McCray and hes taken some hellacious whippers on a similar unit.

I agree NOLSe, that for a new person to the solo realm, a confirmed and professional device would be a much safer route. I just have had good success with mine I thought I would share. thumbs_up.gif

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Thanks for the advice. I was thinking about buying a wren solo aid since I won't be using it for free climbing and don't own a GriGri... The Silent partner looks nice, but $$$$

 

NOLSe, I might just take you up on that offer to try out your solo aid. I won't be in the Northwest until the beginning of November, but I'll PM you once I get closer to coming back.

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Renato Casarotto put up lots of new grade VI 5.9 routes around the world by himself using two prussics. Pretty low tech and maybe a bit smoother than the clove hitch method.

 

Here's some info his Wife Goretta sent me:

 

 

Renato Casarotto’s self-belay

 

"When I climb alone, whether in winter or in summer, I use a self-belay system that I devised. It is rather simple, but very reliable and involves equipment that every climber brings in the rucksack: pitons, ropes and light ropes.

It may imply a loss of time and therefore of energy, so it is advisable to be in really good shape, because the route has to be repeated three times: two in ascent and one in descent.

When you are starting a pitch, tie your rucksack to a thin rope, 5 meters long and 8 mm diameter at least. One end of this rope is tied to the belay (one or two pitons), while the pack is tied one or two meters further away. The purpose of this thin rope and of tying the rucksack, is to increase the dynamism in the system so that in case of fall there will be less stress on the belay.

The advantage is that, in case of a fall, the stretch of the thin rope and the rucksack, which will get pulled up, will greatly increase the dynamism.

The end of the climbing rope is tied with a boulin (sic) knot or double fisher-man’s knot to the free end of the thin rope, which as described above is attached to the rucksack and the anchors.

Once this is done, using thin rope (6 mm diameter), make two Prussik knots (0.50 meters long approximately), on the climbing rope and clip them to the harness. These will be what will stop you in case of a fall. It is important to use two because in case of a fall a single Prussik might burn.

We move the Prussiks up the rope as we climb, and every time that we arrive to, or place a piton, we clip the rope by means of a karabiner, just like it is usually done.

Once the pitch is finished, the rope is tied to a new belay (one or two pitons) and you rappel down, to recover the rucksack. Carrying the rucksack on your back you ascent the fixed rope, recovering all the equipment. If the wall is very steep, you can tie the rucksack to the end of the rope and recover it (haul it) from above.

This system allows you to climb safely, being always on belay.

This technique can be also used when a two-man team meets an unexpected problem from which an exit is necessary. In that case put one rucksack into the other or fill one with stones and proceed as described above."

 

3062self1-med.jpg

 

 

3062self3-med.jpg

 

3062self2-med.jpg

 

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... from Wren Industries... it’s the same design that Roc Exotica (division of Petzl back in the day I believe) offered.

 

AFAIK, the story is this... Rock Exotica was it's own company, and made several ascenders and solo devices. Petzl bought them out at one point but did not take on the solo devices, at which point Wren Industries formed to make those.

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Read the whole thing Dru...That is why he used two. I don't know man. The guy's record speaks for itself! Maybe he never had a fall. wink.gif It was a crevasse on his way down from K2 that got him. It was a good enough system for him to use on K2 for chrissakes... rolleyes.gif

 

yellaf.gifwave.gif

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Two clove hitches...manually adjusted are much safer albeit a pain for free climbing, aid shouldnt be an issue. Just attach them to your harness proper. Use a biner directional on the chest harness to keep you vertically inclined...or hopefully vertically inclined...or use a Gri Gri. wave.gif

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Prussiks on rope in event of fall can slip and melt.

 

And even if this doesn't happen a prussik knot slips in the neighborhood of 1000lbs of force so you better hope you don’t generate that! 2 clove hitches is the only safe way to go (but is slower than shit)... I would say do it at least once... you never know when you are going to drop yours like say on liberty crack in the winter...

 

Chirp: In retrospec I think I jumped the gun... I should have asked "are you leading with it?" as if not I doubt you will ever generate the type of forces needed to nuke that swedge in a top rope situation... however if you are leading then yes the chest harness doesn't take as much load in a fall but on the flip side heads generally aren't that strong so it is a possibility. I would say if you throw figure 8s on your lead line above the device you should be okay if the device fails to lock in an upside down fall.

 

Suds (and any one else for that matter) look me up if you want to borrow/test drive a soloist or solo aider.

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