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Solo TR Setups?


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I always solo TR with a Petzl Basic on my harness. I solo TR on one strand with a single mini Trax.


If I can't get past a crux, I will ascend the rope until I can reach climbable ground again. I attach the basic above the mini, with a biner attached to the basic. Grab the strand below the mini Trax and Merely thread it through the biner in the basic and you have a 2:1 haul system to ascend the rope as far as you want, since the mini or micro will lock automatically as you ascend.


To escape, attach a qd and long runner to the basic, stand up in the runner and clip in short to the basic. The mini Trax should be unweighted by now. Merely remove the mini Trax and attach your rappel device. Stand up high in the long sling you have attached to the basic still, yard in slack on your rappel device, and the basic should now be free to remove, and you're set to rappel. Simple....


Can you post a photo or to to illustrate?


As requested Rad! Name the route for bonus points...


Ascending past a cruxy section:










Escaping the system:















Edited by telemarker
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Hey John (telemarker):


Really great description and solution...I like it! What I DON'T like is using one Mini (as I've told you at least 100 times).


Since you have the Basic with you...why not use it as a backup for the Mini while climbing?


That's a good point Tom. But I suspect getting a second mini/micro would the optimal system, like you have. It will sink in one of these days!

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Wow! There’s a lot of VERY good information here. Everyone here has something useful to offer.


I work about 10 minutes from a great climbing area and go Mini Tracking 3 or 4 days a week after work.


Pretty much everything Hummerchine says is WORD. Never trust one device. I rappel with a Petzl Stop, etc. My setup looks pretty much like Wallstein’s except I use a small cord through a couple over-the-shoulder slings attached to the biner hole in the upper Trax to keep the upper Traxion as high as possible. I really like Wallstein’s idea of drilling a hole and using an elastic strap to keep the Traxion high and am going to make that happen ASAP. I now use a micro trax and one mini trax since I bent one of my mini trax doing a 2 to 1 haul (with a Pro Trax) on the Large Stone last year.


I use a static rope. This way, if you barely get through a hard section and fall, you don’t have to keep doing the hard part over and over again due to rope stretch. No, I’m not as young as I used to be, thank you very much. Also, I carry a few cams in case I can’t make it up something and need to descend. Hopefully you have the right size you can slam in a crack and get your rappel set up then remove the cams. If you’re hanging on a rope with the Traxion devices, it’s very difficult to get undone to go down. A cam or two make it way easier. I’ve found this especially prevalent in Yosemite where Ron Kauk has fixed ropes on many climbs at the Cookie and Arch Rock during the week. He doesn’t hang ropes on pedestrian climbs so descending is always a consideration. He has a 600’ static rope that he once hung from the top of the Bachar-Yerian to the ground and did laps on it. I think he said it took him 1 hour and 45 minutes for a lap. I have a small Fish Beef Bag made out of haul-bag material about the size of a chalk bag that I put a rock in and hang it on the bottom of the rope to weight it.


The cell phone is not a bad idea. I had one with me the time I cratered while descending a gulley to get to the base after tossing my rope and totally tweaked my back. I was too embarrassed to call anyone and made it back to my car on my own. Took a lot of shit for that.


I just wanted to log in and register the fact that all you people are wrong and I am right. I will talk shit about you at your funerals. Thanks for listening. Or not.

Mr Off White, did someone finally take the tire out of your cage??

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Brian politely pointed out to me in a private message that I had mis-interpreted the video he posted. After watching it more closely I realize that he is absolutely correct! The falls on that video were set up to be much longer than the actual slippage of the ASAP. In fact, the slippage ranged from 9 to 30cm...far less than the 8 feet I mentioned. Sorry for my error Brian!


This did in fact get me much more interested in the ASAP, along with the ASAP Lock. Petzl has tons of info on their website. The gear-slut in me wants to buy them both just to play with them! That'd be about $500 just for some fun...


Those things do look wicked cool...makes me wish I worked on skyscrapers! Yes, they would work for solo-toproping. Best I can tell though,from the YouTube videos I watched, and all of the stuff on Petzl's website, I still don't think they are the device(s) of choice.


For starters, they are both at least double the cost of a Micro-Traxion. The ASAP is triple the weight, the ASAP Lock five times. They are meant to be used as a primary safety device for industrial situations where you want to be able to move up and down next to a rope, and realistically where you hopefully never fall. Since I fall all the time solo-toproping, I want minimal extension in the device AND I want two separate devices. But that's just me...


Biggest issue I see with the ASAP and ASAP lock is near the ground or a ledge. Petzl even has an entire page warning of this issue:




It's really hard to say, without owning and playing with these devices, how well they can be pre-loaded to deal with not hitting the ground. The ASAP Lock looks better suited for this purpose, but it also appears to require a built-in shock-absorbing lanyard that creates an extension all it's own. There are certainly situations out climbing where I rig in a way where if I fall it's only an inch or two...I just don't see that this can be done with the ASAP or ASAP Lock. I also don't know if they "stick" to the rope after a fall like the Mini-Traxion does.


I thought this was interesting:


The ASAP B71 and ASAP B71 AAA models have no locking function. It is possible to deliberately lock them by a quick downward pull, to keep them in a higher position. Apart from cases where user safety is at stake, this deliberate locking is not recommended, as repeated deliberate impacts can accelerate wear of the ASAP, and a simple involuntary movement can unlock it without the user's knowledge.


This implies that the ASAP will wear out if a bunch of falls are taken?


I also find it telling that Petzl never even mentions these units on their pages of solo-toproping info. Even they don't find it to be the device of choice.


This is simply my opinion. Dead serious, those things do look insanely cool for their intended function. In fact, I want them! But not enough to spend $500. But I can certainly see how some people, especially if they already owned one for work purposes, could enjoy using them for solo-toproping!

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I use one of these for bouldering where I don't want to hit the ground. Actually, I don't EVER want to hit the ground but when I REALLY don't want to hit the ground because of something nasty, I use this. It's heavy, expensive and must be set up properly. You've gotta have anchors at the top or figure something out. There's no give like the gym auto-belayers. When you fall, it locks. You better be able to make it to the top or down climb slowly or you'll be there for a while. It doesn't work for overhanging problems as you'll be left hanging in space.


This is left over from my ski lift maintenance days of doing line work on tower tops. They're expensive, about $600 I think. There's a one-shot stitching release, similar to a screamer, at the hook end to let you know it's been over-stressed. I guess I've never over-stressed mine.


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Haha! NICE!


You are serious, aren't you? I mean, if you had one of these and wanted to work boulder problems...well, why not? Searching around the web I've found 'em up to 100 feet and over $1000. Also VERY heavy, some over 20 pounds. So like 80 times the weight of a Micro-Traxion, and VERY limited in what you can actually use it for. But hey...what the heck?


I'm SERIOUSLY considering buying an ASAP, even though I know it's not the best all-around solo-belay device. But what is? Might be cool in my awesome home climbing gym...I ran into a post by Mark Hudon where he was using one to do up and down laps at a gym on routes he really didn't expect to fall on.

Edited by Hummerchine
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Haha??? No haha!


Yes, I'm serious.


It's not like I drag this thing around and use it on every boulder problem. I've only used it a couple times on a few select ankle/back breakers. This thing was in my garage gathering dust and all but forgotten. I was playing around on a high-ball problem with a bad landing wondering how I could pull it off without killing myself when the light went off in my head. That doesn't happen very often any more so I take notice when it does. I dug it out of my garage and took it the next time I went there. I was able to set up an anchor to the top and make it work. Good thing, too. I came off a few times before I got the problem…..


The ASAP device sounds intriguing but I'm not sure what the advantage would be of that over the Trax devices. Less stress? I've never felt like falling with the Mini Trax stressed the rope or anchors excessively and I've tested it many, many times.

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  • 5 weeks later...

Here's the rig:




Been out on it twice now, working out the kinks, change overs, and escapes. Much more confidence inspiring than the single Ushba Sport, but I haven't taken any big whippers yet. I have a piece of accessory cord girth hitched into the top micro, and will eventually get that dialed into the right length.


The knurled latch on the biners (Mammut Crag Smart) is a tight fit through the holes on the traxion, but it works and they are super-bomber.


Runs smooth, only a few more steps during transitions, and I really like how you only have to extend your torso and stand up to pull in slack, hands free.

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So I use a mini track on the harness with a backup. For those of you looking for a cheap backup, consider a tibloc. I use a half shoulder length sling with a oval on the tibloc attached to the belay loop. As long as you weight your rope it slides right up with me. Probably not good on your rope if you engage but it worked when I have tested it. for escape and rap I carry a grill and and ascender, it's weight but hey you ate training anyways, super quick.

Edited by powderhound
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For TR I like using a microtraxion and a simple quick link barely large enough for the rope to fit it. The link gets screwed closed on a girth hitched sling to the harness so that it has the sling and rope inside it. The link moves freely up the rope, no resistance. Tie a knot at any rest and the link cannot slide back down past the knot in a fall, thus providing your backup. Learn to tie a simple knot one handed and it takes about as much time as pulling a draw and clipping it. This is compact, avoids the cost of a second toothed device, and provides a non-toothed device for people that are worried about tearing the sheath and having both devices fail (ie in a double traxion setup).

Downside is dealing with the knots on rap, but you have your backup device for cheap and learn to tie/untie quickly after a few laps.


Silent partner for solo-lead.


Any good TR spots you would recommend in Leavenworth?

Edited by DrApnea
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powderhound, Petzl is very clear about not using a Tibloc for this purpose and I completely agree with them. DrApnea, you mention a non-toothed device...which what you describe is...but you are still being routinely caught by a Micro-Traxion, which has teeth...and which personally I don't think is an issue. Tying knots in the rope when climbing anything hard is easier said than done...I strongly recommend another Micro-Trax!

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You are correct in that I use a toothed device. I use a toothed (traxion) and a non toothed device (quicklink). A sheath that gets cut and slides along the rope (although unlikely) will not benefit from another toothed device. This is why many people advocate using a non-toothed device if you use 2 devices. My link setup is the backup that would catch even if the sheath was damaged by the tooth device during a fall. Thus as long as the core is not cut through, one of the 2 would catch my fall.


I was not saying that it is an issue to use toothed devices for solo TR. This is what my setup relies on primarily. I was merely saying that some people advocate using a non-toothed device for the reasons listed above. So if you want a backup, the link/sling is a compact, <$10 option.


As for the Tibloc. That is garbage and I wouldn't trust it to catch a fall ever. And for reference I've solo'd with a handful of setups, including everything from a guide mode ATC clipped in like you are the anchor, to gri-gri, clove hitch, micro-traxion, silent partner, soloist, solo-aid, and an auto-belay. IMO the silent partner wins hands down for lead, and the micro/link for TR.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I only see one problem with two Micro-Traxion's on one rope. What IF your main device failed and came crashing down on the second device? Now assuming you filed the nipple off, chances of that piece failing are slim, but let's just say it did, and that device came crashing down on your back-up. These devices are only rated for 6kn, so would the second stop your descent? For this reason I use two ropes, So I have two totally separate and redundant systems, including seperate attachment to my harness.


Love to hear everyone's thoughts on this.;-)

Edit(sorry 4 or 5kn is rating as a pulley)

Edited by brian clark eber
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So there was an accident at Skaha this weekend where someone (I won't mention his name) was solo-TRing with a single Ushba Basic, no backup, he fell, it didn't stop him, and he went 15 m to the ground and ended up in hospital getting his vertebrae fused.


I have used an Ushba Basic for years, no backup. But I think I might stop doing that now.

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I use a Petzl Microcender for my top piece and a Petzl Micro-traxion for the bottom.


I like the Micro-cender as it uses cam instead of teeth. Being the top piece it is the only one that gets waited in falls. Call me old school but I never liked the idea of possibly taking dynamic falls with a toothed device onto a rope. I keep it oriented using the stretchiest thera-bands.


I like the Micro-trax on the bottom because it's light, feeds well, and makes a great hauling pulley for lightweight mini big wall freeclimbing.

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  • 5 years later...

Nothing I've heard of. Lots of good options out there. Be smart, triple check everything. 

The only thing I'd add to your synopsis is that a non-toothed top device is typically cheaper and reduces chance of sheath damage.

If you're using Micro-traxs conider shaving off the little tooth the locks the device open so it can't accidentally happen while you're climbing.

Old head lamp band around the neck works great for keeping the top device high and away from the lower one.

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