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Have you ever decked?
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Poll: Have you ever decked?
Yes 61 / 40%
No 53 / 35%
Came close 26 / 17%
Pancakes 12 / 8%
152 total votes
 

notapplicable


Apr 9, 2011, 10:22 PM
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Re: [milesenoell] Have you ever decked? [In reply to]
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milesenoell wrote:
notapplicable wrote:
That is terrifying. Damn sure glad you are still here to do the write up on this.

As far as the solo TR rig goes, I use a Petzl Basic Ascender in the same fashion. Ultimately it is a matter of personal preference but I do not use a backup with the system and have never seen anything to make me think it needs one. At least not more so than many other climbing activities that are not routinely backedup.

While I may follow potreroed's advice and start using back-up knots my focus has been on the first line of protection rather than adding redundancy. It feels like a weak position to be coming from, but I still believe that my system is sound and that I simply made an unforgivable error. Any basic check before leaving the ground should catch my mistake, I had simply become so complacent that I had none in place.

While I'm inclined to agree, if your rope can easily be knotted then there is no reason not to throw a few in as you climb. The reason I don't is that the line I use is an old static rope that is way to stiff for knotting midroute. I personally don't like using my dynamic ropes with a toothed ascender so I've just accepted the trade off.


JAB


Apr 10, 2011, 1:06 AM
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Re: [milesenoell] Have you ever decked? [In reply to]
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milesenoell wrote:
My TR solo setup consists of a Petzl Ascension clipped through the top hole of the device with an HMS style locker to my belay loop. I don't use a second device or back-up knots.

The reason I fell was because I did not engage the cam on my ascender.

A guy I saw on my first climb of the year last year did the exact same mistake. We were both solo TR:ing, and he was climbing a 5.11d next to me. We both arrived at the anchors at about the same time, and just before he was going to lean back to prepare to rap, he noticed that the cam was not engaged. Like you, he didn't have any backups, so any falls or rests would have ended in disaster.

I strongly urge you to reconsider your system, and use some kind of backup.


healyje


Apr 10, 2011, 1:28 AM
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Re: [JAB] Have you ever decked? [In reply to]
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JAB wrote:
I strongly urge you to reconsider your system...

I would very much second this sentiment.


dswink


Apr 10, 2011, 2:04 AM
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Re: [milesenoell] Have you ever decked? [In reply to]
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Last August, I got somewhat off route (the whole face goes at moderate grades) and into poor quality rock. On the second pitch, twenty feet of easy slab led to a flaring crack of decomposing granite. An offset nut seemed to fit but worrying about the rock quality, I pulled progressively harder on it until it popped on the third pull, almost unbalancing me. When the nut came out, it cleaned away 1/4 inch to what looked like good rock. I carefully placed an offset cam and tested it.

After climbing eight feet up the crack, I was shifting my stance when my foot slid on the peeling rock and I was airborne. My right arm scraped hard as I tried to keep my feet under me when I started sliding/falling onto the slab. The rope pulled hard on my harness for a second but then to my shock, my fall continued to the ledge at the bottom of the slab. It all happened so fast, that I was stunned for several minutes.

My belayer (my son) was hollering after me since he could not see me but could feel the rope was slack. Initial assessment showed that I had broken or badly sprained ankles and my right forearm looked like hamburger with very deep gouges from the rough rock. The offset cam was sitting next to me on the rope and a white scar on the rock above me showed that more of its surface had failed. My son lowered me twenty-five feet back to his belay ledge and then we rappelled to the ground very slowly and carefully.

After resting up and testing my ankles further at the base of the climb, I got off from a twenty-eight foot ledge fall with just sprained ankles and needing eight stitches in my forearm. The long, slow hike back to the car let me start some serious thinking about climbing boldly (and badly) above poor pro, and about the joys/hazards of leading in general.

I have led a few easy pitches since then but I have also turned back from several climbs that I was leading before the accident. I hope to gradually ease back onto the sharp end this season, while climbing smarter.

To the OP, the thought; "Oh my god I could have just died" has recurred to me many times since the fall. Thanks for the thread.


lofstromc


Apr 10, 2011, 5:45 AM
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Re: [milesenoell] Have you ever decked? [In reply to]
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A buddy of mine decked and has never climbed since. Another buddy of mine rapped of the end of her rope and broke something serious, she still climbs.


Gabel


Apr 10, 2011, 10:57 AM
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Re: [milesenoell] Have you ever decked? [In reply to]
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Glad to hear you're okay. Good luck on the recovery.

Sometimes it is bizarre to see how many people have really decked, but then it is the A&I forum.

I decked almost a year ago. 30 footer in a climbing gym onto a hard surface. Let go of the holds while my belayer didn't have proper control of the rope. Broke my back and bruised my heels (very painful). My fault.

One thing this accident will do is teach you a lot about yourself. The reactions and consequently actions taken in the future differ alot from person to person.
Gblauer for example has a very (portrayed/written) technical view of her accident, while mine was far more emotional.
This day I boulder harder than ever but have almost completely stopped roped climbing. There is simply noone I can/want to trust. Even free soloing is more appealing, and I solo the occasional route when it feels right.

I think I have learned humility in the past year and I tell my girl that I love the time with her far more often - you just can't know if you're around tomorrow.

One more thing (which is not only directed at you): If you kill yourself while climbing, you're an idiot. If you have an accident that could have killed you, you're also an idiot. The most important thing about climbing is simply not to die.
I don't care wether you free solo the East Buttress of Spray Mountain or toprope 5.2s. It's all fine by me and I will be happy for you. But the moment you fuck up, you're an idiot.

Take care,
Gabriel

PS: Wear the "$%"$ helmet!


Gabel


Apr 10, 2011, 11:02 AM
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Re: [Gabel] Have you ever decked? [In reply to]
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Another thing about the safety thingy:
I also believed that I was very safety conscious before my accident. Ask any climbing buddy of mine and they will tell you that I was the safety freak of the whole bunch.
My accident is proof enough that I was not. It is also proof that I am an idiot.
Don't let your feelings fool you. You have to reevaluate everytime all the time. Have others look at you set up and comment. Learn, read, everyday!


milesenoell


Apr 10, 2011, 11:51 AM
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Re: [Gabel] Have you ever decked? [In reply to]
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It seems to me that I was spared much suffering in my accident, not the least of which in respect to not having another person involved to blame or doubt. The outpouring of support I have received and the relatively minor nature of my injuries in light of the danger of the situation have encouraged a deep sense of gratitude.

I have a four year old son and I have spent a lot of time trying to reconcile my passion for high risk pursuits like climbing and cycling, both of which have shown a clear potential to take my life and mobility, with my obligations as a father. I spent quite a while going over my options as I settled into the TR solo system I used, and it was not for lack of knowing it was a possibility that I chose not to use a second device or back up knots. I only recently got a helmet and still haven't used it except for when I am aid climbing.

I knowingly passed up a number of options to increase my safety that could have saved me, and so your attitude about killing yourself climbing reflecting on your choices (as I interpret your comment about being an idiot if you kill yourself climbing) definitely resonates with me. If I had died it would have certainly reflected on those decisions in ways I am not comfortable with.

After some reflection I have decided that I will be adding redundancy to my system, whether as a second device or back-up knots I haven't decided yet.


shockabuku


Apr 10, 2011, 3:33 PM
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Re: [Gabel] Have you ever decked? [In reply to]
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Gabel wrote:
I decked almost a year ago. ... Let go of the holds while my belayer didn't have proper control of the rope. ... My fault.

How's that your fault and not the belayer's?

Edit to add: In my understanding it's the belayer's job to always have control of the rope - the climber having control of the holds is not supposed to be necessary for safety.


(This post was edited by shockabuku on Apr 10, 2011, 3:35 PM)


kaizen


Apr 10, 2011, 4:01 PM
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Re: [milesenoell] Have you ever decked? [In reply to]
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Two summers ago I started climbing, and happened upon a small, super solid cliff band that was begging for development. Being a relative beginner, I used a really common set up to rap and clean these routes: single-strand rap with a GriGri. Well, I made the same mistake so many beginners do, and put all my trust in that device. I was no more than 10-12 feet above the ground, GriGri locked up, brushing dirt off a hold when "what the..." entered my mind. I don't really remember what the fall or impact felt like, but I do remember laying in a group of ferns flat on my back, afraid to move. I landed in a massive ostrich fern, on super soft PA soil. I was pissed that I would have to walk back around the little face to finish cleaning, when I started to realize how lucky I was. It could have happened 30 feet off the deck, or I could have landed on a number of odd angled sandstone boulders. I've never put 100% trust in anything since then.

I never figured out if I disengaged the cam by bumping it or unweighting it, but I have always tied a back up knot since. Moral of the story- there is no such thing as an auto-locking belay device.


JohnCook


Apr 10, 2011, 5:11 PM
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Re: [milesenoell] Have you ever decked? [In reply to]
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Many years ago I decked while soloing a route I regularly climbed, both solo, lead and second. Fell off the final easy holds at 85 ft. Fortunately the ground was there to catch me. Cause arrogance, tiredness and lack of focus because I could do the route easily.
Injuries, enough bruises to cover most of my body, loss of quarter inch off my height, problems walking sensibly for a couple of weeks, hole in my ego to drive a bus through, the butt of friends sense of humour until someone else did something stupid.
Moral, You may survive ground falls, but not very often. Weigh up the pros and cons, then go for it. Free soloing is the greatest feeling ever, and well worth the risks. I still do it and will continue as long as I don't screw up enough to die or be crippled. (Even as a cripple I would try every angle I could to climb and solo)


potreroed


Apr 10, 2011, 7:45 PM
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Re: [kaizen] Have you ever decked? [In reply to]
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kaizen wrote:
Two summers ago I started climbing, and happened upon a small, super solid cliff band that was begging for development. Being a relative beginner, I used a really common set up to rap and clean these routes: single-strand rap with a GriGri. Well, I made the same mistake so many beginners do, and put all my trust in that device. I was no more than 10-12 feet above the ground, GriGri locked up, brushing dirt off a hold when "what the..." entered my mind. I don't really remember what the fall or impact felt like, but I do remember laying in a group of ferns flat on my back, afraid to move. I landed in a massive ostrich fern, on super soft PA soil. I was pissed that I would have to walk back around the little face to finish cleaning, when I started to realize how lucky I was. It could have happened 30 feet off the deck, or I could have landed on a number of odd angled sandstone boulders. I've never put 100% trust in anything since then.

I never figured out if I disengaged the cam by bumping it or unweighting it, but I have always tied a back up knot since. Moral of the story- there is no such thing as an auto-locking belay device.

This sounds pretty fishy to me. I've spent hundreds of hours hanging off a single rope with a gri-gri cleaning routes, sometimes hundreds of feet up, with no mishaps. I trust my gri gri 100% in this application.


blueeyedclimber


Apr 11, 2011, 6:09 AM
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I decked very early in my trad climbing days. Absolutely my fault. I shouldn't have been on anything that I would have fallen on yet. I fell at about 15-20 feet and two pieces popped. Nothing but a badly sprainged ankle, a bruised ego, and a whole lot of reflection.

That day probably taught me more than any other single day. Some of us need lessons smacked into us.

I am much stronger, wiser and have a better understanding of climbing because of that fall. I certainly don't wish for anyone to deck, but I took it as an important learning opportunity.

Josh


airscape


Apr 11, 2011, 6:45 AM
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Re: [shockabuku] Have you ever decked? [In reply to]
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shockabuku wrote:
Gabel wrote:
I decked almost a year ago. ... Let go of the holds while my belayer didn't have proper control of the rope. ... My fault.

How's that your fault and not the belayer's?

Edit to add: In my understanding it's the belayer's job to always have control of the rope - the climber having control of the holds is not supposed to be necessary for safety.

+1

I was reading "My fault" and thought wtf?


Partner xtrmecat


Apr 11, 2011, 7:58 AM
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Re: [healyje] Have you ever decked? [In reply to]
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healyje wrote:
JAB wrote:
I strongly urge you to reconsider your system...

I would very much second this sentiment.


+2

Twice decked. One was soloing an offwidth start, placed a second piece, and leaned out of the crack to get rope to clip about shoulder height, slipped and to the deck. Totally lucky on the landing.

About six weeks ago, while teaching a college climbing class, a girl, on her first day with a new device, ATC, was lowering me from the top of a second lap on a route, and got too much speed up and lost control. Burnt both hands trying to regain the belay, but could not. Augered in from around twenty feet. Thank God there is a gravel base at the bottom. Wrenched back, and shoulder muscle issues were the injuries. PT'd them myself and the shoulder is about 75% with the back in full on goodness.

Watch yourself out there.

Burly Bob

(This post was edited by xtrmecat on Apr 15, 2011, 7:16 AM)


ClimbSoHigh


Apr 11, 2011, 8:39 AM
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Re: [airscape] Have you ever decked? [In reply to]
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In reply to:
A guy I saw on my first climb of the year last year did the exact same mistake. We were both solo TR:ing, and he was climbing a 5.11d next to me. We both arrived at the anchors at about the same time, and just before he was going to lean back to prepare to rap, he noticed that the cam was not engaged. Like you, he didn't have any backups, so any falls or rests would have ended in disaster.

I strongly urge you to reconsider your system, and use some kind of backup.

This got me thinking of my solo TR rig. To start, my biggest fear when I was researching into this was mistakenly leaving the cam open on what ever ascending device I chose, due to many reports similar to the OP's and above situation. Talking to a local old timer that does a lot of solo TR, I decided on using a mini-traxion, but did some modifying to it per his unofficial advice, and ground down the bump that holds the cam open with a dremel tool. I was not keen on modifying a piece of gear with a dremel tool, but I feel this is an OK modification since now my mini-traxion can not be left open, no matter what. It makes it more dificult to attach to my rope, but once attached (correctly), I can't foget to engage the cam.

Then anytime I leave the gound or a ledge, I go up about 5-10 feet and tie a back up. I feel that tying back up knots are important but a pain to do consistantly durring the climb, so I just tie the knots that would stop me from a full on deck. (I would imagine hitting a back up knot from 50' would really suck) Now my major concerns are possible pendulums or attaching my mini-traxion upside down, both of which I double check before each climb.

I figure I would ask if people feel this is a reasonable TR solo rig since it is being discussed, and I am relatively new to rope soloing.


rock_fencer


Apr 11, 2011, 9:27 AM
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Re: [milesenoell] Have you ever decked? [In reply to]
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Glad you came out of that one in good shape all things considered. For TR solo its hard to beat the two mini-trax system. They are redundant and you file down one of the mini trax so the cam is always engaged. No knots to deal with.

T


kobaz


Apr 11, 2011, 9:54 AM
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I decked on Oops and Floops in Peterskill, in the Gunks.

I was feeling strong. I've TRd the route before. There's good gear placements all over. I decided to do my first 5.10 gear lead in the gunks.

The start is really really tricky. From the ground I put in a nut as high as I could reach. I figured if I blew the first move I would be okay. I started off and made the first move. I stuffed a yellow metolius blindly above my head. And traversed left into the flaring crack. I really really wanted to get in another piece at this point (I like to place a lot of gear anyway). I spent way way too long futzing with the flared crack to try and get a piece in.

I told my belayer I was downclimbing and to pull in the slack. I reversed two moves and I was totally and utterly pumped. I said I was coming off. I extended myself as low as I could before I greased off. I swung to the right towards my last piece. It pulled. I landed on the ground in between two ankle breaking rocks and fell backwards in between two head smashing boulders (I did have a helmet). The fall distance combined with the landing style, combined with immediately rolling back all contributed to the most beautifully executed ground fall I could have imagined.

I didn't hit the ground with full force. That first nut that I stood on a rock to place, held me back a little bit. It was the rope stretch that led me to the ground,

It was a small fall, maybe 5 feet, but anything can happen in a fall. My feet were a little sore, my back was fine and I was generally feeling okay.

I said... next time I lead this I'm bringing a crash pad.

Edited for some spelling and grammar.


(This post was edited by kobaz on Apr 11, 2011, 9:57 AM)


gblauer
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Apr 11, 2011, 9:58 AM
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Re: [xtrmecat] Have you ever decked? [In reply to]
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xtrmecat wrote:


About six weeks ago, while teaching a college climbing class, a girl, on her first day with a new device, ATC, was lowering me from the top of a second lap on a route, and got too much speed up and lost control. Burnt both hands trying to regain the belay, but could not. Augered in from around twenty feet. Thank God there is a gravel base at the bottom. Wrenched back, and shoulder muscle issues were the injuries. PT'd them myself and the shoulder is about 75% with the back in full on goodness.


Burly Bob

I assume she got an "F".


ClimbSoHigh


Apr 11, 2011, 10:00 AM
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In reply to:
Glad you came out of that one in good shape all things considered. For TR solo its hard to beat the two mini-trax system. They are redundant and you file down one of the mini trax so the cam is always engaged. No knots to deal with.

T

Good to hear others have done this modification as well. If using 2 minitraxions as you suggested, do you do 1 off the belay loop and one off an improvised chest harness made with a 4' sling? Currently I am just using 1 off my belay loop which leaves me vulnerable to taking a small 6" fall onto a toothed ascender, which is not good for my sheath.


Partner xtrmecat


Apr 11, 2011, 10:10 AM
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gblauer wrote:
xtrmecat wrote:


About six weeks ago, while teaching a college climbing class, a girl, on her first day with a new device, ATC, was lowering me from the top of a second lap on a route, and got too much speed up and lost control. Burnt both hands trying to regain the belay, but could not. Augered in from around twenty feet. Thank God there is a gravel base at the bottom. Wrenched back, and shoulder muscle issues were the injuries. PT'd them myself and the shoulder is about 75% with the back in full on goodness.


Burly Bob

I assume she got an "F".


I haven't graded anyones skills yet, just observed. Kind of hard to fail someone for learning a valuable lesson when it comes to finding limitations. In her defense, she is a very small woman, with very small hands, and is just now earning a grip strength stronger than that required to hold a pencil. I am no little man either.

I knew the potential when I went up, and share in the responsibility of the accident. The first ride down was controlled well, but a tad fast, with slowing right as I was about to touch down. I had ample opportunity to correct the situation verbally before I went up again, but saw an opportunity to get a good pump as being more important.

An F, no, but not an A either.

Burly Bob


gblauer
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Apr 11, 2011, 10:13 AM
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THe woman that dropped me was very experienced.

She came to the gym for a while after the accident, but, I think she quit climbing. To her credit, she gave me several weeks worth of cranial sacral therapy which I think helped me heal very quickly. (She was a cranial sacral therapist.)


Partner xtrmecat


Apr 11, 2011, 10:28 AM
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  That was very nice of her. Always be a good feeling knowing she took responsibility for her misdeed. Too bad she is not climbing anymore though.

Burly Bob


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Apr 11, 2011, 10:52 AM
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ClimbSoHigh wrote:
In reply to:
Then anytime I leave the gound or a ledge, I go up about 5-10 feet and tie a back up. I feel that tying back up knots are important but a pain to do consistantly durring the climb, so I just tie the knots that would stop me from a full on deck. (I would imagine hitting a back up knot from 50' would really suck) Now my major concerns are possible pendulums or attaching my mini-traxion upside down, both of which I double check before each climb.

I figure I would ask if people feel this is a reasonable TR solo rig since it is being discussed, and I am relatively new to rope soloing.


I have an opinion, and experience on your ponderings.

I also find it easier to move on and only tie a backup when danger is present, but have gone to the knot several times. Let me tell you about some of the rides.

On the approach to Liberty cap, I was pulled off a sandy ledge by a very heavy pig at the end of the approach, the fall was long, but really a soft stop due to slung manzanita (sp) was my pro, and almost a whole rope out. I was backing up with a clove on a locker, and besides being a headfirst plummet and terrifying to me, the clove was as close to welded as I have ever seen.

This January on ElCap, I took four back to back rides to the knott, due to the overhanging nature of the place I was having issues getting through. The first ride, with stripped gear and the backup being very casual, ended up over fourty feet onto and alpine butterfly. The knott came right out. I was more diligent with the backup slack the next three, and the stretch was coming out of the cord, so went only to the knott and the distance of the stripped pieces, also easily untied. Shook me up enough to let common sense prevail over the ego and wanting to make the belay, about ten more feet out. Bagged the day due to fear. Also bagged the wall after an evening of contemplaction, probably in over my head for solo. All these falls were overhanging and clean.

As for your other issue. I am a proponent of soloing on devices engineered and tested for soloing. I also believe toothed devices can and have parted loaded or fallen on cords enough to label it as a dangerous practice. I use the soloist, and even though it will not part the rope, it also has limitations. A backup knott will serve no purpose should the rope part, or the device attachment fail.

TR in on them is widely accepted as safe practice, I am a little more reserved in my thinking here. As for leading on a toothed device, or a non engineered piece of belay equipment, I believe the risks far outweigh the cost of a specialty piece of gear.

Again, just my two cents worth. I am still here to give an opinion, and a few others are not.

Burly Bob


rock_fencer


Apr 11, 2011, 11:00 AM
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Re: [ClimbSoHigh] Have you ever decked? [In reply to]
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I actually rarely solo TR and dont own any mini-trax. I solo aid using clove hitches

The few times i have used a friends mini-trax to TR solo we just set them up one on the belay loop and one below with a quickdraw. A chest harness is definitely better. If you make sure that the rope is well tensioned below, it doesn't seam likely that the 1'st mini trax wont engage. And really your fall is going to be you sitting in your harness not so much a fall.

For lead solo i'd go with a soloist or SP w/ chest harness.

T

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