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Life with a Silent Partner, Part II
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donnerock


Aug 29, 2005, 1:27 AM
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Life with a Silent Partner, Part II
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This is a sequel to my previous thread concerning leading with the Silent Partner (SP). This thread will discuss my experiences with 1-TOP ROPING and 2-FALLING with the SP. I still preface this, however, that climbing with a real, non-silent partner is my preference.

Though the SP is designed primarily for leading climbs, it may also be used for top roping. The directions call for two ropes, each tied at the top anchor - one for threading the SP, the other as a backup by locking knots occasionally to your harness. If the climb/rope is of particular length, I am able to use one rope, tying each end to the anchor at top and ensuring the loop in the middle touches the ground. The next step is to properly weight the end of the rope that will be using the SP. If the weight is too heavy, it has a tendency to lock the SP's clove hitch. If the weight is too light, you will have to manually feed the slack out of the SP as you climb. This is the same idea if using a Gri-Gri or ATC on belay (both with a back-up). It is difficult to get the exact weight, and I found it was better to be too loose on the rope (less weight) than to have the SP locking up on you while climbing. This requires you to be able to have "rests" where you can use one of your hands to pull down the slack through the SP. This leads to my main top rope warning: If you fall, you will fall the slack distance plus rope stretch plus SP wind-up distance. I made that last term up, but it is the design built into the the SP that will allow some rope to pass through the SP before locking up. Hence, be conscious of your fall distance while climbing. It is very similar to leading a trad climb and determining where to set you next piece of pro. Sometimes you just have to run it out a bit until you can get to a spot where you can set the pro/pull down the slack.

Which leads me to my next topic - falling on the SP. First, it works. Second, the fall distance may surprise you based on the steepness of the climb. A gentle grade fall will be slower and the wind-up distance (mentioned earlier) will be greater than a steeper grade fall which is faster. This wind-up distance could be troublesome especially if you are leading the climb. Furthermore, the clove hitch on the SP subsequent to a fall will require loosening before resuming the climb. Here's the picture. You climb up, set pro or clip in. You climb above the pro and fall a distance equal to the leader distance above the pro, the rope stretch and the SP wind-up distance. In other words, you may be well below that top piece of pro. First warning - do not grab the rope as you fall. It will be feeding through the SP until it locks so you will burn you hands. Also, grabbing the rope may actually add wind-up distance to the SP since it may interfere with the slack. LEAVE THE ROPE ALONE, protect yourself, and enjoy the ride. Now what? You will have to unweight the rope to be able to loosen the now tight clove hitch knot on the SP. I found that keeping some long slings girth-hitched to my harness (the same ones I use when topping out at the anchor to come off belay) come in very handy. You can clip a sling into the nearest piece of pro (or set one) and use that sling to unweight yourself from the rope. You will also need two hands to loosen the knot. Now, the problem is getting back to the climb. After you unsling yourself, you will have to pull down slack as you climb up, just as you had to on a top rope, because that is now essentially what it is until you get back to the top piece. Hopefully you can get to that piece easily where you have rests to draw down the slack. Plus, you don't want to continually fall on that one piece and have to redo the unweighting to untie the SP again and again.

Anyway, again, a verbose discussion, but hopefully someone will take something away from it regarding the Silent Partner. Cheers.


johnhenry


Aug 30, 2005, 2:32 PM
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Re: Life with a Silent Partner, Part II [In reply to]
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Hey Amigo,

I can appreciate your ongoing eperiences and learning curve with the Silent Partner.

Although i think it is about the best thing going for lead climbing, I do not use it for top roping. I find it much easier to tie the rope off in the middle and use two ascenders (one mini-traxion and one ushba basic) one one each strand.

However, to each their own...

Cheers,

john


donnerock


Sep 3, 2005, 9:13 PM
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Re: Life with a Silent Partner, Part II [In reply to]
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Hi John,

I agree with your preference to use something other than the SP. I have enjoyed using both the Gri-Gri (which provides sudden stops that may be stressful on your top anchor) or just a rappelling device with a prussic back-up. Climb On!

Jay


sentinel


Sep 6, 2005, 1:31 PM
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Re: Life with a Silent Partner, Part II [In reply to]
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One question.

In reply to:
I now use a 9.2 mm rope that is less than the SP recommends but it sure feeds nice and it does lock.

9.2 is what you use and YOU'VE actually taken a fall on a 9.2 line. The reason why I ask is that I've been using the SP since 98 and I've always wondered about going to a thinner line. I have to replace my lead line in a couple of weeks and I'm toying with a thinner 9.6 or maybe 9.2....

Oh yea, something I do that helps feed the line SMOOTHER is to set up a downward (directional) pulling piece every 3 or 4 pieces. Kinda tough on the sharp end but if you can work it into your system, it'll make the climbing more enjoyable.


donnerock


Sep 6, 2005, 6:23 PM
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Sentinel

I used to use a 10.5 Edelweiss with dry coating. It was thick and very difficult to feed through the SP. The 9.2 (Mammot Revelation) is probably overkill for the SP but I use it for "normal" leading mostly. The 9.2 is probably giving me a slightly longer fall also, but some of that is from the rope stretch also. But to answer your question, I think any rope thinner than 10mm would work just fine, especially if it is not dry coated. I hope this answers your question. Cheers. DR


sentinel


Sep 6, 2005, 9:16 PM
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Re: Life with a Silent Partner, Part II [In reply to]
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Donnerock - OUTSTANDING feedback!!! Thanks you've just pushed me over the fence to go to a 9.2 for trail and a 9.5 or 6 for lead. Next month I'm gonna put a push on Gold Wall on ribbon falls. This tid bit of info may help me move alot quicker. :righton:

10.whatever can be a real pain in the ass when in comes to makin crux free moves with the SP. I'm a huge fan of this device and feel if a climber can work with this technology they will not only reap the reward of the SP but actually become a "better" (free) climber.

On another note I can't understand why people from supertaco give this site shite. That site is all about the bla bla bla. Your feedback proves the worth of this site.

Thanks
Sentinel


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