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EDDY as a solo belay and its camming action DANGERS (?)
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Dorian


Oct 2, 2008, 4:19 PM
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EDDY as a solo belay and its camming action DANGERS (?)
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Hello folks,

I have seen that many people are using the Edelrid Eddy as a belay device for leading rope solo. I have got one and I have done my own tests repetively. I have two major safety concerns:

1) The camming unit will not engage until the rope is getting fed through at a minimum speed (similarly to the Silent Partner), speed which may vary depending on rope diameter and condition. Is this SPEED smaller or larger for the Silent Partner? How reliable is Eddy's engagement at a certain speed?

2) The moving unit of the Eddy's camming mechanism basically presses the rope against the inner wall of the device when it engages. The catch relies on frictioning the rope between the "jaws" of the cam in a way very similar to the Solo-Aid. However, unlike in the Solo-Aid, this moving unit is VERY NARROW in length and potentially can damage or even cut the rope in a severe fall situation. Has anybody measured under what forces (rope tension) will this happen ? Has anybody tested this set up with a weight over 80 Kg AND a fall factor in the range 1.5--2 ? For knots we know they reduce the rope breaking strength by some percentage - what is the corresponding percentage for the Eddy and other belay devices used in solo leading ?

Unfortunately no company provides such infos.

All comments welcome.
Dorian


(This post was edited by Dorian on Oct 2, 2008, 4:32 PM)


moose_droppings


Oct 2, 2008, 4:41 PM
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Re: [Dorian] EDDY as a solo belay and its camming action DANGERS (?) [In reply to]
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Dorian wrote:
Unfortunately no company provides such infos.

Might be because none of these companies advise you use this products for lead roped soloing.


Dorian


Oct 2, 2008, 8:45 PM
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Re: [moose_droppings] EDDY as a solo belay and its camming action DANGERS (?) [In reply to]
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It is just irrelevant to them, but vital to some of us.
Anyways, I bought a Silent Partner and at least will
know that I am using something that has been
extensively tested and designed for this use.

I also checked the Petzl Grigri and found that in
the camming aspect it is even worse. I mean it's
even more narrow and could potentially damage
or cut the rope in a severe fall (big weight and
large fall factor).


(This post was edited by Dorian on Oct 2, 2008, 8:48 PM)


healyje


Oct 2, 2008, 9:36 PM
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Re: [Dorian] EDDY as a solo belay and its camming action DANGERS (?) [In reply to]
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Dorian,

I didn't even know my roped soloing post had been turned into an article until your pm, which I haven't had time to answer. But the short answer is, then don't use an Eddy or a grigri for lead roped sologing if that's what you think. That's the essential beauty of roped soloing - people taking responsibility for their own decisions.

I'm still not in a position to respond at any length - I will say that by and large I don't share your concerns other than to say that - regardless of what device - you have to carefully balance rope diameter to the device. I would also be quite amazed if there is more than a handful of folks other than myself using an Eddy for roped soloing, even after reading my article.

In any case, the essential point, which I stressed repeatedly, is that anyone prepared to step up to the plate of roped soloing has to also be prepared to sort out what components and system works for them. The fact that I may or may not do something or do something a particular way for myself should hold no particular weight with anyone else. The article was strictly informational in that regard.


(This post was edited by healyje on Oct 2, 2008, 9:41 PM)


Dorian


Oct 8, 2008, 10:43 AM
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Re: [healyje] EDDY as a solo belay and its camming action DANGERS (?) [In reply to]
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Healyje and other folks,

Thanks for your response and your relaxed tone. I totally agree with all you are saying. It might also be of your interest to know that after inquiring with Elelrid about this potential danger I was told that tests with a 10.5mm dynamic rope have shown slipage to occur at approximately 5.5KN, that means (if true) that the Eddy provides a nice dynamic belay without damaging the rope. For 11mm the corresponding force was about 7KN. After this reply, using the Eddy for solo leading it is (for me only) a question of how responsibly the device will lock at a fall. If you or anybody else have any (not necessarily definite) answers on this I would appreciate your responses.

All the best
Dorian


petit_suisse


Oct 13, 2008, 6:59 AM
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Re: [Dorian] EDDY as a solo belay and its camming action DANGERS (?) [In reply to]
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Hi Dorian,

Take care with the EDDY, because we made some tests in a "standard" configuration : one climber fall after about ten meters with a lot of friction (quick draws in zigzag) and the EDDY didn't block at all! Even with the speed of the rope increasing!
The EDDY blocks only when you have a strong shock from the rope.
Tests made with new ropes 9.4 and 9.7 mm. EDDY is given for 9 to 11mm ropes.

I'll never use this equipment for solo...
So take care.

petit_suisse


Dorian


Oct 14, 2008, 3:27 PM
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Re: [petit_suisse] EDDY as a solo belay and its camming action DANGERS (?) [In reply to]
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I would not either... seriously!
The responsiveness of the Silent Partner in locking is far better and more reliable. Moreover, the Eddy locks all the time (not allowing the rope to feed) when the free side of the rope weighs down more than 4-6 meters. This means that one has to carry the rope in a stuff-sack or have many small loops hanging from the harness. But more importantly (as you say) the locking mechanism of the Eddy is not desingned to engage by rope speed and it cannot be trusted. What if you fall smoothly (right after clipping = no shock) at a very smooth and low angle slab? Reader, you want my advice? Test, re-test and test again before you start soloing with the Eddy or even take the belaying hand off the rope. If you do get convinced that it works come back and tell us.


(This post was edited by Dorian on Oct 14, 2008, 3:59 PM)


the_climber


Oct 24, 2008, 11:22 AM
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Re: [Dorian] EDDY as a solo belay and its camming action DANGERS (?) [In reply to]
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I won't get into it too much at this point, but will add a couple comments on using the Eddy for roped soloing.

Background, I purchased the Eddy this summer and have been testing it out for roped solo, aid climbing, ect. Other roped solo setups I've used are GriGri, modified GriGri, Silent partner, Clove hitch, and a couple other knot on biner systems I won't get into.

I tried many different setups with the Eddy, and have ended up with a very similar set up to healyje. Prior to using the Eddy in this fashion I put it through it's paces fro a few weeks of new routing involving extensive aid climbing, lowering, belaying (obviously), insane tension traverses, and testing it as an ascender. I did this to get a really good feel for how the device works, what it is capable of, and to see what the effect of different angles is on how it locks up.

Here is a quick rundown on a few things:

-In order to feed smoothly without locking up the rope needs to be carried in a pack. This also reduces the clusterfvck of loops while roped soloing.
-Climbing with loops longer that ~5m to 7m on a 9.8mm to 10.2mm is just asking for it to lock up on you mid move.
-The Eddy does indeed provide somewhat of a dynamic belay.
-The effect of changing angles on how fast the device locks up should be both noted and experimented with by anyone wanting to use this device in this fashion. In testing while aid climbing, and in simulated lead falls I found that the dramatic change in angle which takes place during a fall had more of an effect on the device locking up than the speed of the rope, with the best results for reliable locking of the device being when the rope was carried in a pack fed to the device over the shoulder.

Like I said, I'm not going to get into it too much at this point. That said, to see what I'm getting at with angles test you Eddy with feeding the rope through it in a regular belay fashion, then test it for locking up with it oriented for catching a fall assuming you're carrying the rope in a pack. Whether it is the angles or the friction created by the angles the Eddy both feeds better/faster and locks up better/faster/more reliable when the rope is carried in a pack, feeding to the device over the shoulder.


Roped solo is a VERY personal thing. Everyone who does it must take the commitment to heart, and develops the system which works for 'them'. My setup with the eddy is similar to healyje's, but not exactly the same. It works for "me". Roped solo is a 110% "everything is on you" activity that requires a climber to think outside the box and understand the systems better than any other style of climbing. It isn't for everyone.


(This post was edited by the_climber on Oct 24, 2008, 11:26 AM)


healyje


Oct 24, 2008, 11:55 AM
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Re: [petit_suisse] EDDY as a solo belay and its camming action DANGERS (?) [In reply to]
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petit_suisse wrote:
Hi Dorian,

Take care with the EDDY, because we made some tests in a "standard" configuration : one climber fall after about ten meters with a lot of friction (quick draws in zigzag) and the EDDY didn't block at all! Even with the speed of the rope increasing!
The EDDY blocks only when you have a strong shock from the rope.
Tests made with new ropes 9.4 and 9.7 mm. EDDY is given for 9 to 11mm ropes.

I'll never use this equipment for solo...
So take care.

petit_suisse

This testing was clearly done with a total and complete misunderstanding of what an Eddy is and how one works. I can tell from the verbage use that your testing was done with the assumption that an Eddy does and should work like a grigri. It doesn't and shouldn't, which is exactly what makes it good for [my] roped soloing.

The grigri employs a spring for constant pressure on the rope - an Eddy does not. The grigri is a [sometimes] 'autolocking' device - the Eddy is not. Let me repeat that statement: the Eddy is not an autolocking device. It looks more or less like a grigri in that it is roughly the same shape, a rope goes in and out of it, and it has a handle you pull back. But for all those visible similarities, they are not functionally equivalent inside the devices and that is by design.

Any expectation - under any circumstance - that the Eddy should autolock is entirely misplaced and represents a fundamental misunderstanding of the functionality provided by the Eddy. With ropes from 9.8mm on up it will provide the illusion of autolocking when the rope snags the locking cam and flips it, but that is not the designed purpose of the device. I have no doubt whatsoever that a sub-9.8mm rope will not provide that autolocking illusion under almost any circumstances.

Once again, if you use a sub-9.8mm rope and expect the Eddy to [auto]lock off the rope without you restraining the rope travel with your brake hand you are going to be rudely and consistently disappointed - it was never designed for such use.

Any expectation or assumption that an Eddy should perform or function like a grigri is doomed to disappointment and probably result in an accident sooner than later.


(This post was edited by healyje on Oct 24, 2008, 11:59 AM)


chossmonkey


Oct 24, 2008, 12:00 PM
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Dorian wrote:

I also checked the Petzl Grigri and found that in
the camming aspect it is even worse. I mean it's
even more narrow and could potentially damage
or cut the rope in a severe fall (big weight and
large fall factor).
The Grigri is supposed to be able to withstand factor two falls.


healyje


Oct 24, 2008, 12:22 PM
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Dorian wrote:
I would not either... seriously!
The responsiveness of the Silent Partner in locking is far better and more reliable. Moreover, the Eddy locks all the time (not allowing the rope to feed) when the free side of the rope weighs down more than 4-6 meters.

No, it doesn't. If it's locking up all the time then you are somehow rigging/using the Eddy inappropriate to the task of rope soloing. At this point I have easily over two hundred 5.7-.10 pitches of solid multipitch free climbing in on my Eddy and can testify to the contrary.

Dorian wrote:
This means that one has to carry the rope in a stuff-sack or have many small loops hanging from the harness.

Carrying the rope in a backpack is the only realistic way of rope solo free-climbing that has worked for me when using either a grigri or Eddy.

Dorian wrote:
But more importantly (as you say) the locking mechanism of the Eddy is not desingned to engage by rope speed and it cannot be trusted.

Yes, it is not designed to engage by speed, only friction. It should not be trusted on the basis of rope speed, only friction.

Dorian wrote:
What if you fall smoothly (right after clipping = no shock) at a very smooth and low angle slab? Reader, you want my advice? Test, re-test and test again before you start soloing with the Eddy or even take the belaying hand off the rope. If you do get convinced that it works come back and tell us.

Never, ever - under any circumstances - take your brake hand off the rope when belaying with an Eddy. It is a terrible practice doing so with a grigri, a likely fatal one with an Eddy. Again anyone unwilling or unable to understand how an Eddy works and the differences between an Eddy and a grigri shouldn't use one.

Roped soloing with an Eddy requires experimenting with rope make and diameter to find a combination which effectively emulates 'autolocking' based on friction. I'm personally finding the sweet spot is between 10mm and 10.2mm after using ropes from 9.8mm to 10.2mm.

As 'the climber' explains quite well, 'autolocking' emulation with an Eddy is highly dependent on divergent rope angles in exact opposition that fact that the rope free flowing through the Eddy is dependent on parallel rope angels. By that I mean so long as the rope from the anchor and the slack rope from the backpack are both hanging downward from the device the rope will flow freely through it without locking. In a fall, or any other circumstance, that the rope from the anchor starts rising above the level of the device it will want to lock up.

In falls on the Eddy on a particularly challenging 10c I have totally abandoned the rock and grabbed the rope on the backpack/feed side of the Eddy to ensure a shorter fall due to the distance to the nearest obstacle, but that is not typical of most falls.

Again, if you are going to do any form of roped soloing it is imperative that you understand exactly how any given device or method within your total systems will perform. That means really understanding how devices work and what functionality they deliver - it's up to you to employ that functionality in a manner that adds up to a system which works for you.

Dorian, in your case it sounds like you're better off with the SP which is fine, but that doesn't mean I or others can't employ the Eddy in a completely serviceable way for our roped soloing.


healyje


Oct 24, 2008, 12:24 PM
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Re: [the_climber] EDDY as a solo belay and its camming action DANGERS (?) [In reply to]
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the_climber wrote:
I won't get into it too much at this point, but will add a couple comments on using the Eddy for roped soloing.

Good post, got your pm and will be responding to it - just been fanatically busy...


johneracer


Oct 24, 2008, 12:32 PM
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Re: [healyje] EDDY as a solo belay and its camming action DANGERS (?) [In reply to]
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healyje wrote:
petit_suisse wrote:
Hi Dorian,

Take care with the EDDY, because we made some tests in a "standard" configuration : one climber fall after about ten meters with a lot of friction (quick draws in zigzag) and the EDDY didn't block at all! Even with the speed of the rope increasing!
The EDDY blocks only when you have a strong shock from the rope.
Tests made with new ropes 9.4 and 9.7 mm. EDDY is given for 9 to 11mm ropes.

I'll never use this equipment for solo...
So take care.

petit_suisse

This testing was clearly done with a total and complete misunderstanding of what an Eddy is and how one works. I can tell from the verbage use that your testing was done with the assumption that an Eddy does and should work like a grigri. It doesn't and shouldn't, which is exactly what makes it good for [my] roped soloing.

The grigri employs a spring for constant pressure on the rope - an Eddy does not. The grigri is a [sometimes] 'autolocking' device - the Eddy is not. Let me repeat that statement: the Eddy is not an autolocking device. It looks more or less like a grigri in that it is roughly the same shape, a rope goes in and out of it, and it has a handle you pull back. But for all those visible similarities, they are not functionally equivalent inside the devices and that is by design.

Any expectation - under any circumstance - that the Eddy should autolock is entirely misplaced and represents a fundamental misunderstanding of the functionality provided by the Eddy. With ropes from 9.8mm on up it will provide the illusion of autolocking when the rope snags the locking cam and flips it, but that is not the designed purpose of the device. I have no doubt whatsoever that a sub-9.8mm rope will not provide that autolocking illusion under almost any circumstances.

Once again, if you use a sub-9.8mm rope and expect the Eddy to [auto]lock off the rope without you restraining the rope travel with your brake hand you are going to be rudely and consistently disappointed - it was never designed for such use.

Any expectation or assumption that an Eddy should perform or function like a grigri is doomed to disappointment and probably result in an accident sooner than later.


I have a grigri and used it all the time and mine does not have a spring to apply pressure to the rope. It has a spring to release the cam. Stopping action in the grigri is soley provided by the friction of the rope on the cam, lifting it and camming the device.....


petit_suisse


Oct 27, 2008, 4:09 AM
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healyje wrote:
This testing was clearly done with a total and complete misunderstanding of what an Eddy is and how one works.
You have no idea of what for these tests were done, so how can you say this?

Both Gri-Gri and Eddy are semi-automatic devices, so it means -as stated in the instruction manuals- that you have always to have the hand holding the rope.
But this has nothing to do with soloing, I agree.


coolcat83


Oct 27, 2008, 6:14 AM
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why is it so hard to just use a microscender or purpose made device? is it that unreasonable to have to rig a rappel if u need to get down? i use a microscender and it takes me a metter of seconds to switch to rappel. i don't see the advantage of using a gri gri or other semi locking belay device, is it money? fear of not being able to rig the rap?


geezergecko


Oct 27, 2008, 7:27 AM
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It is really easy to switch to rappel if you are standing on something. Not so easy if you are hanging in mid-air. I experimented with self belaying by rigging a rope to the ceiling, climbing a step ladder and then kicking the ladder away to see if I could get back down. A microscender locks up hard with body weight and it becomes rather difficult to free it while dangling on the rope. It can be done with prussics, munters, and whatknot but I imagine requiring to get down quick from a bad fall and not being able to do so.


the_climber


Oct 27, 2008, 8:59 AM
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coolcat83 wrote:
why is it so hard to just use a microscender or purpose made device? is it that unreasonable to have to rig a rappel if u need to get down? i use a microscender and it takes me a metter of seconds to switch to rappel. i don't see the advantage of using a gri gri or other semi locking belay device, is it money? fear of not being able to rig the rap?

Coolcat, we are talking about roped soloing on lead, not toprope. Microacsenders, used correctly, "can" be fine for toprope soloing. However, microscenders for leading... well, you're going to die.
Roped soloing is an activity for the experianced and competant climber. It requires an understanding beyond that of craging.


coolcat83


Oct 27, 2008, 12:29 PM
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the_climber wrote:

Coolcat, we are talking about roped soloing on lead, not toprope. Microacsenders, used correctly, "can" be fine for toprope soloing. However, microscenders for leading... well, you're going to die.
Roped soloing is an activity for the experianced and competant climber. It requires an understanding beyond that of craging.

i don't lead solo on a microscender, however there are a few purpose made devices for that. everyone always says when someone posts a "is this still safe to use?" thread, isn't your life worth $xx?, why is it different here? why not use a silent partner, or other solo device?

i've never used an eddy but it seems more prone to not locking than a grigri from what you described. and it has a pretty hefty price tag.


billcoe_


Oct 27, 2008, 12:32 PM
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Here's Josephs post- article which is the basis for much of this discussion if anyone wants to easily find it.

http://www.rockclimbing.com/..._among_many_675.html


coolcat83


Oct 27, 2008, 12:35 PM
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geezergecko wrote:
It is really easy to switch to rappel if you are standing on something. Not so easy if you are hanging in mid-air. I experimented with self belaying by rigging a rope to the ceiling, climbing a step ladder and then kicking the ladder away to see if I could get back down. A microscender locks up hard with body weight and it becomes rather difficult to free it while dangling on the rope. It can be done with prussics, munters, and whatknot but I imagine requiring to get down quick from a bad fall and not being able to do so.

well when i tr solo, i use the microscender and have a basic ascender with a adjustable aider clipped to it, so i just clip that on rig my atc step up and that's that. i wouldn't' lead on it unless i had to, and in that case i would trust it, while the rescucender does lock pretty hard it is made to take large loads, so if it was that or free soloing, i'll take the chance on it locking up hard.


Dorian


Nov 12, 2008, 5:54 PM
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Anybody can write whatever he/she thinks. If you believe that you understand what you are doing with the EDDY, that is your problem !!! Good luck Cool

I started this post simply to warn everybody that the locking function of the EDDY in a fall while rope soloing is doubtful. No wise man wants to depend on factors such as angle of rope and angle of body plus direction of fall, rope diameter and condition, whether the rope is wet or dry etc for the belay device to engage in a fall. Do not let anybody convince you it is safe - DO YOUR OWN TESTS INSTEAD.

Any fall soon leads to SPEED. However, the EDDY engages by FRICTION. From high-school physics you may remember that friction depends very weakly on speed. Meditate on this and you have the answer, or at least MY ANSWER. The EDDY will not always engage - it is not designed for this kind of use. It is like riding a bicycle sitting on the handlebars: doable but only for the circus.



(This post was edited by Dorian on Nov 12, 2008, 6:21 PM)


fatoomchk


Nov 13, 2008, 2:54 AM
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Stop shouting Dorian. It's unnecessary.

EDIT:

Coolcat: I'm currently using a similar set-up for TR, but with a microcender and a minitraxion. Do you have a photo of your setup? just curious as I'm still experimenting with my setup.


(This post was edited by fatoomchk on Nov 13, 2008, 2:59 AM)


healyje


Aug 5, 2010, 4:10 AM
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Re: [Dorian] EDDY as a solo belay and its camming action DANGERS (?) [In reply to]
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Didn't realize this had kept going on.

I've been multipitch, free, lead roped-soloing since 1975 and its easily still 50% of my climbing. I do it up to old school 5.10c and having been using the Eddy pretty much since it came out. On a average day I do somewhere between 5-15 pitches with it and have taken a few falls on it.

The Eddy works fine and I would never go back to a grigri. The SP also works fine, but is bulky, has cold weather issues, and you can't rap on it. The Soloist is too dangerous in my opinion as, counter to popular myth about not holding inverted falls, it won't even reliably hold a fall where you end up merely horizontal. And the Soloaid just plain looks too funky to monkey.

And there is no aspect of the Eddy I didn't consider before employing it for roped soloing - the cam size, geometry, and pressure applied to the rope; the tripping mechanism and friction required to engage it; and the suitability of various rope sizes, sheath percentages, dry treatments, and general flexibility. In the end, the Eddy remains my device of choice and the 'testing' and criticisms of it here I find unconvincing at best.

First of all, no one in their right mind should ever consider roped soloing with 9.4-9.7 ropes in any of the available devices and especially not new and / or dry treated ropes. The fact that the manufacturer claims the device 'works' [for belaying] with 9.4-11mm ropes is wholly irrelevant for the purposes of roped soloing. Just that someone would attempt to extrapolate from cam engagement testing with ropes at the low-to-mid range of the manufacturer's claims to some applicability to roped-soloing tells me the person doesn't understand much about the topic.

For one, there is no such thing as an 'auto-locking' belay device aside from those 'autobelay' devices designed to be mounted at the top of gym routes. The notion that a rope of any size should 'auto lock' in any belay device is a foolish notion rooted in the fact that much of the time a device will, for all practical purposes, [appear] to behave that way. So hands-off cam engagement testing to see if a device like the Eddy or grigri 'autolocks' is essentially a waste of time and simply serves to reinforce common misconceptions around belaying with such devices.

And that leads to the issue of friction engagement of the Eddy's cam. That is entirely a matter of tuning the rope to the device for a given application like roped-soloing. Hey, pick a new, highly-flexible, teflon or dry coated, sub-10mm rope and you are just begging to do some serious flying. Pick a new 9.4mm and I'd advise packing a reserve chute. Pick an 11mm of almost any variety on the otherhand and you are likely to find yourself going a whole lot of nowhere fast. Again, the fact the manufacturer claims the device 'works' for belaying with those diameter ropes has little or no relevance to roped-soloing with it.

As far as the Eddy's cam cutting the rope goes - I don't believe it for a moment. A Cinch cutting a rope I'll buy given it lacks stops to prevent it, but the nature of the Eddy's cam groove geometry and the cam's inherently limiting interaction with the clamshell walls essentially precludes such rope cutting.

So, does any of the above mean an Eddy or any other device is absolutely guaranteed to 'lockup' every single time you take a fall? Hell no! There will always be circumstances you can encounter with any device where all bets are off or probabilities start getting flexible - you have to be cognizant, vigilant, and adaptable every moment you're roped-soloing. If you need that kind of 'sure thing' certainty and absolutes then I'd suggest lead roped-soloing probably isn't going to be to your liking. Understanding, recognizing, and responding to potential hazards, sub-optimal circumstances, and / or dubious edge case scenarios around all aspects of the of roped-soloing is just an unavoidable part of the deal. Lead roped-soloing is an inherently 'dangerous' and 'unsafe' affair no matter how you slice or dice it.

Two applicable quotes come to mind relative to roped-soloing; first your basic Callahanism:

In reply to:
A man's got to know his limitations (and that of his gear as well).

followed by some wise, old-school Philly street slang:

In reply to:
Fuck around, fuck around, lay around and bleed...

If you leave the ground alone, then there's nothing between you and the deck except you - be prepared, be aware, and be responsible for yourself and your decisions as they'll all count in spades.


(This post was edited by healyje on Aug 5, 2010, 9:48 AM)


healyje


Jul 8, 2016, 2:17 AM
Post #24 of 24 (4684 views)
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Re: [Dorian] EDDY as a solo belay and its camming action DANGERS (?) [In reply to]
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The RC article this thread is about is here:

http://www.rockclimbing.com/..._among_many_675.html

Just a note that I've logged at least 1500 or so more pitches using the Eddy since this thread was started. Haven't changed my opinion or use of the system yet.

BUT, that still doesn't mean what I do or that using an Eddy to free lead rope solo is in any way 'safe' either. It's an autoblocking device and as such there are no absolute guarantees it will lock up in all circumstances.


(This post was edited by healyje on Jul 8, 2016, 2:26 AM)


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