Monday, June 15, 2009

Tinker Toys Trad Rope Solo

A break in the rain inspired me to hike Rock Canyon as a break from work, and try a trad lead rope solo.

The pack weighed a ton with all the trad gear. Well, actually only about 45 lb. I had issues before with my Edilrid Eddy being a bit "grabby" on the rope, and I ended up accidentally fixing it twice - more in a second.

I got to Tinker Toys in a record 15 minutes and had it all to myself. I quick set up an anchor at the bottom of "Tinker Toys" 5.6 trad crack on the far right side of the crag. Only about 35', it would be a good first trad solo lead.

Above shows the whole mess, from a 3" cam at the top (finally set a top anchor to hold all the gear pointing upright), to a .25 tricam at the bottom.

Top part - in the middle is a #6 nut slotted in really good (bottom) and a .5 tricam used as a chock (top).

And that's the .25 tricam at the bottom. The first time I pulled it multi-directional it popped, so I really yanked on it to set it. With the top SLCD it shouldn't pull.

I took all of 10 minutes to unpack, flake the rope and set the bomber anchor. Good timing. One of the main differences between pro and anchor is that pro only needs to hold a fall, normally in only one primary direction. An anchor must survive through a potential of multiple angles of force, and in addition, could (in a normal belay situation) be the one main point of failure that two or more lives depend on. In a rope solo situation, the bottom anchor must hold an upward pull during a fall, but must resist downward (gravity) and outward (climbing past initially) forces as well. So it's really important to be totally bomber, as your life probably depends on it holding just about anything that happens.

I tied into the locker near the SLCD and threaded my GriGri (fix number one) with my blue rope. It's a short (30 Meter) thin (9.8MM) rope I got off GearExpress. I climbed up about 5' and drop tested myself. It held. Good. BUT when I wiggled at all, it fed rope. Wild. I repeated it. And it did the same thing. I downclimbed and tried it a bunch of different ways on the ground. Same thing.

Two fixes to one problem, that caused another problem. GriGri's are not rated for rope under 10MM. 9.8MM is too small. It catches, but releases itself with any change in tension. I could be hanging and just bump the wall to unweight just a little bit, and it would feed rope. Drat.

So I packed up and headed for the car. Ran into two guys coming up looking for Tinker Toys, so I gave them beta, and they asked about setting a top rope, so I gave them some "advice" and continued down.

SO: future concepts - when I take the GriGri I take a 10.2MM rope (like the yellow or pink) and when I take the Eddy take the 9.8MM rope (blue). That should fix the problems. And get me climbing.

(P.S. - it wasn't worth risking a fall that may not catch - rope solo is about safely belaying yourself, not being macho)