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silent partner

4:40:16 PM
wren industries.
I did a search and i know how they work i was wondering who has one (i know you do A5 ) and if they think they are good. also where did you get it from and how much did you pay.

6:12:45 PM
On 7/05/2004 steve wrote: re Silent Partner devices;
>if they think they are good.
Very good/excellent.

>where did you get it from and how much did you pay.
Direct from Wren Industries via a friend who couriered it personally to Oz for me.
Paid too much! Not certain without looking up the receipt but it was about $500 Australian. Exchange rate at the time was crap $1Aus=0.52cUS (as Sept 11 also killed the exchange rate, ... ~ after my order was processed but before the transaction was finalised !)
... quote 27/09/01 Krista Franklin of Wren Industries, LTD
>"The current price for the Silent Partner is US$225, plus US$12 in shipping to Kentucky".
also (for info) ...
>"I have sold probably five or less Silent Partners to people in Australia, and I received an e-mail from someone there on Friday (Sept 01) asking about shipping costs.
>We have been manufacturing the Silent Partner for 2 and 1/2 years now, and have sold 1250 units worldwide in that time frame".

Down side:

*They are bigger and heavier than you would expect.
*They are probably 'overkill' for pure aid leading, ... where other methods can be adequate.
*They are not without hassles, primarily due to the basic complication of dealing with extra (backup) loops and paying attention to which strand is being clipped to pro.
*They are not to be used in an environment where the internal mechanism may freeze (mountaineering / ice climbing).
*Although you can abseil on them they are finicky in that there is not much lee-way between abseiling too fast (due to feeding freely there is bugger all friction), and locking off because it 'thinks' you are falling!
*If it locks off and you are in an overhanginging environment you still (preferably) need an ascender to take your weight off it to enable progress again. (It can be done without an ascender, but involves more jiggery pokery).
*Although setting it up on your harness for soloing is relatively straight forward; it is possible to stuff up the rope threading layout and the rope drag induced can be grievous. (Not my experience as I read this elsewhere, ... but I have managed to set it incorrectly once, ... realised my mistake and reset it before proceeding up ...). I do not know how well it would catch you in a fall if you had it incorrectly set-up.
*For me, ... extra 'hidden cost' of using 'screamers' within the anchor system ... These are 'technically' not necessary, but extremely beneficial in my opinion.

Up side:

*They feed excellently for free climbing, and mixed aid/free leading.
*It really does work! ie will catch a leader falling in any attitude and is fairly gentle on the rope, (given that solo falls are never gentle on ropes per se).
*There is probably nothing comparable or better out there for 'ease of use' roped soloing.
*It does not have to be used only for soloing. It can be used in 'short fixing' arrangements when a partner can clean last pitch while you start the next. It can be used to self belay in other applications like high access work.
*It will take a (limited) variety of rope diameters, so you can vary its performance a bit, depending on what rope is used and still retain reliability. (thick and stiff ropes feed more slowly).
*What price peace of mind?

I don't regret buying it and intend to get a lot more use out of it yet. It is perhaps really only a 'spendy item' if you only make limited use of it?

I believe Phil Box (from Qld, and who also contributes to this forum) has one. He may have more opinions to contribute.

phil box
6:31:06 AM
Ah yes I do have a SP. I`ve used it on a few occassions. A5 has just about given you all the skinny on the SP so anything I might add is going to be redundant. The one thing I did find is that if your rope is fat and furry then the SP is a pure b.... to feed, it will pretty much self lock up all the time. I found that a skinnier rope feeds soooo much better.

Oh yes the one thing that is fantastic when self belaying is that rope drag is entirely eliminated. Another thing you must bear in mind when using this or any other self feeding device is that as you get further out from your anchor you will need to rebelay the rope so that it won`t self feed itself through the device due to the weight of the rope going back down to the anchor. A rebelay can consist of a long prussik attached to a fairly solid piece. This rebelay is merely there to support the weight of the rope. The reason that it needs to be long is so that you don`t reduce the dynamism of the rope.

11:43:08 AM
True about the thick furry ropes locking up.
I use a new 10.5 after 'initial testing' of it with an old 11 mm. Balancing act really; as a thick rope is a psychological 'belay' when soloing!
Just make sure its a dynamic rope being used!!

Regarding rebelaying at 'about' midrope to avoid inadvertant self-feeding of the rope;
I use lightweight cotton shoelace prussik to do this as it can break in a fall and not hinder the dynamic properties of the lead rope.
I find potential for a normal type diameter (long) prussik to/could catch in gear or lock off and possibly damage the sheath with friction burn. Have not tested the theory, ... so maybe I am paranoid.
It only need be strong enough to hold the weight of the rope and cotton breaks easier than nylon.
The second option is to simply tie off to a solid piece and in effect 're-belay'. If you do this then you are adding to the Fall Factor that any subsequent fall induces, because you are shortening up the effective length of rope paid out.
You could get around this somewhat by incorporating another screamer at the re-belay point.

11:47:44 AM
They sound pretty cool. pity about the price! thanks for the info.

3:52:56 PM
X-link courtesy of brat on another thread.

>Phil & M8: How much did you pay for your silent partners?
This information is in my post of 07/05/04 above.

8:29:29 AM
Phil & M8: How much did you pay for your silent partners?

phil box
1:05:54 PM
I bought mine from the US online. I am sure I paid too much for it and from memory it was something like $600 Australian by the time I got it into the country. They are a very expensive piece of equipment.

8:41:15 AM
No kidding!!! So that really is a price you'd expect to pay for it!!!! FORK!!!

Hmmm. Oh well, I'll just have to stick to self belay on a dynamic line I've thrown off the top of a cliff for now, not to bother ... yet ;-)

Thanks heaps for your feedback

Phil Box
9:38:31 AM
Of course you could always go for the poverty pack self belay option of two lockers with a clove hitch on each and a loop of rope running between. It is a little clunky to use but way cheap as you can use what is currently on your harness. A good option in a self rescue emergency.

3:28:13 PM
Is that self tending if left loose or do you have to manually feed it? I can imagine it would be very fidgety after applying load and perhaps a little dangerous if you provide yourself too much slack feeding the rope through. I might go out and try it on a small wall tonight, just nut it out.

Excellent thought, is it you're own or something you've seen on the rock? It's fantastic all the things you can do with a few hms binas, a handful of knots, and a little bit of ingenuity

4:15:49 PM
The idea has been around for yonks.
It is not self feeding.
When you get to the 1st clove hitch you untie it. The 2nd one is acting as your backup at that point.
You then pull up more slack, retie another clove hitch and keep climbing until you reach the (originally 2nd) clove hitch.
Repeat process until climb is completed.

The biggest drawback is that the rope can come tight on you halfway through the crux moves ...
... unless you anticipate and make sure your 'slack loop' is long enough to cover the distance...
.... then you may find the loop snags things unless you are careful with rope management. A rope bucket attached to your harness is good for this.

There are many variations on the theme.

4:23:27 PM
On 17/08/2005 M8iswhereitsat wrote:
>The biggest drawback is that the rope can come tight on you halfway through
>the crux moves ...

Any 'cheap' self belay system can severely limit what you can climb as a free route! I have led things up
to about grade 18ish but it gets pretty desperate when you are hanging on and trying to un-tie or feedout
ropes through a clove hitch! Even using a gri-gri can cause issues. Self belaying works much better on
aid routes as you always have free hands.

10:17:25 AM
Well, gave it a go last night. My first two climbs I backed up with a fixed line and my usual self belay method using my petzl basic, then went for one last climb, properly leading using the clove hitch technique before the light dissapeared and twilight became night. Works nicely but is, as you said, extremely fidgety. I don't think it's something I'll be doing to often but it was good to learn a new skill. Might give it a bit of honing in a couple weeks time when the weather's better.

Neil mate! An 18!!! Crikey, I was climbing a 13 and it felt like a 16 climbing using the clove hitch technique. I can't think of a singe 18 in Adelaide that I'd do that on ... mmm, maybe the Billiard Table, but anyway - respect mate! That's pretty bold.

I can imagine with a bit of practice it would become easier and more natural, when I did it last night it felt like I was trying to feed a steak through a straw.

Thanks a million for the advice!!!

11:16:46 AM
On 18/08/2005 dr_fil_good wrote:
>Neil mate! An 18!!! Crikey, I was climbing a 13 and it felt like a 16
>climbing using the clove hitch technique. I can't think of a singe 18
>in Adelaide that I'd do that on ... mmm, maybe the Billiard Table, but
>anyway - respect mate! That's pretty bold.

The secret is to feed out a tonne of slack when you get to below the crux sequnce! I have done quite a bit
of multi-pitch leading with a self belay. One of the most memorable climbs of my life was a first ascent of
a six pitch 260m grade14 on Mt Beerwah (Glasshouse Mtns QLD). I self belayed and handdrilled bolts on
lead for most of the pitches. It was a commiting and enjoyable experience. I had a lack of climbing
partners in those days!

12:09:05 PM
>The secret is to feed out a tonne of slack when you get to below the crux sequnce!

Fair enough advice, but crux's are often where people may fall. A lot of slack at those points are what makes roped soloing feel like free soloing, and the mental game very interesting.

To get away from the fiddly aspect of clove hitches I once led Bastion Buttress (250m Gd 13), using the Barnett self belay system as described in an old Royal Robbins book on rock climbing. It is basically a giant prussik knot attached to your harness that self feeds on the lead rope when 'bunched up' against a chest harness mounted pulley but grabs when weighted in a fall.
I got away with it at the time, but have since read horror stories of Barnett systems failing to grab in certain fall situations. At least one death has been known to result from this, as well as a number of serious rope burn cases.
I would still use this system in an emergency, though I have tinkered with rope diameter combinations sufficiently to have some idea of what is required to get it to work fairly reliably.

>I was climbing a 13 and it felt like a 16
Crikey, 'Feel-good'; You are right!, as that is how I also felt at the time.

I also reckon you need a half rack more than you would normally use, to double up on critical pieces and for setting belays good for multidirectional forces at both top and bottom of ropelengths on multipitches.

12:59:09 PM
On 18/08/2005 M8iswhereitsat wrote:
>I also reckon you need a half rack more than you would normally use, to
>double up on critical pieces and for setting belays good for multidirectional
>forces at both top and bottom of ropelengths on multipitches.

Yep, i agree. Anchors for self-belaying have to be very secure and hold falls from all sorts of angles. At
least with single pitch self-belaying you can just tie it around a tree with a giant clove-hitch!

10:15:22 AM
>just tie it around a tree with a giant clove-hitch!
I'd want a keeper knot with the tail of the rope as a backup at least.

There are 18 messages in this topic.


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