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Chockstone Forum - General Discussion

General Climbing Discussion

Poll Option Votes Graph
Yes, Freeclimbing roped-lead-soloing 6
Yes, Aidclimbing roped-lead-soloing 6
Yes, Freeclimbing top-rope soloing 20
Yes, Aidclimbing top-rope soloing 1
Yes, all of the above 9
Yes, Lead free climbing soloing (nil rope). 9
Yes, Aid Lead soloing (nil rope). 1
No way JosÍ! 9

 Page 2 of 3. Messages 1 to 20 | 21 to 40 | 41 to 49
Roped Soloing - Who Does It? (for OP)

10:19:12 AM
Normal ascenders suck because they don't attach directly to your harness right at your hips like a shunt can. Ina shunt fall you might fall 30cm before the rope catches you. With an ascender you will be falling more like a metre - and at a funny angle, and with sharp biting teeth on the rope. Not ideal.

10:57:28 AM
On 5/02/2008 nmonteith wrote:
>Normal ascenders suck ... and with sharp biting teeth on the
>rope. Not ideal.

Yea rope damage did occur to me. Who makes a good shunt? can't say I've seen one before.

11:00:00 AM
Shunt is brand name and product of Petzel.

Organ Pipe
11:15:05 AM
PS: Thanks to climbau for beginning this thread, I was away after originally asking the question, so missed the initial discussion. Thanks though!

12:26:29 PM
On 5/02/2008 westie wrote:
>I definitley would like to climb more often but partners aren't always
>free so... I saw the link to Petzl and how they recommend you do it. Is
>this spot on? I'd rather hear from (some) horses mouth than do it from
>diagrams. Where else can I read up on it M9?

Eduardo has summed it up for toprope soloing re setup (but device ??? Heh, heh, heh).

I have not checked the Petzl link but I have found their info to be reliable in the past, and pbt post link on P1 of this thread looks OK for the 'ascension'.

There are plenty of posts on this site dealing with setups/technique. Some key words for additional searching that could prove useful are Ďmodified grigri' or ĎSilent Partnerí.

Additional reading largely depends on whether you are doing free or aid. The manufacturers (eg Wren Industries) who produce devices used for soloing have some stuff published.
Chockstone has within its book reviews some items worth checking out eg this good one worth buying/reading.

12:35:07 PM
I'll say it again and again 'SHUNTS SUCK AND ARE DANGEROUS" see 45m fall above
Shunts are documented as sliding to far ,cutting the sheath along its length and failing
catastrophically when the slide into a knot as well as failing when grabbed - Do Not Use ! if the device
can't get itself to work after 45m of falling it's really does not do what you want it to regardless of how
you fell

Normal ascenders can he clipped in the top hole to keep it near hips or rigged to a chest point like a
croll or basic to minimise fall distance - not sure how you could manage to fall 1m without it locking . .
. but the teeth are not a good idea for falling on anyway

Get a microscender. or similar device ie 'toothless cam' in solid frame. for top-rope soloing,

>Can someone who does this give some feedback on how enjoyable it is?

It is fan-bloody-tastic! No partner - no worries ; 3 people at a sport crag - no worries.
I often lead rope-solo to set a top rope then do laps before the party of 2 next to me is finished.
On bigger cliffs the solitude is amazing and the sense of achievement even greater due to the
commitment involved. Can even be quicker than being partnered - reach the belay tie-off rap-down and
start climbing again to clean the pitch - easy as . .

If you get up to the Blue'ies sometime I can give you a run through if you'd like.

12:43:54 PM
On 5/02/2008 Macciza wrote:
>I often lead rope-solo to set a top rope then do laps before the party
>of 2 next to me is finished.
>On bigger cliffs the solitude is amazing and the sense of achievement
>even greater due to the
>commitment involved. Can even be quicker than being partnered - reach
>the belay tie-off rap-down and
>start climbing again to clean the pitch - easy as . .

I had two days of multipitch rope-soling a few years ago in the Clanbaris (spelling!) Pass in Wales without a guide or a partner. It was great fun - total commitment as i had no idea really what was up ahead, but the gear always appeared when i needed it. I even had the place to myself since it was midweek and apparently a heatwave (ie 30'C).You can certainly climb as quick as a normal lead pair if you have your ropework sorted. A great adventure - highly recommended!

Eduardo Slabofvic
12:58:40 PM
On 5/02/2008 Macciza wrote:
>I'll say it again and again 'SHUNTS SUCK AND ARE DANGEROUS"
>- Do Not Use !

I hear what you're saying, but my experience is different, and everyone should make up their own mind on
what they are happy doing. There are horror stories around for just about every thing.

>Get a microscender. or similar device ie 'toothless cam' in solid frame.
>for top-rope soloing,

As with the Shunt, don't grab it before you weight it, as you could still stop the cam from biting.
Regardless of what device you choose to use, you should use it properly.

1:05:06 PM
Just for my curiosity* Eduardo, how often / what size fall/s have you taken using your system as opposed to 'slumping' on the rope?

Have you seen or heard of others who use your system ever having problems?

(*This is a genuine interest and I am not dissing either you or Macciza as I don't own# a shunt but am curious).

# I originally used a Gibbs ascender due being more safe than the old style jumar, but upgraded to a Silent Partner along the way. In between those two I experimented with various prusik systems including the Barnett one.

1:18:07 PM
modified grigri. rope in backpack. lead roped solo. needs a loop added to the grigri to be held in teeth, which can be let go in case of an upside down fall.

can't vote for my range of options as choice has to be one or all of the above.

haven't mentioned boulderaiding either, which is a fun game (as long as no one is watching) (no climber, anyway. it must look quite impressive to an abseiler)

one of my few ground falls involved grabbing a shunt. (the kardonnay of devices)

here's a shunt thought
connect to shunt via long sling, so that it is below you when you peel. they only work on toprope callenges anyway. that way you add a spicy lead fall feel to the juicy fruit top rope one.

better stop now

1:33:06 PM
On 5/02/2008 rhinckle wrote:
>can't vote for my range of options as choice has to be one or all of the above.

Initial post asks to
>Please choose your most frequent option.

>boulderaiding (snip) is a fun game

Too right.
Why no one watching? Own your passion!
I have even been belayed while doing it!!


Eduardo Slabofvic
1:44:27 PM
I attach to the shunt directly into the harness, so I only ever slump on it.

I used to use a jumar, then a croll, then I was introduced to the Shunt, and liked it better because it has
no teeth. I've looked at the Silent Partner (on the web, never seen a live one) and it looks like it would be
better for leading. I'm not leading, I'm just top roping, and I'm either doing laps on what ever it is I'm on
until I get so pumped I can't hold on, or I'm trying to figure out my secret new route (not that I have one of
those though).

I've also looked at the Rescue Sender, and I like it. I just don't own one. I do own a Shunt and it's been
doing the job I want it to do, so don't feel motivated to get something else.

I would like to point out that the Shunt can work with two ropes as well as 1, and there are times when I
have an attack of the wuss bags so I fix 2 independent lines.

I'm not try to pick a fight with Macca, but it's clear to me that the Shunt does what I want it to do, and
when it comes to climbing, I will be the one who decides what I do and what I chose to do it with.

I've never seen any problems with this set up, and I use this set up pretty regularly. I've heard of
problems, but I've also heard of alien abduction. Some people have told that they use a sling to attach to
the device thus giving them the lead fall experience. Great!, what ever floats your boat. Iím describing
what I do.

2:07:42 PM
Am still trying to understand this a little better.

Am I right in the problem as indicated by some as being the device fails to grip the rope at certain fall angles, and then by the time it does (if at all), it is not up to the load it will then sustain?

I like the Gibbs because it has no 'teeth', though it does have minor 'ridges'. I made a choice when I bought it to get the spring loaded one as my caving mates indicated that constant light contact with the rope by the 'ridges'/teeth/whatever! was desirable, due the disconcerting nature of falling till it 'grabs'.
As such I would not be inclined to extend a fall by adding a sling to it rather than direct to harness attachment.

In your experience Eduardo are your fixed line/s (the climb/s) generally vertical, overhanging, less than vertical, or traversy-ish/wandering?

Hey Macciza, are you dead set against the shunt or only in certain applications? like what nm indicated re
>Shunts don't 'catch' the rope when weighted sideways (ie on an overhang).

2:22:42 PM
ive also used a shunt a LOT, but i only use it as a backup for twin-rope work now (actually i normally use a petzl ASAP these days)
i wouldnt say that they suck (retro to clarify: they are good for what they were made for) they are, but i would definately say that they are far from ideal for soloing and there are far far better options (such as the silent partner, rescuescender etc)

2:32:32 PM
In reality a shunt is early 90s technology pre-gri gri that was originally designed as a replacement for a prussic backup when rapping on doubled ropes. In this, they work very well. For soloing - they work ok, but need to be treated with a fair degree of caution. On longer routes i tie knots under me every 15m or so. I can't quite believe that the device would 'break' if you fell down to a knot? They are pretty beefy devices!

2:32:33 PM
>quote From:
Industrial rope access - Investigation into items of personal protective equipment
Prepared by Lyon Equipment Limited for the Health and Safety Executive (British Govt.)

Test performance: The working strength test simply served to demonstrate the low force at
which the shunt will slip (~2.3 kN to 2.5 kN): however when prevented from slipping in the
minimum static strength test the frame bent, releasing the rope at only 5.5 kN. This force is a
little too low for comfort, giving a very small margin of safety.
In the dynamic tests it performed poorly. Slippage figures were high, the shortest being 1.5 m,
while the longest slips hit the buffer - over 2.5 m below. On most of the tests impact forces were
below 2.5 kN, although on two of the tests on dynamic rope, higher figures were achieved when
the device snagged and severed the sheath. On all tests, the corner of the frame left a mark down
the sheath as it slipped.
. . . . .
Using the slippage/force criteria described above, the Troll Rocker was the best performer and
showed the highest degree of consistency. The Petzl Microcender and the SSE Stop & Go also
performed well but of the two, neither showed any reasonable degree of consistency, the Stop &
Go being the more inconsistent.
The Petzl Rescucender is the next most consistent performer, showing a similar range of
slippage figures to the Rocker, but with impact forces in a range approximately 2 kN higher.

Three devices slipped 2.5 m, such that they hit the buffers on the test rig. These were the Petzl
Shunt, Komet Stick Run, and the Tractel Stopfor D. A secondary factor to take into account is
the state of the rope following the test. Opinion was that slight sheath damage may be
acceptable, although not ideal, but severe sheath damage should invalidate even excellent test
The kindest device on the rope was the SSE Stop & Go. Following the test, it was almost
impossible to tell if the rope had been used. Conversely, two devices succeeded in cutting the
rope completely: the Ushba Stop Lock and the Wild Country Ropeman.

The Petzl Shunt and the
Komet Stick Run both stripped the sheath when tested on dynamic rope, although not on every
test. Beyond this, the damage was more difficult to quantify. Devices such as the Petzl
Microcender and the Troll Rocker left a short length of rope heavily glazed and furred on one

The Petzl Shunt left a single long cut down the side of the rope sheath. It is not possible to
say which is worst. Tests on damaged sections of rope suggested that ultimate strength is not
reduced to a level where it becomes dangerous.

I have not used a Shunt to any great extent as I my initial appraisal left me with concerns and that
was before reading any of the reports that I have since seen,
One other issue which may have come into play on the 45m shunt plummet that Neil mentioned is the
small size of the actual stopping mechanism on a Shunt. Heat from friction cannot dissipate quickly
and so it kind of melts its way down the rope rather then grabbing - not sure where I saw that one.
I'm not trying to pick any arguments/fight just passing on some info that does not seem known.
Cheers all, see you at the cliff - I'll give you your own belay . . .
and remember
'He who is his own belayer , has a fool for a climber' (My take on the old Lawyer saying)

2:35:44 PM
Thanks for that info Macca! I might retire mine from regular use and use my Eddy instead. I'll continue using it for protecting double rope raps though....

Eduardo Slabofvic
2:50:43 PM
On 5/02/2008 IdratherbeclimbingM9 wrote:
>In your experience Eduardo are your fixed line/s (the climb/s) generally
>vertical, overhanging, less than vertical, or traversy-ish/wandering?

I'm aware of the issues with the shunt WRT direction/overhangs (as identified by Neil earlier). So I avoid
traverse routes and roof routes, but do do routes with overhangs/bulges. I've also done routes that are
consistently steep, and managed the situation by having the rope run through several gear placements as
directionals. I can't say that I measure the angles of the rope when Iím climbing; itís a matter of
judgment. I probably wouldnít try Kachoong on a shunt.

Keep in mind that Iím top roping, and so if youíre happy to do a route on a top rope youíll be O.K. to do it
with the shunt. I wouldnít top rope Kachoong. I probably wouldnít top rope Birdman either, but there
heaps of other routes that I would top rope, so there will always be something to do. Would you do a
route on a top rope where you would spud into something if you came off? It kind if defeats the purpose
of the top rope.

Also keep in mind that Iím lazy, and so what I look for in a route is something that I can get to the top
easily, rig the anchor simply, and have my rope reach the ground. This time of year I like going out in the
evenings after work to somewhere shady, so you may see me in Yesterday gully, on sunny winter days
youíll see me on Central gully Left side.

Iíve heard of this place called the Grampians, I must check it out one day.

3:13:46 PM
My 2c worth is that I used to use a Shunt on the odd occasion I did a bit of t/r soloing. Always on two independent ropes and on vertical routes. I had a couple of scares early on when I grabbed the bloody thing. Eventually horror stories from Phil Box on this site prompted me to do some research and have a good look at this use and I stopped using it for this purpose.

Neil is spot on that it is designed to be a glorified prussic for backing up rappels, not to take shock loads. It does that well and I still use it as such. When I top rope solo, which is now only when I'm checking out new routes, I just use a GriGri.

3:15:03 PM
Thanks for the feedback Eduardo and Macciza.

 Page 2 of 3. Messages 1 to 20 | 21 to 40 | 41 to 49
There are 49 messages in this topic.


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