My last post was Leaning Tower which was about six months ago. I’ve been caught up with school, work, my girlfriend and most importantly my greatest next adventure, training for The Nose. I spent a day at The Grotto practicing aid by my self. Yes, solo aid climbing. This article is going to be about my personal set up for solo aid climbing and my experience with it. Disclaimer: I don’t recommend you try any of this due to modifying gear In ways that void warranty as well as may result in a defective product, injury or death.
I spent a few weeks researching various ways to solo aid climb and solo free climb. From various forum posts, asking climbers and watching videos. It was abundantly clear that the silent partner was the superior winner. I’m second place, to me it seemed like a tie between at least 5 different techniques, with each having their own pros and cons. I do not claim to be an expert on this system, if any one has any ideas/thoughts/suggestions about this please let me know.
As stated above, a Mico-Traxion is involved. Now there are no articles explain this Micro- Trax method, so I can’t tell you how well this may or may not work, just my personal experience with it. Im sure its been done before but to my knowledge and research I have not been able to find anything about this. Basically the Micro-Trax helps feed the rope through the Gri-Gri all while serving as a back up in the event the Gri-Gri doesn’t catch.
As I’m flaking out the rope, I tie overhand slip knots on the brake end of the rope. The Micro-Trax sits on the chest harness and is oriented so the teeth catch when you pull the brake end of the rope. (See Picture) As your aiding, your pulling a bubble of slack through the Micro-Trax that will feed through the GriGri as your ascending. If you were to fall with this bubble of slack out and the GriGri malfunctions and DOES NOT catch, the rope will feed through until the overhand slip knot jams the Micro-Trax and the GriGri will lock up. As your climbing, you will eventually encounter the slip-knot in the rope. Once it comes up, you just pull on the rope and the knot pops, just repeat this process.
If it wasn’t for numerous no hands rest, letting me pull slack through and other quick-fixes, I would of been screwed. Issue: I felt that the biggest issue that prevented this system from working well and fluid was the carabiner kept moving around causing the GriGri to be oriented improperly. Solution: Same as before, tie a cord to the GriGri to keep it oriented correctly.
Overall: This system worked very well for aid climbing. Since your not going to fast and hanging on your daisies, you have the opportunity to adjust the system as needed. For free-climbing I would try and perfect and smooth out all the issues with it before.