Welcome to our new beta design! Click here to go back to the old Newschoolers.
Welcome to the Newschoolers forums! You may read the forums as a guest, however you must be a registered member to post. Register to become a member today!
iFlipWhat you are looking to do is rope soloing, specifically TR (toprope) soloing. There are many different ways to go about this, and quite frankly all are a pain in the ass. You will primarily want to solo (rope solo) routes that are mostly straight up and down, without any traversing. If a pitch truly traverses, the soloing device can crossload and malfunction, plus it is just more of a pain in general.
Your proposed system is terrible - definitely do not use a pro traxion. Pro traxions are for hauling huge loads and rescue applications. Even then, pro traxions are mostly outdated (even the newest version) due to how efficient the micro traxion is.
The best TR solo setup is a micro traxion, attached to your belay loop with a carabiner that cannot crossload, such as the DMM Belay Master 2:
Additionally, you will want a chest harness to keep things feeding smoothly, and also in the advent of a fall. Chest harnesses can be purchased cheaply, or you can fasten a makeshift one from some webbing.
Many people run a two micro traxion system, for the purpose of redundancy. This is entirely up to you.
Much of the info you find on TR solo setups online will be dealing with the Mini Traxion. This is the precursor to the micro traxion, slightly larger/heavier, and not as efficient. The micro traxion is used in the same way and is a much better tool.
Another safety measure many people take is grinding off the catch/latch on the mini/micro traxion. This is what allows it to lock in the open position, for ease of setting up the rope when hauling (the purpose for which the device is primarily designed). The fear is that it will somehow lock open while soloing, thus making a fall disastrous. Grinding off the catch prevents this. Warning: Do not go blindly grinding away at the device without some technical know-how. Here is what a micro traxion looks like that has been modified, next to a non-modified one:
When you are getting ready to climb, you will want to tie a small bag with a few rocks in it or your pack to the bottom of the rope. This will keep the rope taught and aid in the feeding of the device. The higher you climb the more the rope below the device will weigh, and the smoother it will feed. Also, absolutely, ABSOLUTELY tie backup knots as you climb. This is why you don't want the weight at the bottom of the rope to be too much, as you want to be able to quickly and easily tie backup knots. The Alpine Butterfly is the ideal knot for these backup knots, although a simple overhand knot will work.
You also need to have the technical know-how to escape the system as you are climbing. If you are climbing steep or overhanging terrain, and fall, how will you get back on the rock? Maybe you can batman the rope, but maybe not. I recommend you carry a handled ascender, a GriGri, a prussic, and a few slings. This is more than you will need, but if you don't know what you are doing you will be able to figure it out with these tools.
All the above said, the micro traxion is a toothed ascender. In general, falling on a toothed ascender on a rope is a bad idea. It can tear the rope, separating the sheath from the core, and perhaps worse. For this reason, you need to drastically limit the length of your falls, which is where the chest harness and good rope management come in.
There are many other devices you can use for rope soloing, such as the basic prussic (hugely annoying), a GriGri (either modified or unmodified), a Ropeman ascender, a Silent Partner (best for lead soloing), and, well, at least half a dozen others. However, the universal consensus is that the micro traxion is the best system
Ok, all of this said, a few more warnings. You said you want to use this system for winter climbing. You need to be absolutely, 100% certain your rope will not freeze or get ice on it. No device is reliable on an icy rope, not even toothed devices such as the micro traxion. This is the reason almost no one TR solo ice climbs. Next, be careful setting up your fixed lines to TR solo. Messing around on the top of the cliff, and often even getting to the top of the cliff can be dangerous, especially in the winter. Know how to rig an equalized, redundant anchor. Carry basic gear with you (draws if at a sport crag, trad gear if not) to help with placing directionals, or in general just escaping the system if need be.
I've messed around with TR soloing enough to know that I do not enjoy it. I usually ended up just free-soloing, which defeated the purpose of lugging all the gear out with me. Recently I've been aid soloing, which is much safer but even more gear intensive. Your experience may vary. Feel free to PM me with questions concerning gear purchasing or rigging.