• Will Sweat Harm My Harness?
  • Should You Use Rope or Webbing to Connect to an Anchor?
  • Choosing Between C4s and Friends
  • Can You Lead On a Static Rope?
  • Can I Use Climbing Bolts For Anchors in a Gym?
  • Are Falls Held or Breaking Strength More Important In a Rope?
  • Does Poop Harm a Climbing Rope?
  • Are Homemade Draws Reliable?
  • Shopping for Economy Carabiners
  • When You Fly, Can You Carry On Climbing Gear?
  • Can I Trust Fixed Draws?
  • Which Helmet WIll Fit My Big Head?
  • Choosing Ice Screw Length
  • Are Adjustable Leg Loops Useful?
  • Should I clip ice screws with Screamers?
  • How do I Make a Bomber Anchor?
  • Can I Modify my Crampon Without Compromising the Integrity?
  • Hot Versus Cold Forging
  • Caring For Your FIngertips
  • Are Sewn Slings Stronger Than Knotted Ones?
  • When to Replace Climbing Webbing
  • Using Grip Dip To Color Code Gear
  • The Benefits of Cotton
  • How to Pull a Rappel Rope
  • How to Properly Orient a Carabiner Gate
  • Are My Fuzzy Quickdraws Safe?
  • How to Stretch Climbing Shoes
  • Are 1/2-inch bolts really better than 3/8-inch?
  • Should I Resole My Rock Shoes?
  • Hand Drill Advice
  • Lonely Climber Looking for Woman
  • Is My Invented Knot Safe?
  • Difference Between Double and Twin Ropes
  • Dealing With an Argumentative Partner
  • Will Antifreeze Ruin Rope?
  • Why Is a Rack Called a Rack?
  • Rock Shoes For a Big Guy
  • Do They Kill Geese To Get Down?
  • How to Wash a Rope
  • Do Cam Teeth Do Anything?
  • Can I Fix Delaminated Rock Shoes?
  • Can I Mix a Static With a Dynamic Rope for Rappelling?
  • Should You Lower Or Rap Through Anchors?
  • Should You Clip the Belay As Your First Lead Pro?
  • How Should The Middle Man Tie In?
  • How Do I Get a Good Climbing Man?
  • Do Falls Weaken Bolts?
  • Should I Rope Solo?
  • Should I Angle Ice Screws Down?
  • How Should Old Climbers Train?
  • Can I Make a Belay Loop?
  • Reusiing Ice Screw Holes
  • Overcoming Fear of Falling
  • Choosing a Stove Fuel
  • Will My Hiking Boots Work With Crampons?
  • Do Heavy People Shock Load the Rope?
  • Can Offset Cams Subsitute for Regular Cams?
  • Can I Resling My Cams Myself?
  • Are Older Alien Cams Safe?
  • Antifreeze
  • The Truth About Climbing Supplements
  • Can I Make My Leashed Tools, Leashless?
  • Rope Stretch Facts
  • How To Cut a Rope Without a Knife
  • Secrets of the Toprope
  • How to Sharpen Crampons
  • Should I Become a Climbing Guide?
  • Preventing Climbing Rope Wear
  • How to Remove an Old Bolt
  • How to Customize Ice Tool Picks
  • Double Rope Facts
  • Do It Yourself Fruit Boots
  • Climbing Rope Sheath Slippage
  • Rockfall Safety
  • Do Screamers Work?
  • Defining the Cheater Stick and Stick Clip
  • Climbing Skin Care
  • Selecting a Gym Rope
  • Quick Links for Climbing
  • Are Russian Cams Good?
  • When To Retire Climbing Gear and Ropes
  • Should I Get a Link Cam?
  • How to Get a Climbing Mate
  • Will Dog Urine Harm My Rope?
  • Using Steel Carabiners for Fixed Quickdraws
  • Petzl Tibloc and Climbing Rope Sheath Damage
  • Overcoming Anger
  • Fixing a Spinning Bolt
  •  
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    Death Wish Second Ascent
    Death Wish Second Ascent

    Should I Rope Solo?

    24-Jun-2010
    By Gear Guy

    What's the deal with roped soloing? Everybody says it's unsafe, but I have no friends. Is there a "safe" way to do it?

    To be frank, anyone who puts the word safe in quotation marks, as if it has another meaning, scares me. Plus, if you don't have any friends, who is telling you that rope soloing is unsafe? Your enemies? I am reluctant to tell you how to solo because I sense you have self-destructive tendencies. Besides, the details of how to safely rope solo are beyond the scope of the written word. Learning to rope solo is a trial-and-error process that you may not survive, but that doesn't mean Gear Guy can't help.

    While roped soloing done by an expert (me) is certainly safer than climbing with a bonehead who keeps loading the Grigri backwards, the simple fact that you had to ask about soloing tells me you have no business practicing the Dark Art. When you are up there on the high lonesome, you have to do everything. Do you know how to self-rescue? Can you haul? Are you practiced in Do It Yourself Surgery (DIYS)? Have you made peace with God?

    Or maybe you meant toprope soloing? This is simpler and requires much less knowledge than big-wall soloing, but is still risky and requires vast knowledge plus an arsenal of widgets. The most popular self-belay toprope device is the Petzl Mini Traxion [see Field Tested, No. 165], which I have used (we all get lonely) and have figured out, but which Petzl stringently advises against using for soloing. Get one and follow the Bible of instructions that come with it, then write your own Bible for how you will use it to toprope solo. You'll also need a set of ascenders and a rappel device so when you fall you won't be stranded on the rope. Practice in a short tree in your backyard until you have it figured out. On El Cap, people go up and toprope solo with a Traxion to suss cruxes such as the ones on the Salathe, but note that these people use two Traxions, one acting as a backup. I also advise to tie a knot in the rope below you from time to time—if your device fails, that knot should jam in it and keep you off the deck.

     Critical to the set-up is using a proper rope. Get a nice fat static line. A static rope won't abrade or cut as easily as a dynamic rope, an important trait when the rope is running over edges and around roofs above you, as it will almost always be doing. When you hang the toprope, clip it through numerous directional pieces. These will help keep you in the line of the route when you fall, give you anchors to wimp out on, and can direct the rope away from sharp edges. In case you haven't gathered by now, sharp edges are the enemy of the toproper. Beware!

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