Author Topic: Solo Tagging and Slippery Knot set up  (Read 5369 times)

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Offline mhudon

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Solo Tagging and Slippery Knot set up
« on: August 13, 2010, 03:02:39 pm »
A few people have asked that I explain the solo system I used on Grape Race/Tribal Rite. BTW, how?s that for a deal, eh, I get to notch two El Cap routes with one ascent!

The method I used is called the ?Continuous Loop Method?. In a nutshell, the rope starts at the bottom anchor, runs up to you and your preferred solo belay device (I used a Gri-gri) and then back down to your Tag Bag.

In a bit more detail, the ?bottom? of the rope is attached to the anchor is such a way that if you fell right next to the anchor a Screamer or the haul bag would soften your fall. I used a Screamer attached to the anchor point closest to where I was climbing.
With the Continuous Loop Method you are never actually tied into the end of the rope, your only attachment point is your solo belay device. Your device slides up the rope along with you. The rope comes up from the anchor, through all your placements, through your belay device and then back down to the anchor, at the anchor it is flaked nicely into a rope bag. I used a large Metolius Wall Bag; they are light and big enough for a 70-meter rope. The rope then snakes out of the bag and is attached to your Tag Bag. The Tag Bag is hanging on the anchor from a fifi hook and safetied by a ?slippery knot?.
This is the real meat of the system right here, the fifi hook, tag bag, slippery knot combo.

 

I used the fifi from Petzl shown here.

The lead line/tag line (the rope is the lead line AND the tag line, it is the lead rope when it is going down from your Grigri to the anchor and it is the tag line when it is going down from the other side of your Grigri to the Tag bag) feeds out of a rope bag attached to the tag bag. That way, when you haul up the tag bag, the rope bag comes up with it. The top end of the haul line is connected to the tag bag; the rest of the haul line is stacked into a rope bag clipped onto the haul bags. When you drag up your tag bag the haul line will come with it.

As you move up, you are pulling the rope out of the Tag Line Rope Bag. At some point you will have no more rope and will have to haul up your tag bag.
The tag bag is hanging off of a fifi hook down at the anchor; it is safetied by a ?Slippery knot?. A slippery knot is a chain of knots that will release in one direction but not the other. The beauty of this is that if the tag bag should somehow fall off its placement, the slippery knot will catch it and it won?t fall onto your waist. When you pull up the tag line, the slippery knots untie and the bag can be pulled off the anchor.
In the photo below, if you follow the lines carefully, you?ll see where everything goes.
On my solo, I tied a 50-foot piece of 8 mil to the end of my lead line to extend it for reasons I?ll explain later. The 8 mil is the orange cord coming out of the orange rope bag and tied into a slippery knot that is then clipped to the Tag Bag.

 


Okay, so here?s the deal. Let?s say you have 200 feet of rope available to you on the pitch. You?re 50 feet away from the anchor so there is 50 feet of rope going up to you and 50 feet going back down to the Tag Bag Rope Bag. Let?s say you discover you need a hook or need some water or need your phone to call your psychiatrist. You will have to pull up 150 feet of rope before you get to the Tag bag, the slippery knot will untie and you will lift the tag bag off its anchor and drag it up the 50 feet of rock to you.
Now, you were smart and weren?t ?tagging? off a shitty hook or tiny nut, you set yourself up a on a few good pieces and are comfortably hanging in your harness. You have a place all figured out to hang the bag when it gets to you. You get the bag, get the stuff you need and then hang the bag on its fifi again, tie the slippery knot, feed the 150 feet of rope into the rope bag and start off leading again.

 
 

In the photo above you can see my haul bags way down there on the left and the lead rope coming up from them near the crack and underneath the yellow Tag Bag (the rope doesn?t move when using the Continuous Loop Method since you are, in sense, sliding up the rope). The green rope left of my foot is the tag line going into the Tag Bag Rope Bag, snaking out of it is my 8 mil tag line extension cord tied into a slippery knot and then going to the Tag Bag. When I tag next, the rope will be pulled out of the rope bag, the slippery knot will untie and I?ll be able to lift the tag bag off the cam it?s hanging from and drag it up to me.
So are you starting to see how this works now? The tag line will feed out of the rope bag and if I didn?t have a tag bag I could simply lead to the end of the rope. In the real world though, you would at least have the hauling pulleys and the haul line attached to the end of the lead rope. In the real, real world, some food, water, a windshirt and extra gear would be in the tag bag and you?d tag every so often.

Let?s say you?re 50 feet away from the anchor and have just tagged so there is 150 feet of rope in the Tag Bag Rope Bag. You can climb 75 more feet before you have to tag again (75 feet up of lead line up from the rope bag and 75 feet of tag line back down to it).
At 75 feet higher you have climbed 125 feet from the anchor, you?ve now tagged a second time and have 75 feet of rope left but will have to tag again in 35 feet (half of the remainder of the rope up and half down). At that point you will be 160 feet from the bottom anchor. If the pitch is 190 feet long you?re going to tag in less and less distance till you get to the anchor. At the very end you?ll be tagging every 20, 10 and 5 feet. This is why I had my lead rope extended with the 50 feet of 8 mil. You?re never leading on the 8 mil but it essentially gives you a 250 foot rope. You can now tag at 125 feet and don?t have to tag again on any pitch less than 187 feet. Tagging takes time so you want to do it as few times as possible.

Continuous Loop Method
« Last Edit: May 09, 2011, 06:08:02 pm by mhudon »

Offline Habanero

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Re: Solo Tagging and Slippery Knot set up
« Reply #1 on: August 13, 2010, 09:21:47 pm »
Mark
Thanks for taking the time to post the tutorial.

skully

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Re: Solo Tagging and Slippery Knot set up
« Reply #2 on: August 13, 2010, 10:34:05 pm »
Word.
I liked the video on it, too. Never heard of your "slippery knot", but when you tied it in the vid, I realized that it's just a crotchet loop.
Easy money. Watched all the vids. That's good stuff.

Offline YetAnotherDave

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Re: Solo Tagging and Slippery Knot set up
« Reply #3 on: August 14, 2010, 09:20:54 am »
Thanks for sharing!

You mentioned a few times in your (excellent) TR that the tag rope had escaped a bit and looped itself under your haulbags.  Did you change anything to prevent this later, or did it just get simpler as the pitches got steeper?

Did you use the tagging system on the big traverses too?

cheers!

Dave


Offline Slakkey

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Re: Solo Tagging and Slippery Knot set up
« Reply #4 on: August 14, 2010, 09:35:43 am »
Nice, thanks for posting the lesson. I agree the video was a nice bonus in further demonstrating it. Anytime you want to post more gear or tutorial stuff feel free Mark I like it :)

Offline mhudon

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Re: Solo Tagging and Slippery Knot set up
« Reply #5 on: August 14, 2010, 10:43:11 am »
Thanks,

Actually there were only two large traverses. One was the swing over to the Nose and the other was the last pitch joining the Dawn Wall.

The problem with traversing pitches is that when you release the tag bag, it goes winging willy nilly across the wall. There is nothing you can do about that. It was actually sort of fun to see it. On tip would be to not leave breakable stuff in the bag. Another would be to make sure the bag is going to stay closed.

The other problem on severely traversing pitches is that the tag line doesn't stay in its rope bag. It's sort of disconcerting to see the rope feeding quickly out of the bag. Whenever it did that it never pulled apart the slippery knot though. If it did you would be on your last back up, the fifi hook staying put. You could tie a slippery knot every fifty feet or so on the tag line in those situations, that way, the rope would only dump out of the rope bag up to the next slippery knot. That's actually quite a good idea now that I think about!

Were those your main concerns about traverses, Dave?

As far as the rope looping under the haul bags, that was user error. I was moving towards the right but the tag bag was on the left side of the haul bags. When you arrive at an anchor on solo you have to work the "architecture" of the anchor more than with a partner. You have to foresee the "flow" off the anchor. i.e. If the crack is leaning right and the anchor is on the right, you would hang the haul bags on the left-most bolts so that you can hang your tag bag on the far right bolts thereby keeping the tag line out if everythings way.

One tip here about hauling the tag bag up:

My tag bag had all the extra gear in it aside from the big cams. I also had a water bottle, a wind shirt and the topo in it. Attached to the outside was my clip stick and the 2:1 hauling system in a Fish Bag. The haul line was also clipped to the fifi hook. My point here is that the thing was heavy. At first I was a dumbshit and hauled it up hand over hand. One of my main tenents on the wall after the first two days was "If you're manhandling something, you're fucking up". I realized that if I kept manhandling stuff, that I'd run out of strength. I'm an old guy, ya know, I don't recover as fast anymore. I invented a few techniques that really made big wall work quite a bit easier.
I started to grab my Mini-Trax off the 2:1 system and carry it up with me on the pitch. When I needed to tag, I'd set up a mini belay and use the mini trax to grab the rope. When I had to pass the knot at the 8 mil extension, I'd clip a jug to a sling, clip it onto the rope below the knot, pull a bit of slack, move the knot pass the mini trax and continue on.

Offline YetAnotherDave

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Re: Solo Tagging and Slippery Knot set up
« Reply #6 on: August 14, 2010, 11:08:09 am »
The problem with traversing pitches is that when you release the tag bag, it goes winging willy nilly across the wall. There is nothing you can do about that. It was actually sort of fun to see it. On tip would be to not leave breakable stuff in the bag. Another would be to make sure the bag is going to stay closed.

The other problem on severely traversing pitches is that the tag line doesn't stay in its rope bag. It's sort of disconcerting to see the rope feeding quickly out of the bag. Whenever it did that it never pulled apart the slippery knot though. If it did you would be on your last back up, the fifi hook staying put. You could tie a slippery knot every fifty feet or so on the tag line in those situations, that way, the rope would only dump out of the rope bag up to the next slippery knot. That's actually quite a good idea now that I think about!

Were those your main concerns about traverses, Dave?
That pretty much covered it - I had the tag-line side of the loop get stuck way below me on a traversing pitch once, required a bit more acrobatics to clear it than I enjoyed.  I'll definitely try your series of slippery knots idea next time I'm on that route (it's kind of in my backyard, so I spend a weekend on it most years). 

I like the 'manhandling === fucking up' mantra :)

D


Offline mhudon

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Re: Solo Tagging and Slippery Knot set up
« Reply #7 on: August 14, 2010, 11:15:46 am »
Thanks,

I have one other sweet tip. Some people will complain that it's too complicated, takes too much gear and that it doesn't really help that much. Those are the guys who would rather manhandle stuff all day so they can get to the beer drinking faster and then tell everyone how much work climbing El Cap is.
« Last Edit: August 14, 2010, 12:39:08 pm by mhudon »

Offline johnmac

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Re: Solo Tagging and Slippery Knot set up
« Reply #8 on: August 14, 2010, 05:44:41 pm »
Thanks for the explanation.

Offline scottydo

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Re: Solo Tagging and Slippery Knot set up
« Reply #9 on: August 15, 2010, 10:20:11 am »
Mark, great write up on this. I tried understanding PTPP's previous write ups on this a while ago but couldn't quite get it. Your fresher perspective helped here. I might give this method a try next time get on something solo.

Offline johnmac

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Re: Solo Tagging and Slippery Knot set up
« Reply #10 on: August 16, 2010, 07:38:32 pm »
Mark,

One thing I do quite differently to you is how I set up my lead line. I basically create an inverted V using a sling which is held in place by a long klemheist knot so that it is always orientated for an upward pull. I then take a loop of lead line and attach a screamer to it.

Looking at your pictures, it appears that you have connected directly to the haul bag (for counter weight) and then a couple of bolts and then attached the screamer. You're reduced the number of parts to the anchor, biners, etc. Is this your reasoning?

To go along with this a while back in Zion I came across an anchor that a well known soloist had set up. The person had threaded the rope through the eyes of the drilled angles and tied it off. It eliminated any concern for gear, other than the rope cutting through the eyelets of the pins!

Thanks.

john

PS: How did you lead line stand up? Looks like a Yates. I'm about to buy a new wall rope later this week.
« Last Edit: August 16, 2010, 07:43:51 pm by johnmac »

Offline mhudon

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Re: Solo Tagging and Slippery Knot set up
« Reply #11 on: August 16, 2010, 07:47:39 pm »
I'd like to see a photo of your technique, John. In my setup, the Screamer is incorporated right into the anchor. In your version, the Screamer is not actually on the anchor, is it? If I'm correct, that's the only problem I have with your technique.

I don't like the idea of threading the rope through the eye of anything!

Since the rope doesn't actually move on a solo, and since I used rebelays every 40 or so feet, the rope that Base104 sent me looked brand new and it still looks brand new! It's a Yates Wall rope, it really inspires confidence!

Offline YetAnotherDave

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Re: Solo Tagging and Slippery Knot set up
« Reply #12 on: August 16, 2010, 09:16:17 pm »
I have one other sweet tip....

And you're going to share it, right?

;)

i had one other systems question - you clearly weren't stingy about picking gear, why did you decide on the gri-gri instead of the Silent Partner?    I love my SP, feels way more efficient than the gri-gri...

Offline mhudon

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Re: Solo Tagging and Slippery Knot set up
« Reply #13 on: August 16, 2010, 09:18:42 pm »
Yeah, I will, I'll write it up with a video soon.

It's funny, I didn't even own a rope two years ago! I had an old harness and a rack of draws. Everything you see in all those photos is either brand new or less than a year old.

I went with the Gri-gri because it is what I already understood and it was what Pete and I talked about. I'll be getting a Silent Partner for Iron Hawks free climbing at the beginning and at the end.
« Last Edit: August 16, 2010, 09:25:09 pm by mhudon »

Offline waulrat

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Re: Solo Tagging and Slippery Knot set up
« Reply #14 on: August 16, 2010, 09:44:22 pm »
Thanks for posting this Mark! The video was really helpful to figure out the photo. Seems like a good system to me, I'll keep this one in the bag of tricks if I get around to soloing something.
Great TR btw!!!
It's a tribal thing

Offline johnmac

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Re: Solo Tagging and Slippery Knot set up
« Reply #15 on: August 17, 2010, 08:05:53 am »
Mark,

The screamer is attached directly to the powerpoint of the anchor. Just like it is in the drawnings that I sent you. Next time I'm out I'll take some photos.

Cheers

john

Offline mhudon

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Re: Solo Tagging and Slippery Knot set up
« Reply #16 on: August 17, 2010, 09:06:31 am »
Oh, that's right, I remember now. I'd go for that.

I had the rope tied to one bolt then a bit of slack (to allow for the Screamer to scream) and then tied to the next bolt with the Screamer. I usually put a Screamer on my first piece and then a rebelay on the one after that, tightening up the whole rig.