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Micro Traction

Discussion in 'Tech Tips and Gear' started by Jeff Randall, Feb 9, 2016.

  1. Jeff Randall

    Jeff Randall

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    New guy here but wanted to ask a question on experience with the Micro Traxion holding up to the grit and sand of canyons. I keep one on me any time I'm on rope and coupled with an ascender it comes in real handy for shorter climbs that I don't want to go to a full frog or rope walker. Having only done a few canyons in the Southwest, the biggest issues I saw on gear was the grit and sand that gets into anything mechanical, thus the question.

    Much thanks,

    Jeff
  2. Mountaineer

    Mountaineer Is that an X slot?

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    I've carried mine in over a hundred canyons. It is scraped up a bit, but shows little wear on the cam. Sand and grit has been plentiful, but with no problems. In fact, just used it several times a couple of days ago. Worked like new.

    Keeping it on your harness in the open canyons is OK, but best to leave it on a biner in your pack for the skinnies.
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  3. Jeff Randall

    Jeff Randall

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    Thank you, sir. Mine is well used also but in the Southeast we simply don't have the sand working on gear like the SW does. Of course there is a lot of mud in caves :)
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  4. Kuenn

    Kuenn

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    I have a MT but it's mainly in the pack for "JIC" moments. I would certainly be interested in a description of the ascending setup/system incorporating it (anyone). I could probably cobble something together using it for ascending, but it would be good to know what you've found to be effective.
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2016
  5. hank moon

    hank moon lovely ligatures

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    I've done this (minus crampons) with various replacements for Tibloc.


    Screenshot 2016-02-16 10.51.53.
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  6. Jeff Randall

    Jeff Randall

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    Yep, similar to a RAD system for a Petzl RIG or GriGri style device. With the MT and one ascender (Tibloc, Ultrascender, whatever.) you can do quick short climbs. I also use the Micro Traxion as my edge safety when we're rigging up top. Makes it easy to move up and down the safety line. The main reason I like the MT is it's really light and hardly noticeable as a piece of gear that you keep with you all the time. Of course the pulley gives it the ability to do a dozen other things also. My main concern was use in a sandy, gritty environment but it sounds like it holds up pretty well.
  7. Mountaineer

    Mountaineer Is that an X slot?

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    Great reference picture from Hank.

    At the point of the Tibloc, I've also put another biner there as a redirect from my lower traxion. In some cases, it is a little easier to pull the rope down as you progress rather than pulling it up.

    Also, I'm starting to use two micro traxions, thereby replacing the Tibloc. The micro traxion is a little heavier (just a little more than a Tibloc), but could be a little easier to use for some people. Tried it this last weekend on a couple of short 30' ascents, and loved it. Something else I thought of, two traxions give you yet another option for PCD situations, like someone being stuck on a double strand toss 'n' go system.

    Note, these are only different options I've described. There are many ways to tackle this stuff!
  8. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    There are consequences to that re-direct biner that are not necessarily obvious:

    1. When pulling down rope through the re-direct biner, you will have to pull twice as much rope through. This might require more than one stroke. The good news is that with enough rope-weight, the rope will feed itself...

    2. When moving the upper ascender up, you are moving that up with twice the weight of the rope hanging below (plus friction). This can be a considerable hinderance.

    3. While it is ergonomically easier to pull the rope down rather than up, in this case the force required is not very high, so I don't think it makes much difference. I've always considered climbing up a rope to be more of a coordination problem rather than a strength problem, and I think once you have the motion figured out, then it comes naturally. I have not found it difficult for people to get the motion figured out. However, when moving the hand up, you are also moving the weight of the rope below you upwards. Makes a good case for chicken loops.

    Tom
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  9. Brian in SLC

    Brian in SLC Brian in SLC

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    Tri v bi. Makes a bigger difference to those of us with bicep tendinitis. I'd much rather re-direct and pull down.
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  10. Mountaineer

    Mountaineer Is that an X slot?

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    Thanks Tom. Good point on moving through additional rope. Some trade-off. Not sure about moving twice the weight of the rope in a redirect.

    You need to lift rope below you, up with either the top ascender "redirect" that slides through your pulley (aka biner in some cases) or lifting up at the point of the bottom ascender. If the top ascender arm gets tired with, you could switch and lift up with your bottom ascender arm.

    Demonstrated technique and thread of it all here.
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  11. Jeff Randall

    Jeff Randall

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    I guess my question would be how far you intend to climb and how much rope weight is below you. My main uses are for short ascents or positioning on rope. With hardly no extra weight, a simple Croll attached to your harness and a makeshift sling attached to the top of it with a piece of cord or webbing gives you a very efficient frog system if you have to do a long climb. I realize we are talking about the micro traxion but I wasn't meaning for long climbs.
  12. Kuenn

    Kuenn

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    Defining what a long climb IS can be very subjective…25', 50', 100'+. Add in a long day, fatigue... 12' can be a struggle. When a lengthy climb is known/expected, I believe the prevailing methods would be different than those used for a surprise ascent. I know it would be for me.

    The diagram Hank posted is what I have, and would probably continue to use in a pinch, however my biggest issue with it and most impromptu ascending systems is the amount of upper body demands. Experience teaches that when opposing gravity, it is best to use the large muscles to do the majority of the work (legs).

    Keeping the emergency ascending technique simple, but with improved efficiency, is something I would like to see. Really intend to devote some time to this in the testing lab, but just haven't.
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2016
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  13. Jeff Randall

    Jeff Randall

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    Agree on a "long" climb being subjective. My point was the weight of a Croll adds little to the overall gear package and opens up a lot of options for the climber if efficiency on the climb becomes a concern. I also like the MT because it gives options that the Croll does not.
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  14. Aquaman

    Aquaman

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    I add a pulley to the carabiner on the tibloc for longer jugs like Mountaineer, but Tom makes good points; it's a preference thing, I think.
  15. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    An efficient system including a chest Croll works great when the climb is free hanging. But most canyoneering ascents are up angled rock and a Croll gets in the way.

    A nice bonus on the MT is that it works well as a self-belay when on low angle enough or featured enough terrain that just climbing (or climbing using the upper ascendor as a handhold) works best.

    Tom
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  16. Jeff Randall

    Jeff Randall

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    Must be a difference in technique since we've used them extensively against the face and tight quarters in caves with no problems. The only issue I have ever had is a tight underhung lip break at the top, but a QAS or prusik solves this.
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  17. hank moon

    hank moon lovely ligatures

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    I'm a decent frogger and have found that frogging on lower-angle slabs is no fun. Steeper slabs are fine, and of course once the angle eases off enough, you can slab-walk with the croll as fall protection. But that in-between-angle terrain can be awkward, and there's a fair amount of that around here (ZION area).

    That said, frog would be a first choice for most planned ascents of any length, barring extensive low-angle stuff, in which case the classic YOSE system tends to work best. And...would love to hear any technique tips ya got.
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2017
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  18. AW~

    AW~

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    Im curious as to why its being used so much! Pothole escapes?
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  19. Kuenn

    Kuenn

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    Personally, I don't frog (but they are good with hush puppies and slaw). Again, user preference.

    Back on topic, the MT combined with a Tibloc makes for solid personal rescue tools, IMO. Will get you out of most spontaneous ascending predicaments (when combined with experience and know how. And yes, I could relate some :facepalm: stories running across folks having tools but lacking know how.)

    The MT & T can also make a decent haul system as seen in this Petzl video. FF to 2:45 for the meat. I especially like the guy's comment at 4:05. That pretty much sums up my personal philosophy on impromptu ascending gear, and a lot of other stuff, for that matter. Been there a few times; too much, too heavy, too sophisticated, definitely overkill - sooo, I probably won't need it today. However, that philosophy layered on too thick will often lead to :banghead:.
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2016
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  20. Mountaineer

    Mountaineer Is that an X slot?

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    Ah, you asked! Divulging my adventures these past two weekends. I typically don't ascend, rare, so I suppose it has been a treat to get out the traxion. Exemplifies the importance of practice.

    One example from a few days ago. My wife was able to get a day off, finally..., so we decided to make the long drive and descend a relatively "easy" canyon. It included several raps. One of the anchors was completely blown out (junk we carried home), and the downclimb looked doable. So, rather than doing the right thing I went for it. Some careful sliding, selection of a few nobs in the rock, a bit of a thud, and poof - I made it OK. I offered to catch her from below, but she hesitated. I then asked if she could build an anchor where the old one was. And...she hesitated again. She has taken a lot of classes and training, but if you haven't practiced them in a long time...

    vlcsnap-00014.

    So, she sat down in the slot, threw down an end of rope, and I ascended up the 30'. I built an anchor.

    Yes, I could have and should have done this sequence better...Sometimes I get a bit excited with the challenges. Important to keep in mind group abilities and dynamics.
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2016
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