Hauling directly from a Traxion pulley

 

Credits: This system is also known as the “far end haul”. I believe it was originally invented by legendary Yosemite dirtbag Chongo, and shown to me initially by Mark Hudon. Check out Mark’s great website for more on this.

 

Note the haul line going directly to the Petzl mini Traxion.

(Also note the haul line clipped in with a locker to the top part of the swivel as a backup.)

image: mark hudon

image: mark hudon

The traditional big wall set up to rig your haul rope to the haul bags is to pretty much connect them directly, something like this:

  • Figure 8 on a bight (or better yet, a butterfly knot, easier to untie after loading) on the end of haul rope

  • Locking carabiner

  • Swivel (optional but highly recommended)

  • Another locking carabiner attached to haul bag(s)

However, with the addition of just one more piece of (admittedly expensive) gear, you can have what’s known as the “far end haul”, which can make your life a whole lot easier in certain situations. All you do is add a progress capturing pulley, (aka PCP) like a Petzl Micro Traxion, to the locking carabiner upstream from the swivel, put your haul rope through that.  Note that you set this up on the ground from the very first haul, and keep it on the system the entire climb. 

Also note that you do not remove this PCP and use it as part of your hauling system, you need a separate PCP for that. (Yes, this sport is expensive . . .)

The rig looks like this:

  • Haul rope through Micro Traxion (make sure it’s threaded the right way, duh)

  • Micro Traxion to locking carabiner

  • Locking carabiner to top of swivel

  • Bottom of swivel to locking carabiner

  • Locking carabiner to haul bag(s)

 

Here’s a close up of how it works. (The blue cord is the docking cord. Note the haul line is not clipped to the top of the swivel with a locking carabiner as a backup, which would be a Good Idea.)

micro trax on haul rope.JPG

No, the teeth on the pulley do not damage the rope. That was my first reaction, isn’t the rope going to get shredded? But nope, it does not. (You ARE using a burly haul rope with a stout sheath, right?)

About the only downside to this system is that you’re adding one more bit of gear that costs about $100. But the upsides can be significant. 

The far end haul system is about what it sounds like. It allows you to lift your load with a theoretical 2:1 mechanical advantage by pulling on the “far end” of the rope, rather than from the primary anchor. This rig is especially popular for soloing. If you’re hauling your bag from the top, and it gets stuck, you can rap down to it, lift up a little bit by setting up a 2:1 with an ascender and a pulley, and free the bags.

To rig the far end 2:1, just clip an ascender (or a prusik if you’re short on gear) on the loaded strand of the haul rope, clip a carabiner with a pulley onto the ascender, and pull down on this redirect. Your bodyweight should lift the bags with this theoretical 2:1 and the micro traxion will “climb” up the rope and capture your pulling progress, sweet!

Note the real mechanical advantage you will have in the real world when you try this. Below are pull test results from another AlpineSavvy post, mechanical advantage in the real world. You can see that about the best you can do with the far end haul pulley is 1.3 to 1. And you probably shouldn't even bother putting the redirect through a carabiner, as the mechanical advantage falls below 1:1. (And, DMM Revolver carabiners don’t really do anything to reduce friction over a regula carabiner.)

Far end hall mechanical advantage.png

But, even if you’re not soloing, it has a few advantages.

  • You can pull all the extra haul line through the Traxion before you release the bags from their docking cords, and use the extra haul rope to lower out the bags.

  • You never have a loaded/welded haul rope knot to untie.

  • It can minimize rope abrasion, because the haul rope does not move.

  • If you have to haul from a point with a LOT of rope friction, you can instead far end haul and have zero friction.

  • You can easily move the bags around at the anchor; more below.

Simply by redirecting the tail end of the haul rope through a higher anchor point, you can generate a 2:1 mechanical advantage to unweight the bags. This lets you do various shenanigans like transferring the docking cord from one part of the anchor to another. And I can tell ya, if you’re a beginning wall climber, you are just about guaranteed to have some flavor of anchor fustercluck that will require this, ask me how I know!

If you did not have this set up, unweighting the bags once they are settled on the anchor is probably going to be a significant pig wrestle. You want to avoid pig wrestling whenever possible.


Here’s a video by wall ace Mark Hudon who shows exactly how to do this. Rather ingenious, no?