The Micro Traxion is a simple and efficient rope pulley. It is also a progress capture device. This makes is an ascender and pulley in one which makes the Micro Traxion a really versatile piece of gear for any climber and alpinist. I only leave it at home when I’m doing single pitch sport climbs. The device consists of a pulley with a toothed cam that is the progress capture. The cam can be locked in open position with a button to release it.
Since the Micro Traxion is a little bit of a multi use tool, it is not the best performing if compared to specialist tools. Personally I can live with that and I’m using the Micro Traxion for ascending rope, top rope self belay, crevasse rescue etc. It is the fact that the Traxion is multi use that makes it problematic in some uses. The toothed cam and it’s mechanism to lock it open that can cause problems. If used as a pulley with the cam locked open, a simple touch of the button will release the cam and lock the rope. The opposite could happen if you forget to release the cam for example when top rope soloing. I haven’t had the cam open and lock by mistake and I think that would be an unlikely situation.
Top Rope Solo: 2 ropes, 2 devices
This is how I use the Petzl Micro Traxion the most. My setup is focused on security and might be overkill. But it works good for me.
I use two ropes on a top rope anchor; one static 10mm line and one dynamic rope 9,5 mm. On the static rope I attach the Micro Traxion with a oval carabiner on the belay loop. The Traxion is held up by a shock cord around my neck (do not use slings or something that can hurt you in a fall). This makes a fall minimal, just a couple of centimeters. That is why I use static line for the Traxion, a potential fall length is minimal. If I would have used the Traxion on the dynamic rope there would be more movement of rope in the cam and I think that would wear the rope more. The cam consists of several metal teeth and I’ve seen videos of big falls on rope where the teeth shears the sheath of the rope. On the dynamic line I connect a GriGri2 (no modifications) with a DMM Belay Master 2 on a short sling girth hitched to my harness tie in points. I weigh down the rope with a half empty water bottle or similar, and when climbing the rope feed through the GriGri flawlessly. This would not work with an old scruffy rope with a worn sheath. So the dynamic like is my backup to the Traxion, and they are totally independent on each other. At the top I can rapell down with the GriGri and lock the cam in open on the Micro Traxion. On the way up I do a few backup knots.
Single Rope Technique: Ascending a rope with a Traxion and a GriGri
This is place where the Traxion is good, but not comparable to a designated ascender device. No matter what I have used it alot, and it works great. Connect the rope to your GriGri (or similar device, an atc guide can be used), connect the Traxion with a oval carabiner above on the active climbing rope. Take the passive end from the GriGri and put it in the oval carabiner. If you have a pulley attached to the Traxion that helps out alot. Connect a foot loop to the traxion and away you go. Use a fairly big oval locking carabiner so you can grab it.
Crevasse rescue: Micro Traxion as progress capture
If you have one Micro Traxion, use it at the anchor to get the benefit of both the pulley and the cam. If you happen to have two (or another pulley) use the pulley with a prusik to create a 3:1 system. The rule of pulley systems is to put the most efficient pulley (a normal carabiner is a really inefficent pulley) closest to the source of power, ie the force that pulls. But in a crevasse rescue (with one Micro Traxion) I think that you would loose to much of the benefits (simplicity, ease of use etc) if you didn’t use the Traxion at the anchor. I’ve read that a 3:1 pulley system with pulleys (Traxion, mechanical pulleys, etc) is the same effectiveness as a 5:1 system with only carabiners
- Multi functions / Versatility.
- Easy to use.
- I really like that I have one piece of gear that I want to bring on almost any climbing trip.
Dislikes (actually not dislike, more trade-offs for being multi use)
- Cam can be locked open, which can be forgotten.
- When you want the cam to be locked open, I always somehow press the button to lock it.
- Expensive. You can buy an ascender and a couple of pulleys for the same price.
- A bit fiddly to use with thick gloves.