Luca Dondoni asks me on YouTube: “Granted that I would never do such a thing, what do you think of the daisy chain solo? I saw a video, and I am very perplexed …”
This questions refers to the following video by Andrea Calligaris:
Some people will choose to free solo right? (if you fall you die) For these climbers, it might be a good option to use daisy chain solo for short harder bits on a climb to increase their safety. This tactic requires a complete knowledge of the route and where you will place gear / what fixed gear you will clip prior to the climb. Because without the knowledge, you might have to completely unclip where you don’t feel comfortable. Note that you should be CERTAIN not to fall 100% on daisy chain solo terrain… See why in the next section. Also, if you want to aid daisy chain solo, you should have at least 2 or ideally 3 bomber pieces of gear in at all times because gear fails and if gear fails, it is VERY POSSIBLE that 2 pieces of gear fail while aid daisy chain soloing..
You should NEVER fall on a daisy like seen in the video
Carabiners break during falls. Just google “carabiner breaks climbing” and you will find many videos and forum discussion relating to carabiners breaking. A single carabiner in NOTABLY unreliable to sustain a fall. You need a backup! That is the first reason I see why you should NEVER make a daisy fall during a daisy chain solo.
Note also that daisy chains are NOT designed to sustain falls (for example Metolius PAS). Some models are so “static” that they would hurt you bad AND increase the odds of carabiner and anchor failure. Others are very weak and could easily cut (some are designed for body-weight only) (for example Metolius EZ daisy). Some are safer lanyards (for example Petzl Connect Adjust) BUT carabiner and anchor could always fail. Others are designed for bodyweight only and final outcome is uncertain (Petzl Evolv Adjust).
My take on rope solo systems
While I agree that rock climbing is a game of managing dangers and that complete safety is impossible, I much prefer systems that should be 99.999%+ reliable. I have slipped sometimes and I am really happy I never got a bad injury. To me the cost is to use a rope in the traditional solo way with the leading of the pitch, the rappel, and the seconding of it. I have tried daisy soloing but it is not something I do often in my playground.
I recognize that daisy chain solo is a skill to keep in a quiver. As much as free soloing. But I choose and recommend you lead, rappel and second your climbs. I want you alive and well. And for a long time!
Hope you enjoy reading this answer! You can send your questions to: email@example.com
Make sure you check my top rope solo and lead rope solo comprehensive online courses here: https://blissclimbing.com/en/online-courses/
Yann Camus, Avid Climber