Belaying at the crag is more difficult than belaying indoors. Uneven ground, falling rocks, strong sunlight, wind, insects, stray children and dogs are just some of the factors which complicate the task.
Any type of belay device can be used for sport climbing, though using an assisted-braking belay device (such as the Petzl GriGri) is the most common. The GriGri functions like a car seat belt. You can pull rope through slowly without it catching, but if the rope moves through quickly (e.g. if a climber falls), a cam inside the GriGri rotates and pinches the rope. This makes it easier to hold the fall. It also requires much less effort to hold a climber while they rest for a few minutes.
GriGri’s are not auto-locking; you still have to hold the brake rope at all times, just like you would with a normal belay device. This is especially true with thinner ropes, very light climbers or if there is rope-drag on the route. The GriGri can be a safe belay device, but accidents have happened due to improper use.
GriGri’s are designed to work with the following rope diameters. Make sure you’re using the correct rope for your device.
Other assisted-braking belay devices have different specifications. Check the manufacturer’s instructions before you use them.
How To Attach a GriGri To Your Harness
Open the device and feed the rope in as shown. (Diagrams for rope installation are engraved on the interior and exterior of a GriGri).
Close the GriGri.
Clip a screwgate carabiner to your belay loop.
Clip the GriGri to the carabiner and fasten the gate.
GriGri Belaying: How To Take In
Simply pull rope through the GriGri as you would with a normal atc-style device, making sure to keep hold of the brake rope.
GriGri Belaying: How To Lock Off
If the climber falls, lock off downwards. The Grigri’s camming action will hold most or all of the weight. Pulling the brake rope down also helps the cam to engage rapidly.
GriGri Belaying: How To Give Slack
Giving Slack Slowly
To give slack slowly, pull rope up through the GriGri as you would with a normal atc-style device, making sure to keep hold of the brake rope.
Giving Slack Quickly
If you try to feed slack through too quickly, the cam will engage and lock the device: not ideal when your partner is trying to clip a quickdraw. To avoid this happening, there is another technique you can use:
Hold your index finger out while gripping the brake rope tightly with your other three fingers.
Place your index finger under the lip on the side of the GriGri.
Put your thumb over the back edge of the handle and push it down. This temporarily disengages the locking mechanism.
At the same time as doing this, pull out slack rope with your left hand.
As soon as you’ve pulled out enough rope, go back to the primary belaying position. If the climber falls when you are disengaging the locking mechanism, immediately remove your thumb and continue to hold onto the brake rope.
It’s important to perform these steps quickly.
GriGri Belaying: How To Lower a Climber
Lock the rope with your brake hand, and slowly pull the handle back until you feel resistance. This will disengage the locking mechanism slightly. Hold the handle at this point and slowly lower the climber, making sure to keep hold of the brake rope. To stop lowering, simply let go of the handle.
It’s important not to pull the handle all the way back. This will completely disengage the locking mechanism, making it very difficult to keep control of the device.
Remember to practise these techniques well in a safe environment before you belay someone at the crag.
GriGri Belaying: Common Mistake
A bad habit while giving slack is to keep the handle held down without holding the brake rope. If the climber falls when you are in this position, you will not be able to quickly lock-off the rope (or lock-off at all).
Lazy belaying can kill your partner. If you hold the handle down to give slack, even just for one second, make sure to keep hold of the brake rope and release your thumb straight away.
GriGri Belaying: Directly from the Anchor
You can belay directly from the anchor with an assisted-braking belay device in a similar way to the guide mode technique. This method can be very dangerous if used incorrectly (see below).
Set the device up as shown. Make sure the device is orientated so the handle is away from the rock. If the handle is pointing into the rock, it could get jammed if the climber falls. This means it will not catch the fall.
This technique is useful only when there is absolutely no chance of the handle catching on something or getting pressed into the rock, such as on an overhanging belay.
To lower a climber, use a re-direct on a high point of the anchor. Failure to do this will make it extremely difficult to lower a climber in a controlled manner.
The manufacturers of assisted-braking belay devices recommend against belaying directly from the anchor due to the chance of the handle pressing on the rock in a fall.
If you are not completely certain that your anchor is suitable for this type of belaying, you should use another method instead.
How do I use Grigri device?
The Grigri Plus is the best beginner belay device because it adds a couple of extra features. The most common accident with other Grigri's is on lowering. To lower you must pull a handle back to actively disengage the, and the control of the lower is done with the brake hand
Is a Grigri good for beginners?
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If the leader falls when your brake hand is on the Grigri, immediately slide your brake hand away from the device and on to the rope to lock it off. Lowering. With the rope locked off in your brake hand, slowly unfold the black handle. As you start to feel resistance, keep pulling back slightly.
How do I start a new Grigri?
A GriGri is NOT auto-locking, but rather assisted braking
It is in fact not. Petzl explicitly states that a GriGri is an “assisted-braking” belay device when used with ropes that are 8.9-11mm in diameter.
How do you use a Grigri 3?
Safety: GriGri versus ATC
Without a doubt, the GriGri is the safer of the two options. Think about it this way. If your belayer got smashed in the head by an unexpected falling object, which device would you prefer him to be using.
How do you lower smoothly with a GriGri?
With a GRIGRI, it is not possible to rappel on the two strands coming out of the anchor. So one must rappel on a single strand, blocked at the rappel ring by a knot attached to a locking carabiner. Rappel only on the strand opposite the knot block; the other strand is used only for retrieving the rope.
Does a GriGri auto lock?
If, when lowering, you hold the brake strand of the rope directly over the end of the GRIGRI (which is steel and plastic) such that the rope is running in the same plane as the rest of the device, and you don't loop the brake strand over the curved flange, you will see almost zero wear and your GRIGRI will last a …
Is it safe to rappel with a GRIGRI?
Check the condition of the moving side plate (marks, deformation, fouling, cracks, wear…). If you see a hole in the side plate, retire the product. On the GRIGRI +, check the condition of the wear plate. Check the condition of the attachment hole (marks, deformation, cracks, corrosion…).
When should I retire my GriGri?
If you are cleaning your grigri due to a salty environment, all you need to do is rinse it with fresh water. If your device has oily dirt or mud, use these steps: Use a small brush (toothbrush or something like that) to remove oily dirt or mud.
Belaying with the GRIGRI – Petzl USA
Belaying with the GRIGRI – Petzl USA The belay technique to be used is very similar to the generic belay technique, but has a few specifics. So it requires a little time to adapt to. The technique described here is the only one that Petzl recommends. Warnings Carefully read the Instructions for Use used in this technical advice before consulting the advice itself. You must have already read and understood the information in the Instructions for Use to be able to understand this supplementary information. Mastering these techniques requires specific training. Work with a professional to confirm your ability to perform these techniques safely and independently before attempting them unsupervised. We provide examples of techniques related to your activity. There may be others that we do not describe here. The following video illustrates: basic technique and giving slack the technique for quickly giving slack. It is also important to stress the fact that any blocking of the device or the cam will negate the blocking action on the rope. This is why it is essential to avoid holding the device with your whole hand, to avoid keeping your thumb constantly on the cam, to avoid blocking the cam… It is difficult to make an exhaustive list of all incorrect techniques. Here are some illustrations: Holding the GRIGRI with the entire hand. Giving slack without holding the brake side of the rope. Incorrect placement of the index finger. Holding the climber side of the rope. Note that the use of incorrect belay technique is the primary risk factor in an accident, especially when the belayer is surprised by a fall. If you recognize yourself in any of these illustrations of incorrect technique, adopt the technique presented at the beginning of this paragraph. Back Examples of dangerous carabiner loading. Next Video: Belaying with a GRIGRI
How to Rappel with a GriGri – Cave and Mine Adventures
How to Rappel with a GriGri Caverntours is supported by its audience. We may earn an affiliate commission at no extra cost to you when you buy through links on our website. Learn more GriGri is a popular belaying device manufactured by Petzl. Its popular feature is a clutch that assists in braking under a shock load. But do you know that this auto-locking belay device can also get you down a route? This article provides this information as we try to learn how to rappel with a GriGri properly. Step 1: Understanding How GriGri Works when Rappelling Grigris is designed for belaying, but it is different from other belaying devices because it comes with an assisted braking mechanism. This braking mechanism is composed of a friction plate and a cam that will lock once the clutch is close to breaking a fall through a shock load. This belaying device will let the rope pass through when a climber moves slowly. But once the rope is moving fast, the braking mechanism will automatically rotate and pinch the rope to stop the climber or make him slow down. This braking mechanism also allows the climber to work in one place or just hang on the rope once they have tied a backup knot. These features enable climbers to rappel and do other things because of the GriGri’s multiple uses. But you must remember that GriGri is intended for belaying, which means it can be tricky to use it on rappelling. But it can be done; just make sure to learn and practice first to enhance your safety before doing it in an actual outdoor setting. Step 2: Step-by-Step Guide in Rappelling with a GriGri The initial step is to set up your rappel in a regular manner by running the rope through the anchor setup. During the setup process, you must make sure that both ends of the rope are touching the ground. Then, you will need to block one of the ropes so that it will become fixed. All you have to do is pull up and tie an overhand knot so that it can block in the ring. The size of the knot must be big enough for it to stop the rope from pulling through to the anchor. Then, you can add the GriGri to the other line to rappel. You can also back it up by using a locking carabiner and putting it on the loop on the other line while locking it down. If you want more security, you can choose to put it through and lock it on the other line so that it cannot pull through. It is essential that you should be knowledgeable already and know what you are doing before your rappel down. You are expected to have already practiced rappelling down using this device to give you confidence once you are in the actual situation. Before going down, make sure that everything is working fine for your safety. You will also need to make sure that you are on the correct side of the rope. Make sure to always clip the rappelling device on the rope. Please be reminded to consistently apply your weight to the rope while ensuring that the knot is secured at the top. Once everything is checked…
How To Belay with a GriGri – Learn To Rock Climb – VDiff
How To Belay with a GriGri Belaying at the crag is more difficult than belaying indoors. Uneven ground, falling rocks, strong sunlight, wind, insects, stray children and dogs are just some of the factors which complicate the task.Any type of belay device can be used for sport climbing, though using an assisted-braking belay device (such as the Petzl GriGri) is the most common. The GriGri functions like a car seat belt. You can pull rope through slowly without it catching, but if the rope moves through quickly (e.g. if a climber falls), a cam inside the GriGri rotates and pinches the rope. This makes it easier to hold the fall. It also requires much less effort to hold a climber while they rest for a few minutes.GriGri’s are not auto-locking; you still have to hold the brake rope at all times, just like you would with a normal belay device. This is especially true with thinner ropes, very light climbers or if there is rope-drag on the route. The GriGri can be a safe belay device, but accidents have happened due to improper use. GriGri’s are designed to work with the following rope diameters. Make sure you’re using the correct rope for your device.Other assisted-braking belay devices have different specifications. Check the manufacturer’s instructions before you use them. How To Attach a GriGri To Your Harness Step 1Open the device and feed the rope in as shown. (Diagrams for rope installation are engraved on the interior and exterior of a GriGri). Step 2Close the GriGri. Step 3Clip a screwgate carabiner to your belay loop. Step 4Clip the GriGri to the carabiner and fasten the gate. GriGri Belaying: How To Take In Simply pull rope through the GriGri as you would with a normal atc-style device, making sure to keep hold of the brake rope. GriGri Belaying: How To Lock Off If the climber falls, lock off downwards. The Grigri’s camming action will hold most or all of the weight. Pulling the brake rope down also helps the cam to engage rapidly. GriGri Belaying: How To Give Slack Giving Slack SlowlyTo give slack slowly, pull rope up through the GriGri as you would with a normal atc-style device, making sure to keep hold of the brake rope. Giving Slack QuicklyIf you try to feed slack through too quickly, the cam will engage and lock the device: not ideal when your partner is trying to clip a quickdraw. To avoid this happening, there is another technique you can use: Step 1Hold your index finger out while gripping the brake rope tightly with your other three fingers. Step 2Place your index finger under the lip on the side of the GriGri. Step 3Put your thumb over the back edge of the handle and push it down. This temporarily disengages the locking mechanism.At the same time as doing this, pull out slack rope with your left hand. Step 4As soon as you’ve pulled out enough rope, go back to the primary belaying position. If the climber falls when you are disengaging the locking mechanism, immediately remove your thumb and continue to hold onto the brake rope.It’s important to perform these steps quickly. GriGri Belaying: How To Lower a Climber Lock the rope with your brake hand, and slowly pull the handle back until you feel resistance. This will disengage the locking mechanism slightly. Hold the handle at this point and slowly lower the climber, making sure to keep hold of the brake rope. To stop lowering, simply let go of the handle.It’s important not to pull the handle all the way back. This will completely disengage the locking mechanism, making it very difficult to keep control of the device.Remember to practise these techniques well in a safe environment before you belay someone at the crag. GriGri Belaying: Common Mistake A bad habit while giving slack is to keep the handle held down without holding…
>5:32The Grigri is an assisted braking belay device. How does it work? How is the rope inserted? How do brake hand and guide hand work together …YouTube · Deutscher Alpenverein (DAV) · Mar 28, 20198 key moments in this videoMissing: 2022 – | Must include: 2022 –
3 Simple Ways to Use a Grigri – wikiHow
3 Simple Ways to Use a Grigri – wikiHow Download Article Download Article A grigri is a belaying device with an assisted braking mechanism that you can use for rock climbing. The main feature of a grigri is a clutch mechanism that helps you with braking by pinching the rope when it is moving too fast, such as during a fall. This also makes it much easier for the belayer to hold the climber while they rest or stop climbing to plan out a route. Keep in mind that this braking mechanism is only effective when used properly. When you use it with the right technique and follow safety guidelines, a grigri can be a very helpful belaying tool for you and your climbing buddies. 1 Feed your climbing rope under the cam inside the grigri. The cam is the U-shaped metal piece in the middle of the grigri that the belaying rope slides along. Flip open the moving side plate of your grigri to access the cam. Feed the rope in through the space between the cam and the moving side plate and loop it up under the cam. Flip the side plate closed to cover the rope. A grigri is almost oval shaped, though 1 side is more pointy and 1 side is more rounded. It consists of 1 fixed metal side plate, to which the cam is attached, and 1 moving metal side place that you can flip open to access the cam. There is also a quick release handle attached to the fixed metal plate. There are engraved diagrams on both the inside and outside of your grigri that show you exactly how to feed the rope into the device. Note that you have to wear a climbing harness in order to use a grigri, just as you would if you were going to belay someone without a grigri. Warning: Always read the manufacturer’s instructions for your grigri thoroughly and follow any additional directions or advice for setting it up. 2 Clip a screwgate carabiner to the belay loop on your harness. The belay loop is the loop in the middle of the front of your climbing harness. Unscrew the screwgate and press the carabiner open. Hook it onto your belay loop so the narrow side of the carabiner is closest to your body. A screwgate carabiner is a carabiner with cylindrical threaded metal piece that you can screw over the gate of the carabiner to be 100% sure that it won’t pop open while you’re belaying. Advertisement 3 Put the carabiner through the grigri and screw the gate closed. Press the carabiner open and clip it through the attachment holes on both of your grigri’s side plates. Screw the cylindrical piece all the way into place over the carabiner’s gate to secure it in place, so it won’t come unhooked while you belay a climber. The section of rope coming out of the top of your grigri is the climbing rope and the section coming out of the bottom of the grigri is the braking rope. 4 Tie a knot in the end of the braking rope. Tie a strong climbing knot into the end of the section of rope that is coming out of the bottom of the grigri. This will prevent the braking rope from sliding through the grigri if you run out of slack. For example, you could tie a figure…
Petzl GriGri Explained: Understanding This Fundamental …
Petzl GriGri Explained: Understanding This Fundamental Belay Device The basics behind the Petzl GriGri, one of climbing’s most popular belay devices. While old-school devices such as the figure eight and ATC still have their place in the climbing world, the GriGri reigns supreme. Since Petzl’s first generation of the GriGri was released in 1991, climbers have cherished its versatility and assisted braking ability. In some parts of the world, GriGris are so popular that all belay devices are called “GriGris.” While the GriGri was among the first assisted braking belay devices on the climbing market, it now competes with a host of other devices made by various brands. To be clear, Petzl manufactures the only true GriGri — and that’s the product we are focusing on in this guide. Though this guide has a wealth of information on GriGris, it is not a comprehensive instruction manual. Using a GriGri safely requires in-person instruction from a qualified source and lots of hands-on practice. Editor’s note: Rock climbing is an inherently dangerous activity. As with any outdoor sport that entails risk, you should start slow and at a level suitable to your experience. Above all, you should go with someone more experienced than you for your own safety. The rotating internal cam makes the GriGri an “assisted braking” device; (photo/Alexandru Nika) What Is a GriGri? The GriGri is an assisted braking belay device manufactured by Petzl. It is primarily used while rock climbing to maintain a safe and effective climbing system. Since the introduction of the original GriGri, Petzl has released a series of updated models. The GriGri 2 came out in 2011, followed by the GriGri+ in 2017, and the GriGri in 2019. Each model is slightly different, though they all primarily function in the same way. For users, it is important to note each GriGri model is only compatible with a specific range of rope diameters. The newest model can accommodate single dynamic ropes between 8.5 and 11 mm. How Does the GriGri Work? Like all belay devices, the Grigri is used with climbing harnesses and climbing ropes to create a safe and efficient climbing system. Of course, when lead climbing or top-roping, the belayer must property load the climbing rope through the GriGri before anyone leaves the ground. Once the rope is loaded into the GriGri, the device is attached to the belayer’s harness with a locking climbing carabiner. This system allows the belayer to serve as an anchor for the climber. Should the climber fall, the belayer’s weight creates tension in the rope and limits the fall distance in a controlled manner. The GriGri allows the belayer to manage the system while the climber makes upward progress. The rope can move in both directions through a GriGri. A good belayer uses the device to maintain an appropriate amount of slack in the system. What Is Assisted Braking? The GriGri is an assisted braking device or ABD. In today’s climbing scene, ABDs are the go-to for most climbers. Many climbing gyms require visitors to use ABDs while belaying. An ABD assists the belayer in catching a climbing fall. GriGris have an internal cam that rotates and pinches the climbing rope whenever the rope moves quickly through the device. This pinching action helps the belayer catch a fall safely. Many climbers mistake the term “assisted braking” with “automatic braking.” The GriGri is not an automatic braking device. Like nonassisted braking devices, users must always keep a hand on the braking stand of the rope while using a GriGri, per Petzl’s specifications. The Petzl GriGri still requires the brake hand to remain on the brake strand. How to Use a GriGri In practice, belaying with a GriGri is similar to belaying with a nonassisted braking or tube-style device. The belayer should use the standard Pull-Brake-Under-Slide (PBUS) technique to take slack out of the climbing system, which maintains hands-on contact with the braking strand throughout. While top-roping,…
Learn Proper Techniques for Grigri Use – Climbing Magazine
Learn Proper Techniques for Grigri Use Join Climbing Create a personalized feed and bookmark your favorites. Join for free Already have an account? Sign In Join Climbing Create a personalized feed and bookmark your favorites. Join for free Already have an account? Sign In Get full access to Outside Learn, our online education hub featuring in-depth fitness, nutrition, and adventure courses and more than 2,000 instructional videos when you sign up for Outside+ Sign up for Outside+ today. Learn proper techniques for smooth and safe belaying The release of the Petzl Grigri in 1991 marked a major step in the evolution of belay devices: Here was a device that assisted significantly in catching a fall, and also allowed a belayer to hold and lower his partner with little effort. Belay slaves rejoiced, but incorrect use of this newfangled device began to result in accidents. Petzl has made an effort to educate users, but the bad habits of devotees are difficult to break, and with the release of the Grigri 2 in 2011, it’s more important than ever to learn (and teach) proper techniques for this ubiquitous device. How it Works A cam inside (plus part of the body) rotates to give the Grigri its holding power. When the rope moves quickly through the device (as in a fall), the cam is engaged and pinches the rope to keep it from moving (A). How to Use Primary belaying position. In basic use, the Grigri should be used like a tube-style device. The brake hand should never leave the rope. As the climber moves up, feed slack a little at a time (or take in when belaying a toprope). If the climber falls, lock off with the rope down and in front of you. The Grigri’s cam will hold most or all of the weight, but your brake hand is an essential backup. Pulling the brake end down also helps the cam to engage rapidly. Feeding slack quickly. If you try to give a lot of rope at once, the cam may engage, preventing rope from moving through. This can be annoying when your leader is pulling up rope quickly to clip. Anticipate the leader’s clipping and begin feeding rope before she yanks on it. With thicker ropes or hasty clips, you can transition temporarily to another hand position. While keeping three fingers of your brake hand wrapped around the rope, put your thumb over the back edge of the black handle and wedge your pointer finger under the lip on the right side. Press down with your thumb and push up with your pointer to hold the cam down, momentarily disabling the locking mechanism while you pull out slack with your left hand. As soon as you’re done paying out rope, go back to the primary belaying position. If the leader falls when your brake hand is on the Grigri, immediately slide your brake hand away from the device and on to the rope to lock it off. Lowering. With the rope locked off in your brake hand, slowly unfold the black handle. As you start to feel resistance, keep pulling back slightly. Don’t lift the handle all the…
Best Climbing Belay Device of 2022 – Outdoor Gear Lab
Best Climbing Belay Device of 2022Our Editors independently research, test, and rate the best products. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Learn more Best Overall for Experienced Climbers Petzl GriGri Catch and Bite 9.0 Lowering and Rappelling 7.0 Feeding Slack 7.0 Weight and Bulk 5.0 Auto Block 9.0 Weight: 6.3 ounces | Type: Active assisted braking REASONS TO BUYHandles rope smoothlyAssisted brakingGood for ropes as small as 8.5mmREASONS TO AVOIDA bit heavyFeeding slack quickly requires defeating the assisted braking mechanismCan only handle one strand of ropeThe latest rendition of the Petzl GriGri features a few minor tweaks that help it retain its status as the most popular assisted braking device. The cam doesn’t engage as quickly, making it easier to pay out slack. The lowering lever now has a bit more resistance, making it slightly harder to open fully. Best of all, this device now accommodates ropes down to 8.5mm, keeping pace with the skinniest single rope on the market. It is relatively easy to learn the proper belay technique, and the device can be used easily for lead belaying, top-rope belaying and belaying the follower directly off the anchor. While the GriGri is far and away the most popular active assisted braking device on the market, it still comes with the notable downside that the user is tempted to hold the braking cam in an open position to quickly feed slack to a leader. This temptation has led to many belay accidents and has inspired the invention of other devices that don’t require breaking the rules to feed out slack quickly. It is relatively easy to “push” rope through the device in the same way slack is fed with a tube-style device, although the cam must still be overridden to feed out an armload or two in a hurry. Still, it isn’t that hard to master the GriGri’s technique, and for experienced users and regular climbers, this device is still our top choice. Read review: Petzl GriGri Lowering with the GriGri requires opening the retractable handle in order to release the cam as it grips the rope. Tension and speed are controlled by this handle, as well as the second hand on the brake strand, as shown. Best for New Climbers Petzl GriGri+ Catch and Bite 9.0 Lowering and Rappelling 8.0 Feeding Slack 6.0 Weight and Bulk 4.0 Auto Block 9.0 Weight: 7.1 ounces | Type: Active assisted braking REASONS TO BUYAnti-panic handle prevents dropping while loweringCustomize the amount of cam spring tension with lead and top-rope modesHandles ropes from 8.5mm — 11 mmStainless steel wear plate insert for added durabilityREASONS TO AVOIDExpensiveSwitching modes is difficult and an easy step to forgetUnit locks up easily on lowers if not used slowlyFirst released in 2017, the GriGri+ is very similar to the standard GriGri, but boasts several safety features not found on that model in an effort to reduce the risk of belayer error accidents. The first is that the handle has an anti-panic feature. When lowering a climber, the belayer uses a lever to release the grip on the rope. If the lever is opened too far, the GriGri+ handle automatically disengages, releasing the tension on the cam and stopping the lower. The sweet spot for a smooth, not-too-slow lower can be hard to find at first, but it’s much harder to drop a climber while lowering with a properly loaded GriGri+ than with other devices. The second feature is a toggle switch between lead and top-rope modes, which adjusts the spring tension on the cam inside the device. In top-rope mode, the cam grips far more tightly, while in lead mode, it allows for an easier time paying out slack. While significantly safer than a standard GriGri, the features found on the + can be annoying to work around if you are so used to using a GriGri that it has become an extension of your mind and body. In particular, it is easy to forget to switch from top-rope to lead, resulting…
6 Best Belay Devices in 2022 – 99Boulders
6 Best Belay Devices in 2022 – 99BouldersWhen you buy something through one of the links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Belay Device Score Weight Rope Compatibility Assisted Braking? Top Pick: Petzl GriGri 2 89 170g 8.9-11 mm Yes Best Value: Black Diamond ATC-Guide 85 88g 7.7-11 mm No Edelrid Mega Jul 84 65g 7.8-10.5 mm Yes Petzl GriGri + 83 200g 8.5-11 mm Yes Petzl Reverso 82 59g 7.5-11 mm No Best for Beginners & Gym Use: Black Diamond ATC-XP 75 64g 7.7-11 mm No The six belay devices we tested Belay devices are one of the central tools of climbing, so we took our six favorites to the cliffs for a showdown. The winner is a trusted classic: the Petzl GriGri 2. The GriGri 2 has been a leading device on the market for years, and for good reason. It brings an added level of safety while remaining versatile and usable. Other companies have been trying to match the GriGri’s functionality for years, and they’re getting closer. But the attempts always run into trouble at some point — the Trango Vergo has been plagued by recalls, and the Mad Rock Lifeguard didn’t quite match the GriGri’s usability. The GriGri 2’s closest competition often comes from tube-style devices like the ones reviewed here — or its new-fangled sibling, the GriGri +. Here’s an unusual confession: there’s a case to be made for all of these devices. In the right circumstances, just about all of them excel in one way or another. You’ll notice that the lowest scoring device in this review, the ATC-XP, still gets an award nod. Testers had their favorites, but all these devices are capable (and they’re all a massive improvement over a Munter or a hip belay). The differences in score came down to which devices were most functional over the widest range of circumstances. For details, read on. Top Pick: Petzl GriGri 2 The great advantage of the GriGri over a tube-style device is assisted braking. Petzl is very clear that the GriGri should not be treated as a hands-free device, and it’s certainly not an excuse for shoddy belay technique. But should something happen to a belayer — and despite our best efforts, things like rockfall happen — a GriGri won’t drop the leader. A friend of mine once got yanked into a roof while belaying a steep sport climb, leaving him concussed. If he hadn’t been using a GriGri, his climber would have decked. The GriGri has other advantages as well. If the leader is hanging out projecting, it takes strain off the belayer. On epic days it’s a safeguard against mental fatigue. It’s useful in a pinch to ascend a rope. Plus it just belays well, feeding slack smoothly and catching falls effortlessly. There’s one major disadvantage to the GriGri, and that’s its inability to handle more than one rope. To rappel, you still need a tube. And if you like to belay with half or double ropes, you’re hosed. For some climbers, that’s enough to count the GriGri out as a multi-pitch device. To make matters worse, the GriGri is nearly double the weight of even the ATC-Guide. In practice, I think the GriGri is often still worth it as a multi-pitch belay device. It does add a few ounces and require throwing an extra ATC on the back of your climbing harness. But it belays well from above, and multi-pitch is often where the GriGri’s safety and versatility really shine. Like many aspects of climbing, it’s a trade-off. The GriGri 2 is also much more expensive than an ATC,…
GriGri vs. ATC: Which Belay Device Is Right for You?
GriGri vs. ATC: Which Belay Device Is Right for You? – 99BouldersWhen you buy something through one of the links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Black Diamond ATC Petzl GriGri 2 Best Uses Gym use General use Rappelling Multipitch (ATC-Guide only) Alpine climbing Outdoor use (esp. sport climbing) Frequent lead climbing Projecting Multipitch Other specific uses (routesetting, simulclimbing, etc.) Pros Lightweight Capable and versatile Can do double-rope rappels Safety benefits Eliminates some belayer fatigue Useful in additional systems Cons More risks in some circumstances More belayer fatigue in some circumstances Heavier Cannot double-rope rappel Weight 64 g (ATC-XP), 88 g (ATC-Guide) 170 g (GriGri 2), 200 g (GriGri +) Rope Compatibility 7.7 – 11 mm 8.9 – 11 mm Periodically, belay devices come along that change climbing the way the iPhone changed cell phones. The Sticht Plate was one. Named after its designer Fritz Sticht, the device was a precursor of the tube-style belay devices we still use today. The most popular modern tube-style device is the Black Diamond ATC (in its various forms), which will make up half our test. In the late 1980s, Petzl assembled a team of expert climbers and started fiddling around with belay devices. The goal was to create a safer descent device than the venerable figure eight, ideally something “as trustworthy as a seatbelt.” The GriGri, released in 1991 and named after an African good luck charm, was a revolutionary moment — a belay device with a cam that would actively lock during a fall. The GriGri is now a household name among climbers, and it’s the second half of our test. For many climbers, the question remains: which belay device should I use? Is a GriGri worth the investment? Can I get by with a single belay device? Which one should I get first? As is often the case, the answer is…it depends. To put these devices to the test so I could shed insight on these questions, I climbed up all kinds of single pitch and multipitch climbs, indoor and outdoor, trad and sport, long and short. Here are the conclusions. (You can also compare the GriGri and ATC to other top belay devices in our belay device buying guide.) Before we get started, there’s one extremely important preface to everything in this article. NO BELAY DEVICE WILL MAKE UP FOR BAD BELAY TECHNIQUE I repeat: there is no device on the market that will compensate for bad habits or sloppy belaying. Buying a GriGri (or any other new-fangled device) will never absolve the belayer from being knowledgeable, reliable, and attentive. No matter which device you’re using, make sure you have a thorough understanding of how to use it before you’re out in the field. Assisted Braking: What it Gets You What you’re paying for when you buy a GriGri is assisted braking, that is, the ability to lock down on the rope without constant tension from the belayer. This is useful for several reasons. 1. It’s Safer The first of these is safety. Especially when climbing outside, some variables are beyond control. In rare circumstances (like rockfall) something could happen to the belayer, and a GriGri will still catch a fall. I had a friend get a concussion after getting yanked into a roof on a belay (yes, he wears a climbing helmet now), and if he hadn’t been using a GriGri, his climber would have dropped. Because of the camming mechanism, the GriGri also helps mitigate the risk of a belayer somehow losing grip on the brake strand. It should…