For reasons that I don't entirely comprehend, I'm about to start doing a lot of sport climbing. It's partly due to having relocated to the North Welsh coast where my local crag is a bolted sport venue. It's also to do with the fact I want to give my son a safe introduction to climbing, but mostly - I think - it's because nearly forty years of trad have made me unhinged enough to think that the distinction between trad and sport is no longer the burning issue that it once was!
So, to the point: I'm a little out of touch with developments in belaying devices for sport climbing. Having been on the scene at the advent of Sticht plates and used a number of variations on that theme over the years, I've never used anything else or felt the need for anything else. Now, however, with my climbing partner being relatively inexperienced as well as considerably lighter than me, I'm thinking that a GriGri or something similar is the way forward.
In reply to Chambers: If you get a GriGri2, make sure your rope isn't too thick. I've got an older 10.5 rope (it's probably getting closer to 11) that feels horrid with a grigri2. My newer 10mm rope feels much better.
I have a GriGri2 and one of my regular climbing partners uses a ClickUp. I might go for a ClickUp if I were buying again now. Lighter, more "normal" ATC-like handling.
The one significant disadvantage I see with a ClickUp is that, if it inadvertently locks when the climber pulls rope out quickly for a clip, it seems to be more faff to release than a GriGri. A GriGri is easy to release under light load using the thumb method; with the ClickUp you seem to have to take the load off the rope to release it.
for steep sportclimbing with long working sessions on projects the grigri2
with rope up to ~9.8mm is definitely no.1. basically everyone in europe uses it for that purpose.paying out is even easier than with an atc if you do it correctly and get used to it. plus it actually does block the rope.(not "does block in propably 90% of cases" )
otherwise: what's wrong with an atc ? we have even survived 20 years of belaying with figure 8's.....
In reply to Chambers: for twenty years until recently I've been happy enough with an ATC type, but now have a click-up - it being nearer to an ATC type than a gri-gri. As others have suggested it works fine with a clean thinner rope (I've got a 9.7 Tendon at the mo) but yesterday I could hardly push an old 10mm rope through, and gave up on it. Partner inexperienced/lighter would perhaps benefit from the Click-up (watch the UKC video comparing different devices)
In reply to Chambers:
In very much the same situation with Mrs C having just taken up climbing and being 50pc lighter than me. I've used an ATC for years quite happily but have bought her a Click Up which works well. Relatively easy to pay out, not had the locking ropoe probs of a Grigri, locks in a fall and can be locked prior to lower off.I'm now perfectly confident to lead with her belaying me. Crucially for me italso gets round the problem I have seen with a novice and a Grigri when it comes to lowering off. On that occasion the lower got a bit too fast, belayer got flustered and 'pulled the brake on harder' (ie pulled back harder on handle which had exactly the opposite effect) and the leader decked at quite a high speed though thankfully without any serious injury. Made me think that a Grigri and novice is not a good combination.
So, for me, Click Up every time
> Relatively easy to pay out, not had the locking rope probs of a Grigri
Interesting, my experience is the opposite. My GriGri2 only locks when paying out with really stiff, crappy fuzzy old ropes. With a decent rope it's very smooth and easy. Whereas my partner's ClickUp seems to lock quite easily when I'm clipping, and then seems to be fiddlier to release than a GriGri.
In reply to AlanLittle:
Interesting. I've not used a GRigri 2 but I only ever use my Grigri for top roping or if someone is planning a long siege.
I know people who swear by the GRigri and never use anything else but I realy dislike the risk with a novice of them getting in a muddle
That's exactly my concern with the Grigri and is why I'm not a big fan (though I do have one).
But one thing that does surprise me is the way people cite weight difference as a reason for using a locking device. Surely that's a reason to consider weight bags, ground anchors and the likes if they'd be pulled up dangerously so they might start lifting gear out / hitting the first clip?
Or is it more about "what if they are slammed into the wall"? If so, weight bags/ground anchors can help avoid that, as can the belayer standing in a sensible place reasonably close to the wall. After all, I'm 18st and much smaller people have lifted me off the floor when taking a big lead fall.
After all, being big and heavy does not necessarily mean you're going to be more attentive nor to have a tighter grip on the rope when using an ATC or similar. Yes, the forces are a bit greater, but it doesn't seem to make all that much of a difference in terms of the plate's ability to lock off, assuming you aren't using tiny ropes.
In reply to AlanLittle: A mate of mine has a Click-up. It pays out OK but when he lowers me it's a bit disturbing as I seem to drop with short jerks but acknowledge it could be him rather than the device.
I was OK with a GriGri until it was pointed out to me that I was using it in an unsafe manner when paying out. As it turns out so was everyone else who bought the early ones on the basis that they were autolocking. I never got on with the modified method of holding it so sold that and bought a Mammut Smart which I love. I wish I could find an early advert for the GriGri I feel certain that they were intially advertised as fail safe devices and only later backed away from that line. The new Edelrid offering looks handy.
> (In reply to Wiley Coyote)
> But one thing that does surprise me is the way people cite weight difference as a reason for using a locking device. Surely that's a reason to consider weight bags, ground anchors and the likes if they'd be pulled up dangerously
It's not so much the being lifted up that's the worry. As I say, Mrs C is a relative novice, though coming along nicely. In a fall a lot of things can happen very quickly and suddenly being hoiked skywards by my 13 stones of unsightly flab is just one more thing that might make her let go of the rope. As experienced climbers I think we often forget just how much there is going on and to remember, most of which we can do on auto-pilot. Just watching the concentration she (quite rightly) puts into tying a fig of 8 is an eye-opener.
It would be nice to only be belayed by experts but we were all novices once and the way we became experienced was by doing it. Having the auto-locking of the Click Up is a useful back up thateliminates one more risk while she is gaining experieince.
> I was OK with a GriGri until it was pointed out to me that I was using it in an unsafe manner when paying out. As it turns out so was everyone else who bought the early ones on the basis that they were autolocking. I never got on with the modified method of holding it so sold that and bought a Mammut Smart which I love. I wish I could find an early advert for the GriGri I feel certain that they were intially advertised as fail safe devices and only later backed away from that line.
That is rather at odds with the facts as I am aware of them. Petzl were originally extremely clear about how to use the GriGri and specified that a hand should always be kept on the dead rope.
The truth is that individual climbers widely ignored the original usage instructions. A large number resorted to adopting the obvious but unsafe shortcut of holding the down the cam (with the left hand) to pay out large amounts of rope quickly. Other climbers adopted a better method of using the thumb of the (right) hand holding the dead rope to depress the cam. Over the years, the second less obvious but much safer method started to gain traction and Petzl then belatedly incorporated that method into the official usage instructions.
Petzl were really crap in being so slow to update the official usage instructions and actively promote the 'modified method' in order to stamp out unsafe variations, but they can't really be blamed for individual climbers initially ignoring the usage instructions.
Even the modified method promoted by Petzl runs a big risk of losing control of the rope if a heavy fall occurs while paying out, IMO. I don't like the idea of having the device released while not fully gripping the rope, but instead letting it slide.
It is possible to do it in a safer manner (slide hand down the rope as you would if paying out from an ATC, then bring brake hand up and release the cam while still tightly holding the rope, pay out that slack only and repeat), but it's a faff.
There was also the scenario where people weren't holding the brake rope and the climber would slump onto the rope at a bolt, without enough inital impact force to tip the cam, and the rope would slide through slowly ... at first.
Keep your hand on the brake rope, don't touch the release lever except when lowering, and you have pretty much eliminated all the potential hazards of GriGri use.
> (In reply to Neil Williams)
> It's not so much the being lifted up that's the worry. As I say, Mrs C is a relative novice, though coming along nicely. In a fall a lot of things can happen very quickly and suddenly being hoiked skywards by my 13 stones of unsightly flab is just one more thing that might make her let go of the rope.
To Neil and the OP - you just need to teach them properly i.e. always be 'locked off' unless paying out, and always 'lock off' as soon as someone falls. Using the right rope & device is key, and belay glove if necessary. Get them to belay/abseil on a stiff combo (11mm and sticht plate), then on a slick one (Bug and single 9mm) so they can see the difference. It only takes a few 'test falls' to instill the 'hold' instinct in someone, and the only reason they won't hold you is because a) their hand goes in the device, or b) they burn it. Wearing a glove and having a grippy rope/device combo will pretty much eliminate those issues. I see little point in using gri-gris when they encourage bad habits which cause problems when the user migrates to belaying with 'normal' devices.
In reply to The Ex-Engineer: You could be right but I have never heard of any other device with as much potential for mis-use as the GriGri. It's also the only device that has directly put me in danger because of being used incorrectly. In the hands of an expert they are good but generally speaking I do not like them and much prefer the Mammut Smart. It's less bulky, lighter, cheaper, more intuitive to learn and IMO less prone to being used incorrectly and does not have any moving mechanical parts to wear out or get clogged up.
It would be interesting to speculate if the Smart had come along first would the GriGri have got a look in.
I see your point and would not dispute it as far as it goes, after all that's how we learned. However the invention of the Click Up (IMO) introduces an extra level of safety without introducing any extra opportunities for serious cock up so for my money it's a worthwhile refinement in the same way that in the dim and distant I swapped waist belays for Sticht plates, then plates with springs, then ATCs.
That said I still prefer my ATC because I'm very comfortable and confident with it while Mrs C uses the CLick Up so each to their own
> Even the modified method promoted by Petzl runs a big risk of losing control of the rope if a heavy fall occurs while paying out, IMO.
Isn't that the case with most belay devices though?
I don't know any belay device where you can simultaneously have it fully locked off and pay out rope at the same time. I think that a normal ATC type belay device is probably more vulnerable if a fall happens at the exact moment you are feeding loads of slack through.
> It is possible to do it in a safer manner (slide hand down the rope as you would if paying out from an ATC, then bring brake hand up and release the cam while still tightly holding the rope, pay out that slack only and repeat), but it's a faff.
Agreed. It's a faff which is why don't disagree with GridNorth when he says "I have never heard of any other device with as much potential for mis-use as the GriGri.".
"I don't know any belay device where you can simultaneously have it fully locked off and pay out rope at the same time. I think that a normal ATC type belay device is probably more vulnerable if a fall happens at the exact moment you are feeding loads of slack through."
True. With an ATC it probably depends how you do it, though. When you're sliding your hand down the rope to prepare for giving slack, the device is still pretty well locked off. Once you move your brake hand up to release it and pay it out, it isn't, though as long as that hand is kept slightly below the device (i.e. you're not belaying palms up US-style), if the climber falls then it will pull things into line to lock it back off even if you don't move your hand down.
Of course, to be fair to the brake assist devices, if you let go with an ATC it's not locked off at all...
> It would be interesting to speculate if the Smart had come along first would the GriGri have got a look in.
The forrunners to the Smart, the Wild Country SRC came out about the same time as the Grigri, the Salewa Antz well before (1984) and the market decided! Like many climbers I don´t need a device that does nothing particularly well so stick with ones that at least do something excellently.
In reply to Chambers: out of my Grigri and my alpine up, the big brother of the click up, it's got to be the alpine up every time for belaying. I use it for trad, alpine, sport, abseiling... The lot. Looks a bit weird to start, and is a pain once your mate is back on the ground to give them a bit of slack, but other than that...
Gri-gris are great. I've had several for over a decade and never had any problems. Great for sport, indoor, and red-pointing particularly.
However they've always had laughably bad press... the best of which was they don't lock in a 'slow' fall lol... user error is the problem as with any belay device.
Gri-gri original is best for most ropes.
Gri-gri 2 is only suitable for the newer thin single ropes imho
+1 for the mammut smart. I was looking at getting one for ages, and the other half bought me one; must say its one of the best presents I've had.
As gridnorth says its very simple both to use and in design, lack of moving parts (which to me increases the reliability), lighter and far cheaper than the grigri. Everyone who has used mine has really been impressed and felt comfortable using it after a few uses.
I'm even tempted to look at the smart alpine for when I start getting out on trad routes with my uncle (anyone recommend one for trad use?).
In reply to Jep_uk: I'm not sure about one for trad, I will be sticking with my Reverso 3. The Smart is a bit bulky and if hanging from a harness tends to hook itself around any ropes that are nearby. That for me is it's only downside. The new Edelrid thingy, the "Jule" or something like that looks as though it may be more practical and in a greater number of situations but for me on single pitch sport the Smart is unbeatable.
In reply to Chambers:
Another vote for the Mammut Smart, it's pretty much foolproof. I have heard of people being dropped with a grigri some with lifelong injuries because of it. I've also been dropped - twice. I would never let myself be belayed again by anyone using one who I don't know well. The Smart appears to lock up and pay out easily.
If I was you, I'd try out different devices and pick one you like.
I've got both the new and the old gri gri. I've heard a lot about it not locking up under slow load and want to see a video of it not locking up under slow load. Anyone got one/can make one? I'm really interested to see this limitation.
In reply to r0x0r.wolfo: I've seen it happen - 6m high indoor wall, shiny new 10.5mm 'centre' rope, 7 year old climber. The belayer (not a regular climber) wasn't paying attention and had taken their hand off the rope for some reason when the climber decided to let go before they got to the top - they simply accelerated until they hit the floor (with mats, no harm done). You can easily replicate the scenario by gently pulling rope through the device, but it will normally lock if there is any sudden change in pulling speed. If there's no restrictions to the flow of the dead rope and the speed doesn't suddenly change, then you can pull as much rope through as you like.
In reply to Toerag: I'm practically having to force the rope through myself whilst holding the gri gri (old style) fully open for ~14 year olds with my 10.4mm. Was at stanage today doing exactly that. Need to see it to believe it in a way, have sort've played with a gri gri locking up on slow fall on abseil, and it not catching straight away but it still did after a foot or so...
Dunno really wish someone would do video/test to simulate it. I just can't work out if its all just human error or not, as haven't witnessed it myself.
> (In reply to Toerag) It makes me laugh that people say Grigri's aren't safe because they don't lock up during slow falls...
I'd like to know which cliffs have enough antimatter to change the gravitational field strength so that I would fall slowly!
You need to be going very slow for a gri gri not to lock - in which case you'll be fine anyway.