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/ Choosing between DMM pivot or Gri Gri?

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L emily_climbing1 - on 15 Oct 2018

Title says it.. not sure whether to get the pivot or Gri Gri. I am just starting out outdoors so don’t lead yet, but would like to be able to set up a top belay for top rope climbing, so wondering what would be best to lower from the top. I have read the pivot and other devices like this are not so good at lowering a whole pitch, but more so just to give slack. On the other hand the gri gri would be simpler to use, especially when having others belay, but have seen the handle get jammed against the rock when anchors are above/ on top of the cliff (not on cliff wall). What are your thoughts? 

MischaHY - on 15 Oct 2018
In reply to emily_climbing1:

If you're talking about use in guide mode fixed direct to an anchor then the grigri is superior for the exact situation you're describing because lowering is way easier than with a guide plate. 

*However* 

I get the impression you've mixed up your systems because I've very very rarely been in the position you describe. Best ask your climbing partners who are teaching you or failing that get on a trad course and get the skills nailed so you know you're safe. 

L emily_climbing1 - on 15 Oct 2018
In reply to MischaHY:

yes was talking about guide mode, should have stated that. This was actually the way I was taught from a trainer (using a gri gri), just wanted to get some more opinions before I bought. 

How would you do so differently if... I wanted to set up a top rope rig as I am not comfortable with leading yet, and wanted to top belay for multiple reasons. such as... quicker/ more convenient to derig and move to a new climb, and also if the rope isn't long enough to bottom belay. 

Paul Hy - on 15 Oct 2018
In reply to emily_climbing1:

Gri gri in Trad is a NO NO.   

Harrison_Connie - on 15 Oct 2018
In reply to emily_climbing1:

> not sure whether to get the pivot or Gri Gri.  

Something like the Black Diamond ATC belay device works wonders. Suitable for lead belaying, top roping, bottom roping and it's super simple to lower someone with from either above or below depending on what setup you have.

Other good options might be the Black Diamond Guide ATC, the Petzl Reverso or the DMM Pivot as you say - these can all be used as normal belay plates and guide plates, it gives versatility and options.

Guide plates work well in some situations but most of the time its not required on single pitch crags and could cause you more grief than you want - especially if you're just starting out.

Guide mode can be useful, more so on big multi-pitch climbs when being able to go hands free will benefit you during the day (eating, drinking and taking pics). It can also add a nice flow to the day if you're doing all the leading - be aware that it has its limitations when it comes to lowering or giving slack. 

Learn the Italian hitch or Munter Hitch too, this can be extremely useful when belaying people up climbs from above - Its effectively a guide plate without the plate and the drama of lowering. Obviously learn how to use it appropriately. 

Don't waste your money on a GriGri, just get a normal belay plate unless you plan on doing lots of indoor climbing or sport climbing. 

 

 

Post edited at 11:37
L emily_climbing1 - on 15 Oct 2018
In reply to Paul Hy:

hey thanks for the reply, however am not trad climbing, just top rope. I would just like to belay from above. 

L emily_climbing1 - on 15 Oct 2018
In reply to Harrison_Connie:

Thanks for the reply, appreciate your time  

I agree with all this, not sure about top belaying with a normal ATC device though. Do you consider this safe? I have seen mixed reviews about it. 

humptydumpty - on 15 Oct 2018
In reply to Paul Hy:

> Gri gri in Trad is a NO NO.   


There are advantages and disadvantages to using a grigri for trad, but this blanket statement is nonsense.

GarethSL on 15 Oct 2018
In reply to emily_climbing1:

> I have read the pivot and other devices like this are not so good at lowering a whole pitch, but more so just to give slack.

That's really all they are good for, as the method of lowering is somewhat tedious and care needs to be taken. Some require the attachment of a cord or sling, others such as the pivot work by levering with a carabiner. For the pivot you can see the method here: https://dmmclimbing.com/DMMWales/Media/ProductInstructions/braking-devices-en-fr-de-it-es-pt-nl.pdf

> On the other hand the gri gri would be simpler to use, especially when having others belay

Providing they are familiar with the GriGri and its use in guide mode, then yes.

> have seen the handle get jammed against the rock when anchors are above/ on top of the cliff (not on cliff wall).

This is often true when attaching the device directly to bolted anchor chains (see link below), in which case you should extend the anchor to allow a decent amount of free space. This will allow whoever is belaying to position themselves safely and also operate the GriGri properly.

Take care to always control the dead end, a slump or weighting of the rope with a GriGri in guide mode may not be enough to engage the cam. I think there may also be need for caution to be paid to the fact that the belayer will be controlling a rope that is taking the weight of the climber directly, as there is no re-direct in the system and thus may be difficult to control (someone may have to clarify that).

Here is some info regarding using the GriGri in guide mode directly from Petzl: https://www.petzl.com/US/en/Sport/Belaying-a-second-directly-off-a-fixed-anchor-at-the-belay-station?Familly=Belay-devices--descenders&ProductName=GRIGRI-2

However, Petzl largely recommend using a re-direct system: https://www.petzl.com/US/en/Sport/Belaying-a-second-from-a-belay-station-with-the-GRIGRI-on-the-harness--using-a-redirect?ProductName=GRIGRI-2

If you're going to use the re-direct then any belay device will work, but you would then loose the convenience of having a locking system if the climber needs to rest.

>  and also if the rope isn't long enough to bottom belay. 

If you only have a short rope always consider tying a knot in the dead end. 

Post edited at 11:57
Harrison_Connie - on 15 Oct 2018
In reply to emily_climbing1:

> not sure about top belaying with a normal ATC device though. Do you consider this safe? I have seen mixed reviews about it. 

Belaying someone up a climb from above with a normal ATC device is absolutely fine, it's actually the normal method of bringing a second up. 

As long as you are attached to your top anchor and belaying using the correct method then its absolutely fine.

It sounds like you would benefit from booking on a course or hiring an instructor to demonstrate the different methods that can be used. I'd be happy to recommend some instructors. 

The video below might also help clarify how belaying from above works using a normal ATC.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LYHRPDbhPMY&index=2&t=0s&list=PL44C9A5E1D05CE796

 

Post edited at 12:06
GridNorth - on 15 Oct 2018
In reply to emily_climbing1:

Go for a Pivot.  Really it's just a standard belay plate with a few bells and whistles that you may or may not need in the short term but it offers more versatility in the long run.

Al

L emily_climbing1 - on 15 Oct 2018

Thankyou this was helpful.

> This is often true when attaching the device directly to bolted anchor chains (see link below), in which case you should extend the anchor to allow a decent amount of free space. This will allow whoever is belaying to position themselves safely and also operate the GriGri properly.

With this,  I assume you mean position the belay device forward to it is hanging off the cliff. However if they belayer was sitting on the edge of the cliff, it is more difficult to take in rope when the climber climbs up.  Is this avoidable? 

> If you only have a short rope always consider tying a knot in the dead end. 

would definately do this.

Post edited at 12:10
Tom Ripley - on 15 Oct 2018
In reply to emily_climbing1:

I wouldn’t get a guide style device like a Pivot or Reverso as your first belay plate. In my view, especially in a trad environment, they are advanced devices for very experienced users, which require a great deal of judgement to use safely. (There is a reason they are called guide plates!)

I would start off with a basic belay plate like BD Atc-xp or DMM mantis. These devices work excellently for belaying leaders, seconds, top roping and abseiling. Indeed it is the type of device I use for most of my UK rock climbing. 

Tom

P.s I work as a climbing instructor/guide if you are interested in couple of days out together drop me a PM.

 

 

 

nacnud - on 15 Oct 2018
In reply to emily_climbing1:

A standard do everything belay device like a DMM Beetle is what I would suggest for a first belay device.

Grigri excels at belaying moderate to hard sport climbing, if you plan to mostly climb sport then this is a good choice, but you can do most of what it does with a Beetle.

A DMM pivot excels at bringing up two seconds at the same time, normally only guides do this regularly, if you want to bring up multiple people at the same time it is a good choice. You can do most of what it does with a Beetle.

One advantage beyond the locking of the dead end of the rope of the Grigri and Pivot is their ability to be used as ascenders. Prussic loops can be used for this for very little money. 

On another note unless I have just lead a pitch I very rarely top rope belay at the top. It's normally much more comfortable to belay from the bottom, I'm assuming easy access single pitch crags here.

SteveD - on 15 Oct 2018
In reply to emily_climbing1:

As someone above stated using an ATC or similar to bring a second up (effectively top roping them) is the standard way of using one of these devices, you really need to get out with someone experienced to show you the correct way to do this.

L RandomStones - on 15 Oct 2018
In reply to emily_climbing1:

Mammut smart, better than all above.

GridNorth - on 15 Oct 2018
In reply to emily_climbing1:

So the OP asks for a simple choice A or B and gets unsolicited advice and even more choices. Here is why I would recommend the Pivot over the GriGri:

GriGri is single rope only

It's primarily designed for sport climbing

Has a greater potential to be used in a dangerous manner

The pivot is superb build quality

Can be used for both single and double rope methods

Is easier for abseiling

Guide mode does not have to be used but there will come a time when you might appreciate it.

Al

 

IJL99 on 15 Oct 2018
In reply to emily_climbing1:

An ATC or similar will do you fine and gives a good flexibility in that you could use it for almost any type of climbing, The Gri Gri is only for single rope and expensive.  The pivot and other guide devices are also fairly expensive, their main advantage is guide mode but if your not a guide this is of limited use I've never seen anyone belay in guide mode in the UK.  You can get a ATC or similar for £10 that leaves a lot of change from a Gri Gri for a few slings or a rope etc.

 

 

humptydumpty - on 15 Oct 2018
In reply to IJL99:

> ...their main advantage is guide mode but if your not a guide this is of limited use I've never seen anyone belay in guide mode in the UK.

I'm not denying your experience, but this thread is a real eye-opener!  Guide mode is useful for any route that involves belaying from above - for the leader on single-pitch trad that tops out, and any multipitch sport or trad.

Harrison_Connie - on 15 Oct 2018
In reply to humptydumpty:

> Guide mode is useful for any route that involves belaying from above - for the leader on single-pitch trad that tops out, and any multipitch sport or trad.

Until you need to give slack or lower someone. I've heard some real horror stories. Guide mode can be useful and very convenient, but like anything it has its limitations. It takes experience to know those limitations and use it appropriately.  

It is most certainly not useful on "any" type of route, only on "some" in certain situations where its appropriate. 

nacnud - on 15 Oct 2018
In reply to humptydumpty:

> I'm not denying your experience, but this thread is a real eye-opener!  Guide mode is useful for any route that involves belaying from above - for the leader on single-pitch trad that tops out, and any multipitch sport or trad.

Most UK trad is single pitch where the leader ends up belaying sitting on the edge of the cliff. In this case the belay plates in guide mode aren't much use. Also in my experience if the second falls most of the force of the fall is taken by the leaders bum against the rock, barely weighting the anchors. Guide mode just isn't of much use in those situations.

 

Post edited at 13:49
Marmolata - on 15 Oct 2018
In reply to emily_climbing1:

>  I am just starting out outdoors so don’t lead yet, but would like to be able to set up a top belay for top rope climbing, 

I read the whole thread but I didn't get this: Why do you need a guide-mode capable device if you only top rope? How do you belay from above in a top-rope setup? I've only ever needed to belay from above in multi pitch situations when I'm on lead. You do neither so please help me understand. 

In general I would recommend an auto tube style device as a first belay device (Mammut Smart 2.0, Salewa Ergo, Wild Country Revo) Then you do not have to switch your handling opne you move a tube once you need it for multi pitch.

 

P.S. Also learn the munter hitch, works perfectly for belaying from above. Only backdraw is that you need to untangle the rope afterwards.

 

Post edited at 13:52
humptydumpty - on 15 Oct 2018
In reply to Harrison_Connie:

> Until you need to give slack or lower someone. I've heard some real horror stories. Guide mode can be useful and very convenient, but like anything it has its limitations. It takes experience to know those limitations and use it appropriately.  

True, I've heard people say they have trouble with it although it's not something I've experienced: turning the plate with my hand has always been sufficient to ease the rope out.  If lowering a full pitch, getting a sling in the "pressure-release hole" would probably be worth the effort.  If you've got any horror stories to share though I'd be interested to hear them - perhaps there are situations I should be avoiding that I haven't yet encountered.

 

humptydumpty - on 15 Oct 2018
In reply to nacnud:

> Most UK trad is single pitch where the leader ends up belaying sitting on the edge of the cliff. In this case the belay plates in guide mode aren't much use. Also in my experience if the second falls most of the force of the fall is taken by the leaders bum against the rock, barely weighting the anchors. Guide mode just isn't of much use in those situations.

Interesting perspective.  I always set up in guide mode if I have the option, especially if my second is likely to be slow.  It's certainly possible to use guide mode in a situation which leaves the belayer sitting on the edge of the cliff, although as you say that has implications for load on the anchors, and perhaps other things, e.g. rope rubbing over edges.  From the voting, it looks like I'm in the minority

beardy mike - on 15 Oct 2018
In reply to emily_climbing1:

Emily, please be aware that the ATC as recommended by others, there are various versions branded as an ATC. The original, if you are a small girl belaying a large boy, i.e. the weight to grip ratio is large, is utterly inappropriate for belaying, especially if you are top roping where the belay will be directly loaded. Instead look for the modified versions, the ATC-XP or similar, e.g. the DMM Mantis. The ribs and rope choke area make a huge difference to how much braking force is available, especially as the rope size you are using decreases. Original ATC's are fine if you have a fat rope and belaying someone the same size or smaller than you, otherwise they are very slick and can be hard to control a fall with.

With regards, Gri-Gri's they are not so great for top rope belaying because then the grigri is inverted, you do actively have to make sure the cam locks more than usual.

The other device to look out for is a Climbing Technology Click up - a good device as it belays much like a standard ATC/tuber style device but with an assisted lock. It works really well in all orientations and situations.

ewanjp - on 15 Oct 2018
In reply to humptydumpty:

If you're using guide mode, you need to be very sure of your anchors as there is no person to act as a shock absorber. Generally I don't use guide mode unless i've got a bolted belay.

Harrison_Connie - on 15 Oct 2018
In reply to humptydumpty:

> True, I've heard people say they have trouble with it although it's not something I've experienced: turning the plate with my hand has always been sufficient to ease the rope out.  If lowering a full pitch, getting a sling in the "pressure-release hole" would probably be worth the effort.  If you've got any horror stories to share though I'd be interested to hear them - perhaps there are situations I should be avoiding that I haven't yet encountered.

There are definitely situations where using guide mode wouldn't be considered the best option.

Examples of this would be when climbing with novices or less experienced climbers, if you thought they may not be able to finish the route or required lowering (why make it hard for yourself).

Another example would be where there is the potential for a climber to become hanging in free space with their full weight on the rope, this might now be so easy to release, even with the aid of a sling (again, why make it hard for yourself). 

If I ever use guide mode, it's because I'm climbing with people I know are defiantly going to be able to climb the last pitch I've lead and there is no potential to become free hanging. Maybe If I'm bringing up two climbers in parallel on half's I'd use it. 

 

 

 

Harrison_Connie - on 15 Oct 2018
In reply to Marmolata:

> How do you belay from above in a top-rope setup? I've only ever needed to belay from above in multi pitch situations when I'm on lead. You do neither so please help me understand. 

Technically top roping is when you belay from above (top of the crag or when bringing up a second to a stance on a multi-pitch.

Bottom roping is when the rope runs from the ground to the top of the lip of the crag through an anchored point and back down to the climber. The belaying is done from the bottom of the crag, hence the bottom rope terminology - some people call this top roping which can cause confusion when describing different techniques. 

 

Post edited at 14:20
wbo - on 15 Oct 2018
In reply to Harrison_Connie:Some people being about 99% in practice.  I've never heard anyone outside UKC refer to bottom roping.

 

For Tom Ripley and others :- You state that for a beginner other devices are better than a pivot.  Bar cost I can't see this - it's just a fairly traditional device with bells/whistles that you can ignore.  I am sure you have a point, can you explain it please?

 

nacnud - on 15 Oct 2018
In reply to wbo:

> Some people being about 99% in practice.  I've never heard anyone outside UKC refer to bottom roping.

Yep, nobody ever calls it bottom roping, ever.

> For Tom Ripley and others :- You state that for a beginner other devices are better than a pivot.  Bar cost I can't see this - it's just a fairly traditional device with bells/whistles that you can ignore.  I am sure you have a point, can you explain it please?

Cost and simplicity.

 

Post edited at 14:37
MischaHY - on 15 Oct 2018
In reply to emily_climbing1:

I'd agree that using guidemode is basically pointless on single pitch unless you're sure your second will do the route. Otherwise a simple modern belay plate (Reverso, Pivot etc) will be much better. 

MischaHY - on 15 Oct 2018
In reply to nacnud:

> Cost and simplicity.

It's not cheaper to buy two devices. There's no good reason not to start with a capable guide plate with a decent rope range. 

Harrison_Connie - on 15 Oct 2018
In reply to wbo:

> Some people being about 99% in practice.  I've never heard anyone outside UKC refer to bottom roping.

Call it whatever you want, but that's what it's describes as in the handbooks. 

I call it top roping myself, however I understand the difference. When describing it to someone who obviously doesn't, the different terminology can be useful. 

 

nacnud - on 15 Oct 2018
In reply to MischaHY:

> It's not cheaper to buy two devices. There's no good reason not to start with a capable guide plate with a decent rope range.

I used my HB sherif until the wire fell off. I replaced the wire with string but after all the frowns from my climbing partners I bought a reverso. In all the time I've had the reverso I have used the guide mode less than half a dozen times, and only then just to play with. I can't really recommend a device that is twice the price of a basic tube style device when the additional functionality is so rarely used.

These days nearly all my belaying is done with a grigri as I rarely climb with double ropes.

L emily_climbing1 - on 15 Oct 2018
In reply to Harrison_Connie:

Thanks for that video! I had read somewhere it wasn’t safe to use an atc during top belay without guide mode or a auto blocking/ assisted breaking of some kind, however must have just been another persons opinion on a forum, as it seems to be supported here. Solves all my issues really, I’ll go with a basic atc xp or something alike. 

MischaHY - on 15 Oct 2018
In reply to nacnud:

>  In all the time I've had the reverso I have used the guide mode less than half a dozen times

But that applies to your personal climbing. In contrast, my reverso gets used very regularly in guide mode. This means nothing to the OP and it's silly buying a plate without the possibility of guidemode if you ever plan on doing any volume of multipitch in the future. 

 

MischaHY - on 15 Oct 2018
In reply to Harrison_Connie:

So are you an engineer or full time ML? Your profile says full time engineer, but your website implies you're working as a pro ML. 

No stress, just curious. 

Post edited at 15:14
Harrison_Connie - on 15 Oct 2018
In reply to MischaHY:

> So are you an engineer or full time ML? Your profile says full time engineer, but your website implies you're working as a pro ML. 

> No stress, just curious. The website is nicely designed. 

I work full time as a structural technician and work as a freelance ML in my spare time, as many do - Appreciate the feedback on my site. Thanks. 

Post edited at 15:21
petegunn on 15 Oct 2018
In reply to emily_climbing1:

If you are sat at the top of a climb belaying another climber,  it is far easier to lower your partner using a DMM pivot belay device. You have far greater control. This is in normal belay mode Not in guide mode.

A grigri is a lot harder to use as you have to pull quite hard on the handle to release it, much greater than you do when stood at the bottom of a climb. You therefore have to hold the rope much tighter to lower in control.

I would buy the DMM Pivot 

Pete

 

Post edited at 16:01
Tom Ripley - on 15 Oct 2018
In reply to wbo:

> For Tom Ripley and others :- You state that for a beginner other devices are better than a pivot.  Bar cost I can't see this - it's just a fairly traditional device with bells/whistles that you can ignore.  I am sure you have a point, can you explain it please?

It’s quite simple really. Belaying direct removes a link in your safety chain and you have to be totally certain that your anchors are bombproof before doing so.

When belaying off the harness your body is able to act as a shock absorber, meaning that a great deal of force is absorbed before the anchor is loaded. 

For example I have held a falling seconder with no belay at all, just a braced stance and a waist belay. I didn’t budge an inch. I wouldn’t recommend this however!

Judging the quality of your belays requires expirence and judgement, which takes time to aquire. I would always encourage a new climber to belay off their harness as it is safer. 

For this reason I would encourage them not to buy a Pivot as they might be tempted to use it inappropriately, before they had fully grasped the subtleties  of its use. 

Post edited at 16:18
Tom Ripley - on 15 Oct 2018
In reply to emily_climbing1:

> I’ll go with a basic atc xp or something alike. 

That is a really good idea. 

Paul Hy - on 15 Oct 2018
In reply to emily_climbing1:

as others have said " don't waste your money on a gri gri, get a belay device and learn how to use it properly, cos you will not be top roping for long, unless you are only gonna do sport climbing.  

GridNorth - on 15 Oct 2018
In reply to emily_climbing1:

There's always a waist belay   Is there an emoji for wicked grin.

And who said most of the climbing in the UK is single pitch, really needs to get out more and leave the grit alone for a while.

Al

humptydumpty - on 15 Oct 2018
In reply to ewanjp:

> If you're using guide mode, you need to be very sure of your anchors as there is no person to act as a shock absorber. Generally I don't use guide mode unless i've got a bolted belay.

Generally I'm very sure of my anchors ;)

Edit: to whoever disliked this: I agree that it's important to be aware of the load that a direct belay can place on an anchor.  And to know that using a direct belay can reduce this.  But: if I don't trust the anchor then my first recourse is to add more pieces to it until I DO trust it rather than expecting a direct belay to improve things significantly.  We're discussing belaying a second on a top rope, and the common case.  If done properly, this situation shouldn't create large forces - I suspect within an order of magnitude of the weight of the second(s).  With a direct belay, add the weight of the belayer to that, in case he's pulled of his stance.  And if your belays aren't generally able to withstand this force then perhaps learning to build better belays would be a good idea.

Post edited at 16:50
purplemonkeyelephant - on 15 Oct 2018
In reply to Tom Ripley:

If a trad climber can't do something as simple as belay with a guide plate, then belaying is going to be the least of their problems... 

Martin Bennett - on 15 Oct 2018
In reply to beardy mike:

Thanks Beardy Mike you've saved me the trouble of chiming in as I'd have said precisely what you did about original ATC, ATC-XP, GriGri AND Clickup. 

My answer to the original choice of 2 is go for the Pivot - good for simple belaying if guide mode is ignored. Or save money and get an ATC-XP or similar.

Oops - it seems I've chimed in anyway. But only in brief.

Post edited at 23:26
Martin Bennett - on 15 Oct 2018
In reply to GridNorth:

> And who said most of the climbing in the UK is single pitch, really needs to get out more and leave the grit alone for a while.

Yeah Al, I thought that seemed a peculiarly parochial remark. 

 

nacnud - on 16 Oct 2018
In reply to Martin Bennett:

It wasn't intended to be, just an observation that on any given weekend I suspect that more single pitch routes are climbed than multi pitch ones. Places like Harrisons, Subluminal, Cattle troughs, Portland, Dartmoor, Gower, Shorn Cliff, Pembroke, etc and yes Peak and Yorkshire grit have large amount of single pitch routes. 

Robert Durran - on 16 Oct 2018
In reply to Tom Ripley:

I think you are absolutely spot on. I am sometines quite uneasy climbing with even relatively experienced climbers with guide plates who seem all too ready to trust direct belays. They have their place, but I think are best thought of as a fairly specialist bit of equipment unless you are generally doing routes with bolted anchors.

Marmolata - on 16 Oct 2018
In reply to Harrison_Connie:

OK thank you, I guess if you define top and "bottom" roping like that, it makes sense.

Still beats me why a beginner who doesn't lead is interested in the technicalities of guide mode. But I don't know the OP's circumstances well enough.

Anyways, Pivot is a good device, I have one for multipitch (or other situations where I belay from above). Also good for rappelling, or does the genuine British trad climber use a Figure 8 for that?

asteclaru - on 16 Oct 2018
In reply to emily_climbing1:

I've read the entire thread and there's 2 claims that have been made that I struggle with

The first one is that the Pivot is not suitable for beginners. What are you on about? It's just a DMM Mantis with two extra bits added to it. You don't have to use it in Guide mode, in which case belaying with the Pivot is exactly the same as with any other tube-style plates. I have a Pivot, I don't use it in Guide mode (haven't had the chance yet), but I like to have that option.

The second is that lowering with the Pivot in Guide mode is hard. Again, what are you on about? Have you ever used a Pivot (not another guide plate - I'm aware that others do suffer from this, but the Pivot was specifically designed to solve this issue and it works)? The first time I've ever even touched a Pivot was to lower someone (under the supervision of a climbing instructor) and found it way, way easier than doing it 'normally'. Belaying them back up was a piece of cake too : much easier than doing it 'normally'.

I started with the Black Diamond ATC-XP and then immediately bought a Pivot after using one. I haven't used the ATC-XP since so for me, I would have saved a few quid if I just got the Pivot right from the start. 

Paul Hy - on 16 Oct 2018
In reply to humptydumpty:

name one advantage?

 

 

Paul Hy - on 16 Oct 2018
In reply to Tom Ripley:

Totally agree with you Tom, as an analogy you wouldn't buy a Ferrari as a 1st car you'd buy something that you can hone your skills on before advancing to something better, or in other words "don't run before you can walk".

Max factor - on 16 Oct 2018
In reply to asteclaru:

> The second is that lowering with the Pivot in Guide mode is hard. Again, what are you on about?

The first time I've ever even touched a Pivot was to lower someone (under the supervision of a climbing instructor) and found it way, way easier than doing it 'normally'.

Interesting if the Pivot has really solved this. Most belay devices in guide mode would be utterly terrifying to be lowered on unless the person really know what they are doing. They are very on / off, so fine margins between going nowhere and being in free-fall. The release mechanisms are not really meant for lowering down the entire crag - more for giving slack or an emergency.

MischaHY - on 16 Oct 2018
In reply to Robert Durran:

Not sure about this. I either trust an anchor or I don't. If I don't trust it I'll be planning to hold the fall on body weight and the anchor will stabilise me at best. Maybe this is what you mean. 

humptydumpty - on 16 Oct 2018
In reply to Paul Hy:

> name one advantage?

If your belayer's incapacitated and the leader falls, a grigri is more likely to hold the fall than a tube-style belay plate.

Can you now explain why:

> Gri gri in Trad is a NO NO.   

?

GridNorth - on 16 Oct 2018
In reply to Robert Durran:

> I think you are absolutely spot on. I am sometines quite uneasy climbing with even relatively experienced climbers with guide plates who seem all too ready to trust direct belays. They have their place, but I think are best thought of as a fairly specialist bit of equipment unless you are generally doing routes with bolted anchors.

The logical follow up to that is that you consider most of your anchors suspect? 

Al

Marmolata - on 16 Oct 2018
In reply to asteclaru:

> I've read the entire thread and there's 2 claims that have been made that I struggle with

> The first one is that the Pivot is not suitable for beginners. What are you on about? It's just a DMM Mantis with two extra bits added to it. You don't have to use it in Guide mode, in which case belaying with the Pivot is exactly the same as with any other tube-style plates. I have a Pivot, I don't use it in Guide mode (haven't had the chance yet), but I like to have that option.

The Pivot is arguably one of the best tube style devices out there.

The question is if a tube style device is the best belaying device for a beginner. Or if instead a tube with blocking support like Mammut Smart 2.0, Salewa Ergo or Wild Country Revo aren't in fact a better fit.

 

timparkin - on 16 Oct 2018
In reply to Paul Hy:

> Totally agree with you Tom, as an analogy you wouldn't buy a Ferrari as a 1st car you'd buy something that you can hone your skills on before advancing to something better, or in other words "don't run before you can walk".

Being as the guide part of a the plate is something optional to use and doesn't change the basic function. Isn't it like buying a hatchback instead of a coupe. The car remains the same until you go to Homebase.

Post edited at 11:01
GridNorth - on 16 Oct 2018
In reply to emily_climbing1:

I bought a device in the States from the Seattle Mountaineering Company called a Spire.  It's the smallest, lightest guide plate I've come across and cleverly designed.  One of the issues with guide plates in guide mode is giving slack as you have to fight against the weight of the climber by applying force in the opposite direction.  With the Spire this is achieved by twisting the device and is much easier than even a Pivot.

Al

timparkin - on 16 Oct 2018
In reply to Tom Ripley:

> When belaying off the harness your body is able to act as a shock absorber, meaning that a great deal of force is absorbed before the anchor is loaded. 

I may be misunderstanding you but when you belay off your body, aren't you really just part of an indirect belay?

i.e.

Belay from Body - The rope goes from anchors to a carabiner to the rope loop on your harness and then onto another carabiner and then rope. 

Belay from Anchor - The rope goes from anchors to a carabiner and then to the rope. 

The only difference I can see is the small loop of rope attached to your harness? I suppose there is the case that most people would use a sling and not rope to the anchor when using guide mode but that is optional. 

The only way I can see the belay from body giving more shock absorbtion is if the rope to the anchors wasn't tight but then the belayer would get pulled forward. I'm not an experienced climber but I was told to try to remove slack between anchors and myself whilst belaying from above. 

Not trying to contradict - just checking how I understand things. 

 

GridNorth - on 16 Oct 2018
In reply to MischaHY:

> Not sure about this. I either trust an anchor or I don't. If I don't trust it I'll be planning to hold the fall on body weight and the anchor will stabilise me at best. Maybe this is what you mean. 

I agree.  When I set up a belay I try to get a straight line from the focal point of an equalised anchor through the belay loop and down to the climber so this is to all intents and purposes a direct belay. I don't want the seconds weight pulling me so I try to stay out of the line of the potential load.  I'm a little surprised that a professional is advising that the belayer should get between the anchor and the load as a matter of course.  Or am I misunderstanding.

Al

beardy mike - on 16 Oct 2018
In reply to all:

Jesus - this thread keeps giving!

In reply to Marmolata:

So of those three - Mammut is the best IMO. But all that said, these types of autolocking tubers with a thumb hook to keep the plate unlocked effectively, are just a pain to use. Maybe I'm just not used to them, but I spent half my time trying to operate the damn thing rather than being aware of what my partner is doing. For me, the big plus of the CT Click up is that it is the closest to a standard tuber in he way it operates, i.e. you don't need to hang on to it to be able to pay out rope. If you get the Alpine up, sure it's bulky but it can handle double ropes, belay in a non locking mode and has a guide mode and an anti panic autolocking abseil function.

Salewa Ergo is quite the worst belay device I've had the misfortune to try - I had to change to a standard belay device whilst my partner was climbing it was so attrocious. For the purposes of the OP, the Revo is not that great as there is the whole issue of the other climber wanting to rest on the rope, which is not so easy on the revo. Both the Gri gri and Click up can do this in their sleep.

With regards a grigri and Trad, sorry, it's a load of rubbish that you can't use one. Sure, it's not the best device but it's certainly not the worst either - I know plenty of people you use one for that. So maybe, if you are unlucky and put in a poor piece of gear the higher impact force might affect the placement, but you need to factor in the rope you are using amongst other things. The added security you get from it being an assisted lock is a great benefit to a beginner.

 

humptydumpty - on 16 Oct 2018
In reply to GridNorth:

 

> > I think you are absolutely spot on. I am sometines quite uneasy climbing with even relatively experienced climbers with guide plates who seem all too ready to trust direct belays. They have their place, but I think are best thought of as a fairly specialist bit of equipment unless you are generally doing routes with bolted anchors.

> The logical follow up to that is that you consider most of your anchors suspect? 

An alternative interpretation would be: if you don't know how to evaluate the quality of your anchors, then an indirect belay is safer.

Martin Bennett - on 16 Oct 2018
In reply to Marmolata:

> OK thank you, I guess if you define top and "bottom" roping like that, it makes sense.

I'd never heard of bottom roping either. It's definitely top-roping. The expression refers to the position of the rope in relation to the climber not to the position of the belayer. 

> Still beats me why a beginner who doesn't lead is interested in the technicalities of guide mode. But I don't know the OP's circumstances well enough.

Yep. No place for guide mode in most UK climbing. Comes into its own on multipitch routes with bolt belays, especially with two seconds.

> Anyways, Pivot is a good device, I have one for multipitch (or other situations where I belay from above). Also good for rappelling, or does the genuine British trad climber use a Figure 8 for that?

Not necessarily but the genuine British trad climber doesn't rappel; he abs off.

 

 

Post edited at 11:40
GridNorth - on 16 Oct 2018
In reply to Martin Bennett:

> Yep. No place for guide mode in most UK climbing. Comes into its own on multipitch routes with bolt belays, especially with two seconds.

You surprise me Martin.  I agree that it's not always appropriate but I wouldn't be quite so dismissive.  There are times when I use it.  In fact I positively look for the opportunity whenever possible.

Al

 

Marmolata - on 16 Oct 2018
In reply to beardy mike:

Mike, as a fellow engineer I usually agree with you posts completely and only reply here to have all viewpoints out, not because I think anyone is absolutely right or wrong.

I think you can belay safely with any device mentioned in this thread. Which one is "best" is purely a matter of the compromise one makes based on personal preferences.

I find it unproblematic to use the autoblocking tubers. In fact I routinely use an Ergo. It works much better than the Edelrid devices I have also personally handled (Jul2 and Megajul).  The new Smart might be better now, the old one I found very bulky and difficult to handle.

I also use a Pivot. It works smoother when paying out rope but has a smaller margin of error than the autoblockers. Need also more force when the lead climber wants to rest.

I have neither used the Click-Up nor the Grigri but in their newest "+"-Version I think the biggest sources of error have been eliminated.  The Revo has been described as the best of all worlds, paying out rope like on a tuber but with emergency autoblocking. I think there is a way to engage the blocking manually but I haven't had the chance to try it.

I think if you use a grigri there will inevitably come the point when yo need a tube (like the DMM Pivot) at some point. And both handle completely differently. Autotubers (or the Revo) and tubers handle rather the same so switching might be easier.

 

That's it from my side. Have fun climbing, Emily!

humptydumpty - on 16 Oct 2018
In reply to Marmolata:

> I think if you use a grigri there will inevitably come the point when yo need a tube (like the DMM Pivot) at some point.

What is that point?  Climbing on two ropes?

Paul Hy - on 16 Oct 2018
In reply to humptydumpty:

> If your belayer's incapacitated and the leader falls, a grigri is more likely to hold the fall than a tube-style belay plate.

> Can you now explain why:

> ?

For trad you need to have a soft catch when the leader falls to put less pressure on the gear placement.  So look at it this way, if belayer is conscious and the leader falls and the gri gri locks up the fall it could put so much pressure on the gear that it could easily blow it!!  the subsequent fall to next gear could have more pressure on it and so on.  The consequences of which i'll let you decide. 

btw how often is the belayer incapacitated compared to the leader falling? 

 

 

 

nacnud - on 16 Oct 2018
In reply to Paul Hy:

> For trad you need to have a soft catch when the leader falls to put less pressure on the gear placement....

It is possible to do this with either a 'hard catch' device such as a Girgri or a 'soft catch' device such as an ATC. It's all about knowing how to use the device you use. 

With a hard catch device the belayer moves to provide a dynamic belay. With a soft catch device the rope moves thought the device to provide a dynamic belay.

Granted one thing Grigris can't do is belay two ropes.

asteclaru - on 16 Oct 2018
In reply to Max factor:

I've never tried any other guide-mode belay devices, so don't know how good they are (or aren't), but with the Pivot all I had to do is tilt the device upwards and let the rope run through it. I didn't even have to use a carabiner in the small ring at the front of the device, I was able to do it with my bare left hand, which allowed me to keep my right hand on the dead rope. The speed is controlled by how much you tilt the device. I didn't find it jerky at all, in fact it was very smooth.

As I said, I was so impressed by how easy it was, that I bought one almost immediately.

timparkin - on 16 Oct 2018
In reply to nacnud:

> It is possible to do this with either a 'hard catch' device such as a Girgri or a 'soft catch' device such as an ATC. It's all about knowing how to use the device you use. 

> With a hard catch device the belayer moves to provide a dynamic belay.

Hmm... not while on a tenuous or hanging belay

 

nacnud - on 16 Oct 2018
In reply to timparkin:

> Hmm... not while on a tenuous or hanging belay

In which case I'd probably be using two ropes.

nacnud - on 16 Oct 2018
In reply to timparkin:

Just to add more info to the thread, here is Andy Kirkpatricks views on grigris.

https://andy-kirkpatrick.com/blog/view/grigriplus

 

Marmolata - on 16 Oct 2018
In reply to humptydumpty:

When you use half ropes or do lots of abseiling (thanks for pointing out my Americanism).

I know you can descend on two ropes with the Grigri but its not really made for it. And of course, you might never need half ropes, so "inevitably" was too strong a word.

humptydumpty - on 16 Oct 2018
In reply to Marmolata:

> I know you can descend on two ropes with the Grigri but its not really made for it. And of course, you might never need half ropes, so "inevitably" was too strong a word.

I agree that Grigris aren't the best device for abseiling, but saying they're not made for it is perhaps misleading - my understanding is that the design was adapted from Petzl's industrial descenders, and they have instructions on their website for use as a descent device: https://www.petzl.com/US/en/Sport/Belaying-and-descending-on-multi-pitch-climbs-on-a-single-rope

Robert Durran - on 16 Oct 2018
In reply to GridNorth:

> The logical follow up to that is that you consider most of your anchors suspect? 

In a way, yes. I just think that it makes sense to add an extra layer of protection to the system in case the unexpected happens. The increased directionality of incorporating the belayer into the system is a plus too. I think it is best to think of guide mode as very much the exception rather than the rule. Not that I ever use one (I actually have tried one, but found it almost as confusing as a GriGri!).

 

beardy mike - on 16 Oct 2018
In reply to Marmolata:

Sorry - I probably came across as agressive in my post - not my intention at all.

I certainly don't have a problem with the Pivot - I've owned an ATC guide, a Reverso (original 1, a reversino, used a reverso 2, own a reverso 3), a WC Variable Controller guide, a Simond Toucan device, had a friend who used a Pivot, and own a Mantis which is what I use most of the time for single pitch trad now. Of that lot I thought the ATC Guide and the Mantis are hands down the best, and I would probably buy a pivot on the strength of the Mantis.

Of the Assisted lockers and assisted brake devices, I've used the WC SRC, an Ergo, a Megajul, Metolius BRC, Grigri 1, Alpine Up, and a smart. For me the UP and Grigri are just better in everyway than the others, I know it's a subjective thing. The Revo, as an engineer that thing gives me the creeps. I think it's deeply flawed, (having seen inside). I won't go into why as its just speculation on my behalf, but you couldn't pay me enough.

And by the way I realise it wasn't you talking about grigri's I was just in full flow For what it's worth I think most people should own a tuber AND an assisted braking device - they are excellent at what they are designed for. Just disagree with that black and white post near the start of the thread about a grigri being a NO NO.

Post edited at 16:32
beardy mike - on 16 Oct 2018
In reply to Paul Hy:

You keep repeating this idea that Grigri is a NOOOOOO. It is true that the catch is harsher, as others can reduce that with a dynamic belay. But also by using a lower impact force rope. Also I'm not entirely sure HOW much harder the catch is, I would assume it reduces as more rope is paid out and there is a greater amount of rope in the system. Certainly for top roping in a beginners situation a grigri is not inappropriate as it allows a greater safety margin. Given that the OP will most likely end up buying a tuber and an assisted device at somepoint, your inital point is massively overzealous as she specified it's for top roping, and you can easily argue that it has advantages for a beginner.

nacnud - on 16 Oct 2018
In reply to humptydumpty:

> ...my understanding is that the design was adapted from Petzl's industrial descenders...

I think the grigri may have been first, it came out in 1991.

Rick Graham on 16 Oct 2018
In reply to beardy mike:

All sounds quite convincing/plausible, mike.

Have you forgotten about using a click up?

For the record, I tend to use an ATC xp for the wall and sport, and to save wear on my ATC xp guide which I use for everything else but only occasionally in guide mode.

I rarely rig the guide plate direct to the anchors, its quicker to use in guide mode from my belay/ rope loop and clove hitch the ropes to 2or3 belay points.

Also got a click up which sometimes comes out to play because I have bought it.

timparkin - on 16 Oct 2018
In reply to nacnud:

I’ve read it before but don’t understand it’s relevance to my comment? 

humptydumpty - on 16 Oct 2018
In reply to timparkin:

I think it was for the whole thread, rather than a reply to you.  It would be nice to have a summary of Andy Kirkpatrick's points.  I think the relevant bit was probably:

> the Grigri which tends to get buttonholed as a device for sports climbing, which is isn’t, being actually an amazingly flexible all round belay tool, that adds a significant amount of safety and function to a climber’s tool kit - if used properly!  

Post edited at 17:31
beardy mike - on 16 Oct 2018
In reply to Rick Graham:

Eh? No - Alpine up is just a double Click Up and I've used it loads - probably my favourite device I've used, assisted brake or standard tuber...

timparkin - on 16 Oct 2018
In reply to humptydumpty:

A better and more relevant article is perhaps this one... and, in my limited knowledge, I don't think a GriGri is necessarily a bad idea for trad if you understand it's limitations. And my point was more about dynamic belaying being a problem in some situations.

http://theundercling.com/trad-climbing-belay-device-grigri/

alex_arthur on 16 Oct 2018
In reply to Paul Hy:

Nonsense. 

nacnud - on 16 Oct 2018
In reply to timparkin:

> I’ve read it before but don’t understand it’s relevance to my comment? 

Sorry was a general reply but humpty below got the idea

Paul Hy - on 16 Oct 2018
Paul Hy - on 16 Oct 2018
nacnud - on 16 Oct 2018
In reply to Paul Hy:

Both those links have just said the same thing: Grigris catch harder but are more likely to catch if the belayer is distracted/incapacitated. You can mitigate the hard catch with a more dynamic rope, and/or the belayer moving. 

Each to their own.

Post edited at 22:56
beardy mike - on 16 Oct 2018
In reply to Paul Hy:

Yes. Which bit in specific should I read? He broadly makes the point's I just made. At no point does he say NOOOOOOO.

beardy mike - on 16 Oct 2018
In reply to Paul Hy:

This part in particular would be interesting for you.

“Myth #2: The GriGri is too dangerous for trad climbing,  because the camming device stops suddenly, creating a static brake. Admittedly, Petzl previously advertised the GriGri for use on UIAA certified bolted anchors only. This language is now absent, however, in the GriGri 2 instructions. When I spoke with the people at Petzl about this they told me, “A good anchor is a good anchor, period.” The fear of failure from a static load on a gear anchor, or top gear placement, from a GriGri 2, as opposed to the more dynamic braking of a tube device such as the ATC, is largely unfounded. Situations that demonstrate this failure are unique to contrived tests. Ultimately, a dynamic rope and attentive belayer are much more significant to this equation.”

Hephaestus - on 17 Oct 2018
In reply to Marmolata:

> I think if you use a grigri there will inevitably Autotubers (or the Revo) and tubers handle rather the same  

I’m sorry this is off topic, but I can’t get the image of you belaying with a potato out of my head

Hephaestus - on 17 Oct 2018
In reply to emily_climbing1:

My first thought is that you’d be way more comfortable belaying at the bottom of the crag with any device you care to choose. 

The thread gives you loads of advice on equipment options, but if I’m toproping then my first priority is having a comfortable and sociable day out, neither of which is enhanced by being at the top of the crag. 

The last person to climb can top out and remove the anchors or (if sport route) strip the anchor and an off. 

FWIW, I like both devices, and they’d both do the job you ask about perfectly well. 

Andy Gamisou - on 17 Oct 2018
In reply to Hephaestus:

> ... if I’m toproping then my first priority is having a comfortable and sociable day out, neither of which is enhanced by being at the top of the crag. 

Ah - but if (like me) you're a total misanthrope, then what you lose in terms of comfort is more than made for up by the reduced need for social interaction.

Unless, of course, the rest of the visitors to the crag that day are made up of like minded miserable gits.  Even then one tends to find social intercourse restricted to mutual glowering and muttering under the breath.  Which I can just about put up with.  On a good day.

 

Bwox - on 17 Oct 2018
In reply to Marmolata:

>  When you use half ropes or do lots of abseiling (thanks for pointing out my Americanism).

More of a Frenchism in this case, isn't it?

nufkin - on 17 Oct 2018
In reply to nacnud:

>  one thing Grigris can't do is belay two ropes.

Then you just use two Grigris. Keep up

alex_arthur on 17 Oct 2018
In reply to Paul Hy

I'm not sure how that article supports your opinion?  It gives reasonable  arguments for and against. 

I've lead and followed hundreds of pitches belaying and belayed by a gri-gri and taken and held many falls.  Its not been a problem. If a piece of gear is going to blow in a fall I suspect it makes very little difference in the real world what device you are belayed with. 

 

Martin Bennett - on 17 Oct 2018
In reply to GridNorth:

> You surprise me Martin.  I agree that it's not always appropriate but I wouldn't be quite so dismissive.  There are times when I use it.  In fact I positively look for the opportunity whenever possible.

I did say 'most' Al. I'll use it in UK trad too if the situation allows for it, especially if two seconds are involved.

I understand you're on the mend? Glad to hear it.

Blanche DuBois - on 17 Oct 2018
In reply to Marmolata:

> When you use half ropes or do lots of abseiling (thanks for pointing out my Americanism).

I'd like to point out your Germanicism.

 

beardy mike - on 17 Oct 2018
In reply to Blanche DuBois:

None of this would have happened if it were'nt for the bloody EU.

Tom Ripley - on 17 Oct 2018
In reply to timparkin:

> I may be misunderstanding you but when you belay off your body, aren't you really just part of an indirect belay?

Yes

> Belay from Body - The rope goes from anchors to a carabiner to the rope loop on your harness and then onto another carabiner and then rope. 

> Belay from Anchor - The rope goes from anchors to a carabiner and then to the rope. 

> The only difference I can see is the small loop of rope attached to your harness? I suppose there is the case that most people would use a sling and not rope to the anchor when using guide mode but that is optional. 

Thats right, except there is 80kg of human also attached to that loop of rope, which during a fall, also moves, absorbing much of the force. 

This is why in a situation where anchors are poor, which can happen when trad (and especially winter) climbing it is good idea to sit down and brace with your legs in the direction of load.

Indeed, I once climbed a route on the Black Ladders which had an awful belay. Something like a bulldog, a warthog and my axes all equalised. Despite being told not to fall off under any circumstances, my partner requires a rest whilst seconding. I was able to hold him no problem with most of the load going through my legs. 

 

> The only way I can see the belay from body giving more shock absorbtion is if the rope to the anchors wasn't tight but then the belayer would get pulled forward. I'm not an experienced climber but I was told to try to remove slack between anchors and myself whilst belaying from above. 

In this circumstance, If the ropes weren’t tight a big fall could pull the belayer from their stance and shock load the anchors. I’m not much of a physicist but this is something that should be avoided at all costs. 

 


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