/ Newbie belay device?

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L Shaunhaynes99 17 Jun 2019

1st time poster here. I e been a  boulderer for a while but looking to extend my skills  to sport climbing now. 

I so I need to start getting some extra gear together, I have already found my harness  I like the look off  and I'm just gonna use my old chalk bag,

But I need some  advice on belays I really like the idea of an assisted braking ones ( gri gri or clicker)   or am I better to start off on something cheaper and get the belay skills sorted before moving on to something more expensive.

LiberSN 17 Jun 2019
In reply to Shaunhaynes99:

I personnaly use the  Grigri for indoor and outdoor lead climbing. The Grigri is easy to use and learn. It is not that expensive if you are using it multiple times a week.

13
MischaHY 17 Jun 2019
In reply to Shaunhaynes99:

I really recommend a Grigri, aside from the general benefits it'll let you learn to catch a fall nice and soft before worrying about the extra focus that comes from using a tube device. 

Some folk will be along in a minute to tell you how terrible a Grigri is for a beginner, but usually these are the same people who refuse to use Grigris entirely so are perhaps not presenting an informed opinion. 

If you do change your mind and decide to get a tube I recommend the DMM Pivot or Petzl Reverso. These two have the most pleasant handling in my opinion. 

19
Neil Williams 17 Jun 2019
In reply to MischaHY:

> Some folk will be along in a minute to tell you how terrible a Grigri is for a beginner, but usually these are the same people who refuse to use Grigris entirely so are perhaps not presenting an informed opinion. 

Rubbish.  The number of people who have caused injuries by misusing Grigris is quite something.  They are designed for use by experienced sport climbers and are about as bad as you can get for beginners.  And yes, I own and occasionally use one.

If you want a brake-assist device (and remember they are brake ASSIST, not automatic braking, so ALWAYS hold the dead rope) I'd go with either the Click Up or the Mammut Smart.  I prefer the latter out of the two.

If you don't want brake assist, anything except the Wild Country Variable Controller models, they jam up like nobody's business.

If you MUST go for a Grigri, go for the + with the anti-panic function:

https://www.petzl.com/US/en/Sport/Triggering-the-anti-panic-handle?ProductName=GRIGRI-PLUS

Edit: you might find your local wall will have some devices you can borrow/hire to try - this may be a good idea as well as you might find you like or don't like a particular one.

Post edited at 09:10
10
tmawer 17 Jun 2019
In reply to Shaunhaynes99:

Hi Shaun; no right answer really to this so this is just one persons view. I would suggest the click up and a brief session with someone around correct belay technique. The technique for using the click up is essentially the same as using a "standard" belay device but with some added safety and it is also easier to use if you end up working routes.

1
Jungle_153 17 Jun 2019
In reply to Shaunhaynes99:

In my opinion (as humble as it may be) I would say learning good belay technique with a bug / ATC style device is the best place to start. Hopefully prevent any bad habits forming. Also I use both, I find it far easier to pay out rope with a basic friction device than a grigri. Also if you make the move to half ropes on triad the step of learning to belay with an extra rope is smaller with a friction device.
Ultimately it will come down to personal preference and what you're happy with. If you can borrow different devices from friends and try them out. If you're going to do a course I'm sure an instructor would have both for you to try.

MischaHY 17 Jun 2019
In reply to Neil Williams:

Annnnnd right on cue. 

Please provide some evidence for your statement of endless Grigri accidents. 

You haven't got a single sport lead logged over f4c. Maybe you're not best placed to comment on what is the best belay device for sport climbing? 

36
Xharlie 17 Jun 2019
In reply to Shaunhaynes99:

Everyone should start with a basic tube-style device.

Hear me out. I'm not a GriGri hater.

You should start with the most simple device you can get. There are no moving parts on a tube-style device, they're easy to check and the technique for every other device derives from the basic technique for a tube, anyway.

The GriGri, on the other hand, requires additional knowledge. The basic technique is the same -- you hold the loose end of the rope and the device catches the fall -- but some additional knowledge is required even for the most basic use.

Nobody can quite agree on whether the GriGri even is the best assisted device and all the assisted devices are different. But everyone can agree that a basic tube device is pretty-damn-good as a belay device. They've been used, tried and tested for decades longer than any assisted device.

So don't start with the GriGri. Perhaps, tomorrow, there'll be a new device that will totally redefine assisted braking and the GriGri will be deemed obsolete -- some might argue that it already is.

Start with the most basic and, once you know what YOU like, go try all the assisted devices out there, pick one, and upgrade to that.

If you end up with a GriGri, then FINE -- at least you will have made the decision in the right way and learned stuff, too.

1
tom_in_edinburgh 17 Jun 2019
In reply to Shaunhaynes99:

It's like cars - even if you are going to buy an automatic you want to be able to drive a manual as well.

If it was me I'd buy an ATC and a Grigri.   You'll find that you use them both if you do a fair bit of climbing.  I prefer the ATC for thicker ropes, like you get on top ropes at climbing walls and the GriGri for lead.

I'm not saying that ATC and GriGri are necessarily the best belay devices out there but they are by far the most common and its really useful to be familiar with them because your partners are likely to have them.

2
Jubjab 17 Jun 2019
In reply to Shaunhaynes99:

There are a lot of devices on the market, but you can really bundle them into 3 categories.

1. ATC style tube devices, with no assisted braking/locking. Like mentioned, these are easy to use but I don't see why you wouldn't be able to learn to use them correctly even if you started with a Grigri. These are NOT ideal for sport climbing. Tube style belay devices are cheap and needed when abseling or climbing with double ropes so consider buying one anyway. If you are going to set topropes and then abseil off the anchor, you need a device like this.

2. Assisted braking tube devices, like the Mammut Smart or the Click Up. They work like a tube device but lock up if the climber falls. These are safer than tube devices but still not ideal for sport climbing. These are cheaper than a Grigri but have their own drawbacks making them not ideal for sport climbing.

3. Auto-"locking" devices like the Grigri. These work clearly best for sport climbing, so I would definitely go for one of these. Grigri is the most widely used.

9
krikoman 17 Jun 2019
In reply to Shaunhaynes99:

We almost always have people who join our club, use a tube / ATC device before they use anything else, they are, easy, light, cheap and they simply work. They can be used for all types of climbing, I don't believe they're not ideal for sports climbing.

There is no one in our club who then decided to use a GriGri after they've learnt with the ATC.

Of course it's up to you, but I still don't see the attraction of a grigri over a tube.

Post edited at 11:13
4
Howard J 17 Jun 2019
In reply to MischaHY:

The American Alpine Journal maintains a record of accidents and there are quite a few resulting from the misuse of a grigri.  Petzl's own instructions show various examples of misuse, most of which you will see at any visit to a climbing wall.  In particular, panic pulling on the lever is a well-known issue, something which the 'panic handle' on the latest version is intended to avoid.  Of course used correctly and with proper training it is safe and effective, and other devices can also be misused, but the grigri does seem to offer more opportunities to get it wrong than most.

The OP is learning belaying from scratch and so doesn't have to overcome existing habits from using other devices.  It would be advisable for them to try out several and then get proper training on whichever device they choose, and ideally with ongoing supervision so that they don't pick up bad habits.

Finally, I don't see what relevance someone's leading grade has to do with their knowledge or experience of belaying.

1
Jubjab 17 Jun 2019
In reply to Howard J:

I think the grade do have some relevance in this discussion, as the main benefit of Grigri style devices are in belaying a climber projecting a route - which usually means the routes are fairly hard. With a Grigri you don't need to hold the rope with your hand and muscles when the climber is resting on the rope, and it's possible to take in rope when the climber wants to get pulled higher (very hard with an ATC). With an ATC you almost always get some slippage as you keep the rope tight, which is annoying when you are resting and preparing to start from a particular move - not 30 cm below it! And as a belayer you want to be fresh and rested when your pal comes back to the ground, not pumped in your arm from the belaying!

If you don't project and only climb easy sport routes that you almost always onsight you'll be fine with an ATC.

11
L Shaunhaynes99 17 Jun 2019

Ok thanks  people, seem there is not simple answer.   Realistically I dont think it's something that will be  used loads times a week  as on  I only going bouldering one day a week now let alone trying to find get a time sorted with a partner I trust to belay me and vice versa. I dont really see myself doing at trad climbing as I sont see myself  have the cash to buy all the cams and hexes  etc 

Im gonna have a few lessons to make sure I know how to do it correctly.   But seems that which ever style I went with gri gri click up or a atc they all do the same job if used correctly I'll be honest info like that extra bit of confidence  I think I'll have with a assisted braking  device.  But if I can save a few quid it all helps 

Post edited at 11:45
Neil Williams 17 Jun 2019
In reply to MischaHY:

> Please provide some evidence for your statement of endless Grigri accidents. 

Here's a start off this very forum:

https://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/gear/grigri_accidents+near_misses-598904

> You haven't got a single sport lead logged over f4c. Maybe you're not best placed to comment on what is the best belay device for sport climbing? 

Precisely what does logging sport climbs above 4c have to do with the use of a Grigri ** by a novice **?

The Grigri is fine, if cack-handed, for someone experienced or trained in its use.  Its methods of operation are counterintuitive, hence this need.  I wouldn't put a novice within 100 yards of one without an instructor tailing at all times.

Post edited at 12:04
3
Neil Williams 17 Jun 2019
In reply to Jubjab:

> 3. Auto-"locking" devices like the Grigri. These work clearly best for sport climbing, so I would definitely go for one of these. Grigri is the most widely used.

Please please don't post this sort of thing about Grigris.

A GriGri is NOT an auto-locking belay device.  It is a brake assist device, just like all the others.

You MUST hold the dead rope AT ALL TIMES while using one, just like all the others.

Just because it *might* lock up doesn't mean it *will* lock up.  Too many people think they are like autobelays - they're not - people who think that eventually kill or seriously injure someone.

They should be seen as being in category 2 and not a separate category 3.

FWIW, I can't see any way in which a Click-up or Mammut Smart is not suitable for sport climbing.  That is exactly what all those devices are designed for.

Post edited at 12:09
2
henwardian 17 Jun 2019
In reply to Shaunhaynes99:

I'm big and heavy and the number one concern I have with a new or inexperienced partner is that when I do fall and they inevitable get thrown about like a rag doll, the surprise/panic/shock will result in them letting go of the brake rope. This is rather born-out by occasions when I have fallen and when I look down immediately afterwards, I have seen the belayer (using a gri-gri) with one or both hands on the live rope and none on the brake rope. A fall is unexpected (well, sometimes not perhaps!) and the surprise can override conscious decision-making, the other main surprise which could result in injury is the panic gri-gri grab when lowering gets out of control but (I have been told) this is taken care of by the gri-gri + (I have a gri-gri 1 and 2). With a tube-device, basically any surprise or panic that overrides conscious decision making is almost certainly going to result in disaster, with the gri-gri there is a high probability that the nature of the device will save the day.

A gri-gri is more complex to use, particularly when learning to feed out rope without it catching, and can more easily result in a blase attitude after you have caught a few falls and start to think "hey, I don't need to do diddly squat, the device does everything" so it isn't without potential problems, but I still rate the gri-gri as much better alternative to a tube device for inexperienced climbers.

I don't have any experience with things like the click-up and other more recent devices like that.

Edit: Having read what others have said, I'd agree that the best approach to becoming a complete and capable climber is to become experienced with various belay devices (and, frankly, an Italian hitch for when you drop your device or just plain forget to clip it to your harness before you start) and learning to use a tube device when you start out should be good at stopping you developing some of the bad habits engendered by learning on a gri-gri. However, I think that the risk of something bad happening while you are learning with a tube device is higher than while learning with a gri-gri

Post edited at 12:33
2
L Shaunhaynes99 17 Jun 2019
In reply to henwardian:

 That why I'm making sure I have lessons to get confidence  with delaying before going it alone with a partner, Been having a look at different  devices  think I'll  looking  at get an petzl revservo  as mentioned above and an  mammut  smart the revservo  more to learn on and then smart so I have the confidence  of a braking assist   whilst not breaking the bank because I can get these two item for the cost of a clip up or gri gri and seems jurys out on what's best

Post edited at 12:55
JoshOvki 17 Jun 2019
In reply to Jubjab:

> 3. Auto-"locking" devices like the Grigri. These work clearly best for sport climbing, so I would definitely go for one of these. Grigri is the most widely used.

You might want to let petzl know they are advertising it wrong!

https://www.petzl.com/GB/en/Sport/Belay-devices-and-descenders/GRIGRI

> The GRIGRI is a belay device with assisted braking...

1
Howard J 17 Jun 2019
In reply to Jubjab:

I don't disagree with any of that. But you're missing the point - if you only climb easy sport routes that you almost always onsight then your belayer will be fine with an ATC.  A person's own leading grade tells us nothing about their own belaying experience, or the grades their partners lead at, which may be considerably harder.

1
Jubjab 17 Jun 2019
In reply to Neil Williams:

I did write auto-"locking" with citation marks. But trying to insinuate that a Grigri style device is no different from an ATC is just untrue. I don't know of a single incident where a properly loaded Grigri would have failed without the belayer holding the device open.

At no point did I say you don't need to hold the dead rope. And suggesting that locking up is somehow a random event is also plainly untrue.

2
krikoman 17 Jun 2019
In reply to Shaunhaynes99:

> Im gonna have a few lessons to make sure I know how to do it correctly.   But seems that which ever style I went with gri gri click up or a atc they all do the same job if used correctly I'll be honest info like that extra bit of confidence  I think I'll have with a assisted braking  device.  But if I can save a few quid it all helps 

If you're looking at saving money then you can't do much better than this,https://www.climbers-shop.com/9920094/products/wild-country-variable-controller-belay-device.aspx

I've only just got one, because the Wild Country device I had was shit, and "sticky" when paying out (sometimes). You turn it around depending on how much friction you need, I can easily hold partners 4 and 5 stone heavier than me, with one hand. It pays out really easily and it cost £3.50!!

It can be used for twin ropes when / if you need to use them.

1
Neil Williams 17 Jun 2019
In reply to Jubjab:

> I did write auto-"locking" with citation marks. But trying to insinuate that a Grigri style device is no different from an ATC is just untrue. I don't know of a single incident where a properly loaded Grigri would have failed without the belayer holding the device open.

I put it in the same category as the other *brake assist* devices (Click-up etc), not the tube devices.

> At no point did I say you don't need to hold the dead rope. And suggesting that locking up is somehow a random event is also plainly untrue.

For it to guarantee to lock up you have to have a hand on the brake rope until it has done.  Otherwise, a slow "peeling off the wall" type fall can end up with no stopping force whatsoever.

Nonetheless don't let go of the brake rope whatever device you are using.  Even once it's locked up, tie it off or put a knot in the rope to be sure.  If you didn't and I was climbing I would not be very happy with you.

1
Neil Williams 17 Jun 2019
In reply to krikoman:

> If you're looking at saving money then you can't do much better than this,https://www.climbers-shop.com/9920094/products/wild-country-variable-controller-belay-device.aspx

> I've only just got one, because the Wild Country device I had was shit, and "sticky" when paying out (sometimes). You turn it around depending on how much friction you need, I can easily hold partners 4 and 5 stone heavier than me, with one hand. It pays out really easily and it cost £3.50!!

> It can be used for twin ropes when / if you need to use them.


Seems they've improved it - thanks - the original VC2 jammed up like nobody's business and was garbage

Neil Williams 17 Jun 2019
In reply to Howard J:

> I don't disagree with any of that. But you're missing the point - if you only climb easy sport routes that you almost always onsight then your belayer will be fine with an ATC.  A person's own leading grade tells us nothing about their own belaying experience, or the grades their partners lead at, which may be considerably harder.


And this is actually true in my case.  I'm a pretty rubbish climber - way too heavy and don't have the head for hard stuff - but one of the main people I climb with is much better and can do 7A indoors on a good day.

Mike Stretford 17 Jun 2019
In reply to Shaunhaynes99:

>    That why I'm making sure I have lessons to get confidence  with delaying before going it alone with a partner, Been having a look at different  devices  think I'll  looking  at get an petzl revservo  as mentioned above and an  mammut  smart the revservo  more to learn on and then smart so I have the confidence  of a braking assist   whilst not breaking the bank because I can get these two item for the cost of a clip up or gri gri and seems jurys out on what's best

I don't think it is... look at the number of likes Jungle and Xcharlie got! There are good reasons for that.

There's really no rush to get an assisted device. After learning with a tube you should be confident with it, if you aren't, a different device won't change that. I wouldn't want to be belayed by anyone who wasn't confident using a tube.

What I would recommend is a a belay carabiner like this

https://rockrun.com/products/dmm-ceros-screwgate?variant=46911894984&sfdr_ptcid=8795_100_115384668&sfdr_hash=da911714834957777b1225f0bf108dc8&gclid=EAIaIQobChMIpazcydXw4gIVL7ftCh3Dlw8tEAQYAyABEgIE0PD_BwE

There's different types (some have a plastic clip), but they all do the same job.... the carabiner stays in the correct orientation. 

I do have a grigri for belay climbers working route/ top roping but it's used infrequently.

Neil Williams 17 Jun 2019
In reply to henwardian:

> I'm big and heavy and the number one concern I have with a new or inexperienced partner is that when I do fall and they inevitable get thrown about like a rag doll, the surprise/panic/shock will result in them letting go of the brake rope.

No use for trad (unless you place a low down piece of gear suitable for an upward and outward pull, I guess), but for sport and indoor you NEED an Edelrid Ohm.  The improvement in my confidence when I don't think I'm going to slam my belayer against the wall or hoik them 10 feet in the air if I fall off is marked, regardless of what belay device they happen to be using.  Not that cheap, but in a climbing sense without a doubt the best 90-odd quid I ever spent.

It's good enough to make it safe even for me (19 stone at the minute) climbing mostly with people half my weight.  Makes their life easier too as it's easier to belay when not strapped to the floor/a weight bag.

Brilliant device for heavy climbers.

Post edited at 15:08
6
krikoman 17 Jun 2019
In reply to Neil Williams:

> Seems they've improved it - thanks - the original VC2 jammed up like nobody's business and was garbage


Yes, I've just been to check my original, it was a VC2, I got it free from some magazine give away. I soon went back to my original parallel tube I got when I first started climbing.

This new one is really great though esp. at the price, they're quickly becoming our clubs standard

PaulJepson 17 Jun 2019
In reply to Shaunhaynes99:

Get a tube device to learn with. If you stick with climbing, you will 100% use one at some point (either abbing, tradding, guiding or because you forgot your GriGri). Better to know what you're doing with one. Will also stop you developing bad habits like flopping or dropping the dead rope. 

They're all much the same as far as I know but get a guide plate. Some examples:

Black Diamond ATC Guide

Dmm Pivot

Petzl Reverso

Wild Country Pro Guide

The Dmm Pivot is designed to be easier to lower people in guide mode but I'm still yet to see it used effectively! 

I use an ATC for trad and a GriGri for sport. GriGris are great but I'd never recommend someone learn how to belay with one. 

L Shaunhaynes99 17 Jun 2019
In reply to Mike Stretford:

Ok well sounds like I'm over complicating  it a bit. If s tube is safe  and does the job then I'll just stick with as I say  it will have fairly limited use, and rather spend  less money on gear buy more on the coaching  to make I'm confident  in what I'm using  it correctly 

Post edited at 15:42
L Shaunhaynes99 17 Jun 2019
In reply to PaulJepson:

 Am I right in saying  that the guide plate is for multi pitches and if I need to belay someone up?  It not something I see myself doing  but  it makes sense to spend a dew extra quid now and then not have to replace it 

henwardian 17 Jun 2019
In reply to Neil Williams:

Yes, I very much do need an Ohm, I keep sort of adding it to a buy list and then sort of not getting round to getting one. Doesn't help that for a single bit of gear, it would probably be the most expensive item on my entire trad and/or sport rack. Ever since it first came out I've been sort of delaying in the name of finding out if it really works or not but I've seen so many videos and testimonials now that I really don't think I can justifiably hold out any longer. Perhaps I should bite the bullet and buy one this evening :D

(and, yeah, I often use a down-anchor when trad climbing. Also often when sport climbing I tie my partner to a tree or whatever is nearby).

Post edited at 16:54
krikoman 17 Jun 2019
In reply to Shaunhaynes99:

>  Am I right in saying  that the guide plate is for multi pitches and if I need to belay someone up? 

You can still do this with a tube/ACT device, the uses of the reverso type is you can leave go and they'll lock off. You don't need this at present. Keep it simple.

PaulJepson 17 Jun 2019
In reply to Shaunhaynes99:

Multi-pitch or trad, yeah. Basically any scenario where you're 'top-roping' someone up (confusion around 'top-roping' - what you see people doing in climbing gyms is technically 'bottom-roping', though everyone refers to it as toproping), and doing what is called a direct belay (where the person climbing up is belayed directly from the anchor; i.e. you are not 'in the system'). 

As you say, if you're looking to get one you may as well get one that does A & B, rather than getting something that just does A and then needing to buy another one that does A & B later. 

If set up correctly, you can safely bring up 2 people separately at the same time. If one of them falls, the other can continue safely climbing. They also lock when set in guide mode so assist with arresting falls (and an extra layer of safety). 

Unless your anchor is so bad that you need to be part of the system to lessen the impact a fall would have on it, a direct belay is usually the way to go. if available 

Mike Stretford 17 Jun 2019
In reply to Shaunhaynes99:

>  Am I right in saying  that the guide plate is for multi pitches and if I need to belay someone up? 

Guide plates are these

https://www.decathlon.co.uk/gigi-guide-plate-id_4309776.html

As the name implies they are used by guides to bring up seconds. Useful for bringing more than 1 up at a time.

About 15 years ago these were combined with belay tubes and the guide belay device came out.

The point is, for most multipitch your standard tube belay device is fine, and less bulky than the guide models. I've always thought if I was going on a trip where one was useful I'd buy the plate listed above, but the need has never arisen.

I do appreciate all these devices on sale now must be confusing for beginners.... it's not a problem we used to have!

timjones 17 Jun 2019
In reply to henwardian:

> I'm big and heavy and the number one concern I have with a new or inexperienced partner is that when I do fall and they inevitable get thrown about like a rag doll, the surprise/panic/shock will result in them letting go of the brake rope. This is rather born-out by occasions when I have fallen and when I look down immediately afterwards, I have seen the belayer (using a gri-gri) with one or both hands on the live rope and none on the brake rope.

If you have ever seen this I would recommend either getting a new climbing partner or some serious training for your exisiting partners. It's poor/dnagerous practice and cannot be excused.

1
Mike Stretford 17 Jun 2019
In reply to PaulJepson:

> As you say, if you're looking to get one you may as well get one that does A & B, rather than getting something that just does A and then needing to buy another one that does A & B later. 

I'd counter that with, by the time you will have enough experience to bring up multiple seconds, including knowing how to safely unlock it and lower someone if they fall, you will probably be on your second device or want a spare anyway.

> If set up correctly, you can safely bring up 2 people separately at the same time. If one of them falls, the other can continue safely climbing. They also lock when set in guide mode so assist with arresting falls (and an extra layer of safety). 

Even if the device is locked and weighted by one of the climbers?

Post edited at 17:34
L Shaunhaynes99 17 Jun 2019

> I do appreciate all these devices on sale now must be confusing for beginners.... it's not a problem we used to have!

Very  I dread to think how confused I'd be if I was starting trad 

Post edited at 17:30
henwardian 17 Jun 2019
In reply to timjones:

> If you have ever seen this I would recommend either getting a new climbing partner or some serious training for your exisiting partners. It's poor/dnagerous practice and cannot be excused.

I agree completely and on these occasions, I do talk to my partners, do practice, etc. etc. But you have to remember that we are talking about people who are just learning to belay - with the best will in the world, they will make mistakes in that learning process. Typically when I'm teaching someone, there is someone else holding the rope behind them to act as a backup too.

JoshOvki 17 Jun 2019
In reply to Mike Stretford:

It works when I have used it in this way. It locks up by jamming the dead rope of that one rope against its teeth. There would be no force on the dead rope of the second, the angle shifts slight but feeds just fine. Not convinced you could lower while someone climbs mind.

Post edited at 17:39
Neil Williams 17 Jun 2019
In reply to henwardian:

The Ohm is expensive, but now I have it I'd say it is worth twice as much in how much better I climb when I'm not worried about injuring my belayer the whole time.  Every heaver climber should have one.

1
Neil Williams 17 Jun 2019
In reply to timjones:

> If you have ever seen this I would recommend either getting a new climbing partner or some serious training for your exisiting partners. It's poor/dnagerous practice and cannot be excused.


I agree - with ALL belay devices there must always be a hand in control of the brake rope - there are none at all on the market (that I know of) where this is not the case.

1
SCC Changed 17 Jun 2019
In reply to Xharlie:

Assisted belay devices such as a Grigri are designed to eliminate the risk of accidentally letting go whilst holding a leader fall. By what perverse logic do you arrive at the conclusion that you should start with the less forgiving belay device then "progress" to more forgiving one?

9
krikoman 17 Jun 2019
In reply to SCC Changed:

> Assisted belay devices such as a Grigri are designed to eliminate the risk of accidentally letting go whilst holding a leader fall. By what perverse logic do you arrive at the conclusion that you should start with the less forgiving belay device then "progress" to more forgiving one?


In the same way you might learn to drive a car, with a gear shift. Once you've learnt the "hard" way, and lets face it, it's hardly difficult, then you're less likely to make mistakes with anything else.

A bug is the simplest to learn and use, they are more versatile i.e. on device works for sport, lead, and abseiling, single and double ropes, all with the same principle. I can't for the life of me see the reason for learning on anything else.

If ever you leave you Grigri at home, you're more likely to be able to borrow another tube, than another Grigri, and so will still be able to belay safely.

First and for most though, at least for me, and the OP, is cost, what's the point of pissing away loads of money on something you don't really need?

Unless you meant, "why bother 'progressing' to a GriGri" in which case I agree. Leave the Grigri where it belongs, in the specialist bit's of kit shelf

Post edited at 18:09
1
Pefa 17 Jun 2019
In reply to Shaunhaynes99:

ATC. 

No need for fancy stuff for me as an ATC covers everything I need from trad,winter, abbing to indoor and anyone who can't use an ATC ie. Can't watch a lead climber at all times to ensure you don't catch her or him when they need it should not be belaying. 

1
In reply to SCC Changed:

Exactly. My belayer got thrown against the rock and let go of the rope (My fault, should have postitioned them better). They were using a Grigri which held perfectly on my 8.7mm rope. I would have hit the ground from 30ft with an ATC. 

Earthtreks, the biggest climbing gym chain in the US has a Grigri fixed on every top rope and insists on their use for leading as well. Newbies learn the Grigri from day one.

Learning to use a Grigri properly is not difficult. Changing devices after a few years can be awkward  however - and this might explain why long term ATC users feel it is "counter intuitive" etc etc.

3
Neil Williams 17 Jun 2019
In reply to Jonathan Lagoe - UKC:

Any device on which the natural human response if they panic (to grab tighter/pull harder) is the *unsafe* mode (i.e. fully releases the device) is not properly designed for a beginner.

The GriGri+ fixes this, but a beginner should not be anywhere near any other kind.

Experts and advanced sport climbers by all means use one, but they are indeed something to advance to, not something to learn first.  Just like you learn to have a subconscious reaction to slam your right foot on the brake when something goes wrong in the car, you can learn the correct reactions to Grigri issues (let go of the device completely and hold the brake rope).  But it does not come naturally.

As for US and Aussie climbing gyms, they can keep that kind of setup and I hope it never comes to the UK.

Post edited at 18:24
3
In reply to Neil Williams:

My experience illustrates the opposite. That any device on which the the natural human response if they panic is to let go of the rope is not safe for the beginner.

Bottom line is that I'd prefer a beginner (or indeed anybody) to belay me on a Grigri than an ATC.

I supect we will never agree - so it goes.

krikoman 17 Jun 2019
In reply to Jonathan Lagoe - UKC:

> Learning to use a Grigri properly is not difficult. Changing devices after a few years can be awkward  however - and this might explain why long term ATC users feel it is "counter intuitive" etc etc.

I can sort of understand it if all you do is sport climbing on a single rope, but for the UK many people who climb all sorts of different styles, so why not use the one device that covers all bases? Once you've learnt it, then you've learnt it.

I've seen more people fuck up a GriGri than an ATC, maybe that's why I don't like them.

Post edited at 18:43
1
In reply to krikoman:

Fair enough. The OP was asking about Sport climbing. Had it been trad I would have suggested differently.

Post edited at 18:45
1
jimtitt 17 Jun 2019
In reply to Shaunhaynes99:

I doubt that any one of the people who mention using an ATC actually have used one or really mean you should buy one, it is a woefully poor belay device who's best days are 25 years gone. You want an ATC XP  or the ATC Guide. And a Grigri.

krikoman 17 Jun 2019
In reply to jimtitt:

I was being generic, though I still use my ACT now and again, when I'm belaying people who are a lot lighter than me, on sports routes, I find it's much smother lower off, for them.

I find the WCVC is great, but each to their own, I suppose. I like to keep things simple, it matches my head

Neil Williams 17 Jun 2019
In reply to jimtitt:

> I doubt that any one of the people who mention using an ATC actually have used one or really mean you should buy one, it is a woefully poor belay device who's best days are 25 years gone. You want an ATC XP  or the ATC Guide. And a Grigri.

The original ATC is very similar to a Bug, isn't it?  They aren't the greatest devices but they do work.

1
Neil Williams 17 Jun 2019
In reply to Jonathan Lagoe - UKC:

> My experience illustrates the opposite. That any device on which the the natural human response if they panic is to let go of the rope is not safe for the beginner.

I'd say if I suspect the person will let go of the rope I don't want them belaying me *at all* unless someone is tailing.

> Bottom line is that I'd prefer a beginner (or indeed anybody) to belay me on a Grigri than an ATC.

I wouldn't, much more likely to get confused.

> I supect we will never agree - so it goes.

I think indeed not   (In all seriousness, the OP should, for that kind of reason, probably try a set of devices and choose the one they prefer).

1
Neil Williams 17 Jun 2019
In reply to Neil Williams:

As an aside, interesting that I got *three* dislikes for the post about the Ohm.

Serious question: are there people who dislike the device or have a bad experience of it?

(I do dislike - ha! - the dislike button, as if it wasn't there people would have to reply and explain what it was they disliked)

1
Hyphin 18 Jun 2019
In reply to Neil Williams:

Anyone who's dislikes this can't have used one. The Ohm has got to be the best, possibly only, really innovative bit of kit to come to market in years. I know a few blokes of my build now happily leading stuff they'd never have looked at before. Everyone that's belayed me on mine has been similarly impressed. 

Blanche DuBois 18 Jun 2019
In reply to Neil Williams:

> As an aside, interesting that I got *three* dislikes for the post about the Ohm.

Maybe what they're actually disliking isn't so much the device, as an individual who is so determined to have the last word that they end up responding to themselves?

2
Presley Whippet 18 Jun 2019
In reply to Shaunhaynes99:

If you are right handed, a gri gri. If you are left handed, something else. 

Lurking Dave 18 Jun 2019
In reply to Shaunhaynes99:

ATC Guide all the way. As many old/experienced belayers have said it teaches the basics of how to use any other device. Plus works when you want to climb sport, abseil, climb trad, thick furry rope, skinny ropes, in the rain, with a rope covered in grit... and when you drop it you can use the same technique to belay on an Italian hitch.

Post edited at 06:53
Neil Williams 18 Jun 2019
In reply to Blanche DuBois:

> Maybe what they're actually disliking isn't so much the device, as an individual who is so determined to have the last word that they end up responding to themselves?

Which is precisely why the feature is an awful one.  Just going round disliking one person's posts just because they dislike that person is childish beyond belief.  The forum is for discussion, not for personal vendettas; the point is to reply to the points made in the post, not to a preconceived view of the individual.

As for "responding to myself", it comes from my upbringing on USENET newsgroups where once a message is posted it can be neither retracted nor edited, so the habit is formed that to add to a posting you just reply to your own posting.

Post edited at 10:34
2
Neil Williams 18 Jun 2019
In reply to Lurking Dave:

> ATC Guide all the way. As many old/experienced belayers have said it teaches the basics of how to use any other device. Plus works when you want to climb sport, abseil, climb trad, thick furry rope, skinny ropes, in the rain, with a rope covered in grit... and when you drop it you can use the same technique to belay on an Italian hitch.


...remembering the rather important point that the best lock-off on an Italian hitch is in the opposite direction, i.e. right in front of you rather than down and back!  With a lighter climber you'll get away with down and back, but with a heavier one you would soon regret it as you end up with nasty rope burns.

L Shaunhaynes99 18 Jun 2019
In reply to Shaunhaynes99:

 So I've order my harness  today, I've got myself  atc coming and  click  up to start my lessons with on Sunday evening and  see how  I goes 

Post edited at 16:36
Iamgregp 18 Jun 2019
In reply to Shaunhaynes99:

Yeah, you can use the same biner for both, just make sure you use the 'biner that is supplied with the click up when you use the click up.  It's designed to work best with that one, and (what with the huge range of biners available) may not work so well, or possible even at all, with other types.  

Basically just use the one supplied all the time and you'll be fine

1poundSOCKS 18 Jun 2019
In reply to Neil Williams:

> I'm big and heavy and the number one concern I have with a new or inexperienced partner is that when I do fall and they inevitable get thrown about like a rag doll, the surprise/panic/shock will result in them letting go of the brake rope.

> but for sport and indoor you NEED an Edelrid Ohm.

Maybe the Ohm is the best option for beginners and I understand the consequences of not using one might be more severe than using one.

But for experienced climbers who are well used to taking and holding falls, I'm not convinced by the Ohm so far. I've only had a handful of falls to test it and I've not yet worked why, sometimes the fall is okay, but I've been slammed hard into the rock. Quite painful, and I've sprained my ankle with a harsh catch before (although not using an Ohm).

I also had a problem with it stopping me clipping, it just constantly locked. Not ideal.

And also worth mentioned that despite an almost 30kg weight difference, without an Ohm most falls are perfectly okay. But you need to be aware of potential ground-fall, and understand what the weight difference will do to the distance you fall, and to the belayer. Again, if you're a beginner, or even an experienced climber who doesn't take falls, this is something you won't have a great appreciation of.

Post edited at 16:51
Neil Williams 18 Jun 2019
In reply to 1poundSOCKS:

Cheers.  I should probably point out that the weight difference between me and the people I climb with, depending on who we're talking about, is nearer 60kg than 30kg.  Yes, I'm more than twice as heavy as some of them.

Yes, I do get a hard catch, but I'd rather get a hard catch than land on their head.

My usual view is that the belayer being around 2/3 the weight of the climber will balance safely, but much away from that and it gets dangerous without strapping them down or using something like the Ohm.  The advantage of the Ohm is that they can move around much more than when strapped down so it makes their life easier too.

The only downside I've noticed is that it reduces their "feel" so I have to ask them to take in more often than I otherwise would.  Similarly it can be a bit awkward if you try to pull up slack a bit fast.  But overall I love it and it's made a huge difference.

Post edited at 21:45
1poundSOCKS 18 Jun 2019
In reply to Neil Williams:

> Yes, I'm more than twice as heavy as some of them.

> Yes, I do get a hard catch, but I'd rather get a hard catch than land on their head.

That's a massive discrepancy, we're nothing like as bad. We ended up using an anchor. There's enough movement to give me a soft catch. I could be taking the fall quite a bit (have already) so I wasn't keen on being slammed repeatedly. Obviously convenient anchors aren't always available. Indoors we use a sandbag when the route has harder moves low down.

> My usual view is that the belayer being around 2/3 the weight of the climber will balance safely, but much away from that and it gets dangerous without strapping them down or using something like the Ohm.

About 4/7. The danger element is specific to the route too. And since I'm mostly redpointing I can mitigate the risk more easily.

> Similarly it can be a bit awkward if you try to pull up slack a bit fast.

It was constantly locking. I wasn't even trying to clip fast, I was just hanging my draws. Maybe specific to the route. Steep start, onto a less steep wall. Although on another day I didn't have the same problem. So it was confusing. I just didn't want to take the chances of it locking on an actual redpoint, the clipping is hard enough already.

> But overall I love it and it's made a huge difference.

I can see how it helps, depending on circumstances, and it might get used again. They are getting more popular so a lot of people seem to like them.

L Shaunhaynes99 19 Jun 2019
In reply to Shaunhaynes99:

The place I ordered from were out of stock of the click up, so my choice is the mammut smart  2.0 or the click up plus. 

And the moment I'm heading to the mammut  smart  because it's a fair bit cheaper   especially  as it something that wont be used that much, and bit simpler  as doesn't have the "lead mode or top rope mode" seems to have to good reviews and  gives the extra bit of protection and works in a very similar  way to  a standard  atc 

Post edited at 06:49
Neil Williams 19 Jun 2019
In reply to Shaunhaynes99:

I think I'd choose the Smart, it's quite a neat device that works very similarly to a tube device with the extra safety factor.

That, or another supplier!

Neil Williams 19 Jun 2019
In reply to 1poundSOCKS:

What thickness is your rope out of interest?  I've used mine with my 9.5 and my mate's 10.5 and it performs slightly differently with them - the skinnier rope gives you less extra friction but you get fewer (or no) undesirable lock-ups.

1poundSOCKS 19 Jun 2019
In reply to Neil Williams:

> What thickness is your rope out of interest?

A 9.5 Petzl. Not used it much so it's not all fluffy and grabby. I did speculate that possible because it was a damp day (although the gear was dry) the dampness in the air might cause it be more grabby, seems to happen with the Gri-Gri sometimes. But not sure really.

> I've used mine with my 9.5 and my mate's 10.5 and it performs slightly differently with them - the skinnier rope gives you less extra friction but you get fewer (or no) undesirable lock-ups.

Would be interesting to see if a skinnier rope works better. I'd prefer less friction, and obviously no lock-ups when clipping.

Neil Williams 19 Jun 2019
In reply to 1poundSOCKS:

> > What thickness is your rope out of interest?

> A 9.5 Petzl. Not used it much so it's not all fluffy and grabby. I did speculate that possible because it was a damp day (although the gear was dry) the dampness in the air might cause it be more grabby, seems to happen with the Gri-Gri sometimes. But not sure really.

That could well be the case, as the way it works (while it doesn't have the same moving parts, the whole device moves instead) is a *bit* like a Grigri.  I haven't noticed it myself but it doesn't mean it isn't happening.

It also has an effect where the belayer stands - further out = more friction and more lockups.

> Would be interesting to see if a skinnier rope works better. I'd prefer less friction, and obviously no lock-ups when clipping.

Might be worth trying if you've got one or someone you climb with has.

Post edited at 09:34
OllieBarker 19 Jun 2019
In reply to Shaunhaynes99:

People hating on the grigri, people hating on the click up. For me it's simple. As a beginner get used to a normal unassisted belay plate. People saying they're not good for sport are talking shit. As long as the user isn't an incompetent fool they're fine.

Want something a little more protective? Get a Click Up. I use one mostly. It feels like a regular plate but has the bonuses of assisted braking. It feels easy and is safe.

For me the grigri is a weird device. Yes it's amazingly safe but only if used properly. The number of people I've seen misusing them is sky high. Not holding the dead end, insane amounts of Slack, always forcing it down etc. A lot of users seem to think just by using one means they don't have to concentrate.

It takes a while to get used to a Grigri as well. They're much easier to lock than something like a click up and are hard to release if the climber is still trying to pull up Slack. You have to be on it with a Grigri to use them safely.

Standard plate -> Click Up -> Grigri

Post edited at 10:34
3
OllieBarker 19 Jun 2019
In reply to Neil Williams:

>The GriGri+ fixes this, but a beginner should not be anywhere near any other kind.

Yes but personally I find my GriGri+ plus is noticeably more gabby than a Grigri 2. Enough to stop me wanting to use it when belaying people redpointing.

L Shaunhaynes99 19 Jun 2019
In reply to Neil Williams:

> I think I'd choose the Smart, it's quite a neat device that works very similarly to a tube device with the extra safety factor.

> That, or another supplier!

  Gone for the smart  for various reasons I could have gone else where but it would take a  while for money to  e refunded and wouldn't be here for sundays lesson 

1poundSOCKS 19 Jun 2019
In reply to OllieBarker:

> Yes but personally I find my GriGri+ plus is noticeably more gabby than a Grigri 2.

A friend says the same. But I don't notice the difference.

The only problem I have with the plus is when lowering a light climbing, especially when there is a lot of frcition from draws or whatever, it can be tricky to lower them without the anti-panic engaging.

But I bought it mainly for the steel wear plate. It was on sale and I figure I'll get many more years out of it. My old Gri-Gri 2 ended up with a sharp groove after about 5 years. Otherwise it was fine.

Flacktronix 19 Jun 2019
In reply to Shaunhaynes99:

Grigri for sure. I had the plus, and it was awful. Daughter couldn't use it without it locking, and I couldn't use it for her for the same. There's just not enough range on it. 

I was told a while ago that by law you have to use a Grigri (or similar) in all indoor walls in Germany for safety reasons.

I love mine, unless I'm using a chunky rope with someone a fair bit lighter than me, in which case it's handy to have a ATC. 

I've not been sport climbing for long, so may not have the deepest well of knowledge, but have noticed there's a massive amount of bravado over the use of Grigris. Even lads I know have only been climbing a few months who say they're for beginners and they've gone "old school".

Use what's comfortable for you and the climber. Best advice I ever had, and can give.

3
krikoman 19 Jun 2019
In reply to Shaunhaynes99:

>   Gone for the smart  for various reasons I could have gone else where but it would take a  while for money to  e refunded and wouldn't be here for sundays lesson 


£30!! thought you were short of dosh

freelunchprovider 19 Jun 2019
In reply to Xharlie:

Agree with you about getting back to the basics. To get a "feel for the rope" and the cheapest option use a waist belay with the added refinement of a pair of old gardening gloves.

springfall2008 19 Jun 2019
In reply to Hyphin:

> Anyone who's dislikes this can't have used one. The Ohm has got to be the best, possibly only, really innovative bit of kit to come to market in years. I know a few blokes of my build now happily leading stuff they'd never have looked at before. Everyone that's belayed me on mine has been similarly impressed. 


The Ohm is great when climbing/falling but it's really annoying lowering off as it tends to get stuck.

1
timjones 19 Jun 2019
In reply to henwardian:

I've taught many people to belay and I can only think of one occasion when anything close on what you are describing has happened.  It may be time to reconsider your teaching methods and ask yourself whether the use of a Grigri with novices encourages complacency.

1
Neil Williams 19 Jun 2019
In reply to springfall2008:

> The Ohm is great when climbing/falling but it's really annoying lowering off as it tends to get stuck.

Can't say I've had that, though perhaps with a lighter climber or fuzzier rope it could happen.

I did have an odd one today though, first time it's happened - it got a bit caught on something (don't know what as I was up in the air, possibly an awkwardly placed hold) and didn't lock up until my (very light, as mentioned) belayer got pulled well up in the air.  Shall have to watch out a bit more to look for situations that might cause that.

Knocked my confidence a bit for today, but I still think it works better than about 3 weight bags.   (The ones at Big Rock Bond tend to be the lighter ones).

Neil Williams 19 Jun 2019
In reply to Flacktronix:

> I was told a while ago that by law you have to use a Grigri (or similar) in all indoor walls in Germany for safety reasons.

It may well be the case that assisted braking devices are mandatory.  I reckon the likes of the ABC will end up mandating that in the UK once their development stabilises a bit.  They are certainly becoming quite popular and walls are very much promoting them, partly because they can make money on selling them but also partly because it improves safety, and clearly they want their wall to be as safe as reasonably possible.

I can't imagine, unless it's a US or Australia style setup[1] with in-situ devices, it mandating the Grigri specifically.

[1] In Australia this does come from a very different safety model - the amount of learning before being "signed off" is rather reduced compared with the UK as a result of the standardised approach to belaying.

Post edited at 14:56
MischaHY 19 Jun 2019
In reply to Flacktronix:

> I was told a while ago that by law you have to use a Grigri (or similar) in all indoor walls in Germany for safety reasons.

30 seconds of fact checking is generally worthwhile ;-) The DAV recommends using AB devices because they reduce accident rates. However, the vast majority of gyms let you use whatever you fancy. One exception is the gym in Kessel which banned tube devices due to someone getting dropped by a beginner and dying. 

It's worth pointing out that according to the people who run the gym a grigri would have prevented the death due to the way the accident happened.  

> I've not been sport climbing for long, so may not have the deepest well of knowledge, but have noticed there's a massive amount of bravado over the use of Grigris. Even lads I know have only been climbing a few months who say they're for beginners and they've gone "old school".

This is an unfortunate element of the UK climbing scene. There's an undercurrent of it here in Germany from the older generation of climbers, but the DAV recommendations have done a lot to reduce this. 

Personally I think that's a ludicrous thing to say. I guess they've never belayed anyone projecting a route for 2+ hours with just a tube! 

Post edited at 15:09
Neil Williams 19 Jun 2019
In reply to MischaHY:

> It's worth pointing out that according to the people who run the gym a grigri would have prevented the death due to the way the accident happened.

The question would be if the Grigri would cause a similar number of serious accidents due to the awkward lowering or complacency.

It might well, to be fair, be similar to self-driving cars, where they no doubt will cause people to be killed or seriously injured occasionally, e.g. due to a design flaw in the automatic driving software, but will prevent far more deaths/serious injuries that would be caused by driver error.

> Personally I think that's a ludicrous thing to say. I guess they've never belayed anyone projecting a route for 2+ hours with just a tube! 

To be fair that's not really the style of climbing I go for, nor those who climb with me.  I haven't got the patience and nor have they.  To be fair to the Grigri, use in that setting by experienced sport climbers is exactly what they are particularly good for.

Post edited at 15:14
1
steveb2006 19 Jun 2019
In reply to Shaunhaynes99:

To the OP, away from the gri-gri arguments (not keen myself) the Edelrid Giga Jul reviewed here could be just the job.

Mike Stretford 19 Jun 2019

BTW thread: This belay device is the mutts nuts

https://www.summittosea.co.uk/camp-lotus-belay-device.ir

I was lucky enough to pick one up in Blacks for a fiver in the sale. Took a punt and it's been great. Handles all ropes well and sheds heat when abbing.

Rare as rocking horse shit.

springfall2008 19 Jun 2019
In reply to Neil Williams:

> Can't say I've had that, though perhaps with a lighter climber or fuzzier rope it could happen.

> I did have an odd one today though, first time it's happened - it got a bit caught on something (don't know what as I was up in the air, possibly an awkwardly placed hold) and didn't lock up until my (very light, as mentioned) belayer got pulled well up in the air.  Shall have to watch out a bit more to look for situations that might cause that.

I use one when my daughter belays me, she's around 40kg and I'm around 70kg. With the Ohm in place we did a test fall, I pulled the rope up as if I was taking a clip and then fall off and she wasn't pulled off her feet more than a little.

I find outdoors when she lowers me I often have to wiggle the rope to release the Ohm and she has to literally feed the rope through the belay device (a click-up in this case). It's a 9.8mm single rope.

full stottie 19 Jun 2019
In reply to Shaunhaynes99:

>  So I've order my harness  today, I've got myself  atc coming and  click  up to start my lessons with on Sunday evening and  see how  I goes 

Well done. I think that's a good start and given today's plethora of devices and oodles of partisan and aggressive debate, remember its the time you spend belaying and learning from it that will make you a safe partner.

For a bit of historical perspective (yawn), I've been climbing for 55 years now, and started belaying with a simple rope around the waist belay or over the shoulder, then progressed to running the rope through a carabiner attached to a 20 foot length of hemp waistline. When Sticht plates came out I moved over to that, learned the Munter Hitch as well (still a useful backup skill), a tuber was a step forward, later a Reverso (used this for years as the preferred option), and these days use a gri-gri 2, as do my fellow geriatric partners for sport climbing and a Reverso or similar for trad. So belay devices have kept evolving (see recent UKC review article on the Giga Jul), and you need to get used to them to be a safe belayer, but most of all you have to concentrate so you can react when it matters. Most falls are sudden and unexpected - manageable when you are bringing up a second, but if its your leader falling, your device will not do the work on its own - belaying technique and focus will. 

Have fun and be safe!

Dave


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