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Who uses a grigri to belay trad leaders?
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By Loren Tragen
From Flagstaff, AZ
Jun 2, 2012
Nameless boulder on the edge of the Holy Boulders area in SoIll.

Who uses a grigri to belay trad leaders and why? Who doesn't and why? Has anyone here had a piece of pro fail due to shock-load that they attributed to the gri gri?


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By FrankPS
From Atascadero, CA
Jun 2, 2012

Lorenzo Tragen wrote:
Who uses a grigri to belay trad leaders and why? Who doesn't and why? Has anyone here had a piece of pro fail due to shock-load that they attributed to the gri gri?


Lorenzo,

I've recently started belaying the leader on my Cinch (does that count?). Used to always use my Reverso, but I like the autolock feature of the Cinch. My friend took a 15-20 foot lead fall on a smallish cam and it held fine. I think the dynamic rope provides enough stretch to keep the shock load reasonable while using the Cinch. And if I have the presence of mind to step up ("soft catch"), I'll do that, too.


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By Ty Morrison-Heath
From Bozeman, MT
Jun 2, 2012
Profile Photo <br />

I use one all the time. Just think about giving a soft catch and standing in an active position and I doubt the forces would be any higher than with an ATC. I use one because it means that if something bad happens above me (Like my leader trundling some large rock) and I take a blow to the head and get knocked out I don't drop my partner. Even if I'm incapacitated my partner stands a chance of rescuing me. That being said I climb in a lot of places with scree (Alaska rock ftw!) and in an alpine environment.


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By mugsy
Jun 2, 2012

Yep, I use a Grigri the majority of the time. The only real downside is the weight!

I'm usually climbing on stretchy 9.4 - 9.8mm ropes, and feel that makes much more difference in the loads my gear sees than the belay device of choice.

I have seen the research showing higher loads when dropping a 170lb chunk of metal on a 100% static Grigri catch. However, I never belay solid chunks of metal off of a Grigri connected to a bolt in the floor, so...

I have never noticed much if any rope slipping through my ATC-guide (with the high friction teeth) during a fall.


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By Steve Pulver
From Williston, ND
Jun 2, 2012

been doing it for 15 years. Almost positive it hasn't caused any gear failures.

(Edit: but I'd acknowledge there is a definite possibility that the grigri could cause such a failure. The maybe two times where I've seen a piece come out in a fall, they were such sketchy placements that they probably wouldn't even hold body weight. I just don't think I've seen a fall in the window of "too sketchy of a placement to work with a grigri, but good enough to work with the lower shock of a nonlocking belay device)


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By Paul Trendler
From Bend, Oregon
Jun 2, 2012
 VOTCD. Photo  by <a href='http://Tylerroemer.com' target='_blank' rel='nofollow' >Tylerroemer.com</a>

Nope. The Gri is a great belay for trad leading.


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By camhead
From Vandalia, Appalachia
Jun 2, 2012
You stay away from mah pig!

I use a gri gri almost exclusively for trad belaying, both multipitch and cragging. Never had a piece fail from shock loading. You should know how to give dynamic soft catches with a gri gri anyway, so if you are worried about a gri gri shock loading trad gear, yore doing it rong.


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By Peter Franzen
Administrator
From Phoenix, AZ
Jun 2, 2012
Belay

I belay with a Grigri almost exclusively, and I prefer to be belayed with one as long as the belayer knows how to use it correctly.


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By Dr. Rocktopolus
From Chattanooga, TN
Jun 3, 2012
Whipping on the redpoint crux of " The Theater Of Pain " 5.13b Cooks Wall, NC

I never use atc's to belay. A gri gri or any other auto locker is a better option for climbing because on large falls where the belayer gets pulled a long distance up the rock there is always a chance he can lose a hand on the belay device from being pushed or slammed into something. The rope is dynamic and your belayer will also slow you down as he is pulled to you.

Trad is rad!


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By Allen Corneau
From Houston, TX
Jun 3, 2012

I belay leaders (and TR) exclusively with my Reverso 3. I have a Grigri I use for setting in the gym, but I'd hate to use one for lead-belay duties.

I'd like to try a Cinch at some point but it's not high on my wish list.


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By Caleb Padgett
From Rockville, utah
Jun 3, 2012

I like to belay with a gri-gri on trad routes and I LOVE when my belayer is using one as well. I climb primarily in Zion np and constantly deal with loose rock on both established routes and new routing. I am much more concerned about hitting my belayer with rock and having the belay compromised than getting a "soft" catch. If your gear is gonna rip, likely it will be a placement or rock quality issue, not how soft your belay was. I use it single and multipitch climbing and couldn't live without it when Wallin'. If it is easy climbing where the leader is moving FAST I still use an ATC, muenter, or hip belay.


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By Mark Mueller
From Flagstaff, AZ
Jun 3, 2012
Great quality rock on this one!

Cinch is the way to go. I use it for lead belay and TR exclusively. I only use an atc guide for multipitch.


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By NC Rock Climber
From The Oven, AKA Phoenix
Jun 3, 2012
tanuki

I have always used an ATC for trad and a GriGri (or Cinch) for sport.

I was under the impression that the slip that you got with the ATC reduced the impact force on your gear. After seeing this thread, I did a search and couldn't find any data to support that. I am curious if anyone has any data that shows how different belay devices can change impact force.


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By Ed Wright
Jun 3, 2012
Magic Ed

Peter Franzen wrote:
I belay with a Grigri almost exclusively, and I prefer to be belayed with one as long as the belayer knows how to use it correctly.


+1


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By DBarton
From CENTENNIAL, CO
Jun 3, 2012
Moab, Potash Road and Ice Cream Parlor

GriGri is fine to use, but requires you to bring an extra rap device. If you don't want to carry the extra weight bring an atc. If you really care about the auto-lock function of the GriGri but hate the weight, carry a Mammut Smart Alpine. It does everything a GriGri does plus you can do more. It also gives more of a dynamic belay than a GriGri (it is also half the price).


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By mattm
From TX
Jun 3, 2012
Grande Grotto

NC Rock Climber wrote:
I have always used an ATC for trad and a GriGri (or Cinch) for sport. I was under the impression that the slip that you got with the ATC reduced the impact force on your gear. After seeing this thread, I did a search and couldn't find any data to support that. I am curious if anyone has any data that shows how different belay devices can change impact force.


Anecdotal "It's held fine for me" doesn't change the fact that a GriGri will provide a HARDER catch than an ATC type device. So there are trade offs regardless of what people say. Does it matter most of the time? PRobably not and the benefits of a GriGri might certainly outweigh the higher impact force it will impart.

I personally don't care if the route takes a wide variety of gear. I WILL care however, when the route calls for lots of small wires or cams, especially close to the ground where the fall forces will be higher and the consequences of gear failure higher as well.

Scroll down and pay particular attention to example 1. That's where I'm most concerned (short rope, close to ground etc). You can bust small wires with those falls and that 3kN or more difference might BE the difference between a hold and a deck.

Beal ATC vs GriGri impact forces


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By Geir
From Tucson, AZ
Jun 3, 2012
Toofast

NC Rock Climber wrote:
I have always used an ATC for trad and a GriGri (or Cinch) for sport. I was under the impression that the slip that you got with the ATC reduced the impact force on your gear. After seeing this thread, I did a search and couldn't find any data to support that. I am curious if anyone has any data that shows how different belay devices can change impact force.


Hey NC,

I measured this with a dynamometer and found a higher impact force with a GriGri than an ATC. I also found the Beal article posted above.

The differences that I saw were enough to make me ask for an ATC belay on trad routes when the gear is shaky (by this I mean poor gear or gear with lower ratings such as <=4kN).

Ultimately people need to choose what they are comfortable with, but I think there is an advantage to using the ATC for gear routes.


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By NC Rock Climber
From The Oven, AKA Phoenix
Jun 3, 2012
tanuki

Thanks Geir and Mattm. That is good information. If I am reading the Beal data correctly, some of the GriGri Impact force #s are 50% greater than the ATC type devices. To me, that is significant.

It would be interesting to see how the Mammut Smart and the GriGri 2, both of which reputedly have a softer catch, would do in a similar test.


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By BurtMachlan
Jun 3, 2012

DBarton wrote:
GriGri is fine to use, but requires you to bring an extra rap device.


And why cant you rap with a grigri???


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By Bill M
From Fort Collins, CO
Jun 3, 2012

I use both the Smart and Grigri. My impression holding gym lead falls is that the Smart is a softer catch.


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By mattm
From TX
Jun 4, 2012
Grande Grotto

NC Rock Climber wrote:
Thanks Geir and Mattm. That is good information. If I am reading the Beal data correctly, some of the GriGri Impact force #s are 50% greater than the ATC type devices. To me, that is significant. It would be interesting to see how the Mammut Smart and the GriGri 2, both of which reputedly have a softer catch, would do in a similar test.


Not aware of the GriGri 2 having a softer catch. I do believe there's some rope slip and thus a softer catch with the smart...


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By NC Rock Climber
From The Oven, AKA Phoenix
Jun 4, 2012
tanuki

I thought I remembered reading that the GriGri 2 had a softer catch in one of the reviews when it first came out. However, I cannot find it after doing a search, so I might be wrong. It would be interesting to see data on it and the Smart.


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By Princess Mia
From Vail
Jun 4, 2012
Chillin' at City of Rocks

I use a grigri for all single pitch climbs, but an ATC for multipitch, of course I do use it for big walls......

But I am also very light and will give everyone a soft catch, especially big dudes.......LOL


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By S.Stelli
From Colorado Springs, CO
Jun 4, 2012

BurtMachlan wrote:
And why cant you rap with a grigri???


Id imagine there are at least two ways to rap with a gri...

With only one rope, tie a knot in it with a biner, like an overhand or figure 8 on a bight, and rap on the opposite side.

Same as if you had a tag line. Just tie em together and rap the rope side, pull the tag side down.

This assumes there are bolts, or you are leaving gear/webbing for your raps.


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By S.Stelli
From Colorado Springs, CO
Jun 4, 2012

Caleb Padgett wrote:
I like to belay with a gri-gri on trad routes and I LOVE when my belayer is using one as well. I climb primarily in Zion np and constantly deal with loose rock on both established routes and new routing.


This is a pretty real concern on any type of rock I've climbed so far. Just this weekend my friend landed a sweet move to a chicken head that looked bomber... but the granite blew and a 8 or 10 pound chunk of rock flew at my face. If it hit me, he'd have been on lead with no belay I'm certain of it. I've never considered an auto-locking device until this weekend. It may very well be my next purchase.


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By Bob Dobalina
Jun 4, 2012

I like belaying trad leaders with a GriGri because it allows me to pay out armloads of slack WAY faster and smoother than with an ATC, making those desperate clips easier.


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