GRIGRI EXPERIENCE en español
GRIGRI EXPERIENCE in german version
To go beyond...
Welcome to “Product Experience”. Here you will find known usage techniques for certain products. This technical information comes from the product knowledge of the Petzl team and from the experience of users worldwide. The level of experience necessary to perform each technique is indicated by a pictogram (see opposite): beginner, certified, or expert. Our goal is to (eventually) offer a complete set of techniques. Your help is important to us; do not hesitate to give us your comments and suggestions.
Thank you and good reading.
The Product Experience
- is a supplement to the information in the Instructions For Use.
- is inseparable from the Instructions For Use.
IMPORTANT / REMEMBER
- Read the Instructions For Use (pdf - 3 Mb) carefully before looking at the following techniques.
- You must have already read and understood the information in the Instructions For Use to be able to understand this supplementary information.
- Mastering these techniques requires specific training.
- Work with a professional to confirm your ability to perform these techniques safely and independently before attempting them unsupervised.
- > Belaying / Protecting
- Belaying reminders: errors to avoid
- Dynamic belaying
- Belaying with the GRIGRI anchored to the ground: WARNING, Danger!
- Unblocking a rope that is jammed behind the cam
- Multipitch climbing
- A Self-belaying is prohibited!
- > Descending
- > Climbing / Progressing
Today, GRIGRI use is widespread. It can be found at crags, gyms, and in the mountains... Used mainly as a belay device, it has other uses that are explained below.
WARNING, as with all climbing and mountaineering activities, it is essential to master the techniques and understand the limitations on using this product in these activities. Practice the techniques presented in a safe environment before using them in a real situation.
Reminder of rope compatibility
GRIGRI and GRIGRI2
Both GRIGRI are compatible with single dynamic ropes (CE EN 892). Only the approved rope diameters differ. WARNING, even if you use a rope in the approved diameter range, you must be vigilant concerning the functioning of the GRIGRI with this rope.
The compatibility between the GRIGRI and the rope used is dependent on more than just the rope’s diameter. The rope’s texture, sheath treatments on new ropes, moisture, the state of wear, and ice play an important role in the performance of your GRIGRI, in belaying, and also in descending.
Whenever you need to use a rope other than your usual rope, take care and familiarize yourself with its behavior with the GRIGRI in belaying and descending.
> Belaying / protecting
Belaying reminders: errors to avoid
Remember that the correct technique for belaying is as follows. For effective and secure belaying, this is the technique to use.
Primary belaying position.
Giving slack quickly.
- Hold the rope
- The index finger supports the GRIGRI
- The thumb presses on the cam
This action must be momentary. Once the leader has clipped, your hand must return to the primary belaying position. Continuous contact with the device can lead to misuse.
This technique allows the braking side of the rope to always be held by the hand (with at least three fingers) and it limits the risk of blocking the cam’s action.
We place great emphasis on the need to hold the braking side of the rope.
The term “belay device with assisted braking,” which describes the GRIGRI, indicates that it is not an autolocking device. In fact, you may notice that if you slide your rope slowly through the device (especially for small diameter rope), it does not necessarily lock, and the rope slides freely through it. It’s when you pull the braking side of the rope that the cam rotates to brake the rope.
It is also important to stress the fact that any blocking of the device or the cam will negate the braking action on the rope. This is why it is essential to avoid: grasping the device with your whole hand, keeping your thumb permanently on the cam, blocking the cam, etc.
Here are three examples of causes of a ground fall, seen at the crags or in the gym.
1- Incorrect GRIGRI belay techniques
It is difficult to make an exhaustive list of all incorrect techniques. Here are some illustrations:
I hold the GRIGRI with my entire hand.
I give slack without holding the braking
I incorrectly place my index finger.
I hold the climber side of the rope.
Note that the use of incorrect belay technique is the primary risk factor in an accident, especially when the belayer is surprised by a fall. If you recognize yourself in any of these illustrations of incorrect technique, adopt the technique presented at the beginning of this paragraph.
2- Bad reflexes
When a person is surprised while holding an object in the hand, one of the first reflexes is to hold that object more tightly. Imagine this situation in the case of a belayer holding a GRIGRI with the whole hand, at the moment the climber falls...
In this case, the belayer clenches the GRIGRI, without holding the braking side of the rope, and the climber falls to the ground.
Another bad belayer reflex is to grip the climber’s side of the rope.
In this case, the belayer burns his hand with the rope and worse, prevents the GRIGRI’s cam from rotating, which then cannot brake the rope. Here also, the climber falls to the ground.
3- Belayer inattention: The belayer is talking, looking elsewhere...
Look at this example: the belayer, hands in pockets, is not at all attentive to the climber, who is in the process of clipping with far too much slack...
To finish, ground falls are often the result of multiple factors: poor technique, inattention, etc. It is up to you to limit these factors.
Some think it is difficult to belay dynamically with the GRIGRI. But it is the belayer, not the belay device, that plays the primary role in dynamic belaying.
The key to dynamic belaying: step or make a small jump forward when the climber falls. We also stress that dynamic belaying does not mean keeping 3-4 m of slack in the climber’s side of the rope: this does not reduce the force of a fall. In addition, in the case where the climber has not gained enough height, it increases the risk of a ground fall.
In any case, it is necessary to be attentive and vigilant while belaying, so that potential falls can be anticipated. Remember that where there is a risk of a ground fall, or striking a ledge, a dynamic belay should not be used.
It takes practice to master dynamic belaying. To practice, start with falls sufficiently high relative to the ground (for example, when the climber is nearing the end of a pitch).
Belaying with the GRIGRI anchored to the ground: WARNING, Danger!
This technique is strongly discouraged because it has been the root cause of many ground falls. In fact, if the GRIGRI is positioned at the wrong height for the belayer, he risks involuntarily blocking the cam and preventing it from braking the rope.
In addition, with a GRIGRI anchored to the ground, controlling the descent is more difficult than with the GRIGRI on the belayer because the weight of the climber cannot be felt. Finally, this technique does not allow for dynamic belaying.
Unblocking a rope that is jammed behind the cam
In certain specific cases (for example, assisting the climber in regaining a high point after a fall, GRIGRI fixed on a carabiner attached to two points, rope climbing, etc.), the rope can become jammed behind the cam. Don’t worry: this jamming does not damage the rope. Our internal testing shows that even with the smallest diameters, the rope remains intact, even if the climber falls. Note also that even with the rope in this position, the cam functions normally and the climber’s fall will be arrested.
Unjamming the rope is simple. Always hold the braking side of the rope when performing this action. If the rope is not under tension, push on the side of the device to reposition the climber side of the rope in the cam groove. If the rope is already under tension, simply pull on the braking side of the rope.
Initial state: the rope is jammed
Unjamming, if the climber side of the rope is under tension: pull on the braking side of the rope
Initial state: the rope is jammed
Unjamming, if the climber side of the rope is not under tension: push on the device to reposition the climber side of the rope in the cam groove
The GRIGRI can be used to belay on multipitch routes.
Belaying a second with the GRIGRI on the harness, using a directional
Take up slack regularly as the second climbs. Never let go of the braking side of the rope. To arrest a fall, firmly grip the braking side of the rope while pulling downward on it.
Belaying a second directly off the anchor
Install the rope in the GRIGRI, making sure to place it in the device in the right direction. Connect the GRIGRI to the anchor with a locking carabiner. Lock the carabiner. Do a function test as indicated in the Instructions for use.
Make sure to avoid any blocking of the device, or of the cam, as this will negate the braking action on the rope.
Take up slack regularly as the second climbs, always holding the braking side of the rope. This method of belaying the second is less than ideal: in this position, the GRIGRI’s braking action on the rope is not optimal (especially with thin ropes). In addition, the risk of blocking the cam is greater. We therefore recommend the preceding technique, using a directional point.
Self-belaying is prohibited!
We cannot ignore the fact that some people use the GRIGRI as a self-belay device. Many internet sites give tips on modifying your device for this use. Above all, this technique increases the risks to the climber. Firstly, the climber does not hold the braking side of the rope.
Additionally, in case of a fall, the GRIGRI can be blocked against the rock, the positioning system (positioning strap), or other, thus negating its braking function. The climber could fall to the ground. Finally, remember that any product modification outside of pETZL facilities is formally prohibited (see Instructions for use).
Self-belaying with the GRIGRI is prohibited.
Descending on one strand of rope
The GRIGRI can be used to descend on one strand of rope.
While tethered to the belay anchor, install the rope in the GRIGRI, making sure to place it in the device in the right direction.
Connect the GRIGRI to the harness with a locking carabiner. Lock the carabiner.
Take up the slack rope. When ready to descend, do the function test and remove your lanyard from the belay anchor while holding the braking side of the rope. To descend, pull the handle while holding the braking side of the rope. The handle can assist in braking, but the rate of descent is controlled by the brake hand gripping the braking side of the rope. Always hold the braking side of the rope.
Do not forget to tie a knot in the bottom end of the rope.
Descending on one strand with additional braking
With thin ropes, it is often more comfortable and secure to add friction on descents. For this, use a FREINO carabiner or a non-locking carabiner.
Tying off the GRIGRI to have your hands free
When you want to have your hands free to perform a manipulation, tie-off the GRIGRI. Make sure to correctly lock the tie-off. You may let go of the braking side of the rope only when the device is tied off.
Lowering with the GRIGRI on the harness, using a directional
The belayer takes up slack. The climber, hanging on the rope, is ready to descend.
The belayer pulls the handle while holding the braking side of the rope. Never let go of the braking side of the rope.
Lowering from a fixed anchor-point
If you need to lower a person from an anchor: Install the rope in the GRIGRI, making sure to place it in the device in the right direction. Connect the GRIGRI to the anchor with a locking carabiner. Lock the carabiner.
Add a directional carabiner. This must be placed above the carabiner connecting the GRIGRI to the anchor.
The belayer takes up slack and holds the braking side of the rope. The person being lowered puts his weight on the rope and disconnects from the anchor. To lower the person, the belayer pulls the handle while holding the braking side of the rope. Never let go of the braking side of the rope.
> Climbing / Progressing
Occasional rope climbing
The GRIGRI is useful for short rope ascents. It is also used on big walls in cleaning (useful for cleaning slab pitches). Tether yourself to your ascender. Always hold the braking side of the rope.
Tensioning a tyrolean
Fix one end of the rope to an anchor point. Install the other end of rope in the GRIGRI, making sure to place it in the device in the right direction. Connect your GRIGRI to a second anchor point with a locking carabiner. Lock the carabiner. Do a function test as indicated in the Instructions for use. Tension the rope by taking out all slack. The tyrolean must be hand tensioned by one or two people, without using a mechanical advantage pulley system. Note that the shorter the tyrolean, the harder it is to correctly tension the rope.
WARNING, once the rope is taut between the two anchors, you must tie-off the rope against the GRIGRI.
WARNING, a tyrolean creates a very high load on the anchor points. Make sure the anchor points are sufficiently strong.
Falls are prohibited on tyroleans.
WARNING, overloading the tyrolean can completely lock the GRIGRI onto the rope, making it difficult to unlock. The GRIGRI is not guaranteed if you break the handle because your tyrolean is too tight.
Unlocking tip: use a TRAXION pulley (or other ascender) placed on your tyrolean as shown. Pull on the free end to create slack between the TRAXION pulley and the GRIGRI. Pull the handle.