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No matter your skill or experience level, understanding your equipment and mastering proper belay technique is an important part of being a climber. Choosing which belay device you're going to buy is an important decision, because it's the device you'll reach for every time you go climbing. That's why we make a range of belay devices that are versatile and easy to use. All of our belay devices were designed to meet the specific needs of climbers and elevate their experience. Find out how different Petzl belay devices adapt to your needs and objectives.

September 19 2023

Rock climbing

Cam-Assisted Blocking Belay Devices

Cam-assisted blocking: When the climber falls or weights the system, the rope tightens, and the cam pivots to pinch and block the rope.


Petzl offers two cam-assisted blocking belay devices: 
GRIGRI: The most recognized belay device in climbing. Characterized by its cam-assisted blocking system, the GRIGRI offers an unmatched level of comfort when belaying. Optimized for lead climbing and top roping, its timeless design makes it lightweight, compact, and versatile. It performs equally well in the mountains as at your local roadside crag. Small and lightweight — the GRIGRI is ready to go with you anywhere. 

Benefits: Cam-assisted blocking offers a comfortable belay when the climber takes a fall or weights the rope. When the system is engaged by the weight of the climber, the internal cam pivots and blocks the rope.

GRIGRI +: This device also features assisted blocking. Additionally, it has an anti-panic function that stops the descent if the user pulls too hard on the handle. The GRIGRI + has a selector knob that allows you to choose lead or top rope belay mode. In lead mode, the device performs like a standard GRIGRI. In top rope mode, it's easier to take up slack and less tiring for the belayer. Designed with a stainless steel plate, it's an excellent choice for intensive use. 

Benefits: The anti-panic handle inspires confidence for beginners, making it particularly suited for learning. Its durable design is great for intensive use.


Manual Braking Belay/Rappel Devices 

Different from the GRIGRI and GRIGRI +, manual braking belay devices require more effort from the belayer's brake hand when catching a fall or lowering a climber. When a climber falls or weights the rope, the brake hand grips the rope firmly and pulls it downward, the rope gets pressed into the v-shaped braking grooves, thus increasing the friction until the rope stops. These devices can be used to rappel, as well as belay one or two climbers from above. 

V-shaped braking grooves

Petzl offers two belay/rappel devices with a manual system:

REVERSO: This ultra light belay/rappel device offers maximum versatility. With the same device, you can belay your climbing partner, rappel, and use REVERSO Mode to belay one or two climbers from above. It is compatible with most rope diameters: single, half, and twin.

Benefits: The REVERSO is known for its versatility and can be used in many different situations: top rope or lead belaying, belaying a second climber, single pitch or multi-pitch, and even on mountaineering routes. In REVERSO Mode, you can belay one or two climbers from above, directly from the anchor point with assisted braking.



VERSO: This belay/rappel device offers a lighter and more compact option for climbers looking to reduce the size and weight of their gear. It's easy to use to belay a climber or rappel. It is also compatible with most rope diameters: single, half, and twin. 

Benefits: Easy to use and only 55 grams, it's the lightest belay/rappel device in our range.

For all of the belay devices we've covered, feeding slack and catching falls are accomplished using standard belay techniques: always keep a hand on the brake side of the rope.

A) Hand positioning: This hand position is valid regardless of the device used. GRIGRI, REVERSO, VERSO. Your hand must never let go of the brake side of the rope. 

B) Giving slack: To give slack, your brake side hand pushes the rope towards the device, creating slack; your other hand pulls the rope through the device. To repeat this movement, slide your brake side hand along the rope without ever letting it go. 

C) Taking up slack: To take up slack, pull in the climber side of the rope and pull the brake side of the rope through the device. Never let go of the brake side of the rope. 

Despite its importance, the belay device doesn't do everything for you. It makes the user's job easier, but they must know how to properly use it to give and take up slack, catch a fall, and control the rope when lowering.

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