Rappelling with the GRIGRI - Petzl United Kingdom

Rappelling with the GRIGRI

The GRIGRI enables rappelling on a single strand, on a retrievable system with one strand blocked or on a fixed rope.


  • Carefully read the Instructions for Use used in this technical advice before consulting the advice itself. 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.
  • We provide examples of techniques related to your activity. There may be others that we do not describe here.

Hold the brake side of the rope and pull gradually on the release handle. The handle helps adjust the friction, but the descent is controlled by the hand gripping the brake side of the rope.

GRIGRI, handling.
GRIGRI, improper handling.

Rappelling with the GRIGRI can be done on EN 892 dynamic or EN 1891 low stretch rope of a compatible diameter indicated on the device.


There are several ways to set up the rope for rappelling: they are described in the technical tip, Multi-pitch rappelling with a single rope.

Bottom belay for beginners

A bottom belay is possible for beginners rappelling with a GRIGRI (as with many other descenders): pulling on the rope from below can slow or even stop the descent. The person performing this maneuver must pull by hand, without hanging on the rope.

GRIGRI, bottom belay for beginners

WARNING: a strong pull on the brake side of the rope can cause the GRIGRI to unblock.

With the GRIGRI + from 2017 and on, and the GRIGRI from 2019 and on, unblocking and a consequent fall can occur if the rope is heavily loaded below the user. Unblocking can occur if the rope is loaded with a weight equal to or greater than that of the person rappelling on the GRIGRI.

Examples of dangerous situations:

Rescue from below:

The rescuer must not ascend the rope of a person who is stuck on rappel.

Bottom belay: the person performing the belay maneuver must not hang on the rope.

GRIGRI, unblocking.
GRIGRI, improper handling when unblocking

Multiple people rappelling in sequence, GRIGRIs pre-installed on the rope:

If the person waiting in turn to rappel has their GRIGRI pre-installed on the rope, it can be inverted (and thus unblocked) by the weight of the person rappelling below them. So it will not be operational when the second person wants to start their rappel.

GRIGRI, risk with multiple people rappelling in sequence, 1/2.
GRIGRI, risk with multiple people rappelling in sequence, 2/2.