Videos - Petzl : A Deep Dive Into The NEOX | Petzl USA

A Deep Dive Into The NEOX

June 11 2024

Rock climbing

33 years after revolutionizing how climbers belay each other with the launch of the GRIGRI, Petzl is taking it to the next level with the NEOX—a cam-assisted blocking belay device that features an internal wheel that makes it easier to pay out slack.

NEOX Comes From A Strong Pedigree

Before we dive into what makes the NEOX tick, we need to review some historical moments that have led us to this point. Petzl launched the first GRIGRI in 1991 giving the world its first cam-assisted blocking belay device and utilizing the principle of a seat belt to assist the belayer’s ability to catch a fall. Petzl updated the GRIGRI 20 years later in 2011, enlarging the rope compatibility range to accommodate thinner dynamic ropes and making it smaller and lighter. With more climbers of various calibers entering the field, Petzl decided to expand their offering in 2017 by adding the GRIGRI + to the lineup; offering a stainless steel wear plate, anti-panic handle, and a dial that enables a top-rope specific camming action. The current version of the GRIGRI came out in 2019 with another rope compatibility range increase, optimized cam angles for progressive descent control, and a more durable attachment hole. It’s also worth mentioning that during this time, industrial descenders using similar tech as the GRIGRI (I’D, RIG, MAESTRO, EXO AP, GILLON) have been developed and used for work-at-height scenarios.

Internal Wheel Sets NEOX Apart From The Rest

With such a rich pedigree, the NEOX will now enlarge the family tree with its own branch of gold standard performance being sold alongside the GRIGRI and GRIGRI +. At first glance, the NEOX looks like a GRIGRI: same shape and aluminum side plate with a stabilizer flange for the index finger; ergonomic handle that gives you a 3:1 mechanical advantage when lowering; spring-tensioned stainless steel cam for assisted blocking action. However, the feature that sets it apart from the GRIGRI and GRIGRI + is the internal wheel that rotates freely when giving and taking slack, making for an extremely smooth belaying experience. 

NEOX Offers A Similar Experience As The GRIGRI

Even with its unique and smooth slack management capabilities, it still offers assisted blocking action as the GRIGRI and GRIGRI +. When the climber falls or weights the rope, the wheel is pushed off its axis causing the wheel to stop rotating. At this point, the cam pivots and starts blocking the rope in the traditional manner of a GRIGRI. In the end, the NEOX offers the handling experience of a GRIGRI but with a significantly improved fluidity when paying out slack.

NEOX Is Optimized For Lead Belaying

Now that Petzl has three cam-assisted blocking belay devices on the market (NEOX, GRIGRI, and GRIGRI +) it’s important to know where each device excels. Even though all three devices can be used for belaying another climber (top rope and lead), rappelling single ropes, tackling all routes from single pitch to big walls, each device has its own specialty that makes it ideal in certain situations. NEOX is specialized for lead belaying when fluid slack management is the priority. While using traditional belay techniques, beginner and expert belayers will be able to pull the rope through the NEOX with ease—reducing the chance of short-roping your partner on lead. GRIGRI remains the smaller, lighter, and more affordable option for switching between multiple aspects and styles of climbing. Deploying specific belay techniques while lead belaying with the GRIGRI, quickly paying out slack is no problem while retaining the traditional camming action that helps capture slack. GRIGRI + is equipped with features that definitely make it optimized for a lot of top rope belaying.

NEOX Is The Continuation of A Gold Standard Legacy

Petzl created the world of cam-assisted blocking belay devices, establishing and maintaining the gold standard to which all belay devices are compared. Adding the NEOX, with its internal wheel, into the mix is only the beginning of experiencing what a belay device can do. Now is the time to personally experience the difference of what the NEOX has to offer in helping you access your inaccessible. You can find the NEOX available for purchase at your favorite Petzl dealer. If you’d like to test drive the NEOX, keep watch on the Petzl Facebook page for events where Petzl will be conducting demos.