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saint_john


Mar 5, 2012, 8:21 AM
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Learning to lead with a Grigri?
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My partner and I have been toproping for a few weeks (and bouldering for 18 months) and plan on taking a lead class late this month. We've been TR'ing with an ATC.
Is there any reason not to get a Grigri 2 now and learn how to use it before we start leading?
Would it be better to learn to lead with the ATC then switch to the Grigri at some point down the road?


lena_chita
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Mar 5, 2012, 8:35 AM
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Re: [saint_john] Learning to lead with a Grigri? [In reply to]
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Up to you, really. You already have a belay device.

Couple things to ask, before you run out and buy that new toy:

1) does the gym where you are taking that lead class have any rules about what belay device they want you to use? Our gym, for example, insists on making sure people can belay with an ATC. You use an ATC for a belay test, no exceptions.

The majority of things you will learn in lead class have absolutely nothing to do with the belay device you are using. You can learn with an ATC, and then switch to a gri-gri later. IMO, it is easier to take someone who is a proficient belayer with an ATC, and teach them how to use a gri-gri safely, than it is to take someone who has only ever belayed with a gri-gri and teach them to be a safe belayer with an ATC.

But, if the gym uses grigri as their default belay device for lead climbing, and that is how you learn to lead belay, then get a gri-gri.


2) what sort of climbing do you see yourself doing in the future. Any chance that you would be using double ropes, for example? Then practicing lead belaying with an ATC is a good idea.


edge


Mar 5, 2012, 8:51 AM
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Re: [lena_chita] Learning to lead with a Grigri? [In reply to]
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Sport or trad?

What advantage do you see the Grigri offering you if you are already proficient (presumably) with the ATC?

Otherwise, Lena nailed it.


saint_john


Mar 5, 2012, 9:15 AM
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Re: [edge] Learning to lead with a Grigri? [In reply to]
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edge wrote:
Sport or trad?

What advantage do you see the Grigri offering you if you are already proficient (presumably) with the ATC?

Otherwise, Lena nailed it.

Thanks for your replies.

-We plan on sport climbing.

-The immediate advantages I think I'd gain with a Grigri are the assisted braking and descent control.
Also, I imagine that as our lead climbing progresses the faster slack-feeding of the Grigri will be nice.


edge


Mar 5, 2012, 9:25 AM
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Re: [saint_john] Learning to lead with a Grigri? [In reply to]
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saint_john wrote:
edge wrote:
Sport or trad?

What advantage do you see the Grigri offering you if you are already proficient (presumably) with the ATC?

Otherwise, Lena nailed it.

Thanks for your replies.

-We plan on sport climbing.

-The immediate advantages I think I'd gain with a Grigri are the assisted braking and descent control.
Also, I imagine that as our lead climbing progresses the faster slack-feeding of the Grigri will be nice.

Well, Grigris are certainly popular for sport, although I still prefer my ATC guide for almost every scenario. Then again, with either device I concentrate fully on the job at hand and never remove my brake hand from the rope, so I find the subtleties of the ATC to be much more user friendly plus weigh a whole lot less. This is especially important in multi-pitch although you will doubtless find other opinions. As Lena mentioned, if and when you ever need to belay on double ropes, the Grigri will not work.

I'll give you the assisted braking, but I find the ATC to offer a much smoother descent, as well as slack feeding. When feeding out slack with the Grigri you are constantly working against the very built-in braking assist you mentioned earlier.


Partner cracklover


Mar 5, 2012, 9:58 AM
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Re: [lena_chita] Learning to lead with a Grigri? [In reply to]
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lena_chita wrote:
Up to you, really. You already have a belay device.

<snip>

The majority of things you will learn in lead class have absolutely nothing to do with the belay device you are using. You can learn with an ATC, and then switch to a gri-gri later. IMO, it is easier to take someone who is a proficient belayer with an ATC, and teach them how to use a gri-gri safely, than it is to take someone who has only ever belayed with a gri-gri and teach them to be a safe belayer with an ATC.

This ^^^


(This post was edited by cracklover on Mar 5, 2012, 9:58 AM)


bearbreeder


Mar 5, 2012, 10:13 AM
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Re: [saint_john] Learning to lead with a Grigri? [In reply to]
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i personally would recommend starting out with an ATC ... its the more common and simpler device and when you do bigger and better things the skill will serve you well

nothing wrong with a gri gri ... but the atc IMO forces you to pay more attention when starting out ...

i personally use a mammut smart ... but i pull out my ATC every so often to keep the muscle memory current ...


Partner j_ung


Mar 5, 2012, 10:57 AM
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Re: [saint_john] Learning to lead with a Grigri? [In reply to]
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saint_john wrote:
My partner and I have been toproping for a few weeks (and bouldering for 18 months) and plan on taking a lead class late this month. We've been TR'ing with an ATC.
Is there any reason not to get a Grigri 2 now and learn how to use it before we start leading?
Would it be better to learn to lead with the ATC then switch to the Grigri at some point down the road?

There appears to be a foregone conclusion that you'll need to switch to a Gri-gri at some point, which isn't the case. You can switch if you want to, but it certainly isn't a requirement for lead climbing.


herites


Mar 5, 2012, 12:34 PM
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Re: [saint_john] Learning to lead with a Grigri? [In reply to]
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Learn how to bekay properly with an ATC, then buy a grigri if you feel the need for it. It comes in handy in a few situations, but it won't make your life easier. Harder to pay out slack, worse lowering and overall a bit harder to handle.


lena_chita
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Mar 5, 2012, 1:00 PM
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Re: [herites] Learning to lead with a Grigri? [In reply to]
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herites wrote:
Learn how to bekay properly with an ATC, then buy a grigri if you feel the need for it. It comes in handy in a few situations, but it won't make your life easier. Harder to pay out slack, worse lowering and overall a bit harder to handle.

LOL, now the thread turns into gri-gri hating, and that was definitely not my mindset when I answered.

Gri-gri is not any harder to handle than ATC. If you think so, you may not have had enough time or desire to practice using it. Which is O.K., of course, you don't have to use it.

I personally have learned to belay with an ATC, and used it exclusively for couple of years.

Most people who do a lot of sport climbing and, more specifically, projecting, turn to some sort of locking-assist device for a reason. It IS more convenient. I now use a gri-gri myself, and it is my default belay device, unless I really need an ATC.

I simply believe that it is good to learn how to use an ATC because of it's versatility and because it really drives home that fact that your brake hand is the only thing that is keeping the climber off the deck, and that belaying is serious business. The transition to another belay device, if desired, can happen later, so since the OP already has an ATC, it seems like a clear decision for me to just go with it for now. There are no drawbacks to this decision, and the belay skills learned with an ATC will not hinder him in any way if he decides to change later.


herites


Mar 5, 2012, 1:12 PM
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Re: [lena_chita] Learning to lead with a Grigri? [In reply to]
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It IS harder to handle than an ATC, especially when you aren't familiar with it. You don't just pull through slack for example. Lowering ain't that simple either. You have to actually learn and practice how to use the device, unlike the ATC which is really simple. I wrote that it's good in a few situation, and I had the exact same things in mind that you've written. It's good when your partner or you want to work a route, also for TR selfbelay and as an ascender. You can get along with an ATC perfectly fine, you, me and a lot of others did it.
Also, if you learn to belay with a grigri you may pick up bad habits, which is why I'm against it. For me the grigri is an advanced tool, which you buy after a while, when you actually feel the need for it, not a default belay device. Also, you can't rap with a grigri, so you can't clean your TR anchors if there's no walkoff.
TL, DR version: buy the grigri when you don't ask questions like "should I buy a grigri?"


bearbreeder


Mar 5, 2012, 1:23 PM
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Re: [herites] Learning to lead with a Grigri? [In reply to]
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herites wrote:
You have to actually learn and practice how to use the device, unlike the ATC which is really simple.

bull

you need to learn and practice with ANY device .... even a munter

but ESPECIALLY with an ATC ... if you screw up yr partner is dead ... an assisted locker gives you a chance that the device may still catch ... not that you should screw up with one

learn and practice on ANY device or method you plan to use ...


herites


Mar 5, 2012, 1:27 PM
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Re: [bearbreeder] Learning to lead with a Grigri? [In reply to]
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Don't take it out of the context, I mean the ATC is more intuitive and easier to use properly than the grigri, also it teaches you responsibility from the start, you can't make mistakes with it.


olderic


Mar 5, 2012, 1:49 PM
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Re: [bearbreeder] Learning to lead with a Grigri? [In reply to]
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bearbreeder wrote:
herites wrote:
You have to actually learn and practice how to use the device, unlike the ATC which is really simple.

bull

you need to learn and practice with ANY device .... even a munter

but ESPECIALLY with an ATC ... if you screw up yr partner is dead ... an assisted locker gives you a chance that the device may still catch ... not that you should screw up with one

learn and practice on ANY device or method you plan to use ...

This reply is closest to the mark yet. You can get proficient with any device with practice - so that type of device seems "easiest" to YOU, and everyone who claims otherwise obviously doesn't have your expertise with the device. (although the truth is that an ATC is easier, more versatile and more intuitive for most people). What is true is that a Gri-Gri type device will give the climber a lot better chance if the belayer gets konked on the head. Probably not a lot of rockfall in your gym though.


potreroed


Mar 5, 2012, 3:05 PM
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Re: [saint_john] Learning to lead with a Grigri? [In reply to]
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If you can afford it, get the gri-gri and learn how to use it. Also learn the Munter hitch and how to make a descending device out of carabiners. Also, get out of the gym and onto real rock as soon as you can.


Rmsyll2


Mar 5, 2012, 5:54 PM
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Re: Learning to lead with a Grigri? [In reply to]
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Lena said "IMO, it is easier to take someone who is a proficient belayer with an ATC, and teach them how to use a gri-gri safely, than it is to take someone who has only ever belayed with a gri-gri and teach them to be a safe belayer with an ATC."

That is a very common comment here re Grigri in particular, although there are other cam devices used. That may be because so many indoor places use them, and in my limited exposure seem to teach what imo is very bad technique. I deliberately started belaying with a Grigri in order to be practicing proper technique for a tube device while having no chance of dropping a fall. It is not the device that forces people to use bad technique, and bad technique is used with tube devices too. I do not believe that any part of safe belaying is "intuitive". All of it can be done poorly, and likely will be without careful instruction and careful practice practice practice. Yes, people have been dropped with a Grigri -- but not while practicing good technique.

Giving slack with a Grigri is specifically difficult, and a potential hazard. I have yet to see two people use a Grigri for lead belay quite the same way for releasing the cam to give slack. I also find that the device is banging into my hand more than my hand banging into the device. But so many people do lead belay with a Grigri, that there must be some general notion of some advantage.

.


herites


Mar 5, 2012, 11:25 PM
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Re: [Rmsyll2] Learning to lead with a Grigri? [In reply to]
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Rmsyll2 wrote:
Lena said "IMO, it is easier to take someone who is a proficient belayer with an ATC, and teach them how to use a gri-gri safely, than it is to take someone who has only ever belayed with a gri-gri and teach them to be a safe belayer with an ATC."

That is a very common comment here re Grigri in particular, although there are other cam devices used. That may be because so many indoor places use them, and in my limited exposure seem to teach what imo is very bad technique. I deliberately started belaying with a Grigri in order to be practicing proper technique for a tube device while having no chance of dropping a fall. It is not the device that forces people to use bad technique, and bad technique is used with tube devices too. I do not believe that any part of safe belaying is "intuitive". All of it can be done poorly, and likely will be without careful instruction and careful practice practice practice. Yes, people have been dropped with a Grigri -- but not while practicing good technique.

Giving slack with a Grigri is specifically difficult, and a potential hazard. I have yet to see two people use a Grigri for lead belay quite the same way for releasing the cam to give slack. I also find that the device is banging into my hand more than my hand banging into the device. But so many people do lead belay with a Grigri, that there must be some general notion of some advantage.

.

The grigri doesn't force you to keep your brake hand below the device. In fact, it's easier to use it the unsafe way, keeping your brake hand above it, so it kinda forces bad technique in beginners if they are left alone. Sure, the gym is somewhat responsible, but if they teach with an ATC then it forces the proper way from the start. Because of this, the ATC is more intuitive, you make a mistake, you instantly get the message "this isn't working the way it should" With the ATC you can lower with one hand, or do hand-over-hand at the beginning, which is IMO safer than the grigri where there's one hand controlling the rope, the other is busy with the lever (also, if something goes wrong usual human reaction isn't to drop it, it's rather grip it, which makes the grigri even more dangerous in the hands of a newbie)


blueeyedclimber


Mar 6, 2012, 5:27 AM
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Re: [olderic] Learning to lead with a Grigri? [In reply to]
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olderic wrote:
Probably not a lot of rockfall in your gym though.

Rockfall? No. Crazy route setters without regard for dropping shit? Yes. Cool

Josh


bearbreeder


Mar 6, 2012, 6:57 AM
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Re: [herites] Learning to lead with a Grigri? [In reply to]
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herites wrote:
Because of this, the ATC is more intuitive, you make a mistake, you instantly get the message "this isn't working the way it should"

you make a mistake with an ATC and yr partner gets the message ... instantly ... and perhaps permanently ...

do not make a mistake with any belay device or technique you are using ... the only way to avoid this is repetitive training over and over again ..


jt512


Mar 6, 2012, 10:16 AM
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Re: [herites] Learning to lead with a Grigri? [In reply to]
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herites wrote:

The grigri doesn't force you to keep your brake hand below the device. In fact, it's easier to use it the unsafe way, keeping your brake hand above it, so it kinda forces bad technique in beginners if they are left alone. Sure, the gym is somewhat responsible, but if they teach with an ATC then it forces the proper way from the start.

My old gym was a grigri-only gym, and they taught a belay technique that would be patently dangerous if used with an ATC. They did not stress braking with the brake hand in the locked-off position by the hip, and they even taught that if "everything goes wrong" to let go with both hands. Someone who was taught to belay this way would have some horrific habits to unlearn if they were to transition to an ATC. On the other hand, an ATC-trained belayer could use pure ATC technique safely with a grigri until they got the hang of the finer points of belaying with the new device.

So, my advice to the OP: Learn on the ATC first. You can always change over to the Grigri. Going in the other direction is trickier.

Jay


GeckoBat


Mar 6, 2012, 11:18 AM
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Re: [saint_john] Learning to lead with a Grigri? [In reply to]
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I learned to belay on an ATC almost 17 years ago. I belayed with it when I eventually learned to lead belay. As I got more comfortable with lead belaying, I switched to a Grigri. It was convenient when we'd work routes & hang for extended periods of time. Having recently returned to climbing after a considerable absence, my motor memory remains and my natural tendency to lock my brake hand downward when I sense a potential fall also remains. I use a Trango Cinch. I have the Grigri2 in my kit but find myself often reaching for the Cinch. IMO it isn't a gear issue but more a training issue as most of the posts here have indicated.

What I've noticed with some new climbers/belayers is a lack of understanding in the device's friction management of the rope. A friend that recently joined the climbing community is reluctant to belay with the ATC because she learned and certified on the Grigri2 Shocked -- a testament to the lack of emphasis in explaining to the new climber how some of these devices do their job (possibly a laziness on the part of the new climber to learn about their gear).

Perhaps my extensive use of the ATC promoted good habits because I won't let go of the rope with my brake hand even when the auto locking device is locked -- it just feels absolutely foreign to me. Under stress, you will default to your lowest level of training.


Partner cracklover


Mar 6, 2012, 12:25 PM
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Re: [GeckoBat] Learning to lead with a Grigri? [In reply to]
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GeckoBat wrote:
Under stress, you will default to your lowest level of training.

My concern isn't so much about what you'll do under stress, but what you'll do under distracted, lazy, or bored.

That's when I see many otherwise competent gri-gri users take their brake hand off the rope. Especially when the device is locked (the climber is hanging). Most of the time it works out fine. But if the climber were to pull up a little and then fall... it could get ugly.

GO


overlord


Mar 7, 2012, 8:29 AM
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Re: [cracklover] Learning to lead with a Grigri? [In reply to]
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+1 to all atc first posts.

both devices have their pros and cons, but there is one huge difference. when belaying with a non-locking device (such as an atc), you REALLY need to pay constant attention to your leader. and if he/she falls, you have to lock off the brake end of the rope.

i'm not saying that you do not need to pay constant attention to the lead climber when using a gri-gri or similar device. you should. but in my experience, most climbers who learned to belay with such a device are really lazy belayers. they tend to have too much slack out, chat with ppl etc. and they do not have a hand on the brake end of the rope at all times. because they rely on the device to catch a fall.

what happens if you thread the rope into a grigri the wrong way? it acts pretty much as an atc. so, if you are prepared for it, you can still lock off. if you're relying on the device, the leader is a pancake.


saint_john


Mar 7, 2012, 8:45 AM
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Re: [overlord] Learning to lead with a Grigri? [In reply to]
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I'll stick with the ATC for a while, and get the grigri if I feel the assisted baking is truly worth $100.


(This post was edited by saint_john on Mar 7, 2012, 8:54 AM)


herites


Mar 7, 2012, 10:40 AM
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Re: [saint_john] Learning to lead with a Grigri? [In reply to]
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saint_john wrote:
I'll stick with the ATC for a while, and get the grigri if I feel the assisted baking is truly worth $100.

Assisted baking is really useful, especially if you arentt that good in the kitchen :)


(This post was edited by herites on Mar 7, 2012, 10:41 AM)

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