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Grigri handling error
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w.thal


Sep 24, 2012, 8:04 AM
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Grigri handling error
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I wanted to share a mistake I made recently while belaying with a Grigri, so that others become aware of an unusual error mode -- or can call me out for being the klutz I am.

Background:
I have been climbing regularly for about two years, a lot indoors, outdoors in the summer, almost exclusively single pitch sport climbing. I would consider myself quite careful and like to be mindful about all things that can possibly go wrong while climbing. I occasionally belay with a tuber but use a Grigri (either 1 or 2) most of the time. My partner has been climbing for four years.

The situation:
My partner and I have been climbing and belaying each other in the gym for about two or three hours, mostly leading, always using a Grigri 2. Now she wanted to do a harder route in top rope. We made our usual partner check, which consists of the following:
- is it a figure eight knot, tightly dressed?
- going through the proper loops on the harness?
- is the carabiner for the Grigri locked?
- does the auto blocking work, is the rope fed in the right direction? (tested by pulling on the rope pointing to the climber.)

While taking in slack, I noticed that that took more effort than usual. Only now I realized that the carabiner didn't also go through the cover of the Grigri (the coloured plate part). She was about three meters off the ground. I immediately tell her to climb back down, while I slowly give out rope as usual.

Luckily, nothing happened. Still it is quite frightening, that I made such an error while setting up the device AND we both missed it on a routine check AND it took me three meters of rope to become aware of it while belaying. The possibility of the cover opening completely (while very unlikely in a top rope situation) would be catastrophic.

Final thoughts:
My guess is that with the rope pointing upwards (from the top rope anchor) it might have created some pressure against the latch and given the impression of it already being closed? Personally, I am still a huge fan of the Grigri. But it is a more complicated contraption that a tuber and apparently some things can be missed with a cursory glance. Also, I'm stupid. But then so are most people.

Cheers and safe climbing!


deschamps1000


Sep 24, 2012, 8:55 AM
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Re: [w.thal] Grigri handling error [In reply to]
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I saw someone with the same set-up about to self-belay up a fixed rope. It's very surprising that people don't catch this error when checking their setup.


TradEddie


Sep 24, 2012, 9:35 AM
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Re: [w.thal] Grigri handling error [In reply to]
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Can you please take a photograph of what you are trying to explain? It's hard to imagine how anyone could not notice a carabiner passing through only one plate, especially if you tested the autolock? Wouldn't the biner prevent the top plate from being in position? Not trying to be critical, just wondering if there is something that I might miss, maybe the type of biner you used contributed to the error not being immediately obvious.

Glad everything turned out okay.

TE


bearbreeder


Sep 24, 2012, 9:51 AM
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Re: [TradEddie] Grigri handling error [In reply to]
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ive seen the same happen ...


gunkiemike


Sep 26, 2012, 6:56 AM
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Re: [w.thal] Grigri handling error [In reply to]
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Disclaimer - I own a Grigri-1, and so may not be able to envision how this could be easy to do with the GG2.

But it seems to me that anyone who "checks their setup" should be able to pick this up. If you can overlook this sort of error, what's to say you wouldn't miss the fact that the biner is only clipped to the leg loop bridge of your harness? Or that the wrong strand of rope is threaded in the device? (I've seen this. Partner says, "On belay" but they have the device 10 ft from THEIR end of the rope)


habitat


Sep 26, 2012, 7:41 AM
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Re: [gunkiemike] Grigri handling error [In reply to]
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gunkiemike wrote:
Disclaimer - I own a Grigri-1, and so may not be able to envision how this could be easy to do with the GG2.

But it seems to me that anyone who "checks their setup" should be able to pick this up. If you can overlook this sort of error, what's to say you wouldn't miss the fact that the biner is only clipped to the leg loop bridge of your harness? Or that the wrong strand of rope is threaded in the device? (I've seen this. Partner says, "On belay" but they have the device 10 ft from THEIR end of the rope)


I, too have seen this error. It was on a guide's exam. Needless to say, the candidate failed. But he is still guiding---without credentials... Instead of looking at it as an expensive but valuable lesson, he basically blew it off by saying "I hate the grigri"...wrong attitude imo.

Be careful out there. Be sure to do a "function test" like the Petzl literature sez, religiously!


granite_grrl


Sep 26, 2012, 8:15 AM
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Re: [w.thal] Grigri handling error [In reply to]
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w.thal wrote:
- does the auto blocking work, is the rope fed in the right direction? (tested by pulling on the rope pointing to the climber.)

I'm surprised that this test did not demonstrait that the grigri wasn't properly closed. I test that the grigri is threaded correctly by giving a sharp pull on the climber's side of the rope and ensure that the grigri cams. Is this the same way you test?


bearbreeder


Sep 26, 2012, 9:22 AM
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Re: [granite_grrl] Grigri handling error [In reply to]
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The plate doea not need to be closes for the autolock to work


Partner cracklover


Sep 26, 2012, 9:23 AM
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Re: [w.thal] Grigri handling error [In reply to]
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I once saw someone who'd done exactly the same thing. It may be surprising, but the grigri functioned perfectly as the climber climbed all the way up to the top and then lowered back down to the ground. The belayer, IIRC, only noticed the issue mid-lower. But the grigri functioned all the way along.

I don't recall if the climber was leading or TRing. This was in the gym.

GO


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