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parseeker


Jul 4, 2013, 6:28 PM
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Weird gym lowering method. Has anybody heard of this?
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I'm having a little trouble at the gym I go to. I'm a beginner of about 3 months.

Firstly, the grigris are anchored to the floor which makes it difficult for my tall ass to use(I'm 6'6"). Also, because they are anchored to the ground, the webbing going from the grigri to the ground gets twisted up and the grigri spins around into an almost unusable position.

My main issue though, is the lowering method they teach. They teach you to take your hand off of the rope and grab the slack, putting it behind you and doing a sort of hybrid body belay with a grigri. This in combination with the low to the ground and twisted grigri makes it a bitch to belay anybody.

My second question is, why the hell do they anchor the grigris to the ground? Is it really safer? Is it normal for the grigri to be slightly below hip height?


Are there any solutions to my problem. As it is, it doesn't feel safe belaying anybody like this.


bearbreeder


Jul 4, 2013, 6:31 PM
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Belaying with the GRIGRI anchored to the ground: WARNING, Danger!


This technique is strongly discouraged because it has been the root cause of many ground falls. In fact, if the GRIGRI is positioned at the wrong height for the belayer, he risks involuntarily blocking the cam and preventing it from braking the rope.

In addition, with a GRIGRI anchored to the ground, controlling the descent is more difficult than with the GRIGRI on the belayer because the weight of the climber cannot be felt. Finally, this technique does not allow for dynamic belaying.




http://www.petzl.com/...or/grigri-experience

Wink


csproul


Jul 4, 2013, 7:03 PM
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One of our local gyms has Grigris anchored to the ground, and you also clip them to your belay loop. Wouldn't be my first choice of methods, but it works fine.

What do you mean "take your hand off of the rope"?


parseeker


Jul 4, 2013, 7:42 PM
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You have to flip the rope over your body and hold it at your hip to provide extra friction(I guess) without fidgeting with it to untangle yourself. Isn't the device supposed to provide the friction. It seems like it's overcomplicating things. Do you think I would be given shit if I used a more traditional method. Complex often means unsafe.


MrEction


Jul 5, 2013, 5:19 AM
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Flipping the brake side of the rope across your hip, and holding it beside or almost behind you was the way I was taught to descend someone with a Grigri. The device does provide friction, but you should NEVER become dependant on it. I've never thought it was that difficult, and I don't know why you would have to let go of the brake side of the rope!! Maybe it's more complicated with the grigri permanently anchored to the ground?

The gym I use has tethers to anchor YOURSELF to the ground if you're belaying someone much heavier than yourself, but they attache the grigri to the rope, and keep it closed with a ziptie.

You should see if you can't belay in a way you're more comfortable with, but don't just do it without talking to someone there first. They're usually legally obligated to make you do things a certain way for insurance reasons.

There is something to be said for comfort as long as you're still being safe, and you don't get so comfortable that you get lazy.


(This post was edited by MrEction on Jul 5, 2013, 7:20 AM)


parseeker


Jul 5, 2013, 9:35 AM
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MrEction wrote:
Flipping the brake side of the rope across your hip, and holding it beside or almost behind you was the way I was taught to descend someone with a Grigri. The device does provide friction, but you should NEVER become dependant on it. I've never thought it was that difficult, and I don't know why you would have to let go of the brake side of the rope!

That's the way that makes the most sense to me and the way I see everyone in videos do it. At this gym, they teach you to flip the brake side behind your back so it wraps around your body half way so it's tight across your back and provides friction that way. The real problem is fucking around with all of the slack to get it behind you in the first place. Then you have to reconfigure your legs around all of the slack laying on the floor.

It will look like this attached image:




(This post was edited by parseeker on Jul 5, 2013, 10:28 AM)
Attachments: lowering.png (123 KB)


kriso9tails


Jul 5, 2013, 2:06 PM
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In reply to:
They teach you to take your hand off of the rope and grab the slack, putting it behind you and doing a sort of hybrid body belay with a grigri.

It's unnecessary to take your hand of the brake side of the rope. You have two hands. You can manage to always keep one on.

More importantly, it is unnecessary (or rather against intended use) to pass the rope behind your back. The rope should be running down over the curved edge of the device. Petzl's instructions can be found here with a picture on page 4 and a written description on page 5.
In reply to:
My second question is, why the hell do they anchor the grigris to the ground?

Different gyms have different reasons. It could be they want to trust you as little as possible with regard to setting up the belay. It could be they want the belay stations to stay in a tightly fixed spot if space is limited. It could be they think it is a more comfortable belay set up to run from a floor anchor than off the harness. It could be they think it is safer.

In reply to:
Is it really safer?

No. As long as the anchor is set correctly, it shouldn't be less safe for top-roping in the gym either. The rope behind the back... I'd say that is less safe than using the device as Petzl intended. I wouldn't do it. Why would I want a coarse rope running across my clothes or my body for no damn reason?

In reply to:
Is it normal for the grigri to be slightly below hip height?

It is if you are 6'6 belaying from a floor anchor at a gym. In most other contexts, ideally you would not be belaying from that position, but if it is only slightly below, you should be able to lower competently.

In reply to:
Are there any solutions to my problem.

You'll have to adapt, or discuss it with the gym's manager. In terms of the anchor twisting, that's bound to happen with permanent tr set ups. The rope will start to twist which will result in the anchor twisting with it. You or the gym's staff need to let the rope untwist and straighten out the anchors periodically to keep if from getting to severe. I doubt they would yield on their anchor set up, but the brake hand position during lowering is a different matter. If you don't feel you have enough experience to back up your position, consider printing out the pdf in the link above and say, "This is how the manufacturer intended lowering and that is how I feel comfortable doing it".


(This post was edited by kriso9tails on Jul 5, 2013, 2:08 PM)


dugl33


Jul 5, 2013, 11:16 PM
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Props to bear for posting the petzl documentation and to the OP, as a beginner, for posting the question.

Nothing you've described is remotely normal and is probably some misguided effort by the liability insurance morons to dumb down belaying and make you "safe".

Your Grigri or ATC belongs on the belay loop of your harness attached with a suitable locking carabiner. The ground anchor is unnecessary and useless unless you are significantly lighter than your partner, and should only be used to anchor yourself down in those circumstances.

A Grigri in the hands of a beginner can result in dropped climbers due to "whiskey throttle", but this risk should be mitigated through proper instruction, testing, and certification - not a damn hip belay.

-end of rant-

You might want to find another gym.


majid_sabet


Jul 6, 2013, 8:20 AM
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parseeker wrote:
MrEction wrote:
Flipping the brake side of the rope across your hip, and holding it beside or almost behind you was the way I was taught to descend someone with a Grigri. The device does provide friction, but you should NEVER become dependant on it. I've never thought it was that difficult, and I don't know why you would have to let go of the brake side of the rope!

That's the way that makes the most sense to me and the way I see everyone in videos do it. At this gym, they teach you to flip the brake side behind your back so it wraps around your body half way so it's tight across your back and provides friction that way. The real problem is fucking around with all of the slack to get it behind you in the first place. Then you have to reconfigure your legs around all of the slack laying on the floor.

It will look like this attached image:

[image]http://img199.imageshack.us/img199/6176/fr5i.png[/image]

I thought I was bad in drawing but you are the worse I have ever seen in RC


lena_chita
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Jul 6, 2013, 10:42 AM
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Just because the gri-gris are anchored to the floor as a default, doesn't mean that you cannot take them off the anchor, place the biner on your belay loop, belay the climber, and then, when you are done, remove the gri-gri and the biner from your harness and anchor it back to the floor anchor.

I am guessing that it is done that way so there is a gri-gri at every station, and the gym patrons don't have to provide their own belay devices, nor do they walk away with gym gri-gris by accident.

I have only seen this sort of setup on topropes, in places where they have a lot of young/lightweight kids belaying. So for them it is probably positioned just right, so they can clip the biner to their harness without unclipping it from the floor anchor, and are anchored to the floor AND also belaying from their harness.

It is not a good setup, and the lowering method sounds pretty screwy.


parseeker


Jul 6, 2013, 3:21 PM
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lena_chita wrote:
Just because the gri-gris are anchored to the floor as a default, doesn't mean that you cannot take them off the anchor, place the biner on your belay loop, belay the climber, and then, when you are done, remove the gri-gri and the biner from your harness and anchor it back to the floor anchor.

I am guessing that it is done that way so there is a gri-gri at every station, and the gym patrons don't have to provide their own belay devices, nor do they walk away with gym gri-gris by accident.

I have only seen this sort of setup on topropes, in places where they have a lot of young/lightweight kids belaying. So for them it is probably positioned just right, so they can clip the biner to their harness without unclipping it from the floor anchor, and are anchored to the floor AND also belaying from their harness.

It is not a good setup, and the lowering method sounds pretty screwy.

Thanks for your reply but you're wrong. There is no biner. There is a quicklink attached to the grigri with webbing going from the quicklink to two eyelets in the floor.

I understand what you're saying. It's a stupid setup, I know. I doubt a kid at a birthday party is going to be climbing 5.11 all of a sudden. They have the same setup on all of the routes, not just the ones resembling ladders.


bearbreeder


Jul 6, 2013, 10:35 PM
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parseeker wrote:

Thanks for your reply but you're wrong. There is no biner. There is a quicklink attached to the grigri with webbing going from the quicklink to two eyelets in the floor.

I understand what you're saying. It's a stupid setup, I know. I doubt a kid at a birthday party is going to be climbing 5.11 all of a sudden. They have the same setup on all of the routes, not just the ones resembling ladders.

does the gym know that they are going against petz's recommendation for usage?

Wink


avalon420


Jul 6, 2013, 11:18 PM
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dugl33 wrote:
Props to bear for posting the petzl documentation and to the OP, as a beginner, for posting the question.

Nothing you've described is remotely normal and is probably some misguided effort by the liability insurance morons to dumb down belaying and make you "safe".

Your Grigri or ATC belongs on the belay loop of your harness attached with a suitable locking carabiner. The ground anchor is unnecessary and useless unless you are significantly lighter than your partner, and should only be used to anchor yourself down in those circumstances.

A Grigri in the hands of a beginner can result in dropped climbers due to "whiskey throttle", but this risk should be mitigated through proper instruction, testing, and certification - not a damn hip belay.

-end of rant-

You might want to find another gym.
YES!


USnavy


Jul 8, 2013, 12:01 AM
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dugl33 wrote:
Nothing you've described is remotely normal and is probably some misguided effort by the liability insurance morons to dumb down belaying and make you "safe".
I dont think it is the insurance, it is probably the staff that are idiots (most gym-staff members are as inexperienced as many of their members). I hear "our insurance makes us" all the time in the gym, but I think that is a bullshit. Insurance companies are not qualified to write policy on esoteric rock climbing procedures and they know it, and I strongly doubt insurance companies get involved to the level that they are telling gyms how their members have to belay.


(This post was edited by USnavy on Jul 8, 2013, 12:03 AM)


granite_grrl


Jul 8, 2013, 7:35 AM
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parseeker wrote:
lena_chita wrote:
Just because the gri-gris are anchored to the floor as a default, doesn't mean that you cannot take them off the anchor, place the biner on your belay loop, belay the climber, and then, when you are done, remove the gri-gri and the biner from your harness and anchor it back to the floor anchor.

I am guessing that it is done that way so there is a gri-gri at every station, and the gym patrons don't have to provide their own belay devices, nor do they walk away with gym gri-gris by accident.

I have only seen this sort of setup on topropes, in places where they have a lot of young/lightweight kids belaying. So for them it is probably positioned just right, so they can clip the biner to their harness without unclipping it from the floor anchor, and are anchored to the floor AND also belaying from their harness.

It is not a good setup, and the lowering method sounds pretty screwy.

Thanks for your reply but you're wrong. There is no biner. There is a quicklink attached to the grigri with webbing going from the quicklink to two eyelets in the floor.

I understand what you're saying. It's a stupid setup, I know. I doubt a kid at a birthday party is going to be climbing 5.11 all of a sudden. They have the same setup on all of the routes, not just the ones resembling ladders.

I have climbed at a gym with this kind of setup, and it sucks, but what can you do. I find that it is significantly harder to control the rope when lowering with a grigri mounted so low.

I can't remember if it was something we were told to do or if it just became obvious as I belayed, but I would almost always toss my brake hand behind me a little and get a little more friction from my hip. This is a similar idea to what your diagram shows, but a lot less messed up. In my senario I keep the rope on the right wide of the grigri, with my right hand, and just pull it a little behind me on my right side.

Sounds like your gym identified the control problem with grigri mounted so low and then went a little over board with the solution.


granite_grrl


Jul 8, 2013, 7:44 AM
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And as for your second question (anchoring the grigri to the ground)....I would guess it’s just something that mandated by their insurance company. They are probably so low because they need to be at hip height of the shortest person that may use them (I’m thinking of maybe a 4’10” woman or perhaps even a kid depending on the age limitations your gym has).

yes, it sucks, but climbing gyms are ruled be insurance companies and I find there are always hoop to jump through at any commercial gym I've climbed at.


qwert


Jul 9, 2013, 12:27 PM
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dugl33 wrote:
You might want to find another gym.
This.
though i would replace "might want" with "must".

I would refuse to climb in a gym with such a lack of understanding about climbing safety procedure.

god knows what ideas those morons had for their anchors…

qwert


meanandugly


Jul 9, 2013, 1:00 PM
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I think I know the gym you're talking about and the set-up was mandated for two reasons: insurance and teaching parents to belay for their kids at birthday parties, but this gym is making the transition to a bouldering gym. The only people belaying are school groups and birthday parties. I always pushed to have belaying from the harness for the regulars and we could attach it to the floor for groups, but it fell on deaf ears.


granite_grrl


Jul 9, 2013, 7:01 PM
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meanandugly wrote:
I think I know the gym you're talking about and the set-up was mandated for two reasons: insurance and teaching parents to belay for their kids at birthday parties, but this gym is making the transition to a bouldering gym. The only people belaying are school groups and birthday parties. I always pushed to have belaying from the harness for the regulars and we could attach it to the floor for groups, but it fell on deaf ears.

I was actually thinking of Gravity Climbing Gym in Hamilton, but it's probably for the same reasons (mandated by insurance mostly).

It is what it is. Like I said, I always feel like I'm in some sort of circus act when I visit a new gym.


kriso9tails


Jul 11, 2013, 12:09 PM
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When a gym says 'insurance mandate' it often seems like a half truth which can be taken as "I don't want to get into explaining it". Insurance companies likely don't know a great deal about climbing and what does or does not need to be done for safety. Even if they've done their research, I'd wager a clever guy like Reid could get an insurer to see his way on such minor issues if that's not the way he wanted to set up belay stations.


granite_grrl


Jul 11, 2013, 2:01 PM
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kriso9tails wrote:
When a gym says 'insurance mandate' it often seems like a half truth which can be taken as "I don't want to get into explaining it". Insurance companies likely don't know a great deal about climbing and what does or does not need to be done for safety. Even if they've done their research, I'd wager a clever guy like Reid could get an insurer to see his way on such minor issues if that's not the way he wanted to set up belay stations.

I think you're right and I'm sure Reid has his reasons for using them, I just wasn't going to go into speculation on what those might be.


meanandugly


Jul 11, 2013, 4:26 PM
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There are others who bolt to the floor and insurance was the main reason...only because 'they' think it is the safer choice. Why would a gym owner argue when it will result in higher premimums.


kriso9tails


Jul 11, 2013, 4:34 PM
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You're assuming it actually does result in higher insurance premiums. Why would an insurer insist on a practice that granular in a niche activity outside of their expertise which, as research would indicate, is not likely to be safer? How would an insurer even contrive that guideline?

I'm not saying it's impossible, but it seems unlikely. I could see a gym owner saying 'Look, we reduced risk by doing this," to an insurer, but the reverse seems less likely.


meanandugly


Jul 11, 2013, 5:41 PM
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I am assuming nothing. I have worked in the industry and have witnessed it 1st hand and thought it was one most stupid things I've seen. The insurer's reasoning, though flawed, was that it would cut down on human errors. Research was presented, but ignored for other flawed reasons.
There was a time when insurance companies were new to this and making up rules to protect their bottom dollar and if this is how your gym got started then you were given their rules to follow. When I first went to fet life insurance, I was askd how many ropes I used. When I answered "1" I was told that they would not insure anyone using less than 2 ropes...I went elsewhere.


kriso9tails


Jul 11, 2013, 6:01 PM
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You dealt directly with the insurer yourself? What was the difference in premiums for floor anchors vs. no floor anchors?

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