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chodeman


Apr 25, 2004, 8:37 PM
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Gri Gri failures
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I just learned how to lead climb and when i took the class my instructor informed us of the possibility of a gri gri not catching a lead fall. He said there is the possibility of the rope just slipping right through and not locking down, actually he said he saw it happen in the gym once and the guy decked. SO i was curious as to how often you hear of this happening?


boltdude


Apr 25, 2004, 9:18 PM
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Gri-gri's are designed for 10-11mm ropes, if you use skinnier ones - especially when the ropes are new - they can definitely slip. Dry treated ropes are even more slippery.

Also, old gri-gri's can wear down to the point where they don't catch, my old one slips on an old 11mm dynamic rope and won't hold at all on a new 10mm. It's in the Thailand pile, ropes get very fat and sticky over there and it catches fine...


roughster


Apr 25, 2004, 9:31 PM
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When that happens it is usually the belayers fault. Often times people will grip the "lead" end of the rope (left hand for aright handed belayer) hard enough during a fall that the gri gri will not engage. However, as the full load of the fall becomes too much for the grip of the belayer, the rope rips out of the persons left hand, however enough of the force is dissapaited to the point where the gri gri will not lock.


elvis


Apr 25, 2004, 10:21 PM
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I have had a belay grab the Gri Gri in panic when I fell and stopping it from camming and catching the rope I fell all the way down the route and through a small tree which stopped me from breaking any bones Once again not really a GRi Gri failure but more a Human error . I still use it and have been for almost 7 years now I use it for belaying leaders seconds toproping rappelling while crowbar cleaning and jugging up fixed ropes and have never had a problem its a great piece of gear. I learnt that they are not idiot proof (there is always a bigger idiot)


organic


Apr 25, 2004, 10:34 PM
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If you hold it upside down even with the cam up about 50% of the time it seems to not engage, kind of weird. Did a few experiments with this, check it out and make sure you know exactly how it works before using it so you know what not to do. I have only heard of problems with them on lead belay also because of the varying grip positioning.


mach_y


Apr 26, 2004, 10:15 AM
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Recently I was outdoors and a friend could not finish the top of a 10d (just burned out), so I offered to finish the top (I'd only led a 5.7 at that point, but can climb 10+ on TR) as I was not worried about a ground fall being top roped almost the entire way. My wife had me on belay, and I didn't realize she put me on a gri-gri (she's been climbing longer than I too). When I went for the final move (about 5 feet above the last draw), she didn't give any slack (harder to do with a Gri-gri), she pulled me off the wall. Instead of falling 10 feet plus rope stretch, when she braked, the rope went over the handle release of the gri-gri and kept it open. By the time she realized this and fixed it, I fell nearly 30 feet (my first lead fall, ahh!). I didn't deck, but it certainly gave me quite the scare (her too).

Lesson learned for us: we leave the gri-gri at home and only use it for indoor climbing.


sarcat


Apr 26, 2004, 10:20 AM
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If the rope ane Gri-Gri are orintated properly how can the rope go "over the handle release? My guess she is left handed or belays left handed. For right handed belayers I find the Gri-Gri safe. If left handed DON'T USE IT with the rope out over the left side.


ctclimbz


Apr 26, 2004, 10:22 AM
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Lesson learned for us: we leave the gri-gri at home and only use it for indoor climbing.

This is a lousy lesson to learn from your wife's mistake. A gri-gri, when used by somebody who knows how to use it, is one of the safest belay devices out there, and makes up for a lot of the user error described in the posts above when used as intended. While I have both seen and been the recipient of gri-gri related errors, this has not deterred me from expanding my knowledge about using an extremely capable, effective device in its many differing, applicable situations. You should learn to use the gri-gri correctly and effectively rather than ignoring your mistakes.


jt512


Apr 26, 2004, 10:23 AM
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In reply to:
...I didn't realize she put me on a gri-gri...

Nice job of double checking each other!

In reply to:
...when she braked, the rope went over the handle release of the gri-gri and kept it open.

I'm having trouble picturing how that could happen. Did she have the grigri upside down? Was it it attached to her belay loop or through her harness tie-in points?

In reply to:
Lesson learned for us: we leave the gri-gri at home and only use it for indoor climbing.

What made you come to that conclusion? Why do you think your wife will be less likely to mis-handle her grigri indoors than out?

-Jay


Partner jammer


Apr 26, 2004, 10:45 AM
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I tried a gri-gri on a 9.5 mm rope and it is no good. Use an ATC or other belaying devices when using smaller diameter ropes. I agree that it should be a 10.5 mm or higher. Other then the size of the rope, I've heard of nothing else except user error.


ricardol


Apr 26, 2004, 10:59 AM
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grigri's work fine as long as you

1 - use a thick enough rope .. 11mm is what i use with a grigri
2 - make sure its threaded correctly
3 - dont hold on to the cam while catching a fall ..

.. i think that summarizes it ..

.. also if you solo with it, tie a backup knot.. (that goes for any solo device) .. i liked the grigri for soloing, it was simple, and i could use it to rappel also .. it's held all 5 of my aid lead falls. (solo).

-- ricardo


jt512


Apr 26, 2004, 11:11 AM
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I tried a gri-gri on a 9.5 mm rope and it is no good. Use an ATC or other belaying devices when using smaller diameter ropes. I agree that it should be a 10.5 mm or higher. Other then the size of the rope, I've heard of nothing else except user error.

What is it about grigri threads that brings the misinformed out of the woodwork? Petzl appproves grigris down to 9.7 mm ropes. If you know how to properly use the device it will work; if you don't, use an ATC or stay home.

-Jay


crimpergirl


Apr 26, 2004, 11:13 AM
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I cringe when I see a thread like this because they tend to follow the same structure: One poster says there was an accident with a grigri, and that the belayer did everything correctly. Most following posts blame the belayer and state that grigri cannot fail. End of story.

I think such uninformed responses end any meaningful dialogue on potential problems of grigris and everyone fails to learn from experiences of others. Well, except the original poster who learns to never ever mention it again.

Yes, many "grigri" problems are the result of poor belaying - but not all of them. Check out this url for some great information on grigris and accidents.

http://www.thebmc.co.uk/safety/tech/articles/grigri.pdf


curt


Apr 26, 2004, 11:34 AM
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In reply to:
Yes, many "grigri" problems are the result of poor belaying - but not all of them. Check out this url for some great information on grigris and accidents.

http://www.thebmc.co.uk/safety/tech/articles/grigri.pdf

Sorry, but every accident cited in that article was a result of belayer error. Belay devices don't kill people--bad belayers kill people.

Curt


Partner jammer


Apr 26, 2004, 11:40 AM
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More of a reason to hear real life experiences and decide if this climbing tool, and that's all it is, is for you or not. Buying something blindly is never wise. Every tool we use in climbing has it's limitations.


texastechclimber


Apr 26, 2004, 12:01 PM
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I have a 9.8 and a 10.2 mm rope and have never had any problems with the GriGri not catching on toperope, lead, or solo. They fail because of human error. Just because you have a GriGri does not mean you can belay hands free. The belayer should always keep a hand on the ground side of the rope just like you would an ATC. If this is done and the GriGri is loaded correctly and clipped into the belay loop right side up, I dont see how it is possible for it to fail unless the belayer is a moron and holds the cam in the open position with the other hand. I'd say its pretty idiot proof. If you cant figure this out then you should probably find a different sport. Climbing requires common sense; those that dont have it are likely to get someone killed.


Partner jammer


Apr 26, 2004, 12:08 PM
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In reply to:
I have a 9.8 and a 10.2 mm rope and have never had any problems with the GriGri not catching on toperope, lead, or solo. They fail because of human error. Just because you have a GriGri does not mean you can belay hands free. The belayer should always keep a hand on the ground side of the rope just like you would an ATC. If this is done and the GriGri is loaded correctly and clipped into the belay loop right side up, I dont see how it is possible for it to fail unless the belayer is a moron and holds the cam in the open position with the other hand. I'd say its pretty idiot proof. If you cant figure this out then you should probably find a different sport. Climbing requires common sense; those that dont have it are likely to get someone killed.

Let me get this right ... idiots can use it but morons shouldn't ... I bow down to another self centered sonofabeach who thinks the world evolves around their beliefs. :wtf: Sheet happens. Be glad it hasn't happened to you.


pyrosis


Apr 26, 2004, 12:33 PM
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The only time I've ever decked while on rope was on top rope and the belayer (a beginner) was belaying with a gri gri. I got to the top of the climb and said, okay lower. The belayer pulled the lever to release me, and I started to accellerate towards the ground. Then the belayer panicked and attempted to slow me down by pulling harder on the lever. I fell faster, and went right into the ground from about 35 feet up. Now, while this was certainly my belayers fault and it happened seven years ago, I STILL don't like gri-gris.

Tavis


jt512


Apr 26, 2004, 12:43 PM
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In reply to:
Yes, many "grigri" problems are the result of poor belaying - but not all of them. Check out this url for some great information on grigris and accidents.

http://www.thebmc.co.uk/safety/tech/articles/grigri.pdf

The article correctly points out two things: 1) that the grigri may not lock if the device isn't shockloaded and 2) that the belayer's thumb shouldn't be used to hold open the cam. Unfortunately, it comes to the impractical conclusion that the belayer's brake hand should remain on the rope all the time, which does not permit feeding rope out fast enough for a clip with most ropes (it will work with some new, skinny ropes). Read the directions from Petzl on how to properly hold the device to pay out rope fast for a clip.

-Jay


pabsquid


Apr 26, 2004, 12:51 PM
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Recently I was outdoors and a friend could not finish the top of a 10d (just burned out), so I offered to finish the top (I'd only led a 5.7 at that point, but can climb 10+ on TR) as I was not worried about a ground fall being top roped almost the entire way. My wife had me on belay, and I didn't realize she put me on a gri-gri (she's been climbing longer than I too). When I went for the final move (about 5 feet above the last draw), she didn't give any slack (harder to do with a Gri-gri), she pulled me off the wall. Instead of falling 10 feet plus rope stretch, when she braked, the rope went over the handle release of the gri-gri and kept it open. By the time she realized this and fixed it, I fell nearly 30 feet (my first lead fall, ahh!). I didn't deck, but it certainly gave me quite the scare (her too).

Lesson learned for us: we leave the gri-gri at home and only use it for indoor climbing.


The GriGri is a great outdoor tool, especially for belayers that aren't as heavy or strong as their leaders. The key is knowing your equipment and using proper technique. Belaying leaders with it takes a little practice, but test your gear in controlled enviornments BEFORE adding it to your rack.

A GriGri is also a really nice tool for quick belay change overs on multipitches where it's easy to set up belays off anchors.


crimpergirl


Apr 26, 2004, 1:33 PM
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The article makes several points. And if you chose to define them as belayer error, hey knock yourself out. One point the article does make is rarely discussed in these sorts of discussions (this thread is an exception. That is that the grigri can fail to lock if the climber does not shock the system. So if the climber eases back on the rope and the belayer doesn't know it (climber failed to say take and/or the climber is not in the belayers view), the system is not shock and the rope begins moving through the device and it doesn't lock. This can result in an unpleasant fall, sometimes to the ground. Is it belayer error that the system did not shock? Is it the climbers? Does it matter?

I think what matters is the all grigri users know that this can (though rarely) happens. That way, if it does happen, the informed belayer can take the advice in the article and throw themselves to the ground or some other maneuver to shock the system making it lock before the climber decks. This bit of information is one that is not provided by comments like "it's the belayers fault."

If assigning blame is all that matters then whatever. I personally believe it is more important to share information so that belayers know potential risks with any gear, and what to do in the event it happens.


robgordon


Apr 26, 2004, 1:43 PM
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am i the only one here that likes a dynamic belay?

occasionally i take big ol' leader falls.
i like a soft catch.

grigri's are awesome if you enjoy being short-roped and don't ever need to rapp on two ropes.

asdf


vegastradguy


Apr 26, 2004, 1:46 PM
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crimper: its belayer error because the dumbass took his hand off the brake side of the rope in all of those cases. had the belayer kept his hand on the brake, even if the cam didnt engage, the grigri still works like an ATC. Thus, all of those cases are belayer error, since had they been belaying properly, none of those falls would have happened.

and it is the belayers fault, because the climbers life is in the belayers hands. its his responsibility to belay properly. its obvious in every case that those belayers didnt.

the lesson to be learned is: know how to belay properly. know that, if the grigri's cam should fail to engage, you can use it like a regular ATC.....


Partner j_ung


Apr 26, 2004, 1:48 PM
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In reply to:
The article makes several points. And if you chose to define them as belayer error, hey knock yourself out. One point the article does make is rarely discussed in these sorts of discussions (this thread is an exception. That is that the grigri can fail to lock if the climber does not shock the system. So if the climber eases back on the rope and the belayer doesn't know it (climber failed to say take and/or the climber is not in the belayers view), the system is not shock and the rope begins moving through the device and it doesn't lock. This can result in an unpleasant fall, sometimes to the ground. Is it belayer error that the system did not shock? Is it the climbers? Does it matter?

I think what matters is the all grigri users know that this can (though rarely) happens. That way, if it does happen, the informed belayer can take the advice in the article and throw themselves to the ground or some other maneuver to shock the system making it lock before the climber decks. This bit of information is one that is not provided by comments like "it's the belayers fault."

Sorry to again assign blame, but this situation is absolutely also the belayer's fault. Once the climber begins to slide downward, all the belayer has to do is hold the brake - with minimal grip - and the device will lock.

Every Gri-gri failure that I can think of involves at least some degree of operator error, most of them substantially.


petsfed


Apr 26, 2004, 1:52 PM
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How should your dominant hand affect how you belay? The gri-gri forces you to belay with the right hand on the brake end. So if you can't deal with that, don't use the gri-gri!

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