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Hands-on Gear Review

Petzl GriGri 2 Review


Belay Device

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Editors' Choice Award
Price:   Varies from $70 - $100 online  —  Compare at 5 sellers
Pros:  Smooth rope handling, assisted braking, works on ropes down to 8.9mm
Cons:  Heavy-ish, expensive, single strand only
Editors' Rating:     
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Manufacturer:   Petzl

Overview

It shouldn't come as a huge surprise that the most popular belay device in the world is also, in our opinion, the best. The GriGri 2 offers the same smooth assisted locking mechanism that made its predecessor the old Editors' Choice winner, in a lighter, more compact, design. In addition, the range now officially extends down to 8.9 mm ropes. Across all tasks, from catching falls to lowering partners, feeding slack, and multi-pitch belays, this device is our dominant favorite. It is limited to a single strand though, so you'll need another device for two rope rappels, and other heavier options are a little more durable. Nonetheless, the GriGri 2 inspires confidence in climber and belayer alike and it remains our Editors' Choice.

Shoppers discouraged by the $100 pricetag can consider the Best Buy winning, Black Diamond ATC Guide or other affordable options in The Best Belay Device Review.

RELATED: Our complete review of belay device

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Analysis and Hands-on Test Findings

Review by:
Jack Cramer
Review Editor
OutdoorGearLab

Last Updated:
Sunday
January 31, 2016
The Gri Gri 2 is the most popular assisted locking belay device.

Performance Comparison


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The trust between you and your belay device is as important as the trust between you and your partner.

Catch/Bite


Petzl lists the GriGri 2's acceptable rope range from 8.9 to 11.0 mm and ideal between 9.4 and 10.3 mm. In our experience the best size is towards the lower end of this, about 9.2 to 9.6 mm. Within these diameters the GriGri 2 still provides a strong, reliable catch but lowering and feeding slack is also easier. Like all the assisted locking devices, it can independently support the weight of a climber resting on the rope. This feature is the primary reason to get one of these devices and will save you a lot of hand strength when belaying a hang-dogging partner. The GriGri 2 was bested in the catch/bite category by only the Camp Matik because that assisted locking device has a gradual camming action that lowers impact forces—the GriGri 2's cam produces a static catch. You can still provide a soft catch though with attentive belaying and by easing yourself off the ground as you receive the force of a fall.

Lowering/Rappelling


The GriGri 2 is a single strand device, so for two strand rappels you'll need a separate device. To lower or rappel pull a lever on the left side of the device towards your body. We preferred the wide range and smoothness of the GriGri 2's lowering action compared to the other assisted locking models. Although it doesn't include an anti-panic mechanism like the Edelrid Eddy or Camp Matik, it's better in high friction situations where those anti-panic features can become a problem.

Feeding Slack


Feeding slack to a leader is smoother and easier with the GriGri 2 than with the other assisted braking options. There's less resistance through the device than with the Camp Matik and a lower chance of a short roping tug of war than with the Trango Cinch. Compared to the basic tube-style devices though, the GriGri 2 takes more skill and it's good to first learn how to belay with one of those models.

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It's crucial to always keep a hand on the brake when feeding slack with the GriGri 2 or any other belay device.

Proper belay technique is required with the GriGri 2 or any other belay device. One study reported observing a quarter of GriGri users feeding slack incorrectly—taking their brake hand off the rope when paying out rope. Climbers have been dropped and injuries resulted due to this mistake. Please watch the Petzl video at the bottom of this page that demonstrates the proper 'thumb up' technique.

Auto-block (resistance belaying a second)


The GriGri 2 tied with the Trango Cinch for the least resistance while belaying a follower directly off an anchor. Each exhibited the lowest friction for one of the two different ropes we tested (9.0 or 10.1 mm). Both gave less than a sixth the resistance of the popular Black Diamond ATC Guide and Petzl Reverso that are advertised for their auto-block prowess. On a long multi-pitch route this difference could save you tons of energy and reduce the chance of overuse injuries to your elbows or shoulders.

Weight/Bulk


At 6.1 ounces, the GriGri 2 is the lightest mechanical assisted braking device we tested. The 6.6 oz Trango Cinch, however, is still a bit smaller. Although it is possible to get braking assistance with lighter passive models like the Edelrid Mega Jul or Mammut Smart Alpine, both of these devices come with their own drawbacks in smoothness and higher friction in auto-block mode.

Durability


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Keep your rope and GriGri clean and it should last a loooong time. One eventual cause for retirement is when friction wears a deep groove in the rounded aluminum side panel. Even in gritty environments though this can take several years of heavy use.
For most users the GriGri 2's durability will not be an issue. If you keep your rope and device clean, it should last several years. Dedicated climbers in areas with especially abrasive grit (Owens River Gorge anyone?) may experience accelerated wear on the aluminum parts. One spot we've seen wear out first is the rounded surface on the top of the colored side plate. The rope curls over this surface while lowering/rappelling and friction can grind a groove into it over time. Grooves like this seem to be less a problem with the Camp Matik or Edelrid Eddy because their friction surfaces are more durable stainless steel.

Best Applications


The GriGri 2 is our favorite all around assisted braking device. We think it's great for sport cragging, multi-pitch trad routes near your limit, or marathon belays on big wall aid climbs. The ubiquitousness of GriGris also makes it more likely your partner will know how to use yours when they forget or misplace their own device.

Value


$99.95 is a lot to pay for a belay device, but we think the GriGri 2 and your life are worth it. For that money you get a quality piece of gear that will likely withstand 4+ years of regular use. Although it's possible to save some dough with the Trango Cinch or a passive assisted braking option, we think the superior performance of the GriGri 2 justifies the extra cost.

Conclusion


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It's possible to belay a follower off your harness or off the anchor with the GriGri 2.
Despite the high pricetag, GriGris are one of the most popular belay devices in the world. The reasons are many and varied. Its assisted locking mechanism saves you hand strength and, with proper technique, can improve your safety margin. Furthermore, when compared to the other assisted locking models, the GriGri 2 is lighter, smoother, and competitively priced. Although most climbers will still need a secondary device for rappelling two strands, we believe the GriGri 2 is the best device for the most belay applications

Original GriGri vs. GriGri 2


If you have the original GriGri, do you need to upgrade to the GriGri 2? If you do a lot of leading on 8.9-9.9mm ropes or just want the latest and greatest gear, get the GriGri 2. If you climb on 10mm or thicker ropes, you can probably hold off on the upgrade until your GriGri wears out. If you mainly toprope in the gym, the original GriGri is just fine and may even be better since it works better with ropes thicker than 10 mm. Both devices handle about the same but the GriGri 2 is lighter, less bulky, and allows you to use thinner ropes.

2011 Recall


It's starting to get out of date, but a batch of GriGri 2's was recalled in 2011 due to a safety issue. We include it here in case any of these devices are still out in use.
Petzl's GriGri 2 recall concerns GRIGRI 2's (D14 2O, D14 2G, D14 2B ) with the first five digits of the serial number between 10326 and 11136.
From the Petzl website:
"Petzl has discovered that exerting excessive force on the fully extended handle of the GRIGRI 2 can cause internal damage, such that the GRIGRI 2 handle may become stuck in the open position." Read more here.

Other Versions and Accessories


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Petzl Reverso 4
  • Multi-functional ATC style belay device
  • Best with skinnier ropes
  • Ideal for multi pitch routes and trad climbing
  • 2.8oz
  • $30

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Petzl Verso
  • ATC Style belay device without extra 'guide mode' loops
  • Best with skinny ropes
  • Ideal for sport climbing
  • $20

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Petzl Attache 3D or
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Petzl Attache
  • Both are great carabiners to couple with a belay device
  • The Petzl Attache has round stock that makes for smoother belaying
  • $21

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Petzl Cordex Belay Gloves
  • Soft, flexible leather
  • Burly construction, built to last
  • Excellent belay glove
  • $36

Video


Jack Cramer

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Most recent review: January 31, 2016
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:   
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 (5.0)
Average Customer Rating:     (0.0)
Rating Distribution
1 Total Ratings
5 star: 100%  (1)
4 star: 0%  (0)
3 star: 0%  (0)
2 star: 0%  (0)
1 star: 0%  (0)


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