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Petzl GriGri 2 Review

   
Editors' Choice Award

Belay Device

  • Currently 4.7/5
Overall avg rating 4.7 of 5 based on 24 reviews. Most recent review: June 3, 2014
Street Price:   Varies from $95 - $100 | Compare prices at 8 resellers
Pros:  Smooth rope handling, auto-locking, works on ropes down to 8.9mm.
Cons:  Heavy, expensive, product was recalled shortly after introduction.
Best Uses:  Sport climbing, gym climbing, cragging, big wall climbing.
User Rating:     
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  • 5
 (4.6 of 5) based on 23 reviews
Recommendations:  85% of reviewers (11/13) recommend this product
Manufacturer:   Petzl
Review by: Chris McNamara ⋅ Founder and Editor-in-Chief, OutdoorGearLab ⋅ October 2, 2013  
Overview
The Petzl GriGri 2 is our favorite belay device and we transfer our Belay Device Editors' Choice award from the GriGri to the 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.

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OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review

How the GriGri Is Different Than the GriGri 2
The GriGri 2 addresses the three big issues with the original GriGri: it was too heavy, too bulky, and didn't work well with ropes under 10mm in diameter. The GriGri 2 now works on 8.9-11mm ropes, is 20 percent lighter and 25 percent smaller. (We weighed them on our own scale and found the GriGri 2 actually 25 percent lighter.)

As you can see in this photo, it appears one reason that the GriGri 2 works better on skinny ropes in the narrower channel.

Click to enlarge
Showing the narrower channel on the GriGri 2 (right) than the GriGri (left). The GriGri 2 is recommended for ropes as skinny at 8.9mm
Credit: Chris McNamara

It also has a new feature that Petzl calls "progressive descent control," which in theory allows for more control when lowering a climber or rappelling. So far we have not been able to notice this feature when lowering a climber. Both models of the GriGri lower with about the same smootheness. We did notice a big difference with the lock off of the GriGri 2 on a 9mm rope. The GriGri would lock up some of the time but some of the time start to slip and require extra resistance from your brake hand. The GriGri 2 always locked up.

Some people have commented that the GriGri is easier to belay with on thicker (10-11mm) ropes than the GriGri 2. We found this to be true when we put our new GriGri 2 head-to-head with our old heavily used GriGri. HOWEVER, when we put a new GriGri 2 head-to-head with a brand new GriGri, we found they both operated the same. This offers an important reminder: all GriGri's wear out. As they wear out, they become easier to use with thicker ropes but lock off less effectively. We have not used the GriGri 2 enough to judge if it wears out faster than the old GriGri.

Luckily, for all the new improvements, the cost remains the same: $95. Not cheap, but at least it didn't go up in price.

Likes
The GriGri is among the easiest devices to lower a climber with, is intuitive to use, and is durable. Whether rappelling down ropes 3000 feet up El Capitan or lowering someone in the gym, the ease of handling is hard to beat. It scored near the top of many of our tests and is the device that all the testers use when belaying at the crag, gym, sport climbs, and big walls. (We prefer the Petzl Reverso 4 or Black Diamond ATC Guide when multi pitch climbing).

Dislikes
Other than being heavy and expensive, the only problem with this is the difficulty of easily using it while keeping your brake hand on the rope instead of the device. Most climbers you see belaying with the GriGri usually have their brake hand on the device and not on the rope. Petzl strongly recommends belaying like this only for a second or two to feed rope fast while the leader is clipping. However, the GriGri is much less smooth to pay out slack with than the Trango Cinch. As a result, you rarely see lead belayers with a GriGri doing it "the correct way" with their brake hand on the rope 99 percent of the time rather than on the device. For most people this is not a big deal. However, there are many stories of how improper use of the GriGri led to climbers being lowered too fast or dropped.

It is important to watch this video showing the proper use of a GriGri.

Personal Stories
Chris McNamara remembers being half way up on the Wyoming Sheep Ranch on El Capitan when it appeared he had dropped his GriGri. He frantically looked around for it and couldn't find it anywhere. He had to do a long aid lead without the GriGri and hated the experience so much he contemplated bailing. Luckily he found it on the next pitch. But for about five hours he was terrified and realized just how nice it is to have this device on a big wall or any situation where you are belaying for hours and hours.

Value
$95 is a lot of money, especially for a belay device. The Trango Cinch also scores high and is only $70. The Mammut Smart is only $30. But, a really good belay device is one item worth splurging on.

Best Application
The GriGri is the go-to device for most of the climbers we know. Big wall climbers use it. Tradsters. Sport climbers. Gym climbers. It works to belay directly off the anchor. Works great when belaying off the harness, too. The only places we wouldnt take it are alpine routes or ice climbs (ice and the GriGri dont mix).

Here is a video on the GriGri 2 from Petzl

Chris McNamara

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OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews


Most recent review: June 3, 2014
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:   
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  • 5
 (5.0)
Average Customer Rating:   
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  • 5
 (4.6)

85% of 13 reviewers recommend it
Rating Distribution
10 Total Ratings
5 star: 70%  (7)
4 star: 20%  (2)
3 star: 10%  (1)
2 star: 0%  (0)
1 star: 0%  (0)
Sort 23 member reviews by: Most Recent | Most Helpful
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
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   Feb 26, 2011 - 12:32pm
Toph · Climber · Akron, OH
I got mine about two weeks ago after pre-ordering it from mountaingear.com. I have been climbing with the original grigri for about three years and right from the package its very noticeable how much lighter and smaller the grigri 2 is compared to the original. I usually use a rocklock carabiner with my grigri, and I racked my grigri 2 with a positron locker biner, and comparing the two its crazy how much lighter it is. When you put it on your gear loops its very noticeably how light it is.

For the actual use of the grigri 2 it is noticeable it doesnt skip a beat from the original grigri. The grigri 2 really feeds very nicely for lead climbing, especially with ropes between 9.4-10.2. The lowering action with the grigri 2 is better and the same as the original grigri. The secondary cam action on it is very useful for controlling the rate you allow the rope through the device, but since it has a smaller handle then the original it can be a bit tricky to get the hang of the main cam. Overall its nice for slow lowering, but all in all I put it at about the same as the original.

I used it on some gym ropes for some top rope routes, and noticed that it can be harder to lower on some of the thicker ropes, 10.5-11mm. These ropes are just a bit too big for the smaller grigri. I would suggest if you only plan on gym climbing and your gym uses bigger ropes to just get the original grigri, its on sale so its cheaper and you will have better control in the gym.

The only con that I noticed was when I was climbing and took a test fall. When I fell my partner caught my fall just as normal, but when catching lowered their brake hand and because of the cam action the rope slid in between the cam and back plate. This was easily fixed while still climbing, and can still happen with the original, but just wanted to point this out.

Overall the grigri 2 is a solid ugrade from the orignal. I would say if you have the original and like it, there isnt much need to go and buy the new one. But if you are starting out or you want to lighten your rack its a solid buy. [photo
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Rope can slide between cam lever and back plate. Just something to note and watch out for.
Credit: Toph
id=192617]
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Original Grigri vs Grigri 2
Credit: Toph


Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Jan 21, 2011 - 06:30am
 
QITNL · Climber
To quote Bruce since I mentioned misuse. If I'm wrong, I will gladly stand corrected:

"The lock up when catching a fall seems a fraction quicker and more crisp"

I think that points out a major misconception of the GriGri 1, which I primarily use as a belay device with additional cam protection. If I catch a fall, I intend to beat the cam, it's only there as a backup. I catch a fall with my brake hand.

Sure, you can use a GriGri as a rope cam for ascending and such, but if I'm leading, I don't want a lazy belayer who expects that cam will catch me.

"When lowering it is also a bit easier to control the speed"

From how I was taught to use a GriGri 1, memory muscle from previous rappel devices, and from what I remember from Petzl's information, you don't use the handle to control lowering speed. It's open/closed: binary. Rather you simply use friction. Safe and easy.

Hence my mistrust of a speed button. I'll have to see the thing, and I know GriGris let us cheat and be a little lazy, but you don't mess around with Isaac Newton.

I'm a little guy and love the GriGri for belaying bigger climbers than me. No offense, Bruce - I bet you are a better climber and belayer than me. A mini GriGri might be the bee's knees. Thanks for the review, and I will probably get a GriGri 2 too.

Just a little concerned about that lame video and how these things might be misused.

Bottom Line: Peace through common enemies! Like poison oak, LEB, and gravity!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Jan 21, 2011 - 12:07am
 
Mighty Hiker · Climber · Vancouver, B.C.
What colours do they come in? I'm looking at spring outfits, and want to make sure everything is coordinated. Colour coordinated if not otherwise is my motto.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
Jan 21, 2011 - 12:00am
 
QITNL · Climber
Can't review the gear yet, so I'll have to rate the video instead:

It's about as climbing related as an LEB thread!

"Progressive descent control" sounds kinda scary on a device already prone to misuse. So now there's a button for "Friction"? Ouch.

I hear the GriGri 3 will have a power winch and another button labeled "Up".


Bottom Line: That video and LEB suck gigantic donkey dick!
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   Jun 3, 2014 - 03:21am
Sean Maguire · Climber · Manassas
I started to get more serious about my climbing a few month ago and decided to invest on one of these and I have to say I wasn't let down at all. If you are belaying someone while they are projecting a route and you know they will be falling a lot and hanging in their harnesses the GriGri 2 can't be beat.It makes it some you don't have to have the death grip on the rope the whole time people are hanging and you can relax a little bit. It won't make up for bad belaying technique in fact there is a learning curve to using this thing especially when you are lead belaying. After you figure it out is feels really natural. if you get one i would recommend every now and again switching back to an ATC just to refamiliarize yourself with that belay technique because at the end of the day the GriGri could fail and you might have to use your ATC and you don't want to be out of practice half way up a cliff.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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   Apr 18, 2014 - 11:24am
WML · Climber · Edge of the Electric Ocean Beneath Red Rock
Easy to use, durable, and generally safe if you know how to use it. The GriGri2 keeps the strong points of the original GriGri and now adds the capability of using it on today's skinny ropes. Unfortunately everything comes with trade-offs, and while a 9.6 or 9.8 feeds like butter through this thing, anything 10.0 or bigger is a bit of a battle to be able to feed quickly when your leader is panic-clipping or needs slack rapidly.

Other than the issue with regard to fat ropes and ease of use, this thing is perfect.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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   Apr 13, 2013 - 08:52pm
Mark Buche · Climber · Long Beach
Best gear purchase.

I recommend having at least one GriGri in your climbing group. Our gym requires GriGri and the like for indoor use.

We still use ATCs on some lead climbing, but love having the GriGri for our peace of mind when we are up cleaning routes when less experienced members in the group are belaying us.

There is no real reason not to have one of these. Your mothers would appreciate it.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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   Jul 20, 2011 - 02:03pm
BGClimber · Climber
"They took a winner and made it better" I must agree. So far I haven't climbed on extremely skinny ropes but I've used about three different sizes with it, locked up beautifully. So far never had the issue of the climber side of the rope going outside of the cam, but we'll see in the future ;). Anyways, the "progressive descent control" really does make a difference. I'm using this with Petzl's Attache 3D biner and it makes for a really amazing combo. And some good climbing is required of course :D. Loved the GRIGRI 1 (and I still do) but I love my GRIGRI 2 just that extra bit more. Great, made better…

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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Jun 23, 2011 - 07:58pm
 
Max Neale · Other · Maine
UPDATE ONE THE RECALL
From Laura Smith, Sales Coordinator, Petzl America:

"We have made the tough decision to issue a recall on the Grigri2 (as you may have already heard). With Excessive force on the handle in the open position, it is possible to break the mechanism inside. This can cause the camming device can be stuck in the open position (not always, but sometimes) and can defeat the camming action. The device will still act as a tube belay device in this instance and as long as the person belaying also doesn’t lose control of the rope with the braking hand, then all is well. So even know all three of these things needs to happen (open handle, excessive force, AND letting go of the rope with the breaking hand), Petzl has decided we want to side with caution pro-actively.

The good news? We’ve already got the improved version ready to replace the units out there… and we are taking care of end-users before dealers."

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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   Jun 20, 2011 - 12:55pm
Toph · Climber · Akron, OH
Taken from the 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.

When the handle is stuck in this position the assisted braking function is disabled. A damaged GRIGRI 2 in this configuration will function similarly to a manual belay device (e.g. tube style device).

When using a damaged GRIGRI 2 with the handle stuck in the position as shown in Figure 1, failure to control the braking side of the rope will increase the risk of an uncontrolled descent. A GRIGRI 2 with a damaged handle must be immediately retired from service.

It is important to note that failure to control the braking side of the rope is a misuse of the GRIGRI 2 under any circumstance (See GRIGRI 2 Technical Notice - pdf file, 2,5Mo).

As of June 20, 2011, seven damaged products have been returned to Petzl through our worldwide distribution network. Petzl has no knowledge of any accidents resulting from a damaged GRIGRI 2 handle."

http://www.petzl.com/en/outdoor/recall-replacement-grigri-2
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   Jun 14, 2011 - 11:33pm
urasenke13 · Climber
I'm thrilled that it will accept a smaller diameter rope, keeping up with advances in rope technology. I do a lot of long rappels on fairly static ropes, however, and I have found the grigri 2 to have a couple significant drawbacks. The rope tends to jump off the bridge as it comes out of the cam and consequently gets caught in that right-angle protrusion at that head of the bridge causing sudden stops (see photos in previous posts). In a rescue situation (or if you are rappelling with a lot of gear), this could cause undue strain on the rope, not to mention your nerves. It feels like it is going to cut through the rope. Of course that is illogical. It just feels that way.
Secondly, the shorter lever requires more strength to release the cam, as was mentioned in previous posts. I haven't used it enough for it to develope a "sweet spot", so I will suspend this citation till a later date.
Finally, on a much smaller note, less metal means less heat dissipation. This thing gets HOT! I wouldn't have believed there would be that much difference between the two iterations of this device.
Do I like it? Not really. I will snatch up the first gen device as often as I can as they go on clearance.
Will I keep it? Absolutely. It is still a very useful piece of gear, and when you are working with smaller diameter ropes, it is nice to have on hand.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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   Jun 5, 2011 - 08:01pm
Daniel Eubank · Climber · Woodbridge, VA
Works great for Rappel, very smooth. Works good for belay up to about 11.5 mm rope. Works crappy on stiff fatty ropes at the gym; get as pumped belaying as climbing. LOL. Noticed that a little more lever pressure is needed for lowering out &/or off a climb than the original Gri-Gri (The lever is shorter, so there is less leverage). Overall, the reduced weight and volume of the Gri-Gri 2 is a plus.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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May 31, 2011 - 10:10pm
 
spidey · Climber · Berkeley CA
I am curious about this too. How does it work for self belay, short fixing, as backup for jugging and all around big-wall use? Will it work the same, better, or worse than the old one?
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May 31, 2011 - 09:20pm
 
the Fet · Climber · Tu-Tok-A-Nu-La
Of course you are NOT supposed to do it, but…
Has anyone used it for self belay; either top rope or aid lead? How does it compare to the original?
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   Apr 17, 2011 - 12:04pm
rlf · Climber · Josh, CA
I like the new GriGri. The only real issue I noticed is that it does not perform well with old stiff static ropes in the 10+ mm size.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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Jan 21, 2011 - 04:56pm
 
Cpt0bvi0u5 · Climber · Merced CA
Still no clip in loop. How hard can it be to have something you could clip it on to when you are putting the device on the rope. Drop it and that sucker is gone.
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Jan 21, 2011 - 10:06am
 
Matt M · Climber · Alamo City
The Progressive Decent control is not a "button to control friction". The biggest "issue" with the GriGri 1 was not that it didn't catch falls but that less experienced climbers would pull back on the handle and release the rope to quickly causing a lack of control. It was really an "on/off" release. Very Sudden.

The GriGri 2 attempts to improve this. As you pull the handle to release the rope, the INITAL cam release rate is less than before - IE slower. As the handle is pulled more the cams release rate progressively increases to a normal release rate. Basically, there's a built in "ease in" release now rather than a "sudden" release.

Good review of the device can be found here: http://www.climb.co.za/2010/10/grigri-2-review-assisted-braking-belay-device-review/

It looks to be a solid improvement. The thing that looks BEST in my mind is the smoother feeding of slack. Every review I've read has noted that.

If you use a Grigri a lot I don't see $100 being a big deal to upgrade. I've gotten 17 years out of my GriGri 1. That's a lot of value!

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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   Jan 21, 2011 - 01:43am
BruceAnderson · Climber · Los Angeles currently St. Antonin, France
Got my hands on the GriGri 2 a couple days ago (I'm in France) and put it through the paces yesterday at the crag. Smaller? yes. Lighter? yes. Awesome? mais oui.

I notice the lighter weight more so than the smaller size. Not sure it'll replace the Reverso for muti pitch routes, but it's much less obtrusive hanging on your gear loop.

The lock up when catching a fall seems a fraction quicker and more crisp, like the cam has a shorter throw.

When lowering it is also a bit easier to control the speed, more mid range than before.

The big thing I notice is it seems easier to pay out slack quickly while still keeping the brake hand on the rope (using the method they show in the manual.) This perhaps is the 2's best improvement.

All in all, still the same great device, just tuned to be a little more user friendly and less bulky.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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Jan 21, 2011 - 12:14am
 
davidji · Climber · CA
"I hear the GriGri 3 will have a power winch and another button labeled "Up". "

Awesome--I can use it for rappel backup!
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
Jun 23, 2011 - 08:05pm
 
fattrad · Climber · GOP Convention
Better off with a sitting hip belay.
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1 of 4 people found the following review helpful:
Jun 20, 2011 - 12:58pm
 
Ron Anderson · Climber · USA Carson city Nev.
Nothing like trying to replace brains with gadgets…Take yur gri gri and well,,,,pound it to modern art. Then re learn proper belay methods. Your partners will all thank you.

Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this product to a friend.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
Jan 21, 2011 - 01:57am
 
johnboy · Climber · Can't get here from there
I want back the time it took to watch that worthless video.

Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this product to a friend.
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0 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
May 26, 2011 - 06:47pm
 
Rattler · Climber · Medford lakes
These devices should be outlawed and boycotted. They are dangerous. Use an ATC, or even an older Stich Plate or Clog Plate. An ATC or a Plate-type belay device is much safer, easy to thread in the dark, and generate positive control. The Gri-Gri is expensive, can be (and has been) threaded incorrectly, and has been implicated in a fair number of accident!

That's my piece!

-Crotalus
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Petzl GriGri 2 belay device
Petzl GriGri 2 belay device
Credit: Petzl.com
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