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Petzl GriGri Review

Petzl GriGri Belay Device
Price:   $95 List
Pros:  Smooth rope handling, auto-locking
Cons:  heavy, expensive, not recommended ropes less than 10mm
Editors' Rating:   
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Manufacturer:   Petzl




RELATED REVIEW: The Best Climbing Belay Device

Our Analysis and Test Results

Review by:
Chris McNamara

Last Updated:
Friday
March 19, 2010

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The Original GriGri is Discontinued
The original Petzl GriGri had been our Editor's choice award until the Petzl GriGri+ came around. See how other top belay devices compare in our Battle for The Best Belay Device Review.

If you own the original GriGri, do you need to upgrade right away? The bottom line is that for ropes thinner than 9.5 mm, the GriGri+ and the Petzl GriGri 2 are the clear favorites. However, if you're using rope thicker than 9.5 mm, then the old model GriGri is better than the GriGri 2 and on par with the GriGri+. For example, most gyms use thicker ropes that then become even thicker and fuzzier with heavy use. It can be hard sometimes to get the GriGri 2 to work on these ropes. Since the original GriGri is no longer available for sale, you might want to hold onto yours if you still have it. The GriGri+ gives you the best of all worlds as it "transforms" to work on different rope diameters. But, it's expensive.
Chris McNamara

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Most recent review: September 2, 2010
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:   
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 (5.0)
Average Customer Rating:   
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 (5.0)

100% of 2 reviewers recommend it
Rating Distribution
4 Total Ratings
5 star: 100%  (4)
4 star: 0%  (0)
3 star: 0%  (0)
2 star: 0%  (0)
1 star: 0%  (0)
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   Sep 2, 2010 - 12:51pm
Tony Bird · Climber · Northridge, CA
i can't agree that the grigri is best either for rappelling or sporty dynamic belays which require quick give-out and take-in. reading this review, i just have to surmise that others have found ways of doing those things with it better than me.

i do think that the grigri is a nearly bombproof device to put a beginner on. i met one of the developers once--it was conceived for the public schools in france in order to get beginners belaying quickly and safely. nevertheless, it's interesting that some climbing gyms in the u.s.a. require the use of the grigri and others prohibit it entirely. i wish i knew the insurance underwriter logic behind all that.

i use the grigri when i solo. i can't think of a better, more convenient device. when i'm looking at something crucial, i back it up with a prussik loop. i'd be interested to know what others' experiences are with that.

asleep on belay? does that ever happen any more now that we have red bull? if it does, you'll want a grigri on your belayer.

i use the grigri most when i want to let my guard down a little and enjoy the talk while toproping others, and secondarily when a beginner will be belaying my lead.
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   Feb 5, 2010 - 12:30am
Bill Mc Kirgan · Climber · Cedar Rapids, Iowa
The GriGri is what helped me get started climbing outdoors a few years ago when my wife wanted to be nearly certain she could not drop me on my early top roping adventures. We studied the instructions, practiced on some low angle slabs, and got some instruction from experienced climbers in our area. In short time she was confidently belaying me on top rope.

The main problem with this device is that it is so good climbers suffer from over-confidence or complacency. Therefore people using this device should always assume they may have threaded it backwards, and do a pull test on the climber side of the rope before the climber starts. Likewise, the belayer should keep a hand on the brake side of the device as if it was a tube style belay device. This is especially true for when the belayer is lowering the climber. I often see people just using the lever to control the speed of the descent instead of applying friction on the brake side which makes things much smoother.

Confident, but not too confident is the key for using the GriGri.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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   Feb 4, 2010 - 01:03am
Cpt0bvi0u5 · Climber · Merced CA
This is a must need piece of equipment for any "hardcore" climber. It is great to use for top-roping, belaying a leader, belaying a follower, and rapping. I really like the gri gri because it allows you to sort out belay stations while belaying a leader on climbs where organisation can be the difference between sending quickly and being held up. The only issues I have is the inability to do two rope rappels and the big fact that there is only one clip in point. What I mean by this is you need to completely take the gri gri off to get the rope through and there is no clip in / tie in point so if you drop it you wont lose it. I have heard of people modifying this but it would be nice to see petzl put something like this on the newer models so dropping it wouldn't be an issue. Besides that it is a little on the heavy side but you cant beat it for what it does. I would highly recommend that every wall rat has one of these devices with them on every climb.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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