Gri-Gri Brake Hand

Other Crags, Aid Climbing, Bouldering, etc...

Do you feel it is safe to take your brake hand off the rope while belaying with a gri-gri?

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Gri-Gri Brake Hand

Post by TradMike » Tue Mar 18, 2008 6:18 am

Just curious on peoples viewpoint of the gri-gri.

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Post by krampus » Tue Mar 18, 2008 6:24 am

its idiot proof

fucking idiots
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Post by jordancolburn » Tue Mar 18, 2008 6:25 am

I voted yes, I don't think the gri gri's chances of failing are very high. I'm not saying you should let your partner hang while you sit back and eat a sandwich, but I don't think that taking your hand off for a second spells instant death. That said, I wouldn't try that with an ATC, so you have to remember what you're working with.

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Post by Don McGlone » Tue Mar 18, 2008 6:45 am

What's a Gri-Gri?
Shedding off one more layer of skin
Keeping one step ahead of the persecutor within

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Post by ElectricDisciple » Tue Mar 18, 2008 6:45 am

whatever happened to the dogmatic: "Never take your brake hand of the brake side of the rope?" The habit of never letting your brake hand off the rope seems to transcend any and all idiosyncracies any belay device should lend you.

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Post by pigsteak » Tue Mar 18, 2008 6:52 am

Don McGlone wrote:What's a Gri-Gri?

yeah....riiiiiight. I heard that your significant other was given a gri gri to belay your ass on bolting forays!!!!
Positive vibes brah...positive vibes.

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Post by bcombs » Tue Mar 18, 2008 7:11 am

Tie an overhand knot in the rope on the brake side (disaster knot) then go hands free. Other than that use it just like an ATC with your brake hand always on and palm down.

I see too many people belaying a leader by squeezing the device with their left hand (to keep it open) and then yarding out slack whenever necessary with their right. Then, the right (brake) goes back to doing nothing until more slack is necessary.

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Post by Andrew » Tue Mar 18, 2008 7:16 am

The major problem I see and I see it a lot, is the people who belay the whole time with their brake hand squezzing the camming device feeding out slack. I have seen people dropped becuase they fell, the belayer instictively sqqueezed the camming part open and dropped them. Basically what bcombs said. But what do I know.
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Post by truello » Tue Mar 18, 2008 7:20 am

When I am belaying either a toproper or a leader from below I treat the GriGri like an ATC. However, I voted YES because I believe that if nothing is overlooked and the proper rope sizes are used, GriGri is in good condition, etc, it is safe.

The GriGri and other types of autoblocking devices are commonly used for top belays directly off of anchors so I don't see any problem with this.

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Post by Lander » Tue Mar 18, 2008 7:21 am

The answer is yes. All the same, the brake hand thing saved my ass one time.

This was years ago when the device was pretty new. My partner was used to the ATC and I showed him how to use the Gri-Gri and he belayed me on the warmup. A bit later, he caught me on my project. But I forgot to make sure he put the rope in the right way! When I came off, he only caught me because he still had the habit of keeping the brake hand on the rope. If not for that, I would have decked from about 40 feet. It was my own stupid fault completely.

Obviously, since then, I'm a lot more careful about checking out my partners belay before I leave the ground, as everyone should. If they're new to the device, we practice catching falls very near the ground where I can't get hurt. I also do the brake test where you quickly pull on the rope to make sure it catches. Anyone else have any eGrigious stories to share?
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Post by krampus » Tue Mar 18, 2008 7:33 am

Shoot, the only stories I have heard where people deck outside are almost all from improper grigri use. I think that most people now who never use an atc have no idea how the device is actually working and don't respect the mechanics of it all. I would think that most people who were raised on an atc will naturally not take their break hand off because they understand the mechanics of why these devices stop us in the first place.
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Post by tomdarch » Tue Mar 18, 2008 7:56 am

A) How do you feed slack without squeezing the cam?

B) I slide my hand onto the device, squeeze to feed slack, then slide my hand back into braking position. It seems crazy when people either 'hands off' a gri-gri, or leave their hand on the cam and off the brake end, but obviously people do it.

C) Except for when someone is really dogging a route, I've been using one of the new ATCs with the 'teeth'. Feeds great, holds just fine for a fall/rest/shake.
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Post by bcombs » Tue Mar 18, 2008 8:03 am

tomdarch wrote:A) How do you feed slack without squeezing the cam?
If you feed the rope slowly through with the left hand on the rope going to the climber and the right on the break you should be able feed out ample slack without the device camming. IMO it's not about never ever squeezing the device to pay out slack, its about only doing it on a clip. While the climber is just going slowly between bolts pay out slack the same way you would with an ATC.

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Post by Josephine » Tue Mar 18, 2008 8:10 am

i always tie the overhand knot on the brake side if my partner is hanging for a while. particularlly in the winter when i want to put my hands in my pockets if he's not climbing! i know it's redundant - but isn't redundancy a big part of climbing! :D

my preference is either
brake hand + grigri = redundant
grigri + overhand knot = redundant
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Post by pkananen » Tue Mar 18, 2008 8:16 am

I think the best way to give out slack is to roll the rope over the curled right edge, with it in the palm of your right hand. Then, your right thumb is used to hold the cam down (on the plastic handle while folded) for feeding slack. Pull rope with your left. Now the hand holding open is also hand holding brake.

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