“I keep getting told that I’m using my GRIGRI wrong when I belay someone on lead. What is the proper way to pay out slack to a leader?”
The technique for belaying a leader with an assisted braking device, like the GRIGRI + and GRIGRI 2, is very similar to that of using a tubular device but with a few specific maneuvers. Overall, it is important that you maintain control of the brake strand throughout the entire process and be mindful of the cam.
The basic technique for paying out slack to a leader requires that you have one hand on the climber stand and one hand on the brake strand. The hand on the climber strand will pull the rope away from the GRIGRI while the hand on the brake strand feeds extra slack towards the GRIGRI.
In the event that you need to quickly feed slack to the leader, a three-step technique can be used. Hold the brake strand with three fingers, place your index finger along the side of the GRIGRI, and press your thumb down on top of the cam while using your other hand to pull slack from the device. It is important to never let go of the brake strand while doing this.
The following video will visually illustrate both techniques:
It is also important to understand that any blocking of the device or the cam will negate the braking action on the rope. This is why it is essential to avoid holding the device with your whole hand and to avoid keeping your thumb constantly on the cam.
Here are a few examples of how you shouldn’t use the GRIGRI to belay a leader:
If you recognize yourself belaying with any of these incorrect techniques, make the change to adopt the proper techniques.
There are two simple and effective ways to pay slack out to a leader while belaying with a GRIGRI. Learn to belay using these techniques and always remember to keep your hand on the brake strand.
It is important to fully understand the information provided in the technical notice for the GRIGRI + and GRIGRI 2 before using this complementary information. All Petzl products include a technical notice with their packaging. These notices are also available on every product page of Petzl.com. It is important to fully understand the information provided in the technical notice for each product before using this complementary information.
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THIS STORY WAS WRITTEN BY PETZL AS ADVERTISING MATERIAL. CLIMBING MAGAZINE’S EDITORS ENDORSE THE CONTENT, BUT HAD NO INVOLVEMENT IN ITS CREATION.