I’m a 5’5″, 128lb Asian-American woman with an athletic figure. I’m fierce, I’m strong and I can hold my own. I get to steal Ashima’s beta on short-people moves, but have enough height and hops to stick Daniel Woods’ style dynos.
But here’s the thing: I’m 5’5″ and 128 lbs. I wear size small shirts and have hips the same size of a 12 year old girl. Don’t get me wrong, I am perfectly happy with my body and who I am. However, there are a few disadvantages for a climber my size. Take, for example, my group of climber friends. They mainly consist of climber dudes, at least half a foot taller than me and definitely weigh more than I do. They love projecting long, hard routes and take big falls. I belay them on the daily, at the gym and outside.
If you’re like me, then you’ll know what I mean by how painful belaying can be for these guys. Their weight on a simple belay device kills your hands. As much as you want them to succeed in their route, you sometimes wish they could just stop sitting on the damned rope and keep climbing. Staying in the belay locked position can really hurt after prolonged periods of time. Your guy friends will never understand, because your falls do nothing against their weight. Am I right, or am I right?
Enter the Petzl GriGri 2 belay device. This nifty thing has assisted braking capacity and works amazingly for lead and top rope climbing. I no longer have sore hands and am struggling to keep my climber hanging on his or her projects. It’s compact and super light in comparison to its competitors. the Petzl GriGri 2 belay device works with ropes 8.9 to 11mm, which is essentially all ropes on the market.
When can i use The Petzl GriGri 2?
I use the Petzl GriGri 2 belay device for all climbing occasions. It catches falls with no problem, and I can lower my guy (and girl) friends smoothly and without a problem, thanks to something Petzl calls “progressive descent control”. That way, I’m not worried about lowering someone 50 lbs heavier than me and struggling to give them a good descent. I’ve used my Petzl GriGri2 for indoor lead climbing, outdoor sport climbing and trad climbing. However, when outdoors, I also bring my regular belay device for abseiling, as I’m not sure how to use the GriGri for abseils.
How do i use it?
In terms of ease of use, the GriGri 2 has a small learning curve. There are tons of YouTube videos teaching you how to use one, such as this one. I spent one climbing session with Angus practicing to use it, and easily figured it out. It’s ergonomic and fits well into your hand and easy to feed slack. In other words, you don’t have to worry about short-roping your climber.
Is it safe?
One main concern about using a GriGri versus a regular belay device is its safety features. We get it, it has a cool assisted locking mechanism so it can apply a braking force to the rope. But it is truly “safer” than a normal belay device? The answer in short is yes and no. It’s safer because it’s less tiring to hold a climber after many falls, and the locking mechanism ensures that there is some sort of backup lock on the rope if the belayer accidentally lets go or their hands are too tired (which, hopefully never happens). The Petzl GriGri 2 also gives you supreme control when lowering your climber. However, it is critical to know the proper technique to using these guys. If you don’t get the technique correct, you risk short roping your climber and endangering them in the process. Also, don’t risk and it let go of your brake hand, even if the GriGri is holding the rope in place. Watch the YouTube video I have, watch a few more, and practice using them before you use it on someone.
where to get one:
You can go to your local REI or another outdoor shop, or you can buy it online via this Amazon link. Although this post isn’t sponsored in any way, we would still love your support by purchasing this product via the link, as it gives us a small cut and doesn’t affect you in any way. Once you get the Petzl GriGr 2, there is no turning back. It’s changed my perspective on belaying and made my belay-slave life SO much easier. Let me know what you think.