Dave Sarkar of Climbing Gear Reviews reviews the Petzl GriGri+:
A major addition to the iconic Petzl GriGri belay range.
GRIGRI+ is an assisted braking device designed for all climbers, for both indoor and outdoor climbing. It can be used with all single ropes (optimized for 8.9 to 10.5 mm diameter ropes) and is suited for intensive use.
- Good failsafe when lowering
- Easy to operate – especially if you have used them previously.
- Good for beginner/group use
- Locking can be annoying until you get used to it
- Heavier than previous models
I go back a long way with sport climbing belay devices – back as far as using a figure of 8 abseil device and a screw gate. We used this because you could lock it off when you mate was having a rest when dogging a route. The Petzl GriGri was a revelation, a device that would lock off when loaded and then a controlled release when you used a handle – genius! They are not failsafe, however, and I always advise clients that they should be used as an assisted braking device and not hands free as I have seen accidents when using them, usually when lowering and when a climber unloads the system quickly when getting on the rock without warning.
The Petzl GriGri+ is a device that would be suitable for a beginner sport climber or, like me, is working as a guide and using the device with clients or groups. For sport climbers the GriGri 2 is still a good choice as itís lighter (173g) than the GriGri+ (206g) both of these models are lighter than the original GriGri at 223g (all weighed on the trusty CGR scales). The GriGRi+ is actually better with thinner diameter ropes as itís optimised for use with 8.9 Ė 10.5mm whilst the GriGri 2 is optimised for 9.4-10.3mm. The GriGri+ felt good with the thicker ropes I use for group work as well as the thinner ropes for my personal climbing.
The Petzl GriGri+ looks like the previous models of GriGri with a sliding plate and a camming device inside around which you place your rope. It is very important that you put the rope in the right way and there is a marker to help you with this. Slide the plate down and put in your screwgate through the holes (Iíve been using it with the Petzl OK oval screwgate, but the new SmíD would also work well as would any screwgate!) and the leader can then climb. The GriGri+ has two modes that can be changed using a switch under the lowering handle. In lead mode the spring tension means that you can pay out rope easier; switch into to top rope mode and the spring tension makes it more sensitive to keep the rope tensioned at all times. The switch can be locked in place if you are using the device with beginners so they cannot change it. When locked it wasnít easy to unlock it as you will need knife blade or similar to punch the white locking switch down.
One of the big innovations with the Petzl GriGri+ is the locking release handle. For those well used to using a GriGri you will know how scary it can be when you start lowering your partner too quickly. The GriGri+ locks when the handle is pulled back too quickly, great for beginners and groups but initially very annoying for experienced climbers. It took about about 3 sessions of using it before I got the hang of it and I found as an experienced climber that I have used it mostly in lead mode. However, when using it with beginners and groups I have found the locking handle a godsend. Once the handle has locked you just release it and pull it again. It doesnít take too long to get the tension right and itís good to have that security when my son is lowering me off.
Other cosmetic changes are the addition of a stainless steel plate to make the rope lip more durable. This is on the assumption of the GriGri+ being used for top roping more than a standard GriGri. The sliding plate pressing gives it a nice new shape, size wise it is a little bigger than the GriGri 2 but more compact than the original.
In conclusion the Petzl GriGri+ is a good addition to the GriGri range I donít think itís designed to replace the GriGri 2 and if you are a climber who likes to climb lightweight then the GriGri 2 is a great choice. If you are a guide/instructor, a beginner; a climber who climbs with children or someone who like to teach beginners then you would definitely benefit from the GriGri+, or if you are looking for a belay device for everything then it will be great.
Climbing Gear Reviews are an independent reviewer of climbing, skiing and mountaineering equipment. Fronted by Kevin Avery, a trainee IFMGA mountain guide and former Gear Editor at UKClimbing.com, alongside Yorkshire based MIA Dave Sarkar, they provide completely honest and 100% impartial reviews. Click here to see their page.