Articles - Tried & Tested: Petzl Grigri 2
Andy McCue - Posted on 07 Apr 2011
PETZL GRIGRI 2
Features: Redesign of Petzl's classic assisted-braking belay device; 20 per cent lighter, 25 per cent smaller, smoother action
Colours: Available in grey, orange or blue
Product info: www.petzl.com
Stockist info: Lyon Equipment
A sport climbing and indoor wall stalwart, it's testament to the Grigri's ease of use and popularity that the design hasn't changed in the 20 years since it was first launched but changing trends, principally the move towards thinner ropes, and stronger competition from other devices such as the Edelrid Eddy and Trango Cinch, took Petzl back to the drawing board and the result is the brand new Grigri 2.
The Petzl Grigri 2 in action
Here at Climber towers we've had the Grigri 2 for just over a month and our first impression is that it's extremely dinky - at just 185g (compared with 225g for the original) and 25 per cent smaller the new Grigri certainly feels compact and light, which is a good improvement for starters.
Let's take a look at the rope diameter issue first, though. The optimum rope diameter size for the old Grigri was a 10-11mm single rope. Nowadays, however, many climbers use lighter sub-10mm single ropes and the Grigri 2 has been designed with this in mind. The device can actually handle single ropes from 8.9mm-11mm in diameter but the optimum range is now 9.4mm-10.3mm and this was evident in our testing of the Grigri 2 down at the wall where the thinner ropes handled like a dream without ever feeling like the rope was going to run away through the device. The flipside is that when we tried out some thicker ropes at 10mm and above, the handling could became a bit sticky, particularly when trying to pay out slack quickly and this was also more noticeable on older, furred-up ropes.
The new smaller and lighter Grigri 2 (top) and the old Grigri (bottom)
The other key development with the Grigri 2 is Petzl's re-engineering to give the device a smoother action and improved handling. So how did it fare on this front? Well the Grigri 2 was give a good going over by several climbers, outdoor instructors and indoor wall staff and the verdict was an almost universal thumbs-up. The handle now feels much easier to operate for paying out slack to a leader, while for lowering top-roped climbers or abseiling there seems to be a more distinct almost two-stage progressive release to the handle to help prevent accidentally letting the rope run through too quickly and making it easier to control when lowering. On which point, it's perhaps worth checking out the video on Petzl's website to reacquaint yourself with the correct technique for using a Grigri as a casual stroll around many a wall or crag will reveal some bad or lazy habits that have crept in.
This is certainly more than a cosmetic update to the old Grigri, with significant savings on weight and size, better handling of skinny sub-10mm ropes and smoother and more reassuring action for both paying out slack and lowering a climber.
Thanks to Harrogate Climbing Centre for their help with this review.
This review first appeared in the March 2011 issue of Climber Magazine