The act of belaying is an integral part of climbing. It provides security and comfort for your partner during ascents. Accordingly, belaying devices are an important part of climbing equipment. In this article I will discuss the two most efficient self-locking devices used by climbers – Petzl Grigri and Trango Cinch. I would hardly say anything much new or different. The aim is simply to compare the two devices, and to share some personal impressions from them. I think, that this article can be useful both for beginners in climbing and those who are inexperienced with self-locking devices.
Grigri by Petzl was designed 18 years ago, perhaps the most popular among climbers belaying device. I have owned a Grigri for more than 8 years. I use it for belaying the lead climber, as well in top-roping. Also it is useful when equipping routes or working as a rope access technician. Still, for this purpose Rig and I’D by Petzl are better.
The Gri is a versatile tool. It is durable and resistant to abrasion. If you buy a Gri-Gri, it will probably last many, many years. The device provides very good safety when you belay your climbing partner. We should not forget that there is a note on the Grigri’s body that says warning proper training is essential before use. However, this goes with full force for any piece of climbing equipment. The Grigri works well with ropes, which are mostly used for rock climbing. I mean – diameters 9.8 – 10.5 mm. Petzl say that the device is certified for use with ropes between 10 and 11 mm. Although, many climbers, including myself, use it with ropes in the range of 9 – 9.8 mm.
Like all universal things, Petzl’s device is not perfect for any of its purposes. You may have a serious problem in giving a slack, while belaying a lead climber. It is very likely to happen when your rope is wet, old or too thick. In this case, technique № 1 shown in the clip is absolutely impractical. When rappelling, the Gri works well only with new soft ropes. If your rope is old or covered with building materials (if you use it for rope access), abseiling will be very demanding. You even risk to break the plastic release handle.
This article cannot substitute proper training in belaying and does not intend to do so. Climbing is dangerous. Responsibility for the usage of techniques that are shown or described in this post is entirely yours. It is strongly recommended to avoid climbing without receiving the adequate training.
I’m really busy now, but soon I’ll finish this post.