Climbing equipment Belaying devices GriGri vs Cinch

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.

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A few tips for novice climbers

The Article “A few tips for novice climbers” is not mine. The author is Boyko Lalov – one of the best climbers in Bulgaria. Boyko is climbing since 1996 and have achievements – red point up to 8c and onsite 8a +. He has a lot of experience as a climber, as coach of children and also in opening new routes. Today he is a guest blogger on Climbing World.

I started to climb in 1996. The only thing that took me forward was the desire to add one more meter on a route, which was actually well above my skills. I was really very motivated, but not right in terms of development of beginner climber. Then of course everything was so casual, there was nobody to tell you how to train and what principles to follow. All he knew is that I want to climb.

Today, in the first decade of the 21-th century, the situation is different and there is tons of climbing info. But I guess that many people, who begin to climb today, are feeling this way and that, despite widespread awareness and everything written on the subject sounds too complicated to follow a program and think “now is it correctly or not”. Climbing course like all other sports has its own characteristics. First is safety. Ropes, carabiners, harnesses, etc. are tested and really safe, but they can be dangerous if you use them incorrectly! How to use the equipment is training in climbing courses and from there onwards everything stays in your hands.

The next important question is “How to train?” The most important thing for a beginner climber inspired to gain experience. Put in simple language, you have to do footage to climb as much as possible. It’s base. The more your feet climbed, more experience. In this way the body adapts: tendons, joints and muscles gradually become accustomed to this kind of load and risk of injury is much smaller. Maybe it sounds pretty boring, but surely the benefits would be much larger than push on small holds on bouldering wall. Climbing there in no way is useless, but a little later, when your fingers are stronger.

One very good option for developing the aerobic capacity of the organism is doing a “Pyramid”. For example: choose an easy route and climb it. Rest while your partner also climbs the route, then climb and down climb, and so until you get 5 climbs and down climbs. The number of moves and series are indicative and each individual must assess his capabilities. Convenient in the Pyramid is that you can easily adjust their intensity and also to avoid overloading. It is advisable to begin by starting with less intensity. In case you do not have a climbing partner that “Pyramid” can be a route that goes low over the ground (Traverse). It is very important not to climb away entirely, but to make slight ascentс and descentс and thus as close as possible to the actual climbing.

Another good option – if there are many train routes for your level, in the gym, just climb them. If they are a small number, you can climb them several times. Try use your legs as much, as you can. Legs are much stronger. See how the others climb. Learn from your mistakes and the mistakes of others.

The topic is very extensive, and the options are different. The beginning is not easy, but it’s something normal and not cause for despair. I know people who progressed very quickly, I know and those that evolve more slowly. It is important to pleasure in climbing, but progress will eventually come. 🙂

The theme is open and to complement and become even more interesting, you can share your experience by leaving a comment.

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Failed climbing trip

As a climber my best vacation would be a trip to a popular climbing site. Autumn is the best season for climbing in Europe, autumn is the best season for climbing in Еurope, so i am planning my vacation for September or October. Last year I went with friends to Rodellar, Spain and we spent 35 days there. The weather and conditions were perfect for climbing.

This year I was overloaded with a lot of work. It was there that I not only stopped practicing on artificial walls, but during the weekends I was climbing on rocks less frequently. In mid-summer, when I’ve began to work on project ТЕЦ МАРИЦА ИЗТОК 1,  I even stopped climbing. As a consequence, totally lost my sport shape and and gained a few pounds. The only thing that comforted me was a climbing trip to Kalymnos, Greece, planned for this fall.

Until recently I thought it was a great advantage to be a boss myself. I have no manager to conform with and report to. It is my decision when and how much I will work. I plan my time for vacation. And it complies with my own plans for training, climbing and trips. But now I realize that I was not quite right. When you work for someone you have fixed working hours. Outside these hours you can do whatever you want, for example, forget about work and climb. You can arrange with your manager when your holidays are and, when the time comes, you can go on a climbing trip or wherever you like without caring how swamped with work the company is.

When you work for yourself  things are not exactly the same. Business becomes problem number one. It takes you more and more of your time. Work is piling up and you cannot reject it because it is a matter of prestige. Besides money is important too. It turned out this autumn i would not be able to go to my traditional rock trip. My plans for rock climbing in Kalymnos totally failed.

Finally, my business has never been that successful before. I cannot say the same about my climbing. It is important to decide for yourself which one is more important. It seems to me that the answer to my dilemma is “work less, climb more”. So, I plan to learn the lessons.

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Climbing photography calendar Rock Psyched 2011

My good friend Rus Vakrilov, which is a good climber and even better climbing photographer meet the tradition and for the second consecutive year issued a calendar of climbing photography. last year’s calendar was called “Rock Chicks” 2010 and included only pictures of girls. This year’s calendar – “Rock Psyched” 2011 contains photos of mostly male climbers. As someone commented in to “enough with these women on the rocks, it’s time to smell of sweat and testosterone!”
In the new calendar you can see pictures of some of the best climbers in Bulgaria. Frames were taken at different times on different climbing areas: Rodellar – Spain; Pyli – Greece, Brione – Switzerland, Vratsa and Karlukovo – Bulgaria and others.
Sponsor releases calendar is the UK company King Kong Climbing Walls.

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Bulgarian female achievements in rock climbing

As a Bulgarian climber, I can admire the achievements of the Bulgarian rock climbing and in particular some of the ladies ascents.

The most serious Bulgarian female performance in rock climbing
Raina Grigorova climbed Top Ten, 8a +. Raina did the route on September 18, 2010 in a style red point. The route is located at Small Cave, Vratza, and it is one of the best in the crag. The crux is a series of dyno moves in strong overhang.

Raina Grigorova, athlete from a very high class, is one of the best female climbers in Bulgaria. Her femininity and grace, contrasts with the hardness of her character. When she climbs may envy her a lot of the tough guys. It should be noted that until now Bulgarian woman climber is not did such a difficult route. Raina has behind her two 8a. She recently tried El Choro, 8b. Route is located in the cave Prohodna near Karlukovo. She has done so very well with the crux. Soon we can expect new climbing achievements of Raina.

Ida Gandeva congratulated herself with climbing routes Altius, 8a Lakatnik and Formalin, 8a, small hole. Also, she realized many projects in several attempts with difficulty 7c and 7c+.

Iva Tsankova – aka the Princess surprised everyone, but especially herself when she climbed Altius, 8a. Iva is a very good boulder climber, but she rarely climbs sport routes. Iva has said that her fear of falling and therefore prefers to climb mainly boulders. After her success with the ascent of Altius, no one believes the claim that she was afraid. Altius route is old school, it is bolted pretty scary and is possible to fall to the ground while climbing. Iva also made some pretty serious boulders – Jaya The Cat, 7b+ ………………………………

Two other ladies also made significant ascents.

Milena Georgieva this year for the first time climbed routes in the categories 7b+ and 7c. 7c Sir Elton John, which Milena climbed within two days, is located on the new climbing area “Sinite Stegi” near Vratsa.
Elitsa Pavlova also able to enjoy success with two red point ascents 7b+.

Three of these ladies – Ida, Elitsa and Milena are currently climbing trip to Kalymnos. As is known, Kalymnos is one of the best climbing destinations in the world. We can expect the girls to return with a basket full of realized projects. Climbing world wishes them success!



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