/ Assisted braking devices

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Al Randall 01 Oct 2019

Just returning to the scene after 18 months lay-off.  Have there been any developments in the Assisted Braking device market.  I last used a Click-Up which I like but it tends to twist the rope.  I'm not keen on GriGris because I find them awkward to pay out slack quickly.  There was talk of a Revo but it looks cumbersome and heavy.

Al

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Iamgregp 01 Oct 2019
In reply to Al Randall:

I think the Revo is the only new to the market one, the reviews of it aren't all that - like you say it's enormous and heavy, quite expensive too.

I'm a click-up user myself, I know what you mean about it twisting the rope but it's probably the only gripe I have with it...

Have you looked at the Salewa Ergo, Edlerid MegaJul or the BD ATC Pilot?  They all seem to work on (broadly speaking) a similar way to the Click-Up but might not twist the rope as much?

Post edited at 13:54
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Al Randall 01 Oct 2019
In reply to Iamgregp:

I don't like the Megajul, I have tried it.  I might consider the ATC pilot which I have seen some info on, it's probably a contender.

Al

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Iamgregp 01 Oct 2019
In reply to Al Randall:

Just remembered the Mad Rock lifeguard, bit of a weird one as I've never seen one in the flesh, looks a bit like a smaller version of a Gri Gri.... Not sure it adds much to the world of assisted braking but it looks like you don't have to do the weird loop over the device thing like you do with a gri gri...

Like I say though never actually seen one!

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Al Randall 01 Oct 2019
In reply to Iamgregp:

Just watched a couple of vids on the Madrock lifeguard.  Looks good.  The difficulty of paying out rope quickly has always been the killer for the GriGri as far as I'm concerned.  Thanks for that.

Al

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AlanLittle 01 Oct 2019
In reply to Al Randall:

Beal Birdie? Similar principle to a grigri, I've seen totally conflicting reviews regarding whether it feeds better or worse.

Post edited at 14:38
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Al Randall 01 Oct 2019
In reply to Al Randall:

Thanks for the ideas.  I hadn't heard of the Birdie or the Lifeguard.  I suppose I'm going to have to try them to see if they really are an improvement.

Al

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Carless 01 Oct 2019
In reply to Al Randall:

Edelrid now do the GigaJul which they say solves the MegaJul problems

I haven't tried it but I like the MegaJul (except the having to re-thread it if using it in guide mode swinging leads)

https://www.edelrid.de/en/microsite/giga-jul.php

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Garethza 01 Oct 2019
In reply to Al Rapndall:

Black Diamond Pilot ATC is what you want.. simple and it works ! 

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Al Randall 01 Oct 2019
In reply to Garethza:

I have used a Mammut Smart which is similar but not as neat and compact.  What I can't help but wonder is, if devices like this essentially do the same job i.e. assisted braking, why have more complex, expensive devices gained popularity and essentially cornered the market. That's a serious question to anyone who may know the answer.  Does something like a GriGri have additional benefits? If so what are they?

Al

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tjin 01 Oct 2019
In reply to Al Randall:

> I have used a Mammut Smart which is similar but not as neat and compact.  What I can't help but wonder is, if devices like this essentially do the same job i.e. assisted braking, why have more complex, expensive devices gained popularity and essentially cornered the market. That's a serious question to anyone who may know the answer.  Does something like a GriGri have additional benefits? If so what are they?

To me a grigri lowers much easier. 

I actually don't really have problems with paying out slack with a grigri. When I teach people with no experience with a grigri, they also don't seem to have any problems with them either. If you feed it from the brake side, it's rarely an issue. 

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Tom Ripley 01 Oct 2019
In reply to Al Randall:

Have you actually used the newest Grigri? 

I think Petzl call this the Grigri rather than the Grigri 2. 

It is subtlety different to the Grigri 2 and seems to pay out slack much better. 

I had a quick go with one and could pay out quickly without it locking up, with a Grigri 2 I have to press the cam down to pay out lots of slack fast. 

Thats what I’d be buying if I was looking for a new assisted device.

p.s: I’m not talking about the Grigri plus.

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Al Randall 01 Oct 2019
In reply to tjin:

Fair enough but I always have found it difficult when a leader suddenly wants a large amount of slack and having to change the way you hold it to give that slack seems convoluted and more like a quick, clumsy fix than a proper solution.  Similarly quite often when I am being belayed and pull some slack I feel as though there is considerable resistance and that also happens with experienced belayers.  But lets not turn this into a GriGri slagging post. I personally don't get on with them and that is all there is to it.

Al

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Al Randall 01 Oct 2019
In reply to Tom Ripley:

No but see my previous comments. If I'm in the market for a new device what benefits does a GriGri offer over and above say an ATC Pilot?

Al

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Tom Ripley 01 Oct 2019
In reply to Al Randall:

> No but see my previous comments. If I'm in the market for a new device what benefits does a GriGri offer over and above say an ATC Pilot?

> Al

No idea... I find the wide range of assisted belay devices on the market confusing to say the least. 

What I do know is the new grigri (sometimes called the grigri 2019) is much less grabby than the grigri2 and original grigri. When I had a go with it, lead belaying felt very similar to using an ATC/Bug.

Rather than dismissing it I’d have a play with one next time you’re in a gear shop. 

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Presley Whippet 01 Oct 2019
In reply to Al Randall:

A grigri will lock reliably. In my experience, an atc pilot needs the correct combination of rope, carabiner and planetary alignment to lock effectively. 

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Al Randall 01 Oct 2019
In reply to Tom Ripley:

I did own one when they first came out and it was fine when I was using it incorrectly, like 99% of the climbing population at the time, I might add. When varied recommendations starting appearing to hold them slightly differently when paying out slack quickly I became disillusioned. As I said it felt like a clumsy attempt to overcome a basic design flaw and initially not by the manufacturers but rather the community.  I did not like that.  I will try a new one if I get the chance but I will still need convincing that it offers significantly more for the money than alternatives.

Al

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Al Randall 01 Oct 2019
In reply to Presley Whippet:

I never had problems with the Smart and the ONLY issue I have with the Click-Up is that it appears to twist the rope. In all other regards they both felt superior to the GriGri.

Al

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jimtitt 01 Oct 2019
In reply to Al Randall:

Basically if you learn to get used to it the Grigri does everything better and more reliably than anything else. A visit to most hard-core sport climbing areas will show that it is still the choice.

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Presley Whippet 01 Oct 2019
In reply to Al Randall:

Then stick with one of them, the only one of those I have used is the click up, very twisty. The bd offering is unreliable. The advantage of this design of plate over the gri gri is that they are not chiral. Watching some left handers attempt to use a gri gri terrifies me. 

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Al Randall 01 Oct 2019
In reply to jimtitt:

It's the learning to get used to it bit I'm nervous of I know you are an engineer, can I take that you have arrived at your opinion through extensive testing?

Could not the ubiquitous nature of the product be a result of marketing and Petzl getting a grip on the market at a time when there was very little else available?

Have things not moved on? Which of course was my original question.

Al

Post edited at 16:46
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Qwerty2019 01 Oct 2019
In reply to Al Randall:

I would not describe the revo as an assisted braking device.  Yes it has the safety if you somehow forget to hold the brake rope or get knocked out by a falling rock of a guaranteed catch.  But it doesn’t assist any braking for lowering.

I would describe it as a device which is fantastic for paying out rope (it’s so smooth) and works in the same way as a normal bug device until you actually have an emergency and then it offers the back up.  

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Iamgregp 01 Oct 2019
In reply to Al Randall:

I'm with you on that one Al, I reckon if there were as many assisted braking devices on the market when the Grigri first came out as there are now there no way it would be as dominant as it is now.

I'm seeing more and more people who have made the switch from tube style to click ups or ATC Pilot etc rather than to Grigri, some people (my other half included) just don't want to get into using a Grigri because of the fundamental change to the action as compared to tube style.

Sorry, I know I'm veering on grigri bashing here!  So for balance, I think they're alright once you get used to them (I use one a bit with a friend) take a bit of getting used to but they're good once you've got the knack.

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Al Randall 01 Oct 2019
In reply to Qwerty2019:

Thanks everyone for pointing me in the right direction. I think the best thing I can do now is try to test a few different ones including the GriGri 2019, if that's what it's called.  Most reliable sounds very appealing.

Al

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HeMa 01 Oct 2019
In reply to Al Randall:

Old/original GriGri, works like a charm on modern ropes (9.5 to 10.mm).

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HeMa 01 Oct 2019
In reply to Iamgregp:

> some people (my other half included) just don't want to get into using a Grigri because of the fundamental change to the action as compared to tube style.

Oddly enough, there is no change in How you belay with a GriGri, a regular ATC or about everything in between. 

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Al Randall 01 Oct 2019
In reply to HeMa:

> Oddly enough, there is no change in How you belay with a GriGri, a regular ATC or about everything in between. 

Having owned an original GriGri I have to disagree with you.  You did have to modify your grip to give slack quickly.  I'm surprised to hear you say different.  I do not know anyone who thinks otherwise and even among  GriGri officianados  it seemed to be an accepted weakness.  i.e. it wasn't just me.

Al

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HeMa 01 Oct 2019
In reply to Al Randall:

No mods. 
 

Works like a champ, but you do need to look at your climber and move. Just like with any other belay device. 
 

If your a static sack of potatoes that isn’t lookin’ at the climber, sure you might need to yard out slack. But If you belay *properly*, you don’t need to do that. 
 

and like I said modern single ropes are easy to pay out and armful through the original grigri. You just need to do it at a reasonable speed and not yank. Hence be attentive and it’ll work. Be a douche and it’ll punish ya. ;)

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Al Randall 01 Oct 2019
In reply to HeMa:

What about when it's not possible to step forwards and backwards how do you cope then?

Al

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Chris Craggs Global Crag Moderator01 Oct 2019
In reply to Al Randall:

> Just returning to the scene after 18 months lay-off.  Have there been any developments in the Assisted Braking device market.  I last used a Click-Up which I like but it tends to twist the rope. 

I have noticed that the Click-Up kinks the rope markedly less if you ensure the rope is fed straight into it without any diagonal component when belaying the leader and lowering,

Chris

Post edited at 17:51
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Al Randall 01 Oct 2019
In reply to Chris Craggs:

Tried that, as recommended by the manufacturer but  can't say I noticed a huge difference and it's not always possible to achieve the ideal position.

Al

Post edited at 18:00
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Iamgregp 01 Oct 2019
In reply to Al Randall:

I used to have a rope that we didn't take out of the packet correctly from factory rolled, and used a clickup and it was an absolute nightmare, the rope was like a telephone wire half the time.

Got a new rope and the kinking caused by the clickup is nothing like as bad so, relatively speaking, the kinking doesn't really seem to be a problem anymore.

I wonder if it's better or worse with different ropes?  Doesn't seem to be a problem with my Petzl contact.  Can't remember what the old rope was (maybe an Edleweiss) but that was bad and got worse.  

Post edited at 18:01
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peppermill 01 Oct 2019
In reply to Al Randall:

Took a while to get good at lead belaying with a GriGri2 but now i am I'll probably stick with it for sport climbing for life. Sure there's probably better designs on the market but I'm slick with it and used to it so no need to change. I've never had a problem with paying out slack quickly but I do have freakishly long arms (sick of grazed knuckles.....) which I think makes a difference!

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Anotherclimber 01 Oct 2019
In reply to Al Randall:

Al, I reckon its you, not the Gri-Gri at fault. I simply don't have the problem you describe.  Anyway, glad to hear you're back in circulation.

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danm 01 Oct 2019
In reply to Al Randall:

> I have used a Mammut Smart which is similar but not as neat and compact.  What I can't help but wonder is, if devices like this essentially do the same job i.e. assisted braking, why have more complex, expensive devices gained popularity and essentially cornered the market. That's a serious question to anyone who may know the answer.  Does something like a GriGri have additional benefits? If so what are they?

> Al

There are two major differences between for example, a Grigri and ATC Pilot. First, and most importantly, with a Grigri and other devices with a moving cam, the assisted braking function works independently of the position of the brake hand. There are a few accidents on record where the assisted braking function on devices like the Pilot has failed to operate because of too high a brake hand. With a Grigri, as long as there is tension in the rope and the cam isn't intentionally blocked, it will engage. Of course, if you use any device correctly, it will work as intended.

The other point, which may or may not be important depending on your view of such things, is that all the geometric devices (MegaJul, Pilot, ClickUp etc) are only tested as manual devices despite being marketed and sold as assisted braking devices. What does this mean in practice? It means that, unlike a Grigri, none of these devices has had their braking functionality tested to a standard. For manual devices, the test is a simple body strength test. Therefore, you are relying on the manufacturer doing good R&D and field testing. Devices like a Grigri which are actual assisted braking devices must pass a pretty savage drop test which tests the brake function, the other devices can't pass this.

Various steps are in the pipeline/have been made to address these issues - the rather maligned ClickUp+ seeks to remove the hand position issue whilst keeping some overall design simplicity. It's not great as a general purpose braking device but for its intended purpose (a very safe and almost foolproof device) it succeeds admirably (I thought the UKC review missed the point of the device somewhat).

In addition, plans are afoot to split the braking device standard into 3 so that geometric assisted braking devices can be correctly addressed and tested. It'll be hard work though as braking devices are about the hardest things to test and certify due to the number of variables involved

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Al Randall 01 Oct 2019
In reply to Anotherclimber:

> Al, I reckon its you, not the Gri-Gri at fault. I simply don't have the problem you describe.  Anyway, glad to hear you're back in circulation.

Oh quite possibly but I'm certainly not alone.

Al

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Al Randall 01 Oct 2019
In reply to danm:

Thanks for that it's the productive sort of thing I was looking for, not effectively "you're a douche" in one form or another 

Al

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Chris Craggs Global Crag Moderator01 Oct 2019
In reply to danm:

>

> Various steps are in the pipeline/have been made to address these issues - the rather maligned ClickUp+ seeks to remove the hand position issue whilst keeping some overall design simplicity. It's not great as a general purpose braking device but for its intended purpose (a very safe and almost foolproof device) it succeeds admirably (I thought the UKC review missed the point of the device somewhat).

The guy who posted on here having decked using a CU+ might question the 'almost foolproof' aspect of the device, though as we all know fools can be very inventive,

Chris

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HeMa 01 Oct 2019
In reply to Al Randall:

Then you pay even more attention to the climber. As said, I can easily pay out roughly a meter of slack without moving at all (and I ain’t big)... If I move, then 2 to 3 meters. 

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Al Randall 01 Oct 2019
In reply to HeMa:

So a GriGri has never locked off on you when you did not want it to and you have never experienced being unable to pull up enough slack when leading?  You must be unique in that regard. As for moving have you never been forced to stand in a position where it has not been possible to move forwards or backwards? Come on even huge fans and very experienced users concede these negative characteristics. Other than trying to publicise your obviously superior skills, I'm not sure what the point of your post is, I have said I will consider a GriGri so there is no need to put up a defense for it.

Sorry I didn't want to get into a confrontational debate so perhaps we should leave it there.

Al

Post edited at 20:38
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HeMa 01 Oct 2019
In reply to Al Randall:

Of course it has, numerous times. When I haven’t been attentive of the climber ;). But I have had a reg tube lock off for the same reason (the only difference is that tube is a tad easier to release, but not by much).

and as said, even without moving you can pay out a meter or so of slack. Observe the climber and do it twice for 2m. 
 

That said, I am using the original grigri and new ropes (generally 9.5 to 9.7). Old, thick and fluffy rope will be more grabby. 

Post edited at 20:40
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Max factor 01 Oct 2019
In reply to Qwerty2019:

> I would describe [the Revo] as a device which is fantastic for paying out rope (it’s so smooth) and works in the same way as a normal bug device until you actually have an emergency and then it offers the back up.  

Does the Revo lock off if you hold the dead end the rope? (i.e. can you lock it off if the leader says 'take', without them taking a fall?). I thought it needed a fall and reaching a certain speed for the cam to engage. 

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Al Randall 01 Oct 2019
In reply to HeMa:

OK apologies you just came across as a bit dismissive of those who have experienced those situations many of whom are better than either you or me. It doesn't alter the fact that I have never found it easy or intuitive and the fact that you do is no help to me what so ever.

Al

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Iamgregp 01 Oct 2019
In reply to Al Randall:

I’m gonna start a thread about fruits and mention I don’t like bananas to see how long it takes before I’m told that they’re the best and it’s just me eating them wrong

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Al Randall 01 Oct 2019
In reply to Iamgregp:

I know what you mean.  I'm fairly certain some people just don't realise how they come across in these circumstances.  Probably best to ignore and not get drawn in. It's reminded me why I have stayed away for so long.

Al

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Iamgregp 01 Oct 2019
In reply to Al Randall:

I had to fight hard to not get drawn in (I’ve never been good at holding back).  Think I wrote then deleted messages about 6 times...

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AlanLittle 01 Oct 2019
In reply to Al Randall:

> Does something like a GriGri have additional benefits? If so what are they?

Perfectly reasonable question, here's an attempt at a reasonable & non-confrontational answer.

I think a large part of the grigri's popularity among serious sport climbers is indeed first mover advantage, familiarity & inertia. But not all of it. Sport climbing is a team sport and belaying a climber who is working a route is hard work; the grigri makes it easier than other devices in my experience to hold & position a climber exactly where they want to be to work a particular move or position.

I also personally find the fast feeding thing a non-issue, assuming a modern 9 to 9.5 rope in good condition and an attentive belayer. With old, fat, fuzzy wall ropes all bets are off. And I fully accept that others might have different experiences.

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C Witter 01 Oct 2019
In reply to Al Randall:

A different question, but why do people go for the assisted braking devices rather than a standard tube device? For working sports routes? To deal with weight imbalances? Being extra safety-conscious? Genuine question, as I've always used a standard ATC type device and haven't yet come across any particular rationale for investing money in something more sophisticated.

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Robert Durran 01 Oct 2019
In reply to C Witter:

> A different question, but why do people go for the assisted braking devices rather than a standard tube device?

For less chance of dying (or killing your partner), though they are also useful for locking off when dogging.

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Qwerty2019 01 Oct 2019
In reply to Max factor:

You can act like a normal bug device and take as requested.  Or you can flick the shoulder up and it will indeed take for you thus locking the device, whilst you of course keep hold of the brake end of the rope

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climber34neil 01 Oct 2019
In reply to Al Randall:

I have been using the beal birdie for a while now and much prefer it to the gri gri , my personal opinion is that it pays out better, and doesn't twist the rope as much when lowering and for me it just feels nicer, personal preference and all that

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tom_in_edinburgh 02 Oct 2019
In reply to Al Randall:

> Fair enough but I always have found it difficult when a leader suddenly wants a large amount of slack and having to change the way you hold it to give that slack seems convoluted and more like a quick, clumsy fix than a proper solution. 

I think it is sensitive to the diameter and flexibility of the rope.  When I first got a GriGri I thought it was sh*t because I had to hold the cam down to pay out but when I swapped from 10mm Mammut rope (which worked great in an ATC) to a 9.8mm Edelrid it became really easy to pay out without going anywhere near the cam.

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Wiley Coyote2 02 Oct 2019
In reply to Al Randall:

I am left handed and have never got on with the GriGri for belaying a leader. It always feels to me like I need three hands to use one properly. Do any other cuddywifters find the same problems?

I use the original Click Up for all lead belaying and have no problems at all with it. I will occasionally use my GriGri when  bottom rope belaying and paying out in a hurry is not an issue. The Click Up would be just as good for that too but at least I feel I am getting some use out of the expensive GriGri

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AlanLittle 02 Oct 2019
In reply to climber34neil:

Interesting. It's definitely on my shortlist to look at when my grigri2 wears out.

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IceBun 02 Oct 2019
In reply to Presley Whippet:

Not even remotely my experience, the ATC Pilot works very effectively and is straightforward to use on a variety of of rope diameters. It is at its best with the dedicated carabiner that prevents any swivel but then so is a grigri. It is also, in my view, less easy to use incorrectly, unlike a grigri.

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In reply to C Witter:

> A different question, but why do people go for the assisted braking devices rather than a standard tube device? For working sports routes? To deal with weight imbalances? Being extra safety-conscious? Genuine question, as I've always used a standard ATC type device and haven't yet come across any particular rationale for investing money in something more sophisticated.


If you spend a lot of time beaying people working projects, an assisted device is a near necessity.  You might spend 1-2 hours at a time repeatedly hauling your partner between bolts, so the locking action of the device is hugely important.  Especially if the routes are steep and the climber takes repeated lobs and the belayer is expected to help winch them back up to their last bolt for a long rest!  Gri-gris are brilliant for this job; although, it's still a lot of hard work. 

Actual RP attempts are a relatively short part of the day (if the most important), so the occassional stickiness paying out is something you are prepared to put up with for a less arduous day.  Once the climber is at a safe height most belayers don't risk any short-roping / sticking at clips; they just depress the cam and quickly pull through a couple of armfuls of rope, and take it back in once the clip is made. 

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MischaHY 02 Oct 2019
In reply to Al Randall:

Hi Al,

Assisted belay devices are a confusing world. That said, whilst working for an outdoor shop I've been stoically testing my way through the market and having used pretty much everything on offer now, have come to the following conclusions: 

  • Best Choice: Grigri 2019.
    It bears very little resemblance to the original and is a sport climbing weapon. It feeds smooth even with fat gym ropes, lowers like a dream, and is one of very few devices that I feel totally confident will always grab. It's important to note that a Grigri should not be used like you would use a tube, but rather the officially specified position of gently cupping the device and releasing the cam with your thumb when paying out slack is the way to go. I'm not surprised you've had a hard time previously if you've been trying to use it like a tube, as although this can be done, it's sub-optimal because as you mentioned your grip needs to be changed to the 'cupped' position in order to release tension, so it's best to use this all the time. Here's a great video that explains the ideal technique:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FHdqjjyeTtg 
     
  • Best Value: Edelrid Jul 2.
    It's important to mention this is a noticeably different device to the Megajul in terms of handling and performance - I'm not a Megajul fan. The Jul 2 is a smooth operating, hard wearing, assisted braking device with ease of use and cheapness being the main attractions. It's the best of the tube style assisted braking devices I've used. In comparison, the Smart is a poor contender. 

I've based this opinion on the extended testing of the following devices: Megajul, Jul 2, Gigajul, Grigri 1, Grigri 2, Grigri (3), Trango Vergo, ATC Pilot, Mammut Smart 1/2/Alpine, Austrialpin Fish, Wild Country Revo, Singing Rock Rama, Click Up/+, Mad Rock Lifeguard - so I'm happy to say it's reasonably informed. I haven't used a Beal Birdie yet but I assume it's very similar to the Lifeguard based on what I've heard. 

I still use a tube (reverso or pivot) for trad. None of the current market options offer what I'm looking for in terms of ease of use when belaying well with double ropes. For those wondering about the Gigajul, there is very little to differentiate it from the Megajul other than ease of abseiling in tube mode. 

I hope this helps you make an informed decision! 

Post edited at 08:25
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flaneur 02 Oct 2019
In reply to Al Randall:

Like you, I didn't find the GriGri intuitive after decades of familiarity with tube devices and had trouble with paying out slack in a hurry. It's got easier with practice and the GriGri2 (with a 9.2mm rope) is smoother than the original. For the reasons moose describes, I now usually use a GriGri when sport climbing. If you are not planning to work routes, the benfits over a tube are much less persuasive.  I may be stating the obvious here but the main thing I had to relearn was the rate of feeding the slack. Instinct and habit had me pulling rope through as fast as possible whilst struggling to override the cam. I had to consciously relearn this and if I feed slack (one hand push and the other pull simultaneously) slighly more slowly it nearly always runs smoothly,

I still sometimes revert to a tube on a redpoint attempt if the belay area doesn't allow a quick step forward and any excess slack could be hazardous: if there is a difficult clip for a low bolt or the rock is slabby or ledgy.

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MGRT 02 Oct 2019
In reply to MischaHY:

Thanks, really useful post.  Why do you prefer the Jul 2 over the Smart? 

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Presley Whippet 02 Oct 2019
In reply to IceBun:

With a new rope, it is no improvement on using an atc. 

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wbo2 02 Oct 2019
In reply to flaneur/Mischa - exactly my experience with the GriGri2 - once learnt, it works fine, and I'm left handed on top.  For general climbing I use a pivot and as far as I recall , when I'd belayed lead comps it's been tube device to minimise short roping - relevant for red pointing.

I've tried a smart - didn't like it, granny.  If you're going to need to relearn to belay then you may as well go to the GriGri rather than just a halfway house 

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Jim Hamilton 03 Oct 2019

In reply to Al Randall:

Epic TV (on Utube) did a review recently of the Birdie v the latest GriGri and said the Birdie whilst similar in operation, pays out rope better. May be worth watching.

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jon 03 Oct 2019
In reply to Jim Hamilton:

Is it finally available??

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Garethza 03 Oct 2019
In reply to Presley Whippet:

Do you climb with a new rope every session? 

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Presley Whippet 03 Oct 2019
In reply to Garethza:

Of course, nothing but the best for me. 

Quite clearly not but with new ropes and thin ropes (within the specified range) the plate does not lock and barely assists. I know none of these devices are supposed to be hands free it would take a brave man to try it with a pilot and a new thin rope. 

How can you be all euro cool and boulder out moves, eat a baguette and roll a spliff whilst belaying using one of these? 

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asteclaru 03 Oct 2019
In reply to Al Randall:

I've been using an ATC Pilot for about 6 months for all my indoor and sport climbing. I like it. I have no clue what Whippet is on about with regards to reliability.

The only issue I have noticed is that when you are lowering a very light climber (~50 kgs or thereabouts) it can get quite jerky. No issues with heavier climbers.

I've tried both the GriGri and the ClickUp in the past and found them both awkward to use (plus they always managed to lock up exactly when I didn't want them to). I much prefer a device with no active component like the Pilot.

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krikoman 04 Oct 2019
In reply to Robert Durran:

>  though they are also useful for locking off when dogging.

A bucket of cold water usually does the trick for me.

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Stairclimber 04 Oct 2019
In reply to Al Randall:

I've recently bought a Beal Birdie and can confirm that it pays out slack to a leader really well, that it has a sturdy well made 'feel' to it and a very competitive price.

However, I don't like lowering with my hand (as recommended by Beal) right next to the device. Thicker rope rolls offline more frequently and it is nowhere as comforting to abseil with as a gri gri. 

Potentially good piece of kit, but needs tweaking and a careful user at the moment.

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MischaHY 05 Oct 2019
In reply to MGRT:

The handling is far nice due to the different design and shorter nose, plus it's way more compact and durable being made of steel. It grabs well even on my 8.6 single but works just as smoothly with fat ropes. It still slips more than the Grigri and is a bit faffy to ascend with and tends to chew the top of alu carabiners but ultimately is the best of the 'nose' style devices by a long way. 

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Stopsy 05 Oct 2019
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:

Noticed yourself and HeMa both mentioning using sub 10mm ropes in a GriGri. Is this with the original GriGri, where the stated suitable diameters are 10-11mm, or with a newer version with a greater stated range of diameters?

Cheers

James

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HeMa 05 Oct 2019
In reply to Stopsy:

The orig GriGri was later Re-certified for thinner than 10mm ropes. 

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Stopsy 05 Oct 2019
In reply to HeMa:

Ah cheers, a little nugget of info I didn't know!

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HeMa 05 Oct 2019
In reply to Stopsy:

I recall it’s officially good from 9.5 upwards.

But it’ll work with thinner ropes if you use it carefully (I’ve gone down to 8.9mm). So basically use it like a reg. ATC and you’ll be fine. Remember, even the grigri was never really and automatic locking belay device (contrary to How you see people using it), rather assisted braking one.

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IceBun 05 Oct 2019
In reply to Presley Whippet:

Once again, not even remotely my experience. Have you been lubing yours, or maybe try it the right way round😉? New rope, old rope, fat rope, thin rope, all work fine for me and several friends. 

Post edited at 18:46
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tom_in_edinburgh 05 Oct 2019
In reply to Stopsy:

> Noticed yourself and HeMa both mentioning using sub 10mm ropes in a GriGri. Is this with the original GriGri, where the stated suitable diameters are 10-11mm, or with a newer version with a greater stated range of diameters?

I've got the 2nd generation GriGri i.e. not the brand new one or the original one.

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Presley Whippet 07 Oct 2019
In reply to IceBun:

Strange, as it is the same for me and several friends too. 

I thin ropes and new rope do not autoblock, some will get limited assistance. No hope of autoblocking like a gregory, so quite poor for working stuff.

Yes, yes, right way round, shoes on after socks, chest goes up, chest goes down. 

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krikoman 07 Oct 2019
In reply to MischaHY:

> I still use a tube (reverso or pivot) for trad. None of the current market options offer what I'm looking for in terms of ease of use when belaying well with double ropes. For those wondering about the Gigajul, there is very little to differentiate it from the Megajul other than ease of abseiling in tube mode. 

> I hope this helps you make an informed decision! 

Wouldn't you suggest sticking with the tube if you climb sport and trad? It's only one method to learn and less to mix up. We climb sport and trad in our club and no one uses a GriGri, everyone just uses a tube.

Each to their own of course, and maybe if we only climbed sport it might be different. The beauty of a tube, is once you learned how to use it, you do the same for sport, trad, half ropes, bringing people up from below, all the same technique. Therefore, often safer.

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Iamgregp 07 Oct 2019
In reply to krikoman:

So the reason I went for an assisted braking device when I started leading Sport is just to add an extra level of safety should something happen to the belayer that makes them unable to belay you  - say they get pulled against the wall and knocked out, attacked by a swarm of killer bees, faint at the sheer heat and exhaustion of watching me screw up the crux that many times - in these cases there's a chance the locking/assisted breaking function of the device will hold me till my belayer regains consciousness.

I know these devices rely on a hand on the dead rope to work effectively but like I say, there's a chance.  I reckon the click-up would engage even if the belayer wasn't holding the dead rope.  Never tried it.  Don't intend to.

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Al Randall 07 Oct 2019
In reply to krikoman:

I would agree with that sentiment if you climbed sport the same as you climb trad but many don't.  With sport what seems to be the most popular method is redpointing to a greater or lesser degree.  I would hate to have to stand there for what could be 15 or 20 minutes holding the weight of a climber on a regular belay device. I don't redpoint and don't really have any desire to climb (belay) with anyone who does but there are still times when you find yourself just holding a dead weight for some significant time. I also think the sport climbing is much more intense and the leader much more likely to take a fall or be willing to do so.  In these situations I find an assisted belay device far more reassuring. Even with just resting on the rope quite often I have found myself slowly getting lower and lower because the standard device/belayer is not as effective at holding me. Having said all that I prefer assisted devices that do not require major changes to belaying technique.

When it comes to indoor climbing I am reluctant to be belayed with anything other than an assisted device.  I have seen too many accidents and near misses caused by a belayer being inattentive or distracted. An assisted device adds an extra layer of security.

Al

Post edited at 14:21
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MGRT 07 Oct 2019
In reply to MischaHY:

> The handling is far nice due to the different design and shorter nose, plus it's way more compact and durable being made of steel. It grabs well even on my 8.6 single but works just as smoothly with fat ropes. It still slips more than the Grigri and is a bit faffy to ascend with and tends to chew the top of alu carabiners but ultimately is the best of the 'nose' style devices by a long way. 


Cheers. Ordered the Jul2 based on your feedback. I have been using a Smart for a few years. It works fine with no real problems. Although I have noticed it can run more than expected if the brake hand is too high (as noted further up the thread) .

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Neil Williams 07 Oct 2019
In reply to Al Randall:

I reckon that they will become common enough that walls will, with little resistance, mandate them before too long.  I'm almost waiting for the first UK wall to step out and do it.

Having had a go at one I reckon I'd go with the Mammut Smart, it seems to work the most like a regular tubular device of any I've tried, at least when taking in and paying out.  That said, the lowering is almost as cack-handed as the Grigri[1].  I fundamentally don't like sliding the rope nor others doing so when belaying me (as it carries a risk of loss of control) and wish to lower off in the way novices tend to be taught i.e. with a hand always holding the rope tight while the other moves - is there a brake assist device that allows that?

[1] I've not used a 2019 Grigri and would like to try one but wouldn't spend 50 quid speculatively on one.  So when I get chance

Post edited at 16:16
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Al Randall 07 Oct 2019
In reply to Neil Williams:

I am led to understand that some walls in the USA already insist that an assisted braking device of some form must be used.

Al

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Neil Williams 07 Oct 2019
In reply to Al Randall:

> I am led to understand that some walls in the USA already insist that an assisted braking device of some form must be used.

I believe so, but the approach has always been different there (and even more so in Australia where you tend to have to use in-situ Grigris on ground anchors and not your own device).

They also tend to use separate lead climb/belay tests, whereas most UK walls don't (I only ever came across one that did).

Post edited at 16:18
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MischaHY 07 Oct 2019
In reply to krikoman:

No, assisted devices are far better for sport. The only reason I don't like it for trad is because handling doubles is a faff with the current devices on offer. If there was a decent option for doubles on trad I would be using that as well. 

I've also never bought into this idea that people should be only comfortable with using one device. Belaying with different devices is a necessary skill and I don't thing people should disregard this by limiting themselves to one device or belay style. 

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Robert Durran 07 Oct 2019
In reply to Neil Williams:

> Having had a go at one I reckon I'd go with the Mammut Smart, it seems to work the most like a regular tubular device of any I've tried, at least when taking in and paying out.  That said, the lowering is almost as cack-handed as the Grigri[1].  I fundamentally don't like sliding the rope nor others doing so when belaying me (as it carries a risk of loss of control) and wish to lower off in the way novices tend to be taught i.e. with a hand always holding the rope tight while the other moves - is there a brake assist device that allows that?

I'm not quite sure what you mean by some of that, but the Click-Up is brilliantly controllable and extremely safe for lowering since it remains in the "clicked down" locked position and is controlled by gently tilting it - let go and it immediately locks again.

Post edited at 22:11
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krikoman 08 Oct 2019
In reply to MischaHY:

> I don't thing people should disregard this by limiting themselves to one device or belay style. 

It just seems a lot of expense for something you can do cheaply and easily with simple devices.

We have had trouble with people learning simply belaying never mind changing devices!!

The only accidents I've witnessed have been people panicking with GriGri's, bu they weren't our members.

I take Al's point about redpointing and holding people for long time, not many people climb that way in our club, maybe we're old fashioned, or just shit , we're more on sight climbers and maybe we give up too easy too. I can't even be arsed to redpoint at the wall, I might give something a number of goes, but it's always from the ground up, so no massive amount of time with someone holding me.

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MGRT 08 Oct 2019
In reply to krikoman:

They are really not that expensive in the grand scheme of things. The Jul2 is about £25. Even the GriGri is only about £70. Both devices will probably last a life time. If you think there is even a small chance of it preventing an accident with one of these over a tube device than the cost shouldn't really be a factor.

I appreciate your other points about the potential panic scenario with a GriGri and learning two techniques.

Personally,  I see a real risk, particularly outside, of the belayer becoming incapacitated and letting go of the rope (e.g. from rock fall or a trip) and the extra layer of protection from an assisted device is worth any shortcomings.

Post edited at 11:31
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krikoman 09 Oct 2019
In reply to MGRT:

> They are really not that expensive in the grand scheme of things. The Jul2 is about £25. Even the GriGri is only about £70. Both devices will probably last a life time. If you think there is even a small chance of it preventing an accident with one of these over a tube device than the cost shouldn't really be a factor.

In my experience though it's the change over to GriGris which have caused the problems, so far from preventing an accident they've been the cause. I've seen at least three people dropped because the belayer f*cked up the grigri. Probably bad instruction, but none the less a broken leg and a dislocated ankle, is enough to put me off.

Obviously each to their own and it depends on what and how you climb.

Some people in our club STILL have trouble with a tube, so maybe it's just us

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Snyggapa 09 Oct 2019
In reply to krikoman:

one problem with stats is that you rarely see the accidents that they might have prevented - although indoors the only accident they should really prevent is due to sloppy belaying / lack of attention as the odds of an incapacitated belayer at the wall are pretty slim.

Note that I am not defending sloppy belaying, but it is a fact of life

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krikoman 09 Oct 2019
In reply to Snyggapa:

> one problem with stats is that you rarely see the accidents that they might have prevented -

That was my point, I've seen a number of accidents using GriGris, I've never seen a belay incapacitated, though I'm aware it happens.

I witnessed someone dying once, but that was neither the belayer, the belay device, nor the climbers fault, just a terrible accident.

At the end of the day, we make choices that best suit our needs / experience. I feel happier when I know my belayer knows what they are doing and how to react.

Post edited at 10:10
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wbo2 09 Oct 2019
In reply to krikomanast person I saw hit the deck was being belayed with a standard tube device - bad belaying.  Personally I belay with, and am belated with, both tubes and grigris, and am happy with both.  If you dont see the need, fine, but for many they're useful.

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MGRT 09 Oct 2019
In reply to wbo2:

69 % of drivers consider themselves above average, only 0.8% consider themselves below average*. 

I would not be surprised if you would get similarly skewed statistics on whether people consider themselves a better than average belayer.

*https://www.theaa.ie/blog/70-of-drivers-rate-themselves-as-above-average/

Post edited at 10:40
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Garethza 09 Oct 2019
In reply to Presley Whippet:

I understand your motives for being euro cool, but my new 9.5mm rope seems to lock the device up just fine?

The majority of people are not going to be climbing sport on >9.5mm ropes and those that are, probably already own a gri gri and are not relevant to the OP's original question... ! 

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Bulls Crack 09 Oct 2019
In reply to Al Randall:

Another vote for the ATC Pilot which I bought after reading a similar thread. 

After 1 day using it the GriGri was  chucked into a drawer where it will stay unless I feel like top-roping at a wall whilst eating my lunch. 

Simple and effective.

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Presley Whippet 10 Oct 2019
In reply to Garethza:

This keeps ping pinging but that is definately not my experience and certainly not the experience I witnessed the other week, a hands free swift but safe lower,a perfect combination of variables? Any way I will leave this discussion now, it is going nowhere. 

I will stay cool with my gregory. 

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Al Randall 10 Oct 2019
In reply to Bulls Crack:

I always liked the Smart for ease of use but I disliked the long thumb grip, it seemed to catch on anything and everything.  Indeed it once hooked itself onto a piece of gear hanging from a young ladies harness and dragged her into me.  Oh wait a minute that might be a benefit

I did like the look of the pilot when it first came out, it looks as though it provides the same ease of use in a much neater and compact package.

Al

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krikoman 10 Oct 2019
In reply to wbo2:

> last person I saw hit the deck was being belayed with a standard tube device - bad belaying.  Personally I belay with, and am belated with, both tubes and grigris, and am happy with both.  If you dont see the need, fine, but for many they're useful.


I don't doubt they are, and I take the points raised, but not only do people have to learn something different, they also need to be aware of swapping back. At least one of the drops I heard about was because they had been using Grigri type belay device and then had to use a tube type, doubled ropes I think, but the girl involved had been used to the device gripping the rope, using a tube obviously doesn't do that and her boyfriend decked out.

To be fair though, most of what I've seen are people who are relatively new to belaying, but who also believe GriGris are safer than tubes.

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Al Randall 10 Oct 2019
In reply to Al Randall:

I'm coming around to thinking that the 2019 GriGri may be the way to go.  I've seen it advertised for just over £51.00.  At £34.00 and considering it's simplicity it's the ATC Pilot that looks expensive when you compare what you are getting for the money.  I think I need to try them both before deciding.

Al

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