Petzl gri gri


Jan 6, 2008
new to the boards. Would like to have a discussion about replacing the friction hitch with the petzl gri gri. Now I have done quite a bit of searching on the subject and realize the the gri gri was not made for arborist and there seem to be flaws that some treeclimbers are not willing to accept. Now with that said I just can't seem to get the darn thing off my mind. I keep finding new ways to use it and they seem to work very well for my experience. Today I used it in place of a friction hitch in a drt setup. After the gri gri the rope traveled through a micro pulley attached to a petzl ascender. So for my advancement up into the tree I was pulling down on the rope. I started with just pushing the ascender up with my hand and then pulling myself up a few tugs at a time. Next I began pushing the ascender up the line with a 21 ft. pole saw. Working hand over hand, I started to get up the tree rather quickly. The mechanical advantage allowed me to lift myself with a one handed pull on the rope. When I got to the top and wanted to start working, I simply took the ascender out of the equation, placed the micro pulley from the bottom of the ascender to the right side of my saddle and worked, cruised all around the tree, prunning. I even advanced the tie in point and felt really quick and secure while doing it. Now my question is why don't more people use this device for tree work. I read that the gri gri has a bad habit of slipping a few inches before it would cam. I have not experienced this. By the way I am using the 7/16 blaze and seem to have a really nice fit for the gri gri with this rope. Any input or advice would be great. Long winded I know but am looking for some learning experience that would allow me to keep the piece of climbing equipment out of my work bag.
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  • #3
Thanks, I know I've been lurking for a while, but just felt I didn't have much to say. Cotton out of the ears sort of thing.
Pete, Welcome! I have a Grigri and have found it useful for working single line on a steep slope. I frankly never thought it was worthwhile for DdRT climbing due to the way the rope exits the device and my confidence and comfort with friction hitches. It sounds like you found a nice way to capitalize on the exit angle for an easy ascent.
I use a gri gri for my lanyard and it works very well. I've tried using it in place of a friction hitch, more or less to see how it would work, and found that it sucks. A VT is just so much faster and smoother.
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  • #7
I use a gri gri for my lanyard and it works very well. I've tried using it in place of a friction hitch, more or less to see how it would work, and found that it sucks. A VT is just so much faster and smoother.

Wow, o.k. thanks for the input. I find it very easy to put on the rope once and take it off the rope once, with no tying of the knot I feel like in my experience that it is little if no difference in time spent. And as for the smoothness, are you referring to the two handed method of rappel? One hand on the cam release and one hand on the tail. While in the tree moving around I would just put one hand on the top of the device not allowing the cam to rotate and pull a little rope out. I think I would trade the smoothness for not having to replace rope once in a while. Certainly do not have to worry about heat built up in the knot, whatever one is in use.
Theoretically, there should be no issues with a GriGri or any other mechanical devic used in place of a knot. For me, though, i prefer the simplicity and unfailing securit of a knot. Mechanical devices just have too much room for error for me. Mechanical things break, and the more stress you put on them, the more likely they are to fail. A knot won't fail as long as the cordage and rope are in good condition.

As far as heat build up and rope wear, just being juducious with the way yopu work your knot will put just as little wear on your rope as a toothed cam would. If you feel comfortable with, more power to you, but for now I'm still backing it up with a knot.
I use a gri gri for my lanyard and it works very well. I've tried using it in place of a friction hitch, more or less to see how it would work, and found that it sucks. A VT is just so much faster and smoother.

One weakness with the Gri Gri as a lanyard adjuster is that it will allow the lanyard to creep through the device if it has light pressure placed on it, like might happen if you are not leaning back on the lanyard but rather have it attached loosely and move around a bit. It won't fail, but it can allow the lanyard to gradually lengthen, and if you think you have it set at such and such a length and then lean into it, the unnoticed change in length can give you a real surprise...even cause you to lose balance.

I've always wondered if the Grillion does this too...the adjuster is quite similar to the Gri Gri, from outside appearances. Anyone know?
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  • #11
"Mechanical things break, and the more stress you put on them, the more likely they are to fail. A knot won't fail as long as the cordage and rope are in good condition."

Inspection is likely to occur, with either a knot or an acsender. I think I am more comfy with a knot as well but see a lot of potential with multi-tasking this device so I think the more ways I can use it the better (kind of like a knot). Does anyone have any other ways to think of using a gri gri or like device.
Pete- welcome to the site!

Regarding the's a cool device, but in tree climbing I don't think it's worth it. Everything that it does can be done with a (more versatile) hitch cord and slack tending pulley.

Keep the questions (and answers and opinions) coming!

Gri Gri works fairly decent as a fall arrest device in my self-belay system deployed when climbing above safe tie-in point in conifers, picking cones...not a common need for arbos, for sure :D.
Gri:/: Gri. I use it a lot. Mostly for a belay into a tree when starting a removal. I throw a line, pull rope, install gri gri......spike-orama. I DON'T use it as a friction hitch( SUCKS)! As a load release back up system, yes....Every tool box should have one.
I like cords for split-tails and lanyards. Mechanicals are too heavy for my taste. The less metal stuff I carry up, the happier I am.

Haven't thought about using one for spiking... hmmmm.
they are a little spring and no folding release handle.
Really? I was told a couple of years ago that they where the same, by a petzl dealer, and have always taken it as fact. Interesting.
Slightly different. I think they removed the handle so it didn't get snagged. Weaker spring is easier to use as a laynard
The Grillon was based on the idea of a Gri Gri and they work in the same way, but have different handles you pull to release the device. The Gri Gri handle tends to snag on twigs and branches causing your lanyard to lengthen unexpectedly, so they made the handle stubbier with a round piece on the end and called it a Grillon. I've never heard of them allowing a lanyard to lengthen under low tension, but this may be.

I can see a major problem with using the Gri Gri in place of a friction hitch, and that is that you'd have to pull slack through the thing AWAY from your body instead, whereas a friction hitch lets you pull slack TOWARDS yourself. I found this out last year while belaying my friend while rock climbing. He is a fast climber and I had to pull the slack though pretty quickly. By the time he got to the top, my arms were worn out (could be they're a little scrawny too though). If you rigged up a pulley on an ascender like in the RADS system to redirect the way you pull slack it would work great, but then you need a pulley and an ascender in addition to the Gri Gri just to replace the friction hitch.

Price is major factor too. You can tie a Blake's hitch with $3 worth of rope, whereas a Gri Gri costs $75.00. If you add in the ascender and pulley to redirect slack pulling, you could call it $150-200.

The Lockjack is the only device that was designed specifically to replace a friction hitch in the doubled rope method. They work pretty well once you get used to it, but cost about $300.
You can feather a friction hitch much better than a Gri Gri, and with one hand too. It you don't tether the end of the rope with the gri gri the descent will be jerky and not fully in control. Those mechanical friction devices work only so so. I'll admit better on single line than double.
Using the lock jack is the same as most other mechanical friction devices, if you don't tether the running end of the line or abseil it the descent is jerky and not fully in control. You be going too... fast.

There's very few mechanical friction devices I haven't tried out, with double or single line, and my opinion about them will remain.

The old friction hitch rules. One hand descents are always in control. Much cheaper too and easier to replace.
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  • #24
Thanks for every ones opinion. I think that I will give it a go for a while. The one handed decent is the only viable drawback in my opinion. As for the replacement of the device, in a pinch why I would just use a knot. We will see how long it lasts and see if the price of the device would make it worth doing. The way I see it, it could potentially replace a lot of knot tying, buying and/or splicing your own split tail system which equals quite a bit of time and a little or a comparable amount of money on rope. I don't really know if I am trying to convince myself or what. Just seems to work well enough in my book to give it a little time to get to know the thing and see if it's worth it in the long run.