The sport of rock climbing was forever changed when “auto-locking” or “assisted belay” devices first hit the market, most notably the Petzl Grigri and the Grigri 2. These products offer safer climber belaying by automatically closing off the system when rope feeds too fast through the device, consequently stopping a climber’s fall despite the physical reaction of the belayer. A dynamic cam on the inside of the device pinches off the rope as it runs across a friction plate, halting further rope movement.
While previous devices have completely relied on the belayer’s brake hand to physically stop a fall, assisted braking devices provide an extra measure of protection by design, although manufacturers strongly emphasize they are not intended for hands-free operation. The Grigri series is immensely popular with newbie climbers and veterans alike, making for a huge percentage of belay devices present in gyms and at crags around the world.
The Grigri+ offers outstanding upgrades of the original, highlighted by an “anti-panic” function on the release handle, which immediately stops the descent of a climber if too much pressure is applied too quickly. The new device also provides for better control while feeding the rope and an easier transition between top-rope and lead belaying.
Experienced users of this iconic device have routinely remarked the system’s hypersensitivity and unprotected free-fall possibility allocated by the release handle and the company addresses both these issues in the newest version.
Petzl emphasizes the increased user-friendly features of their upgraded product and greater suitability for use in a learning environment. The Grigri+ is equipped for utilization with single rope diameters ranging from 8.9 to 10.5 mm. It is constructed with stainless steel wear plates for extended product longevity and weighs 200g, just 30g heavier than the Grigri 2.
The Grigri+ will be released later in April for $150.