Petzl GRIGRI+ and GRIGRI: Comparison Review
My inner mathematician got SO excited when Petzl suggested that I do (as a follow-up to my GRIGRI 2 review) a comparison review of the GRIGRI+ and the new GRIGRI (the third one). Comparison = excel chart. And I excel at excel. Also, thanks Petzl for coming through on my deep down wish that I couldn’t fit in A Climber’s Christmas II.
It turns out, excel is better for numbers, but here’s my attempt at being Consumer Reports.
|yes but no
Yeah, let me explain.
This guy gets a lot of love and a lot of hate, but in reality it’s just about your experience level with assisted brake belay devices, specifically GRIGRIs. So here’s both perspectives on the unique (and rad) elements to the GRIGRI+:
The whole idea of GRIGRIs is to have the assisted braking feature. Even on lead mode, it locks up to brake rather quickly. It doesn’t make it significantly harder to belay with, but it’s something to keep in mind. As a more experienced belayer, it can get frustrating to have to keep unlocking it. As a new belayer, it could help guide how much slack to leave out and prevent bad falls. Way to help out, GRIGRI+!
The most popular and well-advertised feature of the device is the anti-panic lowering system. Maybe you’re lowering you buddy and then see the cutest crag dog on the planet and accidentally pull the lever way too hard in an effort to go pet the big guy. Instead letting of your human friend plummeting to his death, the GRIGRI+ locks up and waits for you to get your priorities straight before it lets you lower again. This has the potential to get pretty irritating if you frequently belay people significantly heavier than you or tend to lower a bit quickly. Having said that, I’d imagine your partner would rather you deal with minor annoyances than dropping him to his death. Not that it would be likely for you to do that with any other belay device, but with climbers redundancy and preference are everything.
The colors of this device are pretty spicy as well, and are in a totally different category from the previous GRIGRIs (and the new one as well). This new set of colors will certainly help your gear stand out at the crag.
If you couldn’t tell from my excellent chart, this bad boy is my favorite belay device I’ve ever had the pleasure of using. Everything that you love in the GRIGRI 2 is in the new GRIGRI, plus everything that you may not have liked in the 2 is fixed in the new one. The only downgrade, which is just a personal preference, is that the ledge on the right side where you hold with your index finger while feeding slack is smaller on the new GRIGRI (and even smaller on the +) than the 2, but I imagine that it saves on weight and space. Fret not, it doesn’t make it harder to feed slack out.
Now for the amazing new features:
Sometimes, with the old GRIGRIs, the rope could escape the device when the cam was pulled up too high. Now, there’s a small stopper such that no matter how hard your partner whipped, that rope is not coming out of your belay device. Wahoo!
Lots of people hesitate on GRIGRIs because they’re afraid of short-roping their buddies on lead. I’ll always tell you it’s just a matter of practice and learning the ins and outs of the device, but even I will admit that sometimes the feeding can get a tad stiff on the earlier GRIGRIs. The new GRIGRI, however, feeds out rope like your partners’ lives depended on it (almost as if they were to, oh I don’t know, high-clip excessively…even though high-clipping is the best…). Never fear short-roping again!
Especially when it’s on the proj, taking out slack is crucial, whether it be you partner screaming “TAKEEEEEE!!!!” or you partner jugging up back to where they were after yelling “FALLLLLLLING!!” It really helps when the GRIGRI catches the rope without spitting it back up…and the new GRIGRI (and the GRIGRI +) catches it instantaneously, all the while keeping the slack out of the system. What a stud.
Not that it’s all about the looks, but it’s definitely about the looks. I mean, you have to check out the new colors for this new line of GRIGRIs. They’re sick. Plus they’re matte. Not that I’m biased, but it’s pretty clear what the right choice here is.
All in all, you can’t go wrong with these GRIGRIs (or any, for that matter). More suited for beginner belayers, the GRIGRI+ has some extra safety and redundancies to keep you and your climbing partners happy. A more advanced belay device, the new GRIGRI has got you covered and will allow you to belay your best belay.
Recommendation: Experienced lead belayer
Specs: 200 g (GRIGRI+); 175 g (GRIGRI); both compatible with 8.5 mm to 11 mm dynamic ropes
MSRP: $159.95 (GRIGRI+); $109.95 (GRIGRI)