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catbirdseat

"Reeling In" a Falling Leader

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RuMR said:

 

When i said completely, that was regarding the device...

 

 

NEWSFLASH!! Systems fail!!! Even with 6 sigma QC, nothing's perfect.

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rbw1966 said:

There's been quite a few people hurt while being belayed using a gri gri. Many people belayed with them and took their hands completely off the rope to take photos, smoke a bowl or whatever. Leader falls, a piece of debris gets swept up into the camo on the rope and the leader decks.

 

I am not a Gri-Gri fan and would be interested in showing evidence of these accidents to friends who do like Gri Gris please post some links to the supporting documentation.

 

Thanks.

 

PP bigdrink.gif

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NECRO, Fuckin' quit it...i get your point, which has nothing to do w/ mine...which is its equal to an atc (and just for you, ITS ALL RISKY AND SUBJECT TO FAILURE GIVEN CERTAIN CIRCUMSTANCES)

 

 

Edited by RuMR

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Peter_Puget said:

rbw1966 said:

There's been quite a few people hurt while being belayed using a gri gri. Many people belayed with them and took their hands completely off the rope to take photos, smoke a bowl or whatever. Leader falls, a piece of debris gets swept up into the camo on the rope and the leader decks.

 

I am not a Gri-Gri fan and would be interested in showing evidence of these accidents to friends who do like Gri Gris please post some links to the supporting documentation.

 

Thanks.

 

PP bigdrink.gif

 

The petzl website lists a few of the precautions about foreign bodies as well as other things to consider like threading the rope backwards.

 

This website provides some anecdotal information about gri gri problems.

 

That being said, I use a gri-gri as a solo device when aid climbing, and I have my wife use it when she belays me since I know if I fall I will rip her right off her feet and don't want her to freak and drop the rope.

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RBW - I found one example in your links indicating something prevented the cam from working. From your post I was expecting a bit more than one. Thanks for the links.

 

PP bigdrink.gif

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You didn't read the anecdotal site I referred you to. There were at least two instances of cams being held open by debris.

 

I am sure you can find other reports. I seem to recall some mention in ANAM about this sort of failure as well but this may be wrong.

 

Sorry I couldn't find more but I am actually having to do some work, while at work. wazzup.gif

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rbw1966 said:

You didn't read the anecdotal site I referred you to. There were at least two instances of cams being held open by debris.

 

I am sure you can find other reports. I seem to recall some mention in ANAM about this sort of failure as well but this may be wrong.

 

Sorry I couldn't find more but I am actually having to do some work, while at work. wazzup.gif

 

I believe I did read the site. Pasted below is the enitre section related to cams being blocked by debris. There is clearly only one case of a cam being blocked by debris. (Rex Pieper's) The draw event is simply not the same as the cam being blocked by debris.

 

Cam held open by a foreign body

From: Bill Yerazunis

The official Petzl propaganda sheet cautions that situations where the cam is pressed open by rock or 'biner can cause the GriGri to fail to work

From: Dave Buchanan

The Gri-Gri slammed into the draw, with the cam taking the brunt of the impact. For whatever reason, I did not get speed-lowered. I'm not quite sure why.

From: Greg Daughtry

There are two reasons why you did not get speed lowered:

1) 11 feet off the ground, your belayer was suspended in air, with the climbing rope under the tension of her full body weight. Provided that your belayer still had her hand on the brake side of the rope, this presents a lot of force for the cam to lock. The device was locked prior to hitting the draw, which is a big distinction to the warning case presented on the Petzl web site about belaying with a bolt clipped just above the gri gri, on the leader side.

2) Even if the cam were completely open, the gri gri is still a pretty reasonable friction device. So long as your belayer doesn't take her hand off the brake side, you've still got a pretty good catch. This is why loading the gri gri backwards isn't the end of the world.

From: Jonas Wiklund

I am well aware of petzl's warnings regarding these matters, but I see no physical reasons for failure of grigri when the belayer gets yanked up to the first draw of a steep route. If the cam is slammed open, whats holding the belayer up in the air, forced againts the draw? Momentum? Magic? An antigravity belt? The grigri is open, hence the belayer start to decent down the rope.

From: Rex Pieper

I took a 60 footer on the Black Tower pitch on Zodiac in '97 when a fixed KB blew a few minutes after I was standing on it. The fall length wasn't caused by more gear ripping as a big alumnihead caught me. Instead, a small pebble got wedged INSIDE the GriGri, not allowing it to lock up in a fall. My partner finally got the rope under control, stopping me 10 feet above the ramp at the base of the Tower.

From: Robert Fonda

Always, always check the cam device BEFORE you get on the rock. Small pebbles and the like can get into the device and cause the cam to fail. I check mine constantly when I am belaying someone (especially at Josh). All it takes is for your partner to kick sand down and jam your device!

 

PP bigdrink.gif

 

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I refuse to read this entire thread and mostly agree with mattp's assessment above, but.....

 

I have witnessed 3 ground falls (no serious injuries luckily)- all with ATC type devices. I have witnessed and held

many whippers with a GriGri with nary a problem, on ropes varying from 9.5mm to 11.0mm. It seems clear to me

that the GriGri, when used properly, is the ticket, and a safe ticket at that, for sport climbing, and that other devices

are best for cragging and alpine.

 

As an anecdote, I was at Little Si this summer and watched a young lady lowering a beefy guy off a sport climb

with an ATC, with both hands held up (i.e. rope not locked off by the anchor hand).

As she squeezed the rope to try to slow his descent, she uttered one word: "hot....." as he rapidly picked up

speed toward the ground. I yelled over for her to lock off the rope, which luckily she did in time to slow

the dude's descent a few feet off the ground. The moral: you can screw up with any device, but I'll continue to

enjoy using both GriGri and ATC where they are most appropriate. thumbs_up.gif

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However, I wasn't aware of the "pebble in the cam" issue with GriGri and appreciate the info from PP.

I will definitely take care to keep the ol' hunk of steel clean! bigdrink.gif

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matt_warfield said:

 

I have witnessed 3 ground falls (no serious injuries luckily)- all with ATC type devices. I have witnessed and held

many whippers with a GriGri with nary a problem, on ropes varying from 9.5mm to 11.0mm. It seems clear to me

that the GriGri, when used properly, is the ticket, and a safe ticket at that, for sport climbing, and that other devices

are best for cragging and alpine.

 

 

I still want to say that I prefer my Gri Gri for traditional routes, and don't reserve it for sport stuff only. I feel the need to reiterate that I know of a number of accidents (trad and sport) that were more tragic because they didn't involve a gri gri.

 

Also, I've been enjoying the debate that I started (sorry Matt P).

 

However, it is a bit annoying to have everyone shooting off with out some real data points.

 

Did I miss the post that actually can point to ANY accident where a leader was injured because of a failure of a gri gri, or the use of that same device?

 

(Beginner's dropping people on top rope don't count in this discussion, since the complaint is using a gri gri to belay a leader on natural pro, and there are, I'm certain, the same number of accidents where beginners have dropped people on TR using an ATC type device.)

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Eden, I've got no problem with the debate over the use of a gris gris. I thought it silly that Necro and RuMR were arguing about whether RuMR had made an overly broad, and therefore arrogant, statement.

 

As to the gris gris, I gotta say that I find them clumsy to use but that is only because I am an old guy who has barely figured out what to do with quickdraws and I am always suspicous of a gadget with moving parts and stuff...on the other hand, I laugh at kids these days who don't know how to belay with an ATC or a hip belay, but I bet that most of the time most belayers are probably more effective using the gris gris.

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and then doing the fish dance. i think i prefer a partner whod try to keep my ass off a ledge with a grigri, or whatever.

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this thread has now drifted into the pros and cons of the gri gri. Tradgirl has compiled some interesting ways a grigri can fail here.

 

notable factors not previously pointed out include ice, ropes too thin, rigged improperly, lightweight climber, and holding onto the 'climber' side of the rope too tightly.

 

I have two main objections to the gri gri. The first is that it provides a static belay, esp if the climber is anchored with no room to move up (which is usually one of my goals when I build an anchor). The 2nd is that it's too easy to screw up lowering a partner if one is not intimately familiar with the device....the ATC is much simpler and more intuitive.

 

It never ceases to amaze me that gri gris anchored to the floors are used at some climbing gyms. this is a totally static belay that stresses the bottom anchors, the webbing, and the top anchors much more than is necessary. I don't understand why they don't have the belayer clip into the system to provide some counterbalance in the event of a bottom anchor failure.

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aren't those usually steel or something? stuff's rated to like 40kN. I'd worry more about the roof collapsing.

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This gem from Tradgirl relates to both the gri gri and reeling in a falling climber.

 

"The question is not whether belaying with a gri-gri is dynamic or not, it is whether it is sufficiently dynamic to protect the leader. There is at least one case where it is not: steep sport routes. We have discussed this in considerable detail recently. When a leader falls from above his protection on a steep route he will swing into the wall if the belay is not sufficiently dynamic. The force can be bone shatterring. Sport climbers who use gri-gris routinely jump up as the leader's weight comes onto the rope to dampen the swing into the wall."

 

My understanding of reeling in in the wrong circumstance has a similar effect to that described above. It's difficult to recognize that as a climber or a belayer with out significant experience in precisely those situations.

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iain said:

aren't those usually steel or something? stuff's rated to like 40kN. I'd worry more about the roof collapsing.

 

sure, the expansion anchors themselves are rated very high. But the direction of the pull is virtually straight out (the weakest configuration for an expansion anchor). plus, who knows how the floor was poured...is it a high strength concrete? not likely if the gym didn't have is custom poured. Also, how old is that manky webing being used as an anchor? have you ever looked to see how often it is crusty and brittle at the bends?

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Thinker, I think that in noting that the gyms are all set up for a static belay, you have hit on to what may be an indication that the high performance lobby may be overemphasizing the value of letting let rope out and providing a dynamic catch. RuMR was hurt by a "short catch" so I'm not saying there is no usefulness in this technique, but my guess is that the insurance people or the gym owner's association or somebody studied the matter and concluded that benefits of a fail-safe static system outweigh the dangers of the short catch or the static belay (and they even use static ropes, do they not?). Of course, if you ARE a high performance climber, and if you ARE experienced at catching real falls, and if you DO have good judgment, the dynamic catch may well be a good idea - ON OVERHANGS.

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mattp said:

Thinker, I think that in noting that the gyms are all set up for a static belay, you have hit on to what may be an indication that the high performance lobby may be overemphasizing the value of letting let rope out and providing a dynamic catch. RuMR was hurt by a "short catch" so I'm not saying there is no usefulness in this technique, but my guess is that the insurance people or the gym owner's association or somebody studied the matter and concluded that benefits of a fail-safe static system outweigh the dangers of the short catch or the static belay (and they even use static ropes, do they not?). Of course, if you ARE a high performance climber, and if you ARE experienced at catching real falls, and if you DO have good judgment, the dynamic catch may well be a good idea.

 

They are not ALL set up that way. I've only been to a handfull of gyms in several states, and I've only seen two with the configuration I've described. The others allow (and even rent) ATCs, which are not static. I suspect it is not uncommon, and would be most interested in seeing any data on the subject.

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