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Kong GiGi vs ATC Guide


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Recently while on an ice climb a soloist who stopped briefly at my anchor said that the GIGI was much better at belaying a second in "guide mode" than my ATC Guide because of how much easier it is to pull the rope through the device (especially important when climbing quickly on ice). I was wondering if anyone has used both and if the GIGI is that big of an improvement. Thanks

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The GiGi has wider slots that do reduce the amount of friction when pulling the rope through the device in auto-blocking (guide) mode. It's an elbow tendon-saver on long routes, especially with two fat ropes.


That said, devices like ATC-Guide/Reverso are more versatile for the majority of climbers since the latter are easier and more comfortable to use for all applications—belaying, rappelling, releasing under load, etc. One way to ease your rope pulling with these devices is to use a rounded stock carabiner (the Attache is one example).

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I thought that both were reasonable for skinny doubles and twins. I noticed a big increase in friction when using a guide atc on 10mm and 10.5mm ropes. so wintertime, I use the guide atc and in the summer, I use a gi gi and a atc.


the unfortunate part about gi gi is that it is difficult to belay a leader with it. rapping is a little more of a trouble too.

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I first saw the Kong Gigi when I was simul belaying my partners up Central Pillar of Frenzy in Yosemite. A Yosemite guide came up to the same belay and simul belayed his partners up the same route using the Gigi.


I was struggling to pull both ropes through my auto locking Guide ATC. There was a lot of effort involved in pulling down, it was hard on the elbows.


The guide was doing it effortlessly, and he was using burly fat ropes, but through his Gigi. He commented that he had suffered from chronic elbow problems until he started using a Gigi for his everyday guiding.


The Gigi has a rocker spine that allows one rope to be locked off, while the other side can still pull up rope.


But frankly, I rarely use any auto lockers. It's too much work. I like an equalized anchor with a short tight leash to a secure braced stance. And there I belay off my ATC, facing down to my follower. This allows me to be more flexible...such as when I need to haul them up the route by walking backwards, using my legs to pull...something you can't do with an autolocker.


And it is less important for the anchor to be perfect, since it won't even get weighted. I build good anchors, but prefer to keep them in reserve when possible.

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I almost always carry and use the GiGi when climbing multipitch routes. I find that it works very well, but there are three drawbacks:


1) There is very, very little resistance when rappelling, especially with skinny ropes. I view this as a good thing, and mitigate it by using a prussik backup for every single rappel and I know that there will be little resistance and am thus ready and prepared for it. Another option is to use more than one biner which creates more friction for the rope (by then you are cancelling one of the benefits).


2) You cannot belay a leader. There are probably a way to actually belay a leader with one, but I never have and probably never will. Simple solution, the leader carries the GiGi for belaying the second, and the second has an ATC (I only have ATC guides, but it does not matter since it is for belaying the leader). A team of two will almost always have two belay devices, I always go with one GiGi and one ATC guide.


3) The very skinny ropes have trouble biting when belaying the second. I think KONG states less than 8mm is too skinny for the GiGi to effectively belay. If I am using ropes less than 8mm I don't use the GiGi.


I use it because it is lighter, smaller, simpler, and easier. It also makes managing two followers a lot easier.


My 2 cents, hope it helps.

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The short answer: yes.


The long answer: http://www.thealpinestart.com/2013/01/comparison-belay-devices/


I use the Camp Ovo (pretty much same thing as the Kong GiGi) as my primary device for bringing up seconds, complimenting either an ATC-Guide or a Reverso 4, depending on rope thickness. Also handy as a backup belay device in case you or your partner drop one. For the weight and cost, it's a no-brainer to bring one. Many guides I know use one to save their elbows when bringing up clients.

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I've got a GiGi and think it's a great bridge to the day of traditional style plate devices, with all the limitations. I picked one up when the first came out because of the retro aspects of the thing.


Not that I'm really that high class, anyway. I'm never going to be using in in Yos but glad to hear its got some utility and ease in use in some applications.


Thought about using it to belay a leader so tried it out in a couple of different setups at the gym, and didn't like the catch.


Although i haven't put it through any sort of serious trials out on the ice, the GiGi might be well suited for easy pulling at the typical top rope ice setups found around where I'm shoveling right now.

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