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Lowering a climber in guide mode with a Gigi.

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Would appreciate any suggestions on using a Kong Gigi/Camp Evo to lower a climber?


Have seen the excellent video on safe belaying by Ryan Huetter which works but I believe there is another simpler technique advocated by guide Swis Stockton, which I have been unable to find.



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I'm not sure how he advocated lowering with a gigi, but here is how I do it:


Biner into the downhill hole and you can pull the gigi sideways which offsets the angle, at some point the braking power will be overcome and the person will begin to lower. There is a very small angle where that transition happens so doing this process very slowly is paramount. I also really only do it for short distances (back through a crux, down to a ledge, etc ... NOT from a belay station to the ground). The descent is stopped by releasing the gigi and it returns to its normal, locked position.


If you are climbing with two followers, and need to lower one, you can block the other (best that they do not continue to climb) with a simple knot in the system to prevent them from also going down.


If you are trying to lower a single a long distance (belay station to belay station/ground), there are several ways:


You can rethread the rope through the other side of the gigi (the unused side) in the lowering orientation (opposite that of climbing) and add a second biner to the system. Then you can remove the original biner from the system. You obviously cannot really do this maneuver if the rope is loaded (so they need to be at a ledge, or with you at the belay station, etc). Normally when lowering you would need a backup on the brake strand that you are controlling the descent with.


Additionally, you can clip a biner through the downhill hole and rotate the entire system back to the master point and release the original biner in the master point (causing the rope orientation to be reversed like described above).


You could add a prussic to hold the load in position while you made the switch. This would allow either method to be done under a load. Remember, if using a prussic, your system must allow the prussic to fail without dropping the load (ie you also need an backup to the prussic for that unlikely situation).


Another method is simply transitioning out of the gigi for the lower, a munter is the classic and easiest method to lower someone. There are also probably many reasons to NOT lower someone with the gigi as it keeps the gigi out of the system and available for you to use.

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Many thanks Dave for taking the time and making the effort to explain the concept so well. I look forward to practicing this.

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