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By aSteel
Jan 18, 2012
Looking for thoughtful opinions on the following Climbing Tech Tip:

climbing.com/print/techtips/tt...

It seems like the uses prescribed in this article can be broken down into three uses: Gri gri for self rescue; Gri gri for top rescue; gri gri for belaying your partner.

My thoughts are:

1. Self Rescue: It seems like the Gri Gri for self rescue is worth it. If it doesn't work, throw your other prusik on there, otherwise this will be much faster.

2. Top rescue: The gri gri for top rescuer seems like it might have issues. My instinct is that ice and snow will clog the gri gri as it gets shoved into the snow, in addition to working with a rope that's wet and icy from the snow.

3. Belaying your partner: This option seems reasonable, unless you're working with icy ropes. My glacier experience is not vast, but I've dealt with icy ropes most days I've been on the glacier. I would be concerned about having to catch a partner fall with the gri gri if the ropes were icy.

Thanks in advance for everyone's input.

- Adam

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By superkick
From West Hartford, CT
Jan 18, 2012
Free Solo up hitchcock gully WI3
being forced to use a 9.8 or thicker rope is ridiclous for glacier travel.

I have a feeling grigri wont do well in cold/snow/ice conditions.

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By cms829
Jan 18, 2012
high e
I use a similar system, Just without the grigri. Dont have time to expand on it but I will when I do. I use a beal 8 mm glacier line, a mini traxion, and some prusiks.

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By Tim Zander
Jan 18, 2012
Agree with superkick, plus their suggestiong of 60m for two people is ridiculous. Granted, I don't have a whole bunch on glacier exp. and I haven't done crevasse rescue, but I've always understood 30m to be sufficient.

I have used a 8mm 30m rope in team of 2 and been happy.

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By aSteel
Jan 18, 2012
Gri gri 2 works down to 8.9mm. Still not a sweet glacier rope diameter, but more reasonable than a 9.8mm.

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By cms829
Jan 23, 2012
high e
Actually 30 meters for two adults isnt ideal whatsoever. It leaves you with JUST enough rope to set up an anchor and pulley in an IDEAL SITUATION. However, there is nothing ideal about falling into a crevasse. That said, if you are a party of 2, each person has to be extremely confident and understand that they may have to adapt to the situation as it arises. I have used a 30 meter for a two person team multiple times and believe the perfect length for two is 40 meters. Which you would obviously have to cut down to since no one makes a 40m glacier rope that ive found. Can it be done with a 30? The answer is maybe. It depends on a lot of variables. But whats an extra 10m?

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By blakeherrington
Jan 23, 2012
I bring a GriGri all the time on long routes in the mountains. I've used it for long rappels on a wet 9.2 and as part of a one-jumar ascending system on an 8.1.

And that was the older model, the new one is even better for these uses.

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By Eli Helmuth
From Estes Park, CO
Jan 23, 2012
Eli on the FA of Grizzly (M9) at the Den.
Having taught glacier travel/crev. rescue for the amga and many climbers the last 22 yrs., we typically don't carry ascenders or gri-gri's in the big hills, both to keep the weight to a minimum and because they've never been necessary on most routes unless we're using fixed lines or on a big wall. Hard knots have never been an issue in this process and in fact could be the key to success in preventing an injury.

More important than climbing out of crevasses or pulling someone out, is to manage the rope really well as a team by minimizing slack in the system and perhaps using butterfly knots in the rope between climbers to catch any falls. If there's no big fall, there's no rescue. Thinner ropes (9mm) and dry treated are most common, although I've damaged a thinner rope with a fall on an icy glacier so that's a consideration if there's more ice than snow. Distances between team members depends on how many folks and the type of glacier and snow conditions, etc.

I've taught 500+ climbers these techniques and almost everyone, after a few days of training has been able to both self-rescue (rope ascend) and become competent with a 5-1 mechanical advantage raising systems on their own where they can catch the fall, build snow anchor, belay escape and pull a person out of a real crevasse, all in under twenty minutes. I didn't invent any of these systems of course but was taught by Mark Houston, S.P. Parker and many other guides how to refine these skills.

In a few 1000 days of glacier travel, most of it not on a track, I've fallen in almost 100 cracks, but only once over my head because the team was giving a solid moving belay. Most big crevasse falls are due to very slack rope systems and poor teamwork which is extremely difficult to sustain for 8+ hrs. The ability to read the terrain and anticipate the where and when the crevasse risk is highest helps with tighter rope management where it's most crucial.

When taking my ski exam in Alaska, despite being nervous, I completed the entire process including: stop the crevasse fall while on skis (knots did the trick as I didn't even need to hit the ground), build anchor, belay escape, rappel into the crevasse, remove skis on "injured" person 5m down, put chest harness on injured, ascend out of the hole with their skis, and extricate (5-1) in 12 minutes total with gear being just a few slings, biners, cord, t-blok, and an atc guide. All total weighs less than 1 gri-gri. Most AMGA certified alpine and ski guides can do it in about the same time, so I'm not that cool.

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By Bang
From Charlottesville, VA
Jan 23, 2012
Thanks Hank Caylor!
blakeherrington wrote:
I bring a GriGri all the time on long routes in the mountains. I've used it for long rappels on a wet 9.2 and as part of a one-jumar ascending system on an 8.1. And that was the older model, the new one is even better for these uses.


Hi Blackerrington, if you are rappelling using Grigri, you are doing it on a single strain right? Then how do you recover your rope?

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By Buff Johnson
Jan 23, 2012
smiley face
You basically knot the single rope's mid-point on one side of the anchor, allowing to rap on one strand and retrieve using the other.

You can add some safety by clipping the knot back to the rope and close the part of the system at the anchor.

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By Bang
From Charlottesville, VA
Feb 20, 2012
Thanks Hank Caylor!
Buff Johnson wrote:
You basically knot the single rope's mid-point on one side of the anchor, allowing to rap on one strand and retrieve using the other. You can add some safety by clipping the knot back to the rope and close the part of the system at the anchor.

So technically, one still ahve to carry a tag line to recover the rope, so how much weight does it really save? I figure the primary advantage of single strain rappelling is that one can rappel farther. Correct?

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By Ben Beckerich
From saint helens, oregon
Feb 20, 2012
About half way up the East Arete on Illumination R...
Bang wrote:
So technically, one still ahve to carry a tag line to recover the rope, so how much weight does it really save? I figure the primary advantage of single strain rappelling is that one can rappel farther. Correct?


No... no tag line. Just a knot in one rope, so you can rap off one end.

Only works with bolted rap anchors, or leaving behind a lot of crap, though.

I guess you could theoretically rig up some kind of slipknot crap, for non-gear anchors, like snow/ice bollards and trees and things, but that's wandering into the realm of pretty ridiculous... if you don't have a double rope device and have to rap off a natural anchor, you should just go with a munter

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By Bang
From Charlottesville, VA
Feb 20, 2012
Thanks Hank Caylor!
Ben B. wrote:
No... no tag line. Just a knot in one rope, so you can rap off one end. Only works with bolted rap anchors, or leaving behind a lot of crap, though. I guess you could theoretically rig up some kind of slipknot crap, for non-gear anchors, like snow/ice bollards and trees and things, but that's wandering into the realm of pretty ridiculous... if you don't have a double rope device and have to rap off a natural anchor, you should just go with a munter


Ah, got it, so even though still using the Grigri to rapelling off a single strain, but one will still rapping off half the length of the rope since you have to tie a knot at the mid point so you can use the other strain to recover the rope! Thanks for clarifying it!

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By doligo
Feb 20, 2012
Jose Cuervo Fruitcups dirtbag style
I think Dave Nettle is describing a scenario for a pair of climbers who need to cross a glacier in order to get to the wall to climb, therefore a longer and thicker rope. And if there is any aid involved might as well use the Gri Gri, especially the newer one. Hopefully the conditions are drier too - Gri Gris suck on snowed up ropes...

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