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PSA: Use the SMALL side of a Gridlock biner with your GriGri
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By Jon H
From Boulder
Jun 11, 2014
At the matching crux

Public Service Announcement
I've been seeing more and more folks using Gridlock carabiners for belaying, which is great. I think the Gridlock is the absolute best belay biner out there*.

But, I've also been seeing plenty of people using it incorrectly.

If you use a GriGri or Cinch, the belay device must go in the SMALL side of the Gridlock. Otherwise, the carabiner gets cross loaded even easier than with a normal carabiner, and worse, it actually locks itself into the cross-loaded position.

See the following diagram from BD for explanation:

GriGri goes in the small side of a Gridlock
GriGri goes in the small side of a Gridlock


This is actually dangerous. A traditional carabiner in a cross-loaded orientation will usually rotate and "pop" back to normal, but a GriGri/Cinch in the improperly loaded as shown above is unable to pop back into place and it's within the realm of possibility (although unlikely) to subject it to sufficient force to break the carabiner.


*Exceptions I've found to my "Gridlock is best" rule include:
  • Don't use with Mammut Alpine Smart. It's not unsafe, but the device is pretty dang large and doesn't really fit in the Gridlock. Use Petzl William, BD Rocklock, or other very large, round-stock biner. They will feed much smoother.
  • Winter alpine climbing with long multi-pitch rappels while wearing heavy gloves. Gridlock is too "fiddly" and risk of dropping increases substantially. Swap out Gridlock for normal locking carabiner on the rappels





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By FrankPS
From Atascadero, CA
Jun 11, 2014

Thanks, Jon. It is still acceptable to use the Gridlock in either orientation (belay device on either large or small side) with a tube-style belay device, per BD.


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By Kirby
From DC
Jun 11, 2014

But, the regular mammut smart is ok in the normal (big-side-on-device) orientation?


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By DrApnea
From Salt Lake City, UT
Jun 11, 2014

So the carabiner created to fix a problem that didn't exist created a new problem. :/


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By Stich
From Colorado Springs, Colorado
Jun 11, 2014
Coffee after freezing our asses off near James Peak.

I love the Gridlock, but with the sandy crap we climb here in the Springs lockers wear out ridiculously fast, so I went back to the $8 Black Diamond special.


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By mpech
Jun 11, 2014

I like Dr. Apnea's comment...

Has there ever been a belay biner failure from cross-loading (other than from rope-soloing falls)?


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By Jon H
From Boulder
Jun 11, 2014
At the matching crux

FrankPS wrote:
Thanks, Jon. It is still acceptable to use the Gridlock in either orientation (belay device on either large or small side) with a tube-style belay device, per BD.


Absolutely true.

Kirby wrote:
But, the regular mammut smart is ok in the normal (big-side-on-device) orientation?


Yup. The single-channel Smart fits into the Gridlock just fine.

DrApnea wrote:
So the carabiner created to fix a problem that didn't exist created a new problem. :/


Yup, basically :)


Stich wrote:
I love the Gridlock, but with the sandy crap we climb here in the Springs lockers wear out ridiculously fast, so I went back to the $8 Black Diamond special.


I never said they were cheap. They are on closeout on STP right now for only $12 though - find the right coupon and they can be had for $8 or $9.


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By Ray Pinpillage
From West Egg
Jun 11, 2014
Cleo's Needle

Jon H wrote:
I think the Gridlock is the absolute best belay biner out there*.


My experience with the Gridlock and Rocklock are that they wear out MUCH faster than other carabiners on the market. The aluminum that BD uses seems a lot softer than equivalent HMS from other brands. I like the design but the implementation falls short.

Edelrid and Rock Exotica both make better captured HMS biners than BD. Neither of which require a PSA when using with a GriGri.


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By Dan Cottle
Jun 11, 2014

The gridlock works perfectly fine with my mammut smart alpine


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By Anson Call
From Provo, UT
Jun 11, 2014
Profile pic

I had a magnetron gridlock. I loved it at first, but later decided that unlocking the gate two or three times (or holding it open with my finger) was too much trouble just to put someone on belay. I have since lost it, and probably won't buy another one.

PS, If you picked up said magnetron and a blue GG2 at the Sandy Momentum I still want at least the GriGri back. Thanks.


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By John Wilder
From Las Vegas, NV
Jun 11, 2014

This is true for pretty much all of the non-crossloading carabiners on the market- except DMM's and Metolius (i think), because you cant get the GriGri into the small end. I use Edelrid's version of it for setting at the gym and am glad I do. I use a regular locker for outside climbing, though.


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By Capt. Impatient
Jun 12, 2014

Ok I don't remember how it was set up but in this video I watched on YouTube. The capture end of the gate broke on the climber and left it really sharp. Now it could just be a fluke but still... I couldn't find the video I will look later and try to put it up. Like I said though I don't remember if he put the grigri in the large or small end. Either way it is still the belayers responsibility to look down and try to make sure this doesn't happen with any carabiner. Let's climb smart out the folks.


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By Joe Platko
Jun 12, 2014

Hmmm. The problem does seem to exist (at least with some belay devices.) www.mountainproject.com/v/old-dogs-and-new-tricks/108836994


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By bearbreeder
Jun 12, 2014

Joe Platko wrote:
Hmmm. The problem does seem to exist (at least with some belay devices.) www.mountainproject.com/v/old-dogs-and-new-tricks/108836994


that problem could have been prevented with any 3 stage autolock biner ...

and honestly we couldnt replicate the problem in the better part of an hour trying to duplicate the setup ... everyone belays differently but we found it a bit odd that the brake strand was on the top of device , this twisted the belay loop when lowering/weighting the rope

also its generally good practice to place the gate on the opposite side of the brake hand to prevent the rope from rubbing on the gate ...and if its a 2 slot device to place the rope on the far slot away from the rope


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By Joe Platko
Jun 13, 2014

Yes, the problem could have been prevented with a different biner.


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