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By WDW4
Oct 14, 2013
Global Village, Red River Gorge KY

Recently bought a Trango Cinch, was confused by various instructional .pdfs and videos, and decided to make a "User Friendly" user guide for my own use as I practice using the Cinch.

These tips are based on the current (post 2012) recommendations from Trango, which suggest attaching the device differently than before, to facilitate feeding rope to a leading climber.

Note that these instructions are not intended to replace quality climbing instruction, experience, and the manufacturer guidelines.

(Removed images)

EDIT: Updated page 3 to clarify text for "quick feed".
EDIT: Removed images to eliminate the possibility of future misuse.


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By Jake Jones
From Richmond, VA
Oct 14, 2013
Me and the offspring walking back to the car after a day of cragging.

I don't quite understand why Trango did this. I still configure my setup the "original" way. with the climber end essentially coming out of the top. I have had no problem feeding slack at all to a leader- and I do this without using the curved part of the lever as a thumb rest to manually rotate the cam open. I tilt the entire device using the "pivot point" as outlined by the original pamphlet that came with my device. I learned how to use it per the manufacturer's specs (before the change).

If you are new to the Cinch, I would recommend using it the way that it is designated in your instruction pamphlet. I agree that it can be confusing. I'm not sure why they changed the configuration in the first place, but I suspect it is not simply to make feeding slack to a leader easier, because this is perhaps the best device for that purpose, and also one of the main reasons that this device has more naysayers than just about any other. I like it though, and I use it all the time. To each his own I suppose.


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By WDW4
Oct 14, 2013
Global Village, Red River Gorge KY

Jake Jones wrote:
I'm not sure why they changed the configuration in the first place, but I suspect it is not simply to make feeding slack to a leader easier,


I called Trango with that same question, and they said the only reason for the change was to make the feed easier. They also specifically said both methods are safe. So it sounds like either way will work, so long as it works for you.


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By Dylan B.
Oct 14, 2013
Orgasm Direct, Devil's Lake, 5.11a  c. 2008

I think you should be very concerned about liability from posting instructions like this on a public forum. You may or may not be legally liable for injuries resulting from the use of these instructions (or misuse), but that might not some some idjit from ruining your life with a lawsuit.


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By NC Rock Climber
From The Oven, AKA Phoenix
Oct 14, 2013
tanuki

I used to use a Cinch. I don't any more. I have a GriGri 2 and find it to be a superior device in every way. I will not call the Cinch dangerous. I will say that there is almost no margin for error in the technique. To put it another way, it is easy to make a mistake with the Cinch, and there are a lot of threads with the words "cinch" and "injury" in the title. YMMV. Be safe.


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By WDW4
Oct 14, 2013
Global Village, Red River Gorge KY

D.Buffum wrote:
I think you should be very concerned about liability from posting instructions like this on a public forum. You may or may not be legally liable for injuries resulting from the use of these instructions (or misuse), but that might not some some idjit from ruining your life with a lawsuit.


Wise thoughts, that occurred to me as well. After a reasonable amount of time I'll delete the photos. Probably would never be an issue, but won't hurt anything.


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By Jake D.
From Northeast
Oct 14, 2013

NC Rock Climber wrote:
I used to use a Cinch. I don't any more. I have a GriGri 2 and find it to be a superior device in every way. I will not call the Cinch dangerous. I will say that there is almost no margin for error in the technique. To put it another way, it is easy to make a mistake with the Cinch, and there are a lot of threads with the words "cinch" and "injury" in the title. YMMV. Be safe.


put "Grigri" "dropped" see how that goes too... any device can sketch if you use it wrong.


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By NC Rock Climber
From The Oven, AKA Phoenix
Oct 14, 2013
tanuki

Jake, I agree. It is possible to misuse any device. I just think that the allowable margin for error is much smaller on the Cinch. Add that to my belief that the GriGri is easier to use, and I see zero reason to buy a Cinch. This is just my opinion. The Cinch has a loyal following, so there are a lot of others that feel differently.


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By John Wilder
From Las Vegas, NV
Oct 14, 2013

WDW4 wrote:
I called Trango with that same question, and they said the only reason for the change was to make the feed easier. They also specifically said both methods are safe. So it sounds like either way will work, so long as it works for you.


huh, i always assumed they changed it to help make sure that in the event of a fall, the device locked up by adding the 'half twist' of the brake hand being on top. based on those pictures, it would, if anything, make it harder to feed rope than the original setup.

i used to be a die hard cinch user for two reasons- it fed far quicker than any device on the market and it weighed substantially less than the grigri. When the GriGri 2 came out it pretty much negated both benefits and I prefer having the spring in the system to assist with the rope catch- especially with skinny, dry treated lines.


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By bobbin
Oct 14, 2013

I am not a lawyer, but I think you would not face legal exposure from posting climbing instructions on the web. Else every online guidebook, video about how to build anchors, posts on MP about cordalettes, etc etc, would be exposed. The relevant legal doctrine is assumption of risk: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Assumption_of_risk . Basically, climbing is intrinsically dangerous, and you don't assume a duty of care to some random person reading your instructions. This is different from e.g. a person working as a guide, who does have a direct relationship with his clients and a duty of care to them.


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By Jim Titt
From Germany
Oct 15, 2013

Jake Jones wrote:
I don't quite understand why Trango did this. I still configure my setup the "original" way. with the climber end essentially coming out of the top.


After looking into the accidents with the Cinch and doing a lot of testing the DAV (German Alpine Association) went out on a limb by declaring the original manufacturers instructions and method to be dangerous and recommended the upside down method. When Trango changed ownership the instructions were changed to reflect this


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By Jake Jones
From Richmond, VA
Oct 15, 2013
Me and the offspring walking back to the car after a day of cragging.

I seem to recall that as well, Jim, although I couldn't quite remember the specifics. Thanks for clarifying.


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By Jim Titt
From Germany
Oct 15, 2013

www.alpenverein.de/DAV-Services/Panorama-Magazin/Panorama-Ar>>>

Under;- Panorama 3 2010 Sicherheitsforschung: Halbautomaten


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By rocknice2
From Montreal, Quebec
Oct 15, 2013
BD ice tool fusion2

I have been using the Cinch for years and when I heard about these dropped climbers I tried to recreate it on my own. Without actually holding it open I can't make it feed though. If I pinch it along the whole body or have the top hand slam it down, then I can create a mis-belay. But I can do the same thing with a GriGri.


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By Jake Jones
From Richmond, VA
Oct 15, 2013
Me and the offspring walking back to the car after a day of cragging.

That seems to be the whole issue though. Super experienced belayers, in other words, guys you expect would know that holding the cam open is a no-no, and supposedly are correctly employing the device, have experienced failures. So, one of two things are happening: Belayer error, which seems to be more common in correlation with a more finicky device, or some weird, somewhat rare failure mode that is extremely difficult to reproduce in a controlled, non-spontaneous setting.

It is the latter of the two that I think people lend credence to, and why this device has the reputation that it does. I have found that it works very well for me. I'm not the type of guy to yard out slack and wait for the climber to move up. I leave just enough slack so that the climber won't feel the rope and can move freely, so when it's time to clip, I need to be able to feed relatively fast to keep from short-roping. That's just my style, and I think it's safe and I have become very comfortable belaying like that. I got a GriGri 2, and I really like the device. Feeding isn't as seamless though. Lowering is definitely more controlled. This is only my opinion however, so take it with a grain of salt.

When it's all said and done, I think the Cinch is a solid device, but it does have a bit more of a learning curve than others. I still prefer it over the GriGri, but I can certainly understand why others don't. We all have to choose what we think is best for us individually. The key is having a solid understanding of the reasons why it may not be right for you, not just basing your choice on hearsay or others' opinions.


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By Tradoholic
Oct 15, 2013

D.Buffum wrote:
I think you should be very concerned about liability from posting instructions like this on a public forum. You may or may not be legally liable for injuries resulting from the use of these instructions (or misuse), but that might not some some idjit from ruining your life with a lawsuit.


LOL! "you may or may not". Written like a true blood sucker D!


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By Morgan Patterson
Administrator
Oct 15, 2013
Stoked...

rocknice2 wrote:
I have been using the Cinch for years and when I heard about these dropped climbers I tried to recreate it on my own. Without actually holding it open I can't make it feed though. If I pinch it along the whole body or have the top hand slam it down, then I can create a mis-belay. But I can do the same thing with a GriGri.


But the grigri won't wear out and fail to actually break a fall when used properly like the cinch...


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By Jake D.
From Northeast
Oct 15, 2013

Morgan Patterson wrote:
But the grigri won't wear out and fail to actually break a fall when used properly like the cinch...


Pretty false unless you can show a Cinch failing while being used correctly.

only time i've had the rope slip was when my thumb was on the cam while feeding quickly, I let go and it caught. I've caught 30' falls on 9.5mm ropes on a well used Cinch.

Taking the word of people who have poor technique blaming the device is not an accurate way to gather data. catching a fall takes a second or less.. it is really easy to talk yourself into thinking that it wasn't your fault.

blaming a piece of gear for poor technique is a stupid argument. People crash cars on a daily basis, everyone should walk instead.

every piece of gear wears out. biners wear out, gri gris will wear out, ATC's wear out. replace when the wear becomes


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By nicelegs
From Denver
Oct 15, 2013

I don't agree with your assertion Jake.

I have been climbing since 1996. In that time I have seen some completely worn out gri gris. One with the spring broken. Another that was worn to the point that there was a hole in the aluminum. Both of these caught falls solidly every time.

Also worth mentioning is the large amount of gri-gris that are many years old and deeply worn and every one of these stops a fall. They even work on ropes well under the recommended size. In fact most of them out there are these old deeply worn models and they all work great.

Now to the Cinch. Mine was grooved to the point that it had a constant creep even on a 10.7 crusty old line. It was about a year and a half old. It then started flaking apart due to saltwater corrosion on the aluminum and I retired it. My grigri that is a decade older and went through the same environment is still fine.

I'm glad you've had good luck with a Cinch. To say that it's safe because you have had good luck with it isn't really a sound argument. I know terrible drivers that have never crashed. It happens.

For me, I truly believe that the Cinch is a device that works perfect until it doesn't, then it works perfect again. It is not like a gri gri or ATC that will work perfect unless you do something wrong.

Ultimately, the Cinch vs. the world turns into the same argument as keeping pit bulls with children. It won't get resolved and sadly, Trango will keep their flawed device on the market. Make your own decision but choosing the Cinch is the wrong decision.


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By Jake D.
From Northeast
Oct 15, 2013

I belay with it in a way that is not on either of the instruction sheets. I could never get the hang of the fingers on the hole method and i definitely don't like belaying like an ATC palms up. perhaps that is what is helping me. my hands aren't on the device when i'm not feeding rope.

i don't really buy the Pit argument either.. when a dog is born they have no idea what they are.. it is what they learn from the owner or their surroundings. Did you know that Rotweillers were originally a herding dog?


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By Jake Jones
From Richmond, VA
Oct 16, 2013
Me and the offspring walking back to the car after a day of cragging.

nicelegs wrote:
Now to the Cinch. Mine was grooved to the point that it had a constant creep even on a 10.7 crusty old line. It was about a year and a half old... For me, I truly believe that the Cinch is a device that works perfect until it doesn't, then it works perfect again.


Does this mean it had a constant creep that wasn't constant? I get the gist of what you're saying I think. I've heard other people that have used it for solo TRing or rappelling say that it slowly slid down the rope when it was supposed to be locked off. I think if mine worked perfect, then it didn't, I wouldn't see if it would work perfect again. It would go in the shitcan.

Is it the design of the Cinch that causes this? When the cam is engaged, it is essentially behaves the same as a GriGri- it is employed when it is rotated into a position caused by force, pinching the rope. The major difference is that with a GriGri, the user can wrap the rope around the rounded metal lip to create more of a bend and thus more friction. So what is the major difference? Materials? Does the steel in the Cinch wear faster?

My Cinch is 3 years old. It is as worn if not more than any picture of the "death devices" that have been posted anywhere. I routinely catch falls and hold "takes" and rappel on 9.8 (on the smaller end of range for the Cinch- 9.4mm to 11mm) and have had absolutely zero slippage or any disconcerting experience at all- even with a brand new treated rope under 10mm.

nicelegs wrote:
Make your own decision but choosing the Cinch is the wrong decision.


I do understand what you're saying, and I appreciate that you give a shit enough to say anything at all. It is super difficult though when I've never seen any imperical evidence of my own to suggest that this is the case, and just throw away a device that has worked beautifully. However, I'm a pretty reasonable guy, and I did go out and get myself a GriGri2 that I now use about half the time. Not every single instance that reports these kind of "freak" incidents can be attributed to user error. Averages and probability and so on. Thanks for your input nicelegs.


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By WDW4
Oct 16, 2013
Global Village, Red River Gorge KY

Jim Titt wrote:
www.alpenverein.de/DAV-Services/Panorama-Magazin/Panorama-Ar>>> Under;- Panorama 3 2010 Sicherheitsforschung: Halbautomaten


Thanks for posting this, I think I got the gist of the article. I wish my German were better (re: included more than 25 vocab words). I need a Bergmeister to translate the relevant sections for me.


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By WDW4
Oct 16, 2013
Global Village, Red River Gorge KY

Relevant article: AAI Blog Post


nicelegs wrote:
For me, I truly believe that the Cinch is a device that works perfect until it doesn't, then it works perfect again. It is not like a gri gri or ATC that will work perfect unless you do something wrong.


I don't think this mindset is productive. If you don't feel comfortable with a device, for sure don't use it, but it is necessary to identify the variables that cause a device to fail, especially because those variables can be corrected. I think, by far, the biggest variable with any device is the person using it.

That said, my one qualm with the Cinch is that, by design, there is no good option to put a bend in the rope to stop a fall, putting all the responsibility for braking on the camming action of the device.


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By bearbreeder
Oct 16, 2013

www.mountainproject.com/v/belay-accident-with-trango-cinch/1>>>

we have went through all this before ...

included the translate german DAV quotes ...

zzzzzzzzz

;)


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By reboot
From Westminster, CO
Oct 16, 2013

Jake Jones wrote:
The major difference is that with a GriGri, the user can wrap the rope around the rounded metal lip to create more of a bend and thus more friction. So what is the major difference? Materials? Does the steel in the Cinch wear faster? It is super difficult though when I've never seen any imperical evidence of my own to suggest that this is the case, and just throw away a device that has worked beautifully.

The GriGri inherently has much more friction, it already has a bend w/o the cam engaged. The extra bend you are talking about doesn't do that much more. The camming action on a GriGri is distributed over a wider surface area than a Cinch, and in additional to the higher passive fricion, it'll last much longer. I think your reasoning on not to retire the Cinch is quite flawed: It's a safety device, you shouldn't need to experience a malfunction personally to retire it, because the consequence is too severe. If we all retired ropes, harnesses, etc until we experienced a malfunction personally, we'd all die prematurely. What makes a belay device any different?


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By O.L.D.S.A.G.
Oct 16, 2013

nicelegs wrote:
I don't agree with your assertion Jake. I have been climbing since 1996. In that time I have seen some completely worn out gri gris. One with the spring broken. Another that was worn to the point that there was a hole in the aluminum. Both of these caught falls solidly every time. Also worth mentioning is the large amount of gri-gris that are many years old and deeply worn and every one of these stops a fall. They even work on ropes well under the recommended size. In fact most of them out there are these old deeply worn models and they all work great.


I'll add my own story:
Once at a gym I heard the gym manager say that they had the Gri Gri 1s since the gym opened and on constant top rope duty for 10 years and they still worked like new. That's a lot of ropes that they went through during that time. Meanwhile, there are lots of reports of how the Cinch needs to be replaced after a few years of much less use. Just from a cost perspective, the Gri Gri is a much better deal, even if it is $20 more initially.


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