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Every climber knows that good and strong carabiners are essential. It is therefore always amazing how many mistakes are made when choosing and using carabiners.
Only with correct use and a suitable choice can a carabiner have the high breaking load that is expected of it. If you use your carabiner incorrectly or have bought an unsuitable carabiner for the GriGri*, you run the risk of the carabiner opening unexpectedly or breaking in a bad place under excessive strain.
It is therefore essential to be familiar with the strengths and weaknesses of individual carabiner types in order to make the right choice. If you don’t want to use the Safelock carabiner Freino recommended by Petzl for the GriGri, you have to know equivalent or better alternatives. However, it is equally important to master correct carabiner handling. If the carabiner is in the wrong position or the sleeve is badly closed, it can no longer carry its load. The consequences are mostly fatal – especially in combination with a Petzl GriGri. Its handling requires good training.
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Correct Carabiner Handling avoids Catastrophes
Climbing fans know that they have to do a lot of climbing over and over again. For example, a GriGri must first be unhooked and then rehooked each time ropes are inserted. Carabiners are also opened and reattached. The more often the various moves are made on the chosen climbing route, the more careless the climber will normally become. There is often a certain automatism. Increasing negligence, however, increases the chances of a mistake. A carabiner that has taken a wrong position unnoticed can open or break. An incorrectly inserted rope can tilt in the GriGri – and to top it all off, an inexperienced climber will react incorrectly.
One thing is certain: under load, a carabiner should always be in the correct position. If the load situation changes, however, the carabiner, which has just been correctly positioned, can easily change its position, move without pulling and change its position unnoticed. The problem now is that a carabiner appears as a soloist on the GriGri. It is usually not part of a doubly secured redundancy system.
The carabiner therefore has a unique position within the safety or abseiling system used. If it opens at the wrong time due to misalignment, or if the carabiner even breaks under the new load, nothing can prevent the climber from falling.
Risk Minimization through Careful Carabiner Selection
Choosing the right carabiner for the GriGri may be vital. To make it very clear once again: A carabiner may only be loaded in the longitudinal axis. Only there is the breaking load the one that is needed. The catch secured with the sleeve or the screw sleeve must be securely closed. In addition, not every carabiner shape is suitable for the GriGri.
In order to minimize the risk of accidents during climbing, a suitable carabiner must be chosen. Both the carabiner shape and the safety of the locking system play an important role. The safety factor can be further improved and increased by the use of additional accessories. This includes, for example, the use of a captive positioning bracket, the use of a Petzl String* abrasion protection or a Petzl Tanga* ring to secure the fastener. A plastic cover also makes sense.
However, the attention paid to carabiners and all other parts of the abseiling and belaying system used is as important as the shape and material quality of carabiners. For example, the blockage of ropes in the abseiling system used or the position of the carabiner during the next load must be taken into account. If the load is incorrect, a carbine cannot do its job safely. If it is loaded with a poorly closed catch or locked sleeve or not in the correct position, the risks of an accident increase considerably.
The accidental opening of the carabiner is fatal. The problem is: On the one hand, the carabiner closure should be securely closed. On the other hand, it should be unlocked and opened several times. These two requirements contradict each other. The safest locking of the sleeves could be achieved with pliers. This would virtually rule out the possibility of the sleeve being opened accidentally. However, this could also lead to problems when climbing – namely if the carabiner cannot be opened again deliberately because the sleeve has been fixed too tightly.
So a golden mean must be found. Above all, however, the choice of the carabiner has to be made carefully. It should be done with the greatest possible safety and good handling in mind.
Requirements for a Good Carabiner
For good reasons, a suitable carabiner has to be found for every climbing tour. On the one hand, it should be safe and firm enough to close. However, it must also be possible to detach it if necessary. The carabiner should still function reliably even when heavily soiled with sand or clay. The decisive factor in choosing a carabiner for the GriGri is its shape. This prevents the carabiner from twisting. If the carabiner also has an automatic 3-way locking system, the risks of accidents are further reduced.
For the GriGri, the D-shape of the carabiners has proven its worth. Pear-shaped carabiners, on the other hand, tend to twist. Since only one device is hooked into the GriGri, the carabiner does not need to have a large catch opening, nor does it need to have a large capacity. If the carabiner has an automatic TWIST-LOCK locking system, the carabiner can be quickly hooked in and out. On the other hand, the risks of forgetting to close the carbine are reduced. An additional automatic BALL-LOCK safety device improves the safety potential since it is now a 3-way locking system.
But not only the carabiner should be chosen in the best possible way. Good training is particularly important when using GriGris. In addition, the climbing partner should also check the complete equipment for any mistakes or damage. Even if a climber is already hanging in a wall, the safety device should be monitored as well as the correct carabiner position. The right time is given when the rope is loaded again after a short stop.
For each individual attachment, it need to be ensured that the SCREW-LOCK sleeve has been locked in such a way that the red indicator is no longer visible. During each individual opening or closing operation, it must be ensured that the carabiner sleeve has been fully locked.
The Combination of GriGri and Carabiner
Many climbing fans use the Petzl GriGri as a semi-automatic safety device. In addition to the choice of a suitable carabiner, the correct handling of the GriGri is also decisive. Like a carabiner, this device only offers optimum safety if it is operated correctly. No one can afford operating errors and negligent handling of both – neither in a climbing gym nor in the open.
The problem with GriGri is that no climber can act against his reflexes without sufficient training. The safety of climbers depends not only on the correct carabiner position or its load direction, but also on the use of the safest method of operating the GriGri itself.
A GriGri should only be used by climbers who are trained with it. Teaching yourself how to use GriGri correctly can lead to fatal misjudgments – and in emergencies to panic reactions – which can even contribute to the accident. However, if the GriGri is operated correctly and combined with a useful carabiner, experts say it is one of the safest devices on the market today. It does not take a certain degree of carelessness too amiss if it is otherwise handled correctly.
Which Carabiners are useful for the GriGri?
The GriGri is only secured by a safelock carabiner. With such carabiners, the catch is secured by an additional safety sleeve. This has to be moved twice to open the carabiner. If the weight of the belayers is approximately the same, the Petzl carabiner “Freino” is suitable as a Safelock carabiner. This carabiner was exactly tuned to the GriGri by Petzl.
If you would like to take a closer look, click here*.
The use of a Black Diamond Gridlock carabiner would not be suitable, for example. This carabiner often lodges itself so much that it can hardly be opened afterward.
After the rope has been correctly hooked into the GriGri, the GriGri safety device is closed again. It is then hooked into the Safelock carabiner in such a way that both the brake rope and the rope leading to the leader point upwards. The brake cable should come out of the device opening which is far away from the body. Positioned in this way, the carabiner can be hooked into the central climbing harness securing ring.
When using a GriGri, it is often the case that the mistake is made not to hang the rope correctly – the wrong way round or not completely – into the GriGri. Therefore it must always be ensured that the rope in the GriGri has been inserted correctly. A jerk on the rope in the direction of the climbing partner ensures that the rope gets stuck as desired. The second mistake is that only one GriGri leg is accidentally hooked into the carabiner. This is exactly why it is so important to check the carabiners after each opening.
This video shows the correct securing with GriGri and carabiner:
Climbing beginners should always practice with the GriGri+*. This is an intuitive safety device equipped with brake support and an anti-panic lever. It is suitable for single ropes with all diameters. Experienced climbers are well served with the GriGri 2*. Suitable for both GriGri safety systems is the Freino* carabiner from Petzl.
Attention: You have to take care of your safety when climbing! The information on climbtheearth.com only helps you to learn. Before you climb, you should make sure that you have been properly instructed by an expert and that you follow all safety precautions.
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