How to lead belay with a grigri?

Table of Contents



Leading belay with a Grigri is a crucial skill for climbers, providing an added layer of safety and control. The Grigri is a popular belay device that uses an assisted braking system, making it easier to catch falls and hold a climber’s weight. In this article, we will explore the steps and techniques involved in leading belay with a Grigri, ensuring a safe and enjoyable climbing experience.

Understanding the Grigri

Before we delve into the process of leading belay with a Grigri, it is essential to understand how the device works. The Grigri features a camming mechanism that pinches the rope when it experiences a sudden force, such as a fall. This mechanism allows the belayer to hold the rope without excessive effort, reducing the risk of injury. Familiarize yourself with the different parts of the Grigri, including the handle, cam, and brake lever.

Preparing for Leading Belay

Gather the necessary equipment: To lead belay with a Grigri, you will need a climbing harness, a dynamic climbing rope, and of course, a Grigri device. Ensure that all your equipment is in good condition and properly maintained.

Communicate with your climbing partner: Before starting the lead climb, establish clear communication with your climbing partner. Discuss the climbing route, potential hazards, and any specific instructions or signals you will use during the belaying process.

Leading Belay Technique with a Grigri

Clip the Grigri onto your harness: Start by attaching the Grigri to your harness using a locking carabiner. Make sure it is properly secured and easily accessible.

Thread the rope through the Grigri: Take the climbing rope and thread it through the appropriate sections of the Grigri. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to ensure correct threading. Double-check that the rope is properly seated in the camming mechanism.

Position yourself for belaying: Stand in a comfortable position, facing the climbing route. Keep your feet shoulder-width apart and slightly bend your knees to maintain stability. Hold the brake lever of the Grigri with your non-dominant hand.

Feed the rope through the Grigri: As the climber ascends, feed the rope through the Grigri using your dominant hand. Maintain a firm grip on the rope, ensuring it flows smoothly through the device. Avoid excessive slack or tension in the rope.

Be attentive and ready to catch a fall: While the assisted braking system of the Grigri provides additional safety, it is crucial to remain attentive and ready to catch a fall. Keep your brake hand on the brake lever, prepared to apply pressure and lock the rope in case of a fall.

Communicate with the climber: Establish clear communication signals with the climber, such as verbal cues or hand signals. Maintain constant communication to ensure a smooth and coordinated climbing experience.


Leading belay with a Grigri is a valuable skill for climbers, offering enhanced safety and control. By understanding the workings of the Grigri, preparing the necessary equipment, and following proper techniques, you can confidently lead belay with this device. Remember to communicate effectively with your climbing partner and remain attentive throughout the process to ensure a safe and enjoyable climb.