One very nice aspect to using a GriGri as your top-of-the-crag belay device, is that it can easily be converted to a hauling system. If your partner can't follow the pitch, you can help him through the difficulties, by quickly switching the GriGri from belay mode to hauling mode.
To swap your GriGri from belay mode to haul mode, you must simply:
- To start, belay directly off the anchor with your GriGri. Make sure that it is loaded properly so that the climber strand is going to the climber. It is also good to make sure that the handle to the GriGri is facing away from the rock.
- As you belay, make sure not to take your break-hand off the break-strand.
- When the person gets stuck, tie a catastrophe knot on the break-strand. This could be an overhand or a figure-eight on a bight.
- Take a short loop of cord and tie a friction-hitch to the load strand. This can be a prussik-hitch, a kliemheist, or an autoblock hitch.
- Clip a carabiner to the loop and then clip the break-strand to the carabiner.
- Take the catastrophe knot out.
- Yell down to the climber to climb, in order to help you.
- Then haul on the haul strand.
Following is a video that I took of AAI Guide Andrew Yasso using this system:
The GriGri is often overlooked as a tool by people who spend a lot of time on multi-pitch terrain or in the mountains, but it is an excellent device for single-pitch climbing. This application of it's use is only one of the many tricks that this device and others like it are able to perform.
--Jason D. Martin