Introducing Grigris on All Top Ropes at Earth Treks Englewood

At Earth Treks, we’re constantly thinking about ways to improve the climbing experience for our members and also welcome new climbers into our community. We love hearing from our members and we get great feedback that we use to inform our decisions.

One of the things we’ve always been mindful of are potential barriers keeping people from climbing. Rock climbing has meant so much to our employees and the community we’ve built since we opened our first gym in the late 90’s. We want to grow our community and help other discover our sport. If we can take actions that will ease the expense of upfront gear costs and provide the education and knowledge necessary to get newer climbers climbing and belaying independently, we will.

That’s why we’re trying something new at Earth Treks Englewood: we’re planning on attaching Grigris to all of our top ropes. Additionally, we’re also creating a new instructional course designed to prepare people to belay with a Grigri in the gym. This change will decrease the upfront cost of buying a belay device and our one-hour Grigri lesson will empower newer climbers with the exact knowledge they need to begin belaying in the gym.

And of course, there are benefits for experienced top ropers as well, less wear and tear on their gear and faster transition time for climbs.  Please note, lead belayers should still bring their preferred belay device as the Grigri’s are designated for top rope use only.

With any change, there’s bound to be some adjustments and we realize that you may have questions. Here are the most commonly asked questions we’ve received so far. If you have any other questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to Assistant Director Dan LeFever at DanL@earthtreksclimbing.com

  1. Why is there an additional Grigri check?
    Englewood will have Grigris attached to all the top ropes, so we need to ensure everyone is familiar with safe Grigri practices. That includes clipping in, belaying, braking, lowering and stopping climbers while lowering.
  2. I never use a Grigri outside of the gym. What if I don’t want to do the Grigri safety check?
    If you’re top roping at Englewood, it will be on a Grigri. Luckily, the Grigri belay check is very quick! We are mainly focusing on lowering / stopping a climber while lowering. If you have more experience with another belay device, we’re happy to walk you through the differences between your device and the GriGri. We can definitely do this during a quick belay check.Keep in mind, Earth Treks Englewood is one of the biggest climbing gyms in the country and we want climbers of all ability levels to have a good experience there. This change decreases barriers for new climbers, such as the upfront cost of purchasing a belay device. We really hope this change will provide a more fun and easier introduction to our sport.

    Not only will this change benefit newer climbers, it will also make a more efficient climbing space for experienced climbers. It may seem minor, but little decreases in “transition time” between climbs can really add up across the climbing floor. Instead of having to load a belay device before climbing every route, you just have to clip in to the pre-attached Grigri. It’s a little quicker to get ready for a climb, and when the gym is really busy, this can help reduce how long you’re waiting to get on a route.

  3. Aren’t Grigris expensive? Will implementing this policy result in a membership increase?
    Adding Grigris to the ropes will not impact membership dues. Their cost is offset by changes they allow us to make to our classes and programs, allowing people to enjoy climbing at the gym with fewer barriers.
  4. I only know how to use my belay device. I’ve never used a Grigri. What is it?
    Grigris are an assisted braking belay device. Learn more.
  5. How do I learn how to use a Grigri in the gym?
    If you’ve never used a Grigri before, you can go through a complete Belay Lesson on the Grigri once Earth Treks Englewood is open. There will be multiple classes offered every day. A link to online class registration will be available soon!

    If you have used a Grigri and just need a quick refresher, we can go through that during the belay check. The Grigri belay check is very quick. We are mainly focusing on lowering / stopping a climber while lowering.

  6. Do I have to bring my own?
    No. We’re providing the Grigris for top rope climbing--they’ll be attached to the top ropes. You will still provide your own belay device for lead climbing.
  7. Do I have to use a Grigri for lead climbing as well?
    No, you can use a belay device of your choosing for lead belaying, as long as it’s UIAA approved.Approved UIAA Devices:tube-style like ATC, other assisted braking devices, etc.
    NOT UIAA Approved: figure 8!
  8. Why can I lead with an ATC but not top rope with one?
    Our goal with the fixing Grigris to all of our top ropes is to provide less-experienced climbers with an easier, more accessible way to join the climbing community.  Grigris, combined with our new belay lessons will provide us with an effective way to get these folks into the climbing community.The lead climbers at our gyms have been educated about the dangers involved with lead climbing/belaying and have a deeper understanding of the physics and mechanics involved in climbing. Given that, lead climbers are able to use any approved UIAA belay device when belaying someone on lead.
  9. Are Grigris coming to Golden? When?
    This is a new policy in Englewood and we want to see how smoothly it rolls out. Assuming all goes well (we think it will!), we’ll likely be bringing Grigris to top ropes in Golden, and the new belay lesson class format, in a few months.

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