Introducing Grigris on All Top Ropes at Earth Treks Golden

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. Our overall mission at Earth Treks is to create community, share our passion, and inspire philanthropy. We want to grow our community and help others 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: we are 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, such as less wear and tear on their gear.  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 Director Maren Olson at

  1. Why is Golden adding Grigris to top ropes?
    Our overall mission at Earth Treks is to share our passion, create community, and inspire philanthropy. Grigris on top ropes allow us to reduce barriers so that new climbers can more easily get psyched on climbing and join our community.
  2. I never use a Grigri. What if I don’t want to do the Grigri safety check?
    If you’re top roping at Golden, 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 during a quick belay check.
  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. Please keep in mind, you will not have to change your belay technique when using a Grigri, the only thing that will be different is how you lower a climber. We’ll show you how anytime! 
  5. How do I learn how to use a Grigri in the gym?
    If you’ve never used a Grigri before, you can take a one-hour Belay Lesson. There are multiple classes offered every day--register for one now.

    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 Grigri?
    No. We’re providing the Grigris for top rope climbing--they’ll be attached to the top ropes. You will still need 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.
  8. Why can I lead with an ATC but not top rope with one?
    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.Additionally, top-roping is open to beginner climbers, in addition to experienced climbers. Our Belay Lesson format, combined with an assisted braking belay device on top ropes, allows beginners to enter top rope climbing more seamlessly.

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