SMARTer than a Gri-gri
Review by: mtkinji, 2010-02-01
The Smart belay device does exactly what it has been designed to do, and it does it better than any other device on the market.
A few reasons the Smart is Smarter:
Most people will deactivate the auto locking function when paying out slack from a Gri-Gri. This is bad, but Gri-Gri users have found that it's the easiest way to make sure you don't short rope a leader.
So what if that leader falls? - even an experienced climber may forget to let go causing the device to remain unlocked = climber fall. Hence many gyms have gone away from using Gri-Gris for the safety feature. The Gri-Gri is still great, and I have one, but I prefer to use a non-mechanical belay device.
The Smart on the other hand REQUIRES conscious belaying. A user can't just assume the device will do its job and absent-mindedly watch the birds fly by. The belayer is actively paying out slack, taking it in, or otherwise performing their job. Paying out slack is 10x easier than the Gri-Gri, and therefore safer. The #1 reason I would use a Smart over a gri-gri is that you don't have to deactivate the auto-locking function to pay out slack. This is where the Gri-Gri fails.
Oh, and the Smart is LIGHT - MUCH lighter than the auto-locking devices. Not only is it lighter, but it is simpler. This means there will never be a mechanical failure, there will never be a need to clean the gunk out of moving parts. Lastly, the Smart works down to an 8.9 rope - the Gri-Gri is only rated to 9.6.
Why then does the Gri-Gri dominate the market for belay devices? Five letters. PETZL. It's a matter of recognition. The Gri-Gri has been around so long, and Petzl is such a great company that people have taken it for the standard. Well now there's a new standard for safe belaying - The Smart belay device by Mammut.