Introduction: Roped Solo (lead) Climbing With Grigri

WARNING: Climbing is inherently dangerous! Climbing solo is even more dangerous, follow this instructable at your own risk.

Hello and welcome to my first instructable. I hope you will find it useful and not overly complicated to use. In this instructable I'm going to show you how you can solo climb with a security of a rope. It is rather simple "trick", even though many other people recommend major structural adjustments to the grigri device, I would advise you against any drilling, filing, etc. on your grigri device.

The method I use is one of the least invasive to the grigri itself. So let's get started!

Step 1: Non Drilling Method.

This is the non-drilling method. The drilling method is described in step 3.

Take your Grigri device and turn it on it's backside with the handle facing you. There on the lower right part of the device near the carabiner hole you will find a small screw. Unscrew it, and using your fingers pry open the plastic part towards yourself (like the image shows).

Next take a piece of relatively thin cord, and tie it into a loop using double overhand knot. I used a piece of rather thin nylon cord similar to those used on backpacks, zipper pulls, etc. I'm using the thin cord so it will break in case of a inverted fall, allowing the Grigri to rotate upwards and activating the brake.

Jam the knot between the metal casing and plastic part of the Grigri, and pull on the cord until the knot jams on the opposite side of the device (shown in image).

Finally return the plastic to it's original position and screw it back on. And you're done!

The whole purpose of this "mod" is just to keep the device oriented in a desired way, this is supposed to hold the weight of the Grigri, not you or godforbid a fall.

*optional: Some climbers like to file down piece of metal plate shown in the last two images. That modification allows for smoother feeding of the rope while climbing up.

I'll advise you against it for few reasons:

-The manufacturer advises you not to modify it in that way

-In a case of a fall, there is a possibility of the rope catching under the release lever, unabling you to release the brake and leaving you hanging in the air

-That piece of metal will create more rope drag and activate the brake in a case of inverted fall

- After gaining some altitude climbing, the weight of the rope under you will start dragging the rope through the device uncontrollably, making you use other methods to prevent overfeeding.

**optional: Some climbers like to thread a thicker cord through the device. That will demand different method of modification, and it will require drilling the Grigri like shown in the image.

Finally, try method without the drilling and filing the device to see if solo climbing is your thing. If you find that you absolutely must modify the device... Be smart.

Step 2: Setting Up the System

Notice how I threaded the device. First you have to use some kind of chest harness to hold the Grigri in proper orientation. You can improvise one from double lenght sling. Take the sling, and twist the loop so it forms one X at the middle of the loop. And just put it over your shoulders like a rucksack.

Use a strong locking carabiner to connect the Grigri to your climbing harness belay loop.

Thread the rope throught the Grigri so the rope connected to the anchor exits on "To climber" side of Grigri.

Anchor that end of the rope to a good anchor. Use your best judgement. In my case there were no trees wide enough I could trust them, so I anchored myself using the locking carabiner on the first bolt. Like I said use your best judgement here, there is no "one size fits all" solutions when it comes to anchors.

Next USE STOPPER KNOTS! make a stopper knots every arms span, Stopper knots are your main form of protection here. Tie them so you can untie them one-handed while progressing up. (In the image you can't see my stopper knots because I unteid the first one, and second was hanging just under the edge of the picture.

If you're climbing longer routes, you can carefully stack the rope in a rucksack and climb with it, with the rope feeding directly out of it over your shoulder.

While climbing connect the rope that goes from the "To climber" side of device to your protection, if you misclip, your device can't catch your fall.

When you reach your top anchor, clip the rope and rappel on the grigri. No fiddling necessary.

Have fun and be safe!

Step 3: Drilling Modification

Eventually after taking a lead fall on this system, the thinner cord broke, I have to use thicker and stronger cord. So I had to give in and make the drilling modification too.

Here's how to do it:

1. Take your Grigri and put it in a vice or clamp it firmly.

2. Drill a hole on the O or N of the word "ONLY" on the device. Make it less than 1cm (0.4inch) deep.

3. Then drill the bottom plastic part of the grigri, you can see on the images, I haven't drilled the second hole accurately. It still works.

4. Finally the tricky part, thread a piece of cord through the holes and tie it into a loop using double fisherman's knot.