Unassisted Mast Climbing with GriGri

Improved Method


In the article on Unassisted Mast Climbing I prefer the modified method but mention that the GriGri method is easier to use. There are two things I did not like about the GriGri method 1) It requires re-rigging the setup at the top of the mast. That is really a most unpleasant experience. 2) The descent, while quick and easy, it jerky and can be frightening and if you panic, can be really scary. I have developed a new method for the re-rigging and descent that solves the second complaint but you still need to do the re-rigging. This article presents that technique and reviews the GriGri method.

The Basic System (before improved descent)

For review, Here is the original video. The climbing part is unchanged so watching this up to the top will show how to setup and climb using the GriGri setup.

You can stop the video once you get to the top or you can review the old way of getting down.


There are three changes to the technique to make the descent both easier and safer.
  1. Use 10.5mm static line instead of the thicker 11mm line. The 11mm was significantly harder to work with making the descents jerk. The device specification is: optimized for 9.4mm - 10.3mm ropes
  2. Thread the line through the carabineer to provide additional descending friction
  3. Grasp both the backup prusik knot and the tail of the static line in you right hand and work the GriGri with your left.


You can purchase short sections of static line from the Sterling Rope web site. A 50 to 83 foot piece is $26.67 plus $7.50 shipping. The next size up is 85 to 115 feet for $48.

For $85 you can get 150 feet of Edelweiss Static Rope 200 ft./White 9mm line from Amazon. In the long run, that might be a better deal. It is certainly cheaper per foot compared to the minimum length shorts. At the time I wrote this, follow the link above and select the 150 feet white 9mm option. I don't care much for the way Amazon groups similar but not identical items under the same page but that is what they do. Be sure you see the 9mm listed so you are getting the right one. I personally used the Sterline rope that was sent to me as a sample after I had problems with some dynamic rope used on my traveler. The important thing is that while the GriGri is specified for 8.9 to 11mm rope, it works better with 9 to 9.5mm line.

I also see some 9.5mm line sold for $1 per foot 9.5 mm BlueWater II+ Static Rope - Standard by BlueWater

Descending Technique


Video of Descent


Please click on the Amazon links and purchase the equipment that way so that I get credit for the referral.

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