Why I love the Petzl Grillon

Petzl Grillon

One of the first things I introduced here to Pacific Ropes training was using the Petzl Grillon as part of your basic kit.

Why? Because it makes everything easier and safer!

Back when I first started Rope Access, working out on the tools, Grillons weren’t around.  Some of us did however conjure up our own similar type version of what is the modern day Grillon, by using a variety of other pieces of equipment that were available to us. With that said, they weren’t as good or effective, nor could we use them in such a variety of functions!

For example, we couldn’t really use what we had as a temporary anchor device. Certainly not one that conformed to any recognised standard!

Even when the Grillon became available on the market, very rarely would you ever see one on a work site! But, this little piece of gear is so versatile! It can be use it in various applications both as a work-positioning device and as a temporary anchor device.

Regardless of your level of skill or experience, there is an element to this awesome piece of kit that will benefit you. From basic level 1 rope access manoeuvres such as passing a deviation or knots to more complex skills such as a level 2/3-rope access rescue technique of a co-worker in ascent mode.

Everything becomes much more controlled and potential dynamic impacts are minimized if not completely removed from occurring.

One area in particular where I personally see utilizing the Grillon as a no brainer is in ALL aid climbing techniques for ALL levels of rope access technician. It becomes much easier to position yourself whilst climbing using the Grillon, especially for vertical aiding techniques when managing potential fall factors can be tricky!

Also for performing a rescue from aid, what is potentially an awkward, tricky, and time-consuming rescue (depending on the competency of the rescuer, of course!), now becomes a simple and easy rescue of a co-worker suspended from a releasable device.

A classic grumble I hear sometimes from the non-believers is “what’s the point in training with equipment that the technicians are not going come across on the job?”

Well, if that were the case, we’d still all be working on ‘stops and shunts’. If you don’t know what that means, ask an older generation rope tech!! Also, you can convince your employer to buy it from us here!

As an instructor or a training provider I believe we have a responsibility to provide and educate technicians on the best ‘tools’ we have available to us and how to use them safely and effectively. How else are we supposed to evolve and improve as we progress through our rope access careers?

As active rope access technicians the onus is on us to put the responsibility, or pressure, if you like, on the operational companies to provide to best equipment available for a particular work site. Whether that’s a Grillon, ASAP Lock, or a particular style/brand of rope protector or whatever?!

With that said, it’s important to point out here that if an employer does give you equipment that you are unfamiliar with and have not been trained on, it is their responsibility to provide training for that specific piece of equipment.

Another question I’m continually asked in training from some of the more experienced technicians or a technician from a climbing background is that the Petzl Grillon and Petzl GriGri is the same thing!

This is definitely NOT the case!

This misconception comes from, I believe the identical shape, size, and appearance of the two items Pre-2011, which is potentially one of the reasons to the production of the GriGri2 in the early part of 2011.

Grillon and Grigri2


The GriGri and the Grillon are two completely different pieces of equipment and which are designed to meet different specifications.






  • Is designed and tested as a Belay device and conforms to EN15151-1 type 6 and UIAA
  • Can only be used with EN892 Dynamic rope from 8.9mm Ø – 11mm Ø
  • Has a spring-loaded cam inside the body of the device that requires a greater load impact (i.e. a dynamic fall) for the device to engage on the rope.


  • Is a lanyard adjustment system for work positioning, EN358
  • Also conforms to; EN 795 Type B – Anchor/Temporary Horizontal Lifeline
  • Must be used with Petzl specific Grillon rope (contact your local dealer or Petzl if you need to change yours out!!).
  • Has a ‘floating’ cam inside the device that requires a very low, passive loading to engage on the rope.

Which leads me on nicely to this………..The GriGri +

GriGri+GRIGRI + is an assisted braking device designed for all climbers and for intensive use.

It can be used with all single ropes (optimized for 8.9 to 10.5 mm diameter ropes). The reduction handle offers exceptional descent control. Particularly suitable for learning, the GRIGRI + has an anti-panic handle and a special mode for comfortable top-rope belay.

Available April 2017


I digress here a little bit. Basically, the Grillon is awesome! And, if you’ve never used one before or don’t know how you can apply it to the manoeuvres you are doing on site, come drop by our Open Gym nights and we’ll show you! Our open gym nights are free and happen once a month! To get the details on when they are happening, sign up for our newsletter below!