We live in a right-handed world.
From driving cars to opening doors, products are mass marketed to the right-handed majority.
And sometimes, this can have real consequences.
If you’re going rock climbing, it’s important to make sure that you’re using your equipment correctly.
This often means that for left-handers, you’re going to have to train your right hand once again. Unfortunately, the plight of left-handers doesn’t get any easier in the rock climbing world.
The good news is, however, there are some ways you can get around these setbacks for safe, exciting climbs.
Below, we’ll go through how you can use your Grigri safely and effectively even if you’re left-handed.
Are any Grigris Designed for Left-Handed People?
Let’s start with the easy question.
Are there any Grigris that are specifically designed for left-handed people?
Unfortunately, we can only dream of how much easier rock climbing would be with a left-handed option.
But just as you’ll be hard-pressed to find cars with left-handed gear shifts or doors with left-handed knobs, you’ll be equally-unable to find a Grigri that is naturally designed for left-handed individuals.
This leaves left-handed rock climbers with having to come up with innovative ways to make left-handed rock climbing safe.
As we continue our investigation of how to rock climb while left-handed, we’ll go in-depth about some of the best ways you can use your Grigri in a way that’s natural to you.
These techniques have become popular with left-handed rock climbers everywhere who have learned to flip the table in their favor.
Below, we’ll go over some of the most important information you need to know in order to use your Grigri left-handed.
Can You Use Grigris Left-Handed?
First, it’s important to establish whether or not a Grigri can be used left-handed.
Though they’re designed with right-handed people in mind, this doesn’t mean that they can’t be adapted to left-handed use.
Finding the right method, however, can be tricky.
The good news is that there’s not just one set way that you can manipulate your Grigri in order to make it left-hander-friendly.
If you’re really looking for a solution to using your Grigri while left-handed, don’t worry we have an answer for you.
However, first, let’s consider one other option …
Using Your Grigri with Your Right Hand
Some individuals have found it easier just to use their Grigris with their right hands.
Unfortunately, this is something that marginalized left-handers have to deal with in many walks of life. The good news behind this is that if you’re not looking to learn complicated methods to adapt your Grigri to your left hand, you’ve got plenty of experience learning to do a variety of tasks with your right hand.
And you can do so here.
Many note that it’s easier to do this, especially if you never make an attempt to use a Grigri with your left hand.
By learning to use a Grigri with your right hand at first, you’ll never have to worry about it feeling unnatural. Because you’ll learn it with your right hand, it will be strange, unnatural even, if you attempt to use it with your left hand anyway.
But don’t worry!
If you’re looking to champion the rights of left-handed climbers, or if you simply want to do it your way, there are other options available.
Consider the following information on how you can adapt your Grigri to make it more palatable for left-hand use.
Tips for Using Grigris Left-Handed
Individuals who have attempted to use their Grigris left-handed have come up with a variety of solutions.
These alternatives provide a way for left-handers to have a more comfortable experience as they climb.
Let’s take a look at some of these options in more detail.
1. Reorient Your GriGri
One of the most common and effective solutions is to reorient the Grigri.
Instead of having the Grigri oriented normally, with the brake side on the right, flip is so that the brake side is on the left.
Because you can’t change the side in which you thread the device, reorienting it in this manner will make it so that you can use the device left-handed without any hang-ups.
Though you’ll have to keep in mind how this reoriented Grigri will influence its use—such as the direction of the braking rope—this can be an effective way to safely rock climb while left-handed.
2. Or Think of It This Way
Make sure that the rope going into the climber isn’t coming out of the top—instead, it comes out of the bottom.
When doing it this way, you can have greater flexibility in rock climbing even while left handed.
Is It Safe to Use Grigris Left-Handed?
All this leads us to the final question:
Is it safe to use Grigris left-handed?
We’ve seen how you can modify the device or its orientation to effectively rock climb even for those who are left-handed.
But is it safe?
The good news is: yes.
Simply make sure that you keep track of which ropes are what—when reorienting your device, you’ll have to remember that the directions you pull the ropes will change.
Though this shouldn’t be a problem if you’re left-handed—as you’ll be doing what feels more natural—it will take some extra thought at first if you’ve been trained to use your Grigri right-handed.
For this reason, it may be a safer bet to use your Grigri as a right-hander if you’ve already grown accustomed to this method.
But for those who are careful or just getting started, there’s no reason not to employ these great left-handed Grigri benefits.
Please bear in mind, though, that when deviating from standard procedure, we highly recommend consulting with a climbing expert before employing these techniques. It’s critical to have the right reflexes when belaying, and switching things around can dangerously throw your reflexes off.
Click the image to see the current price of a Petzl GriGri 2 on Amazon.
The Bottom Line
Using a Grigri while left-handed isn’t easy—but it’s not impossible.
For those with the right drive and attitude, learning to Grigri and rock climb while left-handed is certainly a possibility.
If you’re left-handed and looking to use your Grigri in a way that’s more natural for you, use the tips above to start your left-handed rock climbing journey.
Otherwise, consider using the good old fashioned ATC, which can be used more easily both by lefties and righties. Read this article to see how the ATC compares to the Grigri.