Do you know how to read your Petzl GriGri serial number? One thing that keeps me up at night is the age of my climbing gear. I don’t want to be climbing on equipment that’s past its shelf life. I don’t keep a detailed list of when I acquired my climbing gear, so I have to go off my memory to start thinking about when it’s ready for retirement. But thankfully, I figured out the string of characters on a Petzl serial number represents its age!
The Petzl GriGri is an incredibly versatile tool. Whether I’m toproping, guiding, sport climbing, trad climbing, multi pitch climbing… you name it, I have my GriGri on my rack. The device is perfect for belaying from below and above and for use as a tether or progress capture device in a pulley.
The serial number on your grigri can tell you exactly how old your grigri is. It’s important to know the age of all of your gear. You don’t want to be using gear that has outlived its manufacturer-decided lifespan. It is best to replace gear as it ages out of its lifespan. Petzl uses two types of serial numbers to help you keep track of the age and manufacturing batch for your gear. Grab your GriGri and follow along as we investigate!
For many climbers, the Petzl GriGri is the belay device of choice. We haven’t been able to find anything else to replace it. There are cons: it is heavy, expensive, there’s a learning curve, and it is not user friendly for left handed people. But the GriGri holds its place as the gold standard for indoor and outdoor climbing.
What stands out to you in the above image? The blue GriGri has scratches on the side plate. The silver GriGri looks like it is fresh out of the packaging. And a visual inspection of both devices show that they are in working order.
Where is Petzl Manufactured?
The company owns several factories in France but also has manufacturing contracted out to Malaysia and other parts of the world.
What is the CE Marking?
Petzl products include a Serial Number and some will also include a CE Marking. This CE Marking reflects the manufacturer’s commitment to comply with European legislation and safety standards. The CE Marking proves the manufacturer has checked that these products meet EU safety, health or environmental requirements.
Petzl products had a CE number of 197 until 2012, in which the CE Number became 082.
With this information, you can use the CE Marking to determine the generation in which your device was made. But what if that’s not enough? A manufacturer could recall devices based on a specific product number. This is where the serial number comes in handy.
What is Code A vs Code B on a Petzl GriGri serial number?
Petzl serial numbers come in two different codes: Code A and Code B (the new Petzl serial numbers). Both serial numbers display the year of manufacturing as the first two numbers of the serial number.
Code A includes the day of manufacturing as the day of the year out of 365. In the above example, this Code A serial number represents January 8th. Code B codifies the month of the year to indicate the month of manufacturing. A(1) = January, B(2) = February…. L(12) = December. In the Code B example, E represents May.
Code A shows the inspector’s initials and then the product’s incrementation number. Code B did away with this format, electing for the batch number the device was built within and then an incrementation number. For each device made, the incrementation number will increase by one, creating a unique identifier.
Pictured above: a GriGri with a Code A serial number. This device does not have a CE marking. This is due to how belay devices were classified under UIAA proposals at that time. Interestingly, the previous generations did include a CE marking.
The Code B serial number is displayed above as well as the CE Marking 082.
Let’s take a look at Petzl serial numbers on other pieces of equipment.
Petzl Serial Number on an Attache
Code B serial number is shown for a Petzl Attache. This carabiner was manufactured in August, 2019.
Petzl Micro Traxion Serial Number
Code B serial number shown for a Petzl Micro Traxion Ultralight Progress Capture Pulley. The micro traxion was made in November, 2017.
Petzl Reverso Serial Number
A well-used Petzl Reverso has a hard to see Code B serial number. The device was made on the 144th day of 2018 (May 24th.)
How do I tell how old my Petzl GriGri is?
You now know how to identify the age of your Petzl gear. If the piece has a CE marking of 197, the piece was made before 2012. CE Markings of 082 were made in 2012 and after. You can quickly determine the exact year of manufacturing by looking at the first two digits of the serial number. The rest of the serial number identifies the specifics of your gear. Use this information to help you verify if your gear is included in a product recall.
What are the nine parts of a Petzl GriGri?
The First Seven
1. Moving Side Plate
The aluminum moving side plate rotates on an axle. It shows diagrams of the climber end and brake end of the rope. The rope will also feed over the plate’s curved lip.
Open the side plate and you can see the GriGri’s cam. The cam is made of stainless steel and will rotate on the cam axle. The cam cinches the rope in place, creating the assisted braking functionality.
3. Cam Axle
Located in the center of the cam, the cam axle allows the GriGri’s cam to rotate. Previous users have reported black liquid coming out of the cam on a newly purchased device. Petzl says this black liquid is the grease for the cam axle. You should always clarify with the manufacturer when you have questions about your gear! Other users have experienced this in this Mountain Project thread and this Reddit thread.
4. Friction Plate
The friction plate is made of stainless steel and generates friction to activate the assisted braking functionality of the device. The GriGri compresses the rope between the cam and the friction plate to generate enough friction to engage the cam and arrest the fall.
The reinforced nylon handle lowers the cam allowing the rope to feed through the device.
6. Fixed Side Plate
7. Attachment Holes
Secure the device with a locking carabiner through the attachment holes.
Additional Parts on the GriGri+
8. Selector Knob
The selector knob sets the device in either top-rope or lead mode.
9. Lock Button
Prevents the selector knob from switching modes. The button clicks in and secures your selection.
Now you know the nine parts of your Petzl GriGri Belay Device! The seven parts for the GriGri as well as the two additional GriGri+ parts. Read more on the Petzl GriGri through the Petzl website. Petzl has the user manuals available to download for both the GriGri and GriGri+. Leave us a note in the comments below!