CLEARFIELD -- Petzl America Inc. has recalled a popular belay device because it is not functioning properly.
Even though only one device was sent back broken, courtesy of a Navy SEAL, the Clearfield company that ships climbing products worldwide is replacing each product.
"We figured to err on side of caution," said John Evans, marketing director at Petzl.
The product being recalled, the GRIGRI 2 belay device with assisted braking, is used by rock climbers to control the safety rope during a fall or while being lowered. The device comes in grey, blue and orange colors and is manufactured by Petzl SAS of Crolles, France.
Exerting excessive force on the fully extended handle of the GRIGRI 2 can cause internal damage. As a result, the handle may become stuck in the open position, disabling the assisted braking function and greatly increasing the risk of an uncontrolled descent.
Evans said there would have to be an extraordinary amount of force applied for the handle to stick open.
Petzl began shipping the GRIGRI 2 around Feb. 1, so there has been a limited time when customers could buy the product.
"We've had people write us letters saying that they've had the original GRIGRI for 15 years, so we decided to recall all of the newer models since they last so long," Evans said.
Evans said that Petzl has replaced nearly 12,000 devices since announcing the recall in June, which is more than a 70 percent return rate. The recall notice is now appearing in magazines, which will help other customers learn of the recall. No one has reported any injures to Petzl due to the device becoming stuck in an open position.
Petzl America asked customers to immediately stop using all GRIGRI 2s with the first five digits of the serial number between 10326 and 11136. Customers can send their devices to Petzl America, and the company will replace them with a new, revised version. Petzl will pay for all shipping costs to complete this replacement.
Manufacturers have increased the mechanical strength of the handle on all replacement GRIGRI 2s.