I think it is the best thing there is for half-ropes, where you often want to be paying one out and taking one in simultaneously. There is nothing on the market that handles as well as the Alpine Up for those situations, and you get solid assisted locking, even on the thinner half-ropes, which sometimes provide a very nasty surprise for belayers faced with stopping big falls on one strand using a tube-style device. The Alpine Up is, in particular, better for half ropes than the Mammut Smart Alpine, which is its only real competitor if you want assisted locking.
The only drawback, which the Mammut device shares, is rappelling. At least with my 8.5's, there's rather too much friction if used in assisted locking mode with 60m of rope hanging. CT has devised a work-around, which uses an additional carabiner to relieve rope weight on the device. I haven't yet had a chance to test that technique so can't comment on whether it makes things work better.
It's too bad if it doesn't, because rappelling in assisted locking mode means the rappel is automatically locked off if you let go. I've been using the UP's non-locking mode for rappelling, which provides about the same friction you'd expect from a Reverso or XP. Of course, if you are a believer in rappel back-ups, then you'd use one in this configuration.
I'm not a big fan of guide-mode belaying off the anchor, but resort to it at times when my back is sore. The UP works fine in this mode as far as I can tell, but I don't do it that often with any of my devices so can't really make good comparisons.
Someone commented that it took a while to learn how to thread the different options. I didn't find this to be true at all, and in any case there are clear threading diagrams on the device.
The downsides are price, size, and weight. In all three categories, it is comparable to a Grigri. The Smart costs half as much and weighs a lot less, but in terms of price remember you'd also need two Smarts to cover the range of a single UP.
CT says the UP can be used on half and twin ropes from 7.7mm to 9mm and on single ropes from 8.9mm to 10.5mm. Most of my experience has been on 8.5mm half ropes. I've belayed with the device on a 10mm single rope with no issues, but I have my doubts about decent handling with a rope as big as 10.5mm.
i made a gear review of the device when i first used it last year. its quite long and i apologise for the poor video skills. since making the video i have used the device little as i do not really get on with it in all honesty.
In reply to ERU: It looks big, bulky, complicated and expensive. I use a Mammut Smart for single rope use and love it. I would have thought that the Smart Alpine would also be better than this for half and twin ropes. When my mate lowered me on a Click-up it was very uncomfortable as it comprised of what felt like a series of jerky falls.
> (In reply to ERU) It looks big, bulky, complicated and expensive.
Size, bulk, and expense are basically the same as a Grigri, for whatever that comparison might mean to you. As for being complicated---it isn't.
>I use a Mammut Smart for single rope use and love it. I would have thought that the Smart Alpine would also be better than this for half and twin ropes.
The Alpine Up is better for half ropes. The Smart requires you to hold the device away from the harness in order to pump slack to a clipping leader. If you are trying to manage two ropes independently for half-rope belaying, you have the brake hand engaged in holding the device away from the harness and have to do all the feeding out and taking in with the other hand, which has to alternate sides around the brake hand depending on whether one is feeding a strand or taking in a strand. If you don't hold the device away from the harness so as to allow the brake hand to contribute to rope handling, then the Smart is subject to unwanted grabbing. None of this is a problem with the Alpine Up because you don't have to continually hold it in a fixed position in order to pay out slack. There isn't an analogous problem with single and twin ropes because you never have two strands that have to go in different directions.
>When my mate lowered me on a Click-up it was very uncomfortable as it comprised of what felt like a series of jerky falls.
Both the Alpine Up and the Smart can produce that jerky effect. It depends on the rope diameters involved (bigger=potentially jerkier) and how skilled the belayer is with the device. Grigi's also have a lowering problem, but with them it is the potential for dropping the climber. I've had no problem with with smooth lowering using 8.5mm double ropes and 10mm single ropes in an Alpine Up.
Perhaps it is worth adding that, as is the case with any gadget, there are some device-specific techniques the belayer has to learn. Whether this is a deal-breaker or not depends on the individual, but sometimes one hears objections to a device by people who haven't learned the appropriate techniques, are not able to operate the device effectively, and mistake this for a defect in the device. Neither the Smart nor the UP are tubes, and if you don't learn some additional device-specific procedures, your impression will not be good.
One of the things one has to learn with the UP is how to release it if you accidentally lock it up while the leader is moving up. (Once you've got the hang of it, this won't happen, but until then you better know how to pop it back open fast.) A similar if not as critical skill is to unlock it once the leader has been lowered to the ground. Both of these things are fast and easy to do, but you have to know how...
As for lowering, one cause of jerkiness is attempting to lower very fast, which then forces over-corrections. Lowering has to happen at a stately pace. If you like to practically drop the leader to the ground, you'll probably keep locking up both an UP and a Smart.
The new Mega Jul from Edelrid is the best device of this type that we've come across, mainly because it is the most similar to a normal device in its operation, it's way lighter, has guide mode and is happy with a massive range of rope diameters.
We did put a quick video on Youtube showing how it works but its not very good, I'll try and get a more in depth review sorted at some point.
Yup, another plus point, only a couple of quid more than a reverso.
A couple of things we did notice is that it doesn't lock up as well if your krab inverts, but it does still give more bite than a normal device, and if you use a Belay Master it will pop the plastic gate open because the holding loop is so big.
> (In reply to ERU)
> The new Mega Jul from Edelrid is the best device of this type that we've come across, mainly because it is the most similar to a normal device in its operation...
This seems to me to be an exceptionally low standard for evaluating new devices. It is also wrong, since the Mammut Smart Alpine works in the same way---with a solid handle replacing the big wire loop---and so there is at least one other device as similar to the "normal" ones as the Jul.
Because to their similarities, the Mega Jul will have exactly the same drawbacks as the Mammut Smart Alpine for half-rope handling, since it requires the brake hand to be engaged in positioning the device in order to pay out slack, forcing the non-break hand into frantic to-and-fro alternations in order to take in one strand while paying out the other.
One also has to wonder how the Jul will work for rappelling. A number of Mammut Smart owners have commented on the hand and arm fatigue associated with keeping the Smart levered down so that the ropes will slide. If the Jul presents similar resistance (I did say "if"), the load will be pretty much on the rappeller's thumb, which is going to be beyond unpleasant for long rappels.
In reply to rgold: I only use my Mammut Smart on single pitch sport. I use a Reverso 3 for Trad and multi-pitch sport. I would imagine that it is awkward to abseil with but for single pitch sport I think it takes some beating.
Sorry, what I meant was that it is most similar to a normal device in general. It looks like one, it would work like one if you managed to load it upside down etc. I suppose I didn't really word it properly, apologies.
Haven't had a chance to try it with half ropes yet so can't comment, but paying out with a single rope seemed easier than I remember it being last time I used a Smart.
I can comment on the Click Up which I have used for a while now. Providing it's used with a nice supple rope (I have a Sterling Velocity) within the diameter range advised by CT and CT's Concept carabiner, it's a fantastic little device that does a brilliant job without any lever or moving part.
I didn't have to learn a new belay technique, particularly paying out slack, compared to when I was using a tube (which I still use from time to time). It's also much easier to control the lowering off speed compared to a GriGri (which I have also used and abandoned in favour of the Click Up). It doesn't matter whether the belayer is right or left handed. It doesn't lock when paying out slack at any speed. It only locks if the belayer pulls on the braking end of the rope (and one would expect that). Even if loaded incorrectly it will assist the braking when lowering off (but obviously it won't lock). Lowering off is very smooth and gradual, that is, there isn't a "point of no return" beyond which the rope will just run free through the device. I think it covers the middle ground between devices like the GriGri, Eddy and Cinch (to name three) that people (wrongly) assume can do the job for you and the tube and all other ATC-like devices that (quite rightly imho) rely solely on the belayer attention.
Recently I have also tried the Alpine Up. First impression is that is a far more complete and complex device. It does cover all the possible belaying and abseiling scenarios. Using it with a single rope (which I haven't done) sounds like an overkill, but I can't see any reason why not, if needs be. I particularly liked the dynamic mode, which I miss on the Click Up (who knows, maybe CT will add it one day?). We struggled a bit with the amount of friction in the device and, at least initially, with unlocking it. In the end the unlocking bit was fine, it just unlocks at a slightly different angle from the Click Up. The friction issue I read is quite common. On abseiling it worked just fine. When lowering off the leader we struggled. However, in our case there was objectively a lot of friction in the system even without the Alpine Up, since we tried it on a sport route with double ropes both going through all the quickdraws. I'd like to use it a bit more to find out whether this is really a problem, although I suspect it just takes a little to get used to. I would say that the main difference with its little brother is that with the Click Up there is very little I had to learn, in fact I was up and running in no time. The Alpine Up does requires a little more knowledge and practice. Which I wouldn't call it a defect.