In reply to Rick Graham: Also, from my experience of owning one, and I like it btw for general wall use, I found myself abseiling from the top of a single pitch climb a few weeks ago and when used as I would my normal unbraked belay device e.g. extended off my belay loop with a sling it was hard work to descend as my arm needed to be continually raised so my thumb could unlock the device. It was much easier when the device was connected directly to my belay loop.
In reply to UKC Gear: The best thing about these is watching people lose the plot trying to use them. And it just gets even better when they decide they might try abbing with it. Cue a tirade of swearing followed by complete defeat.... 'I think i'll just sell it'.
In reply to UKC Gear: I have one, I've used it plenty. I like the concept, the build the finish. I like edelrid in general and i use a mega jul for any multipitch trad i do. I know there is a sweet spot etc etc.
Therefore, i say this with kindness:
The lowering is so bad (inconsistent) that it is not an option for indoor climbing. Boom.
In reply to UKC Gear:
I've used/tested all assisted braking devices on the market. I prefer the spring operated devices (Grigri/Matik) myself rather then the auto-tuber style devices. Unfortunately the Matik functions only with thin/new ropes. It's a pain in the ass with fat/fluffy ropes. Grigri is kinda tricky to operate for novices. Unfortunately a lot of belayers behave like idiots (letting go of the rope/to much slack) and do not know the common mistakes made with these devices.
Auto-tubers are less prone to black box behaviour (don't know what goes on inside my Grigri, it'll probably lock, so I stop paying attention to the climber...). The Edelrid Jul2 looks like an ordinary tuber. People assume it works the same - I.e. always keep a hand on the brake side and pay attention. The Jul2 is the cheapest, simplest and probably most hard-wearing of the lot. Hard to fault. Never had any trouble lowering the climber. But I do think paying out rope for the leader is easier with the Grigri.
Favorites for single ropes: 1) Grigri; 2) Jul2; 3) Salewa Ergo
Favorites for twin/double ropes: Edelrid Microjul.
WC Revo looks/felt like it'll beat 'm all. Petzl Grigri+ looks/feels to complicated.
> Auto-tubers are less prone to black box behaviour
Maybe "less prone" but not immune. The problem with the Juls and the Smarts is that in order to pump slack to the leader, the device has to be levered away from the body, which temporarily disables braking so that slack can be pumped. If the leader falls in this position, the belay might not release the thumb loop/catch in time and then there is almost no friction for stopping the fall. This is, as far as I know, a hypothetical issue for the Juls, but there have been some dropped climbers with the Smarts because of this. When it comes to beginner behavior, I've seen people belaying with these devices and keeping them perpetually unlocked (I guess for maximum ease in paying out the rope in all situations, not just when the leader is clipping).
Since you mention double ropes, these devices are also awkward to use with half ropes when it is appropriate to simultaneously take in one strand and pay out the other. The brake hand is tied up levering the device with the thumb loop, so the other hand has to frantically alternate pulling in one strand and paying out the other.
Since you've used all the assisted braking devices on the market, I'm curious about your reservations about the CT Alpine Up (and/or the Click Up). These take in and pay out slack exactly as a tube-style device, require no special brake-disabling gestures for pumping slack, and simultaneous taking-in and paying-out (with the Alpine Up) are just as easy as with a tube. The device is also better than the Smart and much better than the Juls at multiplying grip strength under high loads (according to tests by Jim Titt). The Alpine Up is bulky and heavy (on the order of a Grigri) compared to a Jul---is that why you don't mention it?
True. I know of 3 instances myself where people got dropped by the belayer using a Smart. One resulted in serious injury. Reconstruction of the incident (I interviews those involved) did not lead to valuable insights in how to avoid future accidents. Which doesn't happen often.
I don't know how your German reading skills are, but the current issue of BergundSteigen contains a letter by Walter Britschi, from Gaswerk in Zürich. He has done some research into hand positions before and during a leader fall. It appears most potentially critical actions during belaying have no consequences when the leader falls. Or less then previously thought.
I mostly climb with twin rope technique so paying out either rope alternately does not happen that often. Euro-multipitch style... You are spot on with your observations, off course.
The Alpine Up is way to complicated, heavy and bulky. Most people can't figure out how to operate the Up without a Manuel. I've seen people struggle with normal ATC Guide style devices when tired. The Alpine Up is overkill. We are teaching our current instructeurs in the correct use of the different belay devices and how to advice their clientèle. I used to take an Eddy and an Alpine Up but stopped after realising I'd better focus on the devices people will actually use.
Looping forward to the Revo. Looked/felt good at the trade show. Curious about acceptance by the public though. Grigri+ Looks a bit to complicated.
Bottom line: advising which type of belay advice to use for modern (I.e. No tradional climbing background/100 % consumer) gym climbers isn't easy. A least not when you look at the whole scheme of things and wan't to minimize risk and subsequent liability. Had a hard time rewriting the German/Swiss/Austrian/etc. advice on 'Halbautomaten' for our 'market'.
Ok, I see you have a certain perspective about potential users---"modern (I.e. No traditional climbing background/100 % consumer) gym climbers" for whom "the Alpine Up is way to complicated, heavy and bulky."
I was thinking of a competent audience when I made my remarks.
Even so, I can't for the life of me see how the UP is any more complicated than a Grigri, and the weight and bulk are the same, but whatever. As for having to look at manuals, quite a few problems would be alleviated if more people did that, regardless of the device being used.
Based in the Netherlands, far from cliffs and mountains my main focus is on climbers from a non-traditional background. Though spare time is abundant, few make the effort to get out often (kinda challenged by geographical location).
Ahh, yes the manual. Probably went in the bin straight away. Climbers are hopeless in the way very few bother to get additional information on failure modes, accidents, near misses, additional/new techniques, etc. Risk management and evaluating with climbing partners is rarely done effectively. Strange, because climbing, ski mountaineering, alpinism are relatively simple activities (technique-wise anyway). Getting enough mileage is something else.
Perceived level of knowledge and skills by people who are active for some time usually is high. In reality it it probably pretty mediocre. As well as only based on their own experience.