Climbing Technology Click Up+ Assisted Braking Belay Device
The Click Up+ is an updated version of the popular Click Up. Will we love the update as much as we loved the original?
It is rare these days that something genuinely new and interesting happens in the world of karabiners. Most brands have taken their development so far that we are really just down now to subtle and cosmetic changes. But the Bulletproof is a real step forward.
Two years ago, at OutDoor 2016, Edelrid introduced a karabiner called the Bulletproof. This looks like a normal karabiner, except that the section of the body that takes the main wear from the rope, or clipping in the bolt/wire runner, has a steel insert to give it extra strength. The end result is a karabiner that combines the lightness of a normal aluminium model, with the strength and wear-resistance, where it really matters, of a steel karabiner.
We got an early set of the basic Bulletproof months ago, and have been using it as a quickdraw combination for some time. Since then the range has been extended to include a set of screwgates in small and HMS belay size, including models with wire retainers for the belay loop. We have been testing some of these through the summer in both trad and sport environments.
The first question that comes to mind on seeing the Bulletproof is why did it take so long for someone to think of this? It seems so obvious when you look at it - but isn't that the way with most clever inventions? In this case the karabiners are neat and have a familiar action. The steel insert adds surprisingly little weight, so unless you are going super-lightweight on alpine or mountain trad, then the extra mass really isn't an issue.
Over long-term use, clipping steel bolts can cause cumulative damage to aluminium karabiners, and the resulting sharp burrs can then go on to damage your rope. This is why it's a good idea to have a dedicated set of sport climbing quickdraws, and to always clip the bolt with the same end of the draw. With the added protection of that steel insert, the Bulletproof helps considerably reduce the damage at the bolt end.
When sport climbing I have found myself using one Bulletproof quickdraw in the first bolt and then often keeping another pair for the lower-off. These are the two points that take the most wear in a normal sport climbing system. If you're top-roping on a lower-off then using a Bulletproof pair makes perfect sense to reduce the wear on both the lower-off and your own gear. It also makes sense to use them on crux bolts when working routes, to avoid battering the karabiner on the bolt too much.
The simple small screwgate version is an obvious addition to the range but it is perhaps not somewhere that the hardwearing benefits will be instantly appreciated. It is really with the bigger HMS karabiner used for belays or top-roping that the Bulletproof stands out as an exceptional realisation of a practical idea. If you have an old belay karabiner then just take a look at the inside of the curve: I'd be willing to bet that there's a worn rope groove, or at least some obvious wear to the anodised surface. Being far more durable at the point of highest wear, the Bulletproof gets round all that. Edelrid are obviously aware that this is a big advantage, since they offer it in four different models - twistlock and screwgate, and with and without wire belay loop retainers. If you're going all-out for safety - and that's really the point of this karabiner - then one of the rope retainer models is probably the ideal.
As a sport belay karabiner obviously this will be welcomed by those with Grigris and other similar devices that tend to heavily mark karabiners. If there is a small downside it is the Bulletproof can't be relied on to work with some of the Click-up type devices where the karabiner is integral to the braking system. With these you really need to use the karabiner supplied with the device since a slight change in this does result in less braking power.
This is a brilliant idea which has been carried out to perfection by Edelrid. Carrying a couple of these as quickdraw sets when sport climbing will save wear on your rope and everyone else's lower-offs. As a belay karabiner the Bulletpoof is probably one of the best models out there, giving you everything you need in a more durable form while still retaining a reasonably light weight.
The name says it all, an innovative & robust hybrid carabiner. The steel insert at the apex prevents premature wear and sharp edges from appearing. It is available in a variety of styles and sets including a quickdraw set and a belay set with the Mega JUL.
For more info see Edelrid.de
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