The Click-up is a single-rope assisted-braking belay device produced by Climbing Technology - an innovative Italian company.
The device is small and light (120g) and very simple. It only has one moving part - a small spring-loaded internal lever that you only notice if you look very hard. It has no lowering lever and is easy to set up - you just thread the rope into the device and clip the carabiner through the rope. There is a correct way and an incorrect way to thread the device, indicated by hand and man icons, however if you do get it wrong then it will still function as a normal belay device without the assisted braking.
In usage the device works smoothly and you belay with a similar action to a standard simple bucket/tube type belay device making it an easy transition. It also works either left or right handed. As with all assisted-breaking belay devices you should always keep a hand on the dead rope - they are "assisted breaking" not "auto-lock"! See the video for an illustration of the Click-up in action.
In click-down mode the rope runs through smoothly making it easy to feed the rope to your leader as they grab the rope for a clip. With the Click-up you can feed the rope as quickly as required to the leader without compromising the device, there is no grabby nature to the device, even with fatter ropes - a major plus point for the Click-up.
In the event of a fall the device locks reliably by 'clicking-up' to the higher position and locking the rope. The locking action is very reliable although it is absolutely essential that you keep your breaking hand on the dead rope. The trade off from the easy-feed described above is that it isn't quite as sensitive to locking, however the presence of your hand on the rope will always ensure that it does lock. I haven't tried holding a fall with 'no hands' - my suspicion is that it would work, unless there was a lot of rope out and the fall inertia built up slowly, it definitely isn't recommended though.
Another positive aspect to this device is that it works well over a wide range of rope diameters. The specified range is 8.9mm to 10.5mm and I have tested it with ropes at those extremes. It is a little grabby on a 10.5mm rope and some old and stiff top-ropes at climbing walls, but very safe. More impressively is its performance with the ultra-thin ropes where it works perfectly giving the impression that it will work on even thinner single ropes when they are developed.
For lowering-off the Click-up works very well indeed and is highly recommended for partners of mis-matched weights. Once the climber weights the rope the device clicks-up and locks. The belayer then lowers the climber by angling the device back to release the locking. The sweet spot for this is very wide making it difficult to instigate a plummet should you release a climber too quickly. My relatively inexperienced son used the Click-up to lower me smoothly right from his first go.
For top-roping (bottom-roping) the device is fantastic. You always work in clicked-up mode where the rope is easy to take in as the climber gets higher but is always locked. For beginners it provides that ideal scenario of a device that is easy to use but is always safe, giving a bit of extra security in case they accidentally take their hands off.
You usually buy the Click-up with its own belay carabiner with closing ring to keep it properly orientated your harness. It will work fine with other carabiners but the carabiner is integral to the locking action so you do need to use at least a 12mm carabiner. The carabiner shipped with the device is 12mm but a bit too small overall which makes it a struggle to carry and clip to your harness. The carabiner also takes a lot of the friction in the system which means it gets hot and appears to wear more quickly than you might expect - see abseiling below. Mine has a small groove in it after around 10 months of use.
The Click-up is described as being suitable for abseiling on a single rope although there is a warning in the small print of the instructions that it may overheat. In our testing on a long free-hanging abseil, the device did become worringly hot quite quickly, so hot that it became difficult to touch which is an essential part of the action (unlike more conventional tube-type abseil devices). In this case we agree with the recommendation that it should not be used for long free-hanging abseils and I would go further and say that it is best not to consider it as an abseil device at all.
One other slight downside of the Click-up is that it can twist the rope if you hold the dead rope slightly to the side when lowering. It is easy to correct this action by watching the rope and holding it more in line with the device but it does require care to avoid creating a twisted mess on long lowers.
Summary - A brilliant piece of kit that renewed my faith in the ability of climbing companies to continually innovate. Of special note is the ease of usability for quick feed to leaders while retaining safety. Great for inexperienced belayers and teams with a mis-matched weight. Simple to use correctly and very hard to use incorrectly for belaying but shouldn't be used for abseiling. Overall though, a fantastic assisted-braking belay device and it comes in at a very good price of £45.
- UKC Assisted-breaking Belay Device Article and full video
- Climbing Technology - Who are they?
- Climbing Technology innovator Stefano Codazzi demonstrating the Alpine Up - the double rope version of the Click-up.
See this product at the Joe Brown - Snowdonia shop
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