Climbing Technology Click up + Review
The climbing community has a growing need for assisted braking devices especially since many European countries now insist on their use in indoor climbing walls, it seems logical the UK will follow suit in the near future. The Click up + is Climbing Technology’s latest and updated iteration of the original Click up and we finally got the time to put it through its paces at our local sport crag.
The most immediate features of the Click Up + are the pleasing two colours, blue and orange (the blue being our favourite) as well as it’s lightweight feel. CT have evidently shed some weight off this model by using plastic materials where possible and when compared to benchmark devices such as the Petzl Grigri, the Click Up + is the clear winner weighing only 110g.
Other changes on the last model are the overall shape, improving ergonomics and functionality as well as a metal gate on the top of the device to ensure proper rope placement during operation and reduce the likelihood inserting the rope into the device in the wrong manner. That said, CT assure us that the Click Up + is still safe regardless of which way the rope is placed in the device but more on this later.
Metal gate flips open to allow rope to fall into place if inserted incorrectly. It automatically closes when the rope is in the right place to keep the two ends separated.
The Click Up + also comes with its own carabiner designed specifically to be used in conjunction with this device – the carabiner is the familiar HMS shape with a retaining clip in the base to keep the biner orientated correctly. This is a handy feature for any belay carabiner as cross loading can reduce the strength of any carabiner significantly and is very common in this application – it’s certainly reassuring to see Climbing Technology thinking of the details and keeping up with current trends.
While setting up the Click Up + is slightly more complex than a tradition tube style device it is definitely easier to figure out than the Edelrid Mega Gul for example. Simply push a loop of rope into the device from the top orientated in the direction shown by the images on the device, clip in your carabiner through the body of the device and your good to go.
The metal gate on top of the device mentioned earlier is there to keep the two ends of the rope leaving the device separated to allow the device to lock efficiently. The designers have hinged the plate to allow the rope to slip past into the correct position if the rope has been installed slightly wrong and we found this to work quite well.
The Click Up + has two modes – ‘top rope’ and ‘lead’. To use in lead mode the carabiner must be pushed to the bottom of the device where two plastic rails hold it lightly in place. The rails create enough friction to allow the belayer to give and take slack for the climber without the device locking unintentionally. In the event of a fall or the climber resting on the rope, the carabiner slips from those rails, travels up through the device and locks the rope against a friction plate near to where the break end leaves the device. In practice the device locks almost instantly as opposed to a cam style device in which a certain amount of rope slips through before the cam engages. We found this almost instant feedback gives both the leader and belayer heaps of confidence when taking falls.
Once the device has locked it is essentially in ‘top rope mode’, meaning slack can be taken up but not given out. The device needs to be reset before the belayer can give slack again by unweighting the rope and then sliding the carabiner back to the bottom of the device with the non-braking hand where the plastic rails hold it captive.
We found one scenario where resetting the Click Up + became troublesome. If the climber rests or falls close to a bolt then there is very little rope between the climber and the quickdraw. When the climber starts off again this gives very little time for the belayer to reset the device and give slack which can result in the climber being pulled downwards (such a lovely feeling!). This can be overcome with good communication and vigilant belaying but it is a problem that is not experienced with a traditional belay device.
To operate in ‘top rope mode’ the carabiner must sit in a small concave protrusion roughly in the middle of the device, this reduces the distance the carabiner must travel through the device before jamming the rope when the climber falls but the belayer cannot give slack.
Although lowering off a climber with the Click up + is easy enough, it took a few times to do it smoothly. The locking mechanism is released by firmly tilting the device down with the non-braking hand. The best result we achieved was by fully opening up the device with the left and hand and controlling the speed of the descent with the hand holding the rope. With a lever or cam style device the friction is controlled to some extend with both hands which can reduce the chance of getting mild rope burns in the brake hands which is not possible with the Click Up +, but now we are getting picky.
One niggle worth mentioning is that if you do manage to thread the rope through the device totally the wrong way the device is not totally functional and redundant as the manufacturers would make out. There is a notch in the body of the device to create more friction on the brake rope if this happens but the brake rope doesn’t naturally fall into this notch if you pull the brake rope straight down. That said, I doubt a belayer would fail to hold a fall in that case. The second problem is that because the rope is threaded the wrong way the device tries to brake when the belayer tries to take in the rope which could be problematic.
Here’s a quick summary
- Looks stylish and great colour scheme
- Lightweight for an assisted braking device
- Almost instant jamming of the rope
- Builds confidence for falling when used correctly
- Does not jam unexpectedly when trying to give slack
- No moving parts
- Relatively simple to use
- No moving parts
- Top rope and lead modes
- Safety enhanced by assisted braking
- Belayer must remember to reset after lock is engaged
- Not totally functional if rope is threaded the wrong way
- Must be used with specific carabiner
- Lacks versatility - cannot be used for two rope abseils
Is this device for you?
If you predominantly sport climb or climb indoors you’ll enjoy using this device. It only takes one session to get used to its quirks and after this the Click Up + will be more enjoyable to belay with than a tube style device. Not only are assisted braking devices safer that traditional devices - if the belayer doesn’t get complacent - they make working projects more tolerable for the belayer as the climber can hang around without the belayer getting tired.
For the trad warrior or hardcore alpinist, the Click Up + lacks versatility as it can’t be used with two ropes, but this just isn’t what it is designed for – the Click Up + is designed to be the work horse of the sport climber and certainly fits the bill.
Check out Climbing Technology’s website for more info on the Click Up + and also the Alpine Up which can be used with two ropes.
Grab yourself a Click Up + from JM Active using the link below