Medical credibility notwithstanding, it’s a well known fact that boulderers’ are allergic to most forms of climbing paraphernalia.
Why then am I reviewing a new belay device when I’m A) almost entirely convinced sport climbing isn’t actually real, and B) I’m afraid of ropes because they look like long skinny snakes? If I can understand and use a piece of climbing trickery, then it must be worth looking into, and the Click-Up proved easy for even my V-scale saturated brain.
Cutting straight to the savvy, the Click-Up is made by an Italian company called Climbing Technology. It’s a device with no moving bits and is, to my lasting amazement, ridiculously simple to use. The feeding action is smooth (although not as free-flowing as an ATC), taking anywhere from a 9mm rope to 10.5, and the pictures on the sides ensure that even the most ape-handed will have a hard time putting the rope in the wrong way. Perhaps most worryingly at first is the feature which gives the piece its name. Arresting a plummeting climber will yank the carabiner and rope up into the locking position, creating an ominous cracking sound. Have no fear, it’s not your shiny new toy breaking in half; the rope is simply camming into the device in typically dramatic Italian fashion. Tilting will lower, and tugging on it will return the rope to its feeding position. And that’s all there is to it.
Downsides, I hear you ask? Well, technically speaking they are few. You’ll need to use a 12mm HMS carabiner with it, and if you want to rappel you can only do it off a single rope. This makes it slightly less versatile than an ATC, yet it’s smaller and lighter than a grigri, and much less fiddly to use. And unlike a Grigri, you’ve got to have more than a five-year-olds attention span to use it safely. None of this updating your 8a.nu scorecard or posting your latest status on twitface while your mate is sketching away high above. Like anything else of this type, it pays to have a healthy knowledge of how it works before you commit to leaving the ground. It’s designed for long training sessions in the gym, missions to the sport crag or even the odd spot of bolted multi-pitch as well. Heck, you can even clip it to your belt-buckle on rest days and blind passers-by at your local coffee shop with its blingness if you really want to.
Climbers are like magpies; we are hopeless when it comes to all things shiny. If it jingles like a Christmas bell or sparkles like a small child’s pencil case then we won’t hesitate to hang it off our harness’ for all the world to see. While it won’t change your climbing world forever more, it’s compact, easy to use and well worth your hard earned pennies.