Belay device Click-Up belongs to the group of semi-automatic belay devices or, as they are called sometimes, belay device with assisted braking. Which means, that the belaying, rope retention, must still do a person (belayer) with his hand, belay device will only help him/her with its blocking function. Within this group it belongs to the category of devices that use carabiners which are clipped to the belay devices for blocking of the rope. In the case of Click-Up is used HMS carabiner, which directly serves for attaching of the belay device to a seat harness. The principle of protection by this belay device is based on the fact that the rope inserted into the belay device is also clipped in the HMS carabiner and in case of heavy load the rope moves the carabiner into a position where carabiner presses the rope between itself and the belay device, thus stops, blocks or very strongly slows its movement. By the fact, that the pressing of the rope is done directly by the carabiner connecting the belay device to the harness, we have the first noticeable difference between this type of belay device and other semi-automatic belay devices, which for this function use built-in metal cams. The difference is reduced volume and weight. Click-Up is small light semi-automatic belay device. By its design is in principle very similar to common “tube”, and its operation is also very similar to it. This is nice because if you are growing habits while using “tube” style belay device, you can transfer them in almost identical form to use of Click-Up, and vice versa when using Click-Up you will not learn any different habits that would complicate your use of dynamic tube style belay device.
Of course Click-Up, as well as all semi-automatic belay devices, is static belay device, which means it does not provide a dynamic rope slippage, which would lessen the impact force and stress on intermediate protection point, which arrest the fall. This is the reason why is Click-Up along with other semi-automatic belay devices predetermined for use on artificial walls, cultured rocks with plenty of drilled pitons (glue-in anchors) that have a strong intermediate points of protection close together. When climbing with the protection of chocks and other similar mobile belay devices is the use of Click-Up expressly not recommended by the manufacturer.
Click-Up belay device has basically a relatively simple structure. It is made of two lateral metal sidewalls, which are divided by a plastic filling. Both sidewalls and plastic filler are held together by several massive metal rivets.
In the sidewalls are opposite each other identical openings, which is the main principle of belay device function. They are specially shaped, and this shape determines the path of carabiner motion while blocking the rope. In one specific opening’s position the HMS carabiner serves only as a connection of the belay device to the harness, and we can move the rope through the belay device back and forth, as the leader needs. And in the second position, into which is the carabiner pulled by the stress on the rope, is taking place the blocking of the rope.
For proper function of Click-Up is therefore necessary to have a right size of other two components, a carabiner and rope, correctly fitting into the opening. Carabiner must have a regular upper arch, the manufacturer require use of only HMS carabiner, namely one which has a diameter of the body in its upper arch of 12 mm. On the market Click-Up manufacturer offers its own HMS carabiner, namely type Concept, but there is not a strict obligation to use this carabiner. Of course this carabiner is recommended by the manufacturer, but in the instructions of use, supplied with the product, is guaranteed that it will work with any other HMS carabiner; the only condition is that it has to have a 12 mm diameter of the body in the upper arch. The use of HMS carabiner of other dimensions or atypical profile of a cross-section of the carbine’s body may lead to slow slipping of a rope in a blocking position or accidental premature movement of carabiner into a blocking position. Therefore, when using some of your own HMS carabiners, we highly recommend measuring it and making sure that its body has the desired diameter. Rope used in a Click-Up it must have an average diameter ranging from 9 mm to 10.5 mm.
Click-Up must be also properly attached to the harness in order to work correctly. For this purpose there are symbols on the belay device showing where to attach HMS carabiner, which side of the plastic ridge has to be up and which one down, from where to where lead the rope to the leader, and where the rope has to lead to the belayer’s brake hand.
Parts of the belay device coming into intense contact with the rope are made of metal. The upper edge of the opening, from where the rope comes to the leader, is provided with a smooth metal roller.
The lower edge of the opening, from where the rope comes to the hand of belayer, is provided with a metal reinforcement in the form of curved rails with a profiled groove. Thanks to this there will be sufficient friction even if will be used thinner 9 mm rope.
As was already mentioned, the main principle of Click-Up function is the transition of HMS carabiner from one position in the opening to another. Therefore, there must be some way to hold the carabiner in the first position, without preventing it to move at the right moment into the second position. And this important function is provided by the only mechanical component of Click-Up. It is a small lifting lever, supported by flexible part. Stiffness of flexible part is set so that its force is sufficient enough to push the rope away during feeding to the leader or when retrieving. Volume of pushed-away or raised rope reduces the clearance of Click-Up opening, so HMS carabiner can not leave its position number one, and we can easily manipulate with the rope. However, once a greater force occurs (hangdogging of the leader, his/hers fall), the pull of the rope immediately and overwhelmingly overcomes resistance of flexible lifting lever, lever is pushed down and the HMS carabiner goes to a blocking position.
Insertion of the rope and leader’s protection
The rope is inserted into the Clip-Up almost the same way as into any other belay device based upon the Sticht plate (so called “tubet”). Similarly, we have to clip HMS carabiner, and make sure to clip the carabiner through created bight of the rope.
There is a question whether the blocking of the rope cannot occur while feeding the rope to the leader and there is a fast pull of the rope during the clipping into intermediate protection points. This movement and pull of the rope is very close to mechanism of straining that is occurring during the fall. It is pleasing that this is not happening. If the belayer will operate the same way as with any other common tube style belay device and will feed the dead rope with the other hand from the bottom, then not even the force of fast and swift pull of the rope in upward direction will be strong enough to overcome the resistance of lifting lever. The rope will just slip and will not press the lever down.
The problem can occur only if the belayer forgets the brake arm down, will hold the dead rope bellow the belay device and simultaneously pulls the rope leading up to the leader. In real live this is not a problem for persons with good habits acquired while using the tube style belay devices.
Don‘t forget: Brake hand must always hold the dead rope, i.e. the part of the rope under the belay device.
Releasing of the leader
After blocking of the rope and successful fall arrest there is obviously need to release the rope, whether to continue in ascent of the climber, or to lower him/her down.
Releasing when leader continues in ascent
Once the climber returns to climbing, that means he/she lifts his/her weight with his/hers arms and legs, and relieve the rope, the belayer grabs the Click-Up and with a pull of his/hers second hand moves it away against the HMS carabiner, making the carabiner slide back into the first position, where the rope can slide again. Direct pull of the body of belay device with your hand during this maneuver easily overcomes the action of lift lever spring. Thus the function returns to its original position and we can start with the belaying again. This maneuver requires some training, it’s something new, something that is not seen in conventional tube style devices, and therefore the new user of Click-Up has to train it. But it is not difficult.
Video: Demonstration of rope releasing in Clip-Up. We use this maneuver for example when the leader needs to hang in a difficult place on a rope clipped in intermediate point of protection and after he/she has rested he/she wants to continue. At that moment you must grab the Click-Up with your free hand, the one that usually holds the rope above the belay device, and push it away, so that the HMS carabiner, attaching the belay device to the harness, withdraw back to the position in which it is possible to freely feed the rope.
Releasing followed by lowering of the climber
It is easily performed by putting pressure with the palm of your hand on the top ridge of the Click-Up and turning it to the vertical position. The more is the Click-Up approaching this position, the more it reduces the blocking of the rope until it is completely released and the rope starts to slide. Of course belayer must still hold the dead rope under the belay device with his/her hand and control the speed of lowering.
This lowering solution is for one important reason very successful. The release is performed by “away from the body” hand movement – the opposite direction than our natural reflexes are. It is well known general problem in climbing and mountaineering, that in the event of sudden stress or shock a man instinctively withdraws his hands towards himself. Including dragging to himself anything he/she has in his/her hand. This is the place to realize how well done the design of Click-Up is, because if the rope is released by pushing out and something startle us (e.g. falling rock), then even if we yank our hand, withdraw her towards the body or even drop the belay device down, we will renew blocking of the rope and lowered climber will remain to hang on the rope.
Note: Compare with properties of other belay devices that for lowering use the lever which the belayer has to pull to himself/herself during the lowering in order to release the rope. If the belayer panics he/she can pull the lever toward himself/herself and drop the climber.
Lowering of the climber down is one of the things that are very well resolved with the belay device Click-Up.
Rappelling with Clip-Up is possible only with one strand of rope. That is very common restriction with semi-automatic belay devices. As with the other devices it can be only solved by specially assembled rappel station, where one strand of rope is threaded through an eye hole (carabiner) connected to the second strand of the rope.
Belay directly from the anchor point of belay station
Not recommended for leader protection, because the position of the belayer in relation to the position of the belay device cannot always be optimally observed. Click-Up is designed to operate when placed at the waist of the belayer, and the dead part of the rope is leading from the belay device down to the belayer’s hand that grips this dead rope under the belay device. Greater deviation from this position may lead to a deterioration of protective functions.
Belaying of the second coming from below is not possible directly from the anchor point at all. Blocking function, as is designed for the leader, is not functioning in case of protection of the seconding climber. It is not possible thanks to its design.
Therefore the seconding climber must be protected by reverse anchor belay point; de facto as if he/she was belayed from the harness, only in this case the belayer will be up in top belay station.
Top rope belay through the reverse anchor belay point
Easy to do, we can fully use the blocking function, which blocks the rope in event that climber hangs on the rope. We place the HMS carabiner into a second (blocking) position in the Click-Up. Therefore, if the climber hangdogs the rope will be blocked and the climber will hang. The point is that in this position is the rope prevented from moving upwards. But it is possible to move it in the opposite direction. So once climber continues to ascent there is nothing to prevent us from retrieving of the rope (move it down in belay device). It is nice and simple. When we want to lower the climbers to the ground, we proceed according to the above mentioned text, same way as if we were lowering the leader.
Click-Up belay device is handy and structurally interesting device. It is suitable for climbing on artificial walls and cultured rocks where as intermediate points of protection are used glue-in anchors, and for ascents that don’t exceed the height of one rope length where the belayer is therefore located on the ground. The solution for releasing of blocking function is brilliant; it reduces the possibility that the belayer will accidentally release the rope as a consequence of stress (or shock). Handling and manipulation is very similar to the control of common tube style belay device. With Click-Up, unlike some other semi-automatic belay devices, you don’t have to pull some lever, you don’t have to grab a bended metal edge and you don’t have to press some lever while feeding the rope to the leader – mostly you control it like tube style belay device. The Click-Up is the best choice for climbers coming from the mountains and terrains where they need protection with dynamic slip of the rope, are used to the belaying with a tube style belay devices, and want to purchase a semi-automatic belay device that would least bother them with different methods of use for an exercises on artificial wall.
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