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Climbing Technology Alpine Up
  • Climbing Technology Alpine Up
  • Climbing Technology Alpine Up

Alpine Up

Rating

My vote: None ( 4.4 avg )

Description

The Alpine-Up Belay Device, made by Climbing Technology, is a highly versatile assisted braking device for belaying and rappelling; developed especially for mountaineering. It can be used with twin, half, or single ropes. The Alpine-Up has three modes: dynamic, click-up, and guide. In dynamic mode, the Alpine-Up functions exactly like a tube device for standard belaying and rappelling. In click-up mode, it acts as an assisted braking device that will catch any fall. In guide mode, the Alpine-Up will operate directly from the anchors while maintaining its assisted breaking ability. For extra leverage when rappelling, the Alpine-Up is equipped with a foldaway lever.

Retail price

US$ 119.99

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Device Type

Device Type

Tube

The most commonly used belay type also called an “ATC” or “tuber.” Other than a distinction between other belay device types, “Tube” is a rarely used term, most climbers just assume you're talking about this style when they refer to your "belay device."

Tube belay device example

Figure 8

Mostly used in rescue, canyoneering, tactical, work safety, or by old school climbers and rappellers. One reason they went out of popularity with recreational climbers is because they tend to create twists in the rope.

Figure 8 belay device example

Brake Assist

These devices assist in stopping the rope when a climber falls or hangs on the rope.

Brake Assist belay device example

Often referred to as “auto-blocking” but that’s not the official terminology because no belay device should be assumed to work automatically by itself, even if it feels like it does (or does most the time).

Plate

When simplicity is a must, or you started climbing before Tubers were the norm. Bonus: They tend to be very light weight.

Plate belay device example

Descender

For rappelling, not for belaying a lead climber or top-roping.

Descender example
Brake Assist - Tube
Weight (g)

Weight (g)

In grams, the weight, as stated by the manufacturer/brand.

175 g
Belay Brake Assist

Belay Brake Assist

This is when the belay device significantly reduces the amount of holding power the belayer must exert to stop a fall and hold a climber.

This is also called "assisted-braking" as the device must hold a significant amount of the climber’s weight; this term does not include friction-adding "teeth" found on some tube style belay devices.

Confusingly referred to as “auto-blocking” or “auto-locking” these terms wrongly imply the device will always, automatically, stop a fall or hold a climber even if the belayer/rappeller is hands-free. These devices are not meant to be used without a hand on the braking side of the rope; the belayers/rapppeller brake hand should always be on the brake rope.

Worth Considering

Most of the mechanical brake assist devices only hold a single strand of rope and are not capable of double-strand rappelling (the most common method of rappel).

Yes
Rope Options 1 or 2 ropes
Guide Mode

Guide Mode

This is when you belay directly off the anchor instead of your harness. Guide mode is helpful if you climb outdoors a lot because it reduces the holding power required from the belayer. When your partner falls or rests, the weight of the climber is held mostly by the anchor and the belay device.

Tubers and Plates

When belaying in "guide mode," the tubers and plates turn auto-blocking. During a fall, the climbing rope pinches the slack rope, completely stopping the movement of either rope. A common guide mode setup shown below.

A double rope tubular device guide mode example

Mechanical Brake Assist Devices

There is no difference in the functionality of the device. A brake-hand should always be on the rope to ensure the climber is caught in the case of a fall. A common guide mode setup shown below.

A single rope mechanical brake assist guide mode example

Where guide mode is used

  • multi-pitch sport or trad climbs
  • single-pitch where you need to bring up a follower (say for a walk-off)

Learn More

http://www.climbing.com/skill/essential-skills-auto-blocking-belay-devices/

Up to 2 followers
Teeth

Teeth

Teeth are only seen on tube devices. They add friction that helps grip the rope for more belaying control.

This is helpful for belaying heavier climbers. Teeth are becoming standard on new tube devices.

The belay device teeth are shown in the red circle

Worth Considering

Teeth do wear out. You can limit wear by rappelling on the side without teeth (if you don’t need the extra friction). Once they’re worn, you’ll still have a usable belay device, just less friction.

No
Rope Range (mm)

Rope Range (mm)

The range of rope diameters, in millimeters, that the manufacturer/brand specifies can safely be used.

This is the best case scenario and does not necessarily take into consideration that certified ropes have a tolerance of +/- .3 mm.

Recently, manufacturers have started to add an "optimized" rope range -- this is the range that will result in the nicest handling of the belay device.

7.3 mm  - 10.5 mm ­­
single: 8.6 - 10.5 twin/half: 7.3 - 9.0
Certification

Certifications

The main climbing gear certifications are CE and UIAA--and normally the UIAA creates the rules that the CE body also supports. When possible, we try to list all the certifications the product carries.

To sell a climbing product in Europe, the device must be CE certified. There are no official requirements to sell climbing gear in the US. The UIAA certification is a voluntary process.

Learn More

Rock and Ice Certifications Guide
CE, EN, UIAA
AVG RATING
4.26
( 4.3 avg )
Rating
5.04
( 5 avg )

BETTER THAN A GIGAJUL

Pros
Versatility
secure braking
Cons
heavy
awkward to setup a top down belay
Familiarity
I’ve used it a ton
Disclaimer
A lot people find it finicky to belay with but you get used to it quickly

***A lot of this review is going to be comparing the Alpine up to the Gigajul because of the similarities in their application and the amount of press that the Gigajul has received.***

For a baseline I am a big fan of the Gigajul and how versatile it is. The first problem I have with it is the way that Edelrid has marketed their product and how to safely rappel with it in assisted brake mode. I have seen numerous videos put out by the company demonstrating an assisted brake rappel wihout a backup; because of this I was under the impression that this was an officially recognized method and was considered safe by the company. Then I checked the instruction manual: while they do recognize rappelling in assisted brake mode they ONLY recommend doing it with a third hand backup. To me this is a massive failure in communication. Rapping in assisted brake with a prussik is such a cumbersome process that it cannot be taken seriously. If rappelling in assisted brake mode is truly unsafe without a backup then they should take it off their official recommendations entirely. (To be clear I have tested it on a freehanging rappel with a second rope and could only get it to slip about a foot at most on 2 strands of 8.9mm rope so I do consider it safe ). Rapping in assisted brake mode is very jerky until you get the knack for it so to some this might not matter but it is still a feature that a new-comer might consider when looking for a new device.

Contrast this to the Alpine up where assisted brake rappelling sans backup is officially endorsed both in all promotional material and in the instruction manual. Not only that but the rappel is FAR more smoothe in assisted brake mode than the Gigajul and dropping on the device I get next to no slippage at all. (I do have a problem with the marketing behind the lever on the back of the device because it is much more effective to just use your palm as you would with any of the other Clickups)

My Second issue with the Gigajul is that for a device that seems so well suited for multipitch climbing, the amount of friction through the device while bringing up a second is among the worst that I have seen. If you are a guide, lead all of the pitche in your group, or do 8+ pitch climbs regularily you will kill your elbow. 

 

The only device that I have encountered that has less friction from above is a GIGI or a Grigri. 

 

My only problems with the Alpine Up are its weight, which is not a big deal, and the issues with fixing it to an anchor without dropping it. Because of the way that the guide hole sits above the rope you haver to attach the ropeand then clip it to the anchor which can lead to dropping the device. Instead I wind up attaching the device to the anchor via the release hole at the bottom of the device, then inserting the rope, then attaching it via the guide hole, and then detaching the carabiner in the release hole. If not for this I would have given it 6/6

Rating
3.48
( 3.5 avg )

This is something I own

Pros
Can do everything
no moving parts so it is really safe and durable
Cons
A little stiff
it can lock on you easily

I got this device because I wasn't in love with the grigri. It seemed like it did everything, and it does. Anything you need to do on the mountain, this device can do, and do pretty well. It belays smooth, and auto locks on the fall.

It keeps people belaying with the correct motion, where some people have a tendency to get lazy with the grigri.

The only issue is that if you are working a route, the locking can be a little difficult to undo, and it can lock if the person is climbing fast and you take rope too quickly. Then it is tough to unlock...

If you can only have one device and you need to belay, rappel, and you want locking, this will do it all. If you can afford a grigri and another 40 bucks for a regular guide level ATC, then that is the way to go.

Mediocre Mountaineering Gear Review no rating given just a review

So, given my views regarding the Alpine Up’s performance, It would seem as though it would replace my other belay devices. However, even though it’s the best performer, there are times when I still prefer the Edelrid Mega Jul or Micro Jul.

The Mega Jul and Micro Jul are significantly lighter and more compact, so when weight and space are at a premium (i.e. alpine climbing) I will usually reach for one of the Edelrid devices over the Alpine Up. Also, the Micro Jul is the only device capable of being used with really skinny twin ropes, such as the 6.9mm Edelrid Flycatcher.

Bottom line is that when I’m cragging, I generally take the Alpine Up. When I’m alpine climbing, I generally take the Mega Jul or Micro Jul.

Features of Alpine Up
Details of Alpine Up ClimbingTechnology Belay Device

Amazing climbing video that explains all the features of Alpine Up Belay Device.

Alpine Up Review Volume 3
Alpine Up Review Volume 2
Alpine Up Review Volume 1
Alpine Up Review

Long but informative video, a well discussed review.

Alpine Up Belay Device