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Dec 7, 2016
Ranivorous Troglodyte wrote:
Interesting. I don't know what's up with the jul 2 (never tried it) but using the mega jul hundreds of times it locks every time for me. Mostly 10.2mm rope. But many times on 9.8mm and never had any locking problems.


To be super clear, I tested with no tension on the brake strand, similar to how Wild Country has been demo-ing the Revo. Holding the brake strand like a responsible person, all of these devices lock every time.

I tested each device about 5 times so you can interpret "60%" as "3 out of 5". I agree that making a strong claim would require a larger sample size, as well as a more controlled methodology.
Noah Yetter
From Lakewood, CO
Joined Jul 13, 2015
5 points
Dec 7, 2016
With two ropes in the device, there is this test...

rgold
From Poughkeepsie, NY
Joined Feb 15, 2008
40 points
Dec 8, 2016
rgold wrote:
With two ropes in the device, there is this test...


Yes, I've seen that video and it seems to support my hypothesis that it requires two ropes to lock up without a hand on the brake line. One rope it just doesn't work. I did multiple falls in the gym over a pad with different diameter single ropes and it never locked.
anotherclimber
Joined Apr 4, 2016
0 points
Dec 8, 2016
Say what you want about belay devices, but I'll never get rid of my PAS thong! limpingcrab
From Visalia, CA
Joined Nov 5, 2010
915 points
Dec 8, 2016
I think that answers your question, Rich. Most American climbers do not use twins, so a device that requires 2 ropes to lock would not be very useful. Ted Pinson
From Chicago, IL
Joined Jul 11, 2014
40 points
Dec 8, 2016
Ted Pinson wrote:
I think that answers your question, Rich. Most American climbers do not use twins, so a device that requires 2 ropes to lock would not be very useful.


I think Jim came closer perhaps. And saying the Alpine Up "needs two ropes to lock" would be a gross misrepresentation, because it leaves out the "completely untended" part. I've used it on halfs and singles (I don't own twins) and it always locks solidly as long as the brake strand is (very lightly) gripped.

I wonder how many of the assisted braking devices that can take two ropes could pass the untended two-rope test...I think one of the Juls failed embarrassingly at one of the trade fairs, for example.
rgold
From Poughkeepsie, NY
Joined Feb 15, 2008
40 points
Dec 9, 2016
rgold wrote:
I think Jim came closer perhaps. And saying the Alpine Up "needs two ropes to lock" would be a gross misrepresentation, because it leaves out the "completely untended" part. I've used it on halfs and singles (I don't own twins) and it always locks solidly as long as the brake strand is (very lightly) gripped. I wonder how many of the assisted braking devices that can take two ropes could pass the untended two-rope test...I think one of the Juls failed embarrassingly at one of the trade fairs, for example.


You are of course correct. There is some misinterpretation here. The informal testing I did was to see if the Alpine Up and other devices would lock without a hand on the brake line and I only had single ropes of different diameters to test this. For my purposes, I want a belay device that will hold me if the belayer has some sort of accident and can't hold onto the brake line. So to be extra clear for other users, the Alpine Up does indeed lock with a single rope as long as their is a hand on the brake line. And like you mentioned, it doesn't take much brake hand resistance to do so but it must be there. Unfortunately this does not serve my purposes for outdoor climbing on a single rope. Other devices that I did test in this same fashion with single ropes did pass by locking and holding without a hand on the brake line. That was the Mammut Alpine Smart Belay, Petzl Grigri, and Edelrid Megajul.

I'd also say that I humbly disagree with Jim Tit that the Alpine Up fails to do anything better than other devices. I believe it lowers on top belay better than any other dual rope device. And it can be done gradually and easily without a backup safely (assuming single, half, or twin ropes with only one follower). And this is part of how they advertise the device. Whether that one feature is worth it for someone is for them to figure out. I also think it rappels as good as the Alpine Smart Belay in brake assisted mode.
anotherclimber
Joined Apr 4, 2016
0 points
Dec 9, 2016
anotherclimber wrote:
I'd also say that I humbly disagree with Jim Tit that the Alpine Up fails to do anything better than other devices. I believe it lowers on top belay better than any other dual rope device. And it can be done gradually and easily without a backup safely (assuming single, half, or twin ropes with only one follower). And this is part of how they advertise the device. Whether that one feature is worth it for someone is for them to figure out. I also think it rappels as good as the Alpine Smart Belay in brake assisted mode.


This is in fact so, with two ropes it lowers better than any modern device when use in guide mode. That the guide mode itself sucks is another matter!
Jim Titt
From Germany
Joined Nov 10, 2009
0 points
Dec 10, 2016
Jim Titt wrote:
This is in fact so, with two ropes it lowers better than any modern device when use in guide mode. That the guide mode itself sucks is another matter!


What is it about the guide mode you don't like?
anotherclimber
Joined Apr 4, 2016
0 points
Dec 10, 2016
For the 1% of US climbers that use half ropes, I'll just chime in (as I have before) that the CT Alpine Up is the best of the available belay devices, and significantly so.

Half rope belaying often requires the belayer to simultaneously (or near simultaneously) pay out one strand while taking in the other. (Inability to do this, typically resulting in the belayer pumping out both strands, negates one of the significant advantages of half ropes.)

Although a careful (and sometimes lucky) belayer can manage to pump slack with a single rope using the Jul or Smart without levering on the thumb catch (and therefore disconnecting braking), it is much less possible to manage this with two ropes running in opposite directions. But levering the thumb catch does two undesirable things: (1) it disconnects braking---this is a problem (and not a hypothetical one) for these devices whether used with one or two ropes, and (2) it forces the non-braking hand to alternately pump out and take in slack. This is a lot of frantic hand activity for the belayer, and I think the combination of rapid opposite-direction hand motions and neutralized braking is a potential danger for the leader.

The Up is the only device that allows for vigorous pumping of slack without having to neutralize the braking function. Because of the assisted braking effect, it is reasonable to have the brake hand palm-up rather than palm-down, which makes the simultaneous rope manipulations even easier.

These considerations make the Up the only good choice for half ropes---in my opinion. And I should add that the less-than-ideal features the Up may have with fatter single ropes are not apparent with half ropes (at least not with 8.5mm ones, which is what I use). It works fine in Guide mode and is a very good rappeller (that autolocks if the rappeller releases the brake strand).

I'm also perplexed about the claims of complexity for the device. You stick a loop of rope down through it and clip a carabiner, pretty much the same as any ATC-style device. Yes, you can thread it backwards, as is also possible with any ATC-style device with teeth and the Metolius BRD. The difference is that the Up has notches to increase braking if you accidentally threaded backwards, something that no other device provides.

The Up has a special hole that allows for belaying with no assisted braking, but the low level of friction obtained is inadequate for lead belaying. Maybe the hole option is part of the perceived complexity? This hole is used for guide mode as well.

Weight, bulk, and price are downsides, although exactly the same things do not seem to discourage climbers from using Grigris.

Folks should be aware of Jim's testing of these devices, which indicates that their performance is considerably worse than an ATC XP when it comes to handling very high loads. This is because the assisted-locking devices do not act as hand-force multipliers, and once the locking function is overwhelmed, they don't scale up the belayer's grip the way the ATC-XP does. (The Jul is by far the worst in this regard, and the Up is the best, but there is the possibility that the Up could damage the sheath). Because of this, it is imperative that belayers using these devices on multipitch climbing wear gloves, as the ease of locking with the typical low-load falls does not mean that high-load falls will be held analogously.
rgold
From Poughkeepsie, NY
Joined Feb 15, 2008
40 points
Dec 10, 2016
The video test I posted has the Alpine Up on a sling and the device accelerates upwards when the fall happens and then rapidly decelerates when the sling goes taught---nothing like this occurs in a belayed fall scenario even if the belayer is lifted.

So I tried anotherclimber's untended tests with my Alpine Up, mounted on my harness in belay position. On the harness, the device didn't lock untended with either one or two strands.

I tried hanging weights on a single 8.5mm brake strand, working my way down from 1 pound to one ounce. I found the device locked consistently (which is to say every time in 20 tries) with 2 ounces of weight on the brake strand when the acceleration was high, but did not lock with 1 ounce of weight on the strand. (Below around 3 ounces of weight, the rope could be pulled very slowly through the device even though it locked on accelerated loads.) The brake strand was about 28 inches in length, which for my Genesis at 45 g/m comes out to about 1.13 ounces.

I don't have the means to weigh the carabiner and 12 ounce plastic water bottle I used. Together they might weigh 3 ounces, and that would have to be added to the above figures.

So it seems to take between 5 and 6 ounces of total load on the brake strand end to lock up the device. At that rate, with a single 8.5mm strand and no belayer intervention, we're talking about 10 feet, or 5 feet for two strands.

This doesn't seem to quite work out though. First of all, the video shows locking with less than 5 hanging feet, and when I stand on a chair, there is enough extra rope weight to lock the device untended with just a single 8.5mm strand, and that's only about four feet, not 10 feet. Something about the dynamics of extra rope besides its sheer weight seems to come into play, or maybe I'm converting the units incorrectly, but I did check that part.

Make of this what you will folks. Jim's tests make it clear that you can't extrapolate high impact load performance of these devices from the relatively low-impact loads in "ordinary" climbing falls, so there is no way to know what might really happen in a catastrophic situation.

One thing you can conclude from this very crude testing is you shouldn't count on the Up to autolock at the very end of a rappel with less than 5 feet of rope remaining (at which point it is the knots you put in the ends of the rope and not the device that will save you if you let go). I wouldn't count on it with 5 feet left either---pick some much more conservative amount as the end of autolocking protection.

Meanwhile, I think the non-locking behavior when there is almost no load applied to the rope is a handling feature, not a drawback, that makes the Alpine Up better for belaying the leader than devices that will lock up if you pull out the leader's slack too fast. I'm more than willing to embrace better belaying 99.5% of the time for the possibility that the device won't lock in an accident that may well occur less than 0.5% of the time. (That would certainly be true for me, but I don't do a lot of climbing on really bad rock or in nasty alpine rockfall situations.)

Naturally, others will have different tolerances for the risk of an unconscious belayer (vs. the far more risky conscious belayer!) and how much that concern should determine the choice of a belay device.
rgold
From Poughkeepsie, NY
Joined Feb 15, 2008
40 points
Dec 10, 2016
anotherclimber wrote:
I'd also say that I humbly disagree with Jim Tit that the Alpine Up fails to do anything better than other devices. I believe it lowers on top belay better than any other dual rope device. And it can be done gradually and easily without a backup safely (assuming single, half, or twin ropes with only one follower). And this is part of how they advertise the device. Whether that one feature is worth it for someone is for them to figure out. I also think it rappels as good as the Alpine Smart Belay in brake assisted mode.

agreed. It does two thing better than any other device (except maybe the revo when it comes out):
1 It never locks up paying out slack, even at high speeds. It takes a certain amount of weight to pull the biner into the slot where it locks. This weight threshold isn't achievable while paying slack to the leader, even if you're tugging really hard.

2 Rapping in autolock mode is much smoother than the alpine smart because you have better leverage.

I haven't used it in guide mode or dynamic mode yet so I can speak to how it performs in that respect. As far as it not locking unattended, an unconscious belayer is something I try to avoid regardless of what belay device they're using. I'm willing to accept that if shit hits the fan that bad there's a chance I won't make it. I'm sure that when I eventually learn how to use doubles I will love the alpine up even more.
eli poss
From Durango, Co
Joined May 9, 2014
131 points
Dec 11, 2016
I love the alpine up. I have been using mine for almost 5 years mostly with single ropes (mammut 8.9 serenity and edelrid 9.5) and some with double/twin ropes in the 8.2mm range.

My experience bears out the comments from rgold and anotherclimber. It may not 'auto' lock without a hand on the belay line but the hand does not to have a tight hold. Certainly, enough rope weight or kink in the rope will lock it up.

A point I would like to address is the low maximum braking force from Jim Titt's(?) testing. I believe this is somewhat less important than it is being made out to be because once the device locks it is locked and will continue to slow and eventually(quickly) stop the fall even if the belayer lets go (rope burning his hand). I don't believe there is a big need to wear gloves (although a good idea). Actually, this behavior can be considered good by limiting the maximum load on the top piece of gear. An interesting test on the variety of devices would be how far the device takes to stop the fall after initially locking.

As for the unconscious belayer scenario; My regular climbing partner for the last 3+ years has a medical condition which can make it difficult or impossible to belay for a while due to her having seizure like episodes. We settled on the alpine up as the best device for her to use with in case she has a problem. The reasons are that the device can potentially 'auto' lock and if she feel an attack coming she manually lock the device and it will stay locked until she recovers. Rappelling with the device is fairly safe too with the autoblock rappel feature. We feel it is a better device for our purposes than the grigri we started with. We average one incident/year while actually climbing. I find it odd that some people use the auto lock feature unconscious belayer scenario as the criterion for choosing a belay device; perhaps this is reasonable given all other features being nearly identical.

I often guide belay with the device and its large size makes it clunky more likely to be interfered with by the rock rather than hanging free. But it does work well in guide mode maybe a little more difficult to pull rope through than an ATC. I don't think guide worked very well with the 9.5mm rope but it works fine with the 8.9 single and the 8.2 doubles.

One thing I really love about the device that once it is locked it stays locked and must be manually unlocked by the belayer. Unlike the grigri which unlocks when the weight is removed from the lead line. I also really love top belaying with the device always locked. It is easy to pull in the slack and always have the device locked.

I love rappelling with the device. With two ropes (the 8.9s) it does not slide down and there is no need for an autoblock on the brake side. This feature makes it very easy to get the ropes untangled from bushes and crack while descending. The mammut smart slides a little too quickly without a hand on the rope for me to be comfortable doing this. Of course, the ATC must have the brake hand in control at all times. Rappelling with the alpine up tends to twist the rope more than other devices.

My perception of the ATC has changed since they came onto the market decades ago. Today I cringe a little inside when I climb with someone who belays me with an ATC because I know they must be very diligent to get a good belay and sometimes I have my doubts.

My perception of the grigri has also changed since they came to the market too. Now I have a greater appreciation for the auto lock feature. However, I have been belayed with the rope threaded backwards and I am somewhat fearful of the device because of that.

I believe and hope that the days for ATC like devices are numbered. There are much better alternatives available not just the alpine up. I look forward to more belay device improvements.
climber pat
From Las Cruces, NM
Joined Feb 5, 2006
185 points
Dec 11, 2016
Unconscious belayers are not the ONLY reason to use assisted breaking (exhibit A: the story that prompted this thread). There's also climbing with a partner of significant weight difference, high factor falls onto an anchor, and other violent falls where there is a risk that the belayer could lose control of the rope. All of these are situations where you are safer with a competent belayer using a Grigri/etc than a competent belayer with an ATC. The competency argument is somewhat of a red herring. Ted Pinson
From Chicago, IL
Joined Jul 11, 2014
40 points
Dec 11, 2016
I was responding to anotherclimber, who said that failure to lock untended was a deal-breaker. As I've indicated, I don't care about this particular feature.

According to Jim's tests, in very high impact scenarios, you might be better off with an ATC-XP, so advocating assisted-locking devices for extreme circumstances is questionable.
rgold
From Poughkeepsie, NY
Joined Feb 15, 2008
40 points
Dec 11, 2016
I haven't seen Jim's data (link?), but it seems to be based on the notion that the auto lock is "overwhelmed" and that the belayer is attempting to hold 100% of the load. In this situation, obviously autolockers would be subpar, as they are not designed for this, and it's common knowledge that trying to catch someone on a Grigri without the cam engaged is next to impossible. However, I have not heard of Grigris failing in FF1-2 scenarios but I have seen tests of belayers attempting to catch FF1-2 falls on an ATC and the general consensus was: most people can't do it. Ted Pinson
From Chicago, IL
Joined Jul 11, 2014
40 points
Dec 11, 2016
rgold wrote:
I was responding to anotherclimber, who said that failure to lock untended was a deal-breaker. As I've indicated, I don't care about this particular feature. According to Jim's tests, in very high impact scenarios, you might be better off with an ATC-XP, so advocating assisted-locking devices for extreme circumstances is questionable.

Rgold, "very high impact scenarios", high fall factors, or something else? And, an ATC-XP is preferable because the belayer wouldn't be able to completely stop the fall, and, the anchor wouldn't get ripped out?

Sorry, this is sorta putting words in your mouth, but it's what I'm remembering from those other great old threads, on messes we'd rather not be in!

Thanks! Helen
Old lady H
From Boise, Idaho
Joined Aug 24, 2015
30 points
Dec 11, 2016
A point I would like to address is the low maximum braking force from Jim Titt's(?)

The AlpineUp (and ClickUp) were deliberately excluded from both those tests and the comments as they (as I have repeatedly stated) give the highest braking power of any of this kind of device. The downside is the belayer has no control over this foce.
Jim Titt
From Germany
Joined Nov 10, 2009
0 points
Dec 11, 2016
Ted Pinson wrote:
I haven't seen Jim's data (link?), but it seems to be based on the notion that the auto lock is "overwhelmed" and that the belayer is attempting to hold 100% of the load. In this situation, obviously autolockers would be subpar, as they are not designed for this, and it's common knowledge that trying to catch someone on a Grigri without the cam engaged is next to impossible. However, I have not heard of Grigris failing in FF1-2 scenarios but I have seen tests of belayers attempting to catch FF1-2 falls on an ATC and the general consensus was: most people can't do it.


The braking effect from "auto locking" is a finite and fairly limited amount, often in fact less than body weight. After that you are using a piss-poor belay device to do the rest of the stopping. The AlpineUp/ClickUp are excluded from these remarks. There is an extensive thread on the subject on MP.
Jim Titt
From Germany
Joined Nov 10, 2009
0 points
Dec 11, 2016
Where? How did I miss this one? Lol. Ted Pinson
From Chicago, IL
Joined Jul 11, 2014
40 points
Dec 11, 2016
How indeed! mountainproject.com/v/edelrid-... It is an epic and will take a strong tolerance for noise, but the graphs and arguments are all there if you have the patience to extract them. rgold
From Poughkeepsie, NY
Joined Feb 15, 2008
40 points
Dec 11, 2016
Jim Titt wrote:
A point I would like to address is the low maximum braking force from Jim Titt's(?) The AlpineUp (and ClickUp) were deliberately excluded from both those tests and the comments as they (as I have repeatedly stated) give the highest braking power of any of this kind of device. The downside is the belayer has no control over this foce.



Jim, thanks for the correction; sorry I got it wrong.
climber pat
From Las Cruces, NM
Joined Feb 5, 2006
185 points
Dec 11, 2016
Ted Pinson wrote:
Where? How did I miss this one? Lol.


Enjoy!
Jim Titt
From Germany
Joined Nov 10, 2009
0 points
Dec 11, 2016
Old lady H wrote:
Rgold, "very high impact scenarios", high fall factors, or something else?

High fall factors yes, but also big falls, because once the rope starts slipping, how much slippage depends on the height of the fall.

Old lady H wrote:
And, an ATC-XP is preferable because the belayer wouldn't be able to completely stop the fall, and, the anchor wouldn't get ripped out?

No, because although the assisted-braking devices are less likely to slip under low loads than an ATC-XP, Jim's test indicate that they are more likely to slip under high loads. This is because, unlike the ATC, the assisted braking devices don't scale up braking force with hand pressure, but rather tend to level off regardless of hand pressure. (Note: these observations are about the assisted-braking devices that rely on a travelling carabiner travel to pinch the rope, not devices with cams like the Grigri, Cinch, etc.)

The reasons for this may be a combination of two factors. One is that the geometry of the device is not by itself ideal for braking, because the carabiner is too close to the top of the device. The second is that rather than relying on geometry, the devices rely on pinching the rope, and as the rope is loaded, it stretches and decreases in cross-sectional area, thereby diminishing the effectiveness of pinching. (Warning: these are guesses on my part. The reason I included them is to illustrate that there are engineering reasons that would account for good low-load performance combined with poor high-load performance.)

Most people are perfectly happy with a device whose superior performance is in the low range of belay loads, because they never experience anything else. And frankly, I'm not trying to make an argument one way or the other. My response had to do with Ted's idea that the assisted braking devices would be a good thing to have in extreme situations.
rgold
From Poughkeepsie, NY
Joined Feb 15, 2008
40 points
Dec 11, 2016
Thanks! OLH Old lady H
From Boise, Idaho
Joined Aug 24, 2015
30 points


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