The well-known climber Adrian Berry (www.positiveclimbing.com) had the chance to test the Alpine Up and wrote a review for UK Climbing with the conclusion that it’s the most versatile belay device – descender ever produced.
The review starts when Adrian Berry had to help his friends, the top climbers Pete Robins and Ben Bransby with a problem when belaying. Ben had just fallen most of the length of Ceramic Extensionbecause Pete’s old ATC hadn’t generated enough friction for the skinny ropes they were using. Pete had lost much of the skin from the palm of one of his hands and Adrian had to help him lower Ben to the ground.
In such a situation an auto-locking belaying device for double ropes would have saved a good deal of unpleasantness, says Adrian, but it didn’t exist then…
On another occasion Adrian was coaching a client who was tall and well-built who was complaining about the difficulty of going trad climbing when the belay device struggles to lock off two skinny half ropes. Adrian asked himself what was the best belay device to use in such situations. The client has asked him what he thought of the Alpine Up belay device-descender and Adrian decided to try it out in the Val di Mello – where better to test this Made-in-Italy product?
Here are some of his conclusions on the ALPINE UP:
- Use with single 9 mm rope
“I like auto-locking devices which behave like non-auto-locking devices when it comes to freely paying rope out.I was impressed by the ease with which rope could be paid out quickly without annoying accidental locking. The auto-locking function was fall tested and passed with honours.Lowering off was a simple matter of re-orientating the device, and I quickly got the hang of it.”
- Double Rope Use
“I tried the Alpine Up on the classic link-up of Risveglio di Kundilini and Luna Nascente. The first use I put the device to on double ropes was bringing up my partner. On multi-pitch routes I’ve always been a fan of the ‘guide’ devices which allow you to multi-task safe in the knowledge that the device will lock should your partner take a slip. I didn’t get to test the facility to lower whilst in guide mode by adding a karabiner, but I can see how this would work quite easily, and gives the device a real advantage over the competition.”
- Lead belaying with two half ropes was excellent with the Alpine Up. The ropes feed through easily and if you’re used to a non-locking device there isn’t any difference for most of the time. The auto-locking was tested when my partner popped off a foothold on the third pitch of Luna Nascente. It reacted faster than I would have – the first I was aware that she was off was hearing the Alpine Up “clicked” into the locked position. I had been curious as to how the device would handle the situation where just one rope was loaded – this was exactly the situation, and it locked just fine.
“The advantage of an auto-locking device here is that you don’t need to back it up with a prussic. Neat.”
• The larger size compared to a traditional device isn’t a problem and you forget the device is there when it’s clipped onto the back of your harness.
• Its weight is comparable with that of other auto-locking devices.
“With all belay devices, there is a period of learning. The instructions are detailed and the symbols on the side of the device are intuitive. The Alpine Up comes into its own on multi-pitch routes where it takes the place of carrying two devices(one for belaying and the other for abseiling).
A device such as the Alpine Up, auto-locking for double ropes,is ideal for someone who climbs with an inexperienced partner, or a partner who might struggle to hold a fall. I agree with Climbing Technology that this device really does do it all.”