I am regularly using the Click-Up belay device from Climbing Technologies together with a 40-meters rope from Edelrid I bought recently.

Now, after using the two only about 10 times together (always indoors) I noticed that there is abnormally strong wear on the rope but only on the second half, i.e. the part of the rope that is needed when lowering the climber.

Therefore, I am wondering if anybody else has observed something like this? Or whether it might be related to edges highlighted in the picture below? enter image description here

The edges don't seem to be extremely sharp but the only thing I can imagine that could cause this problem, in particular because when lowering the other climber and pushing the rope over to the left (so that it's running over the dark gray plastic part), I see pilling (from the rope) is collecting there.

Some additional information:

  • The rope is 9.8 mm in diameter (it's the Edelrid Freedom), so within the recommended range given by the manufacturer (8.6 - 10.5 mm).
  • There is some wear on the caribiner but it doesn't really have sharp edges.
  • My (very subjective) definition of "abnormally strong wear" is based on other people being surprised by the wear of my rope in comparison to theirs (made by different manufacturers and used with different belay devices), and on my feeling that after 10 times (some 30-40 hours) a rope shouldn't look like one long toothbrush...
  • We both are rather lightweight (~ 65 kg).

Here's some photos to illustrate what I mean:

  1. Part of the rope that shows strong wear Strong wear of rope (10x used)
  2. The first meters still look good as new (this is the same rope although the color seems different in the photos...) First meters still look as new
  3. The carabiner (which belongs to the Click-up and is a few years older than the rope) has some dents which could be related... Carabiner
  4. And finally, this is what is looks like after lowering somebody. enter image description here
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    Work your way round all the rope contact points and check none of them are rough or sharp. – Separatrix Oct 16 '17 at 9:01
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    I can only say that this device is the default device of one (sizable) climbing gym in my region. They are "certified" (no idea what exactly that means, but they are part of the national organisation for climbing gyms which has a good reputation). That means their belay devices are in use with their ropes in their gym during their courses - from both an economical and safety standpoint it would be stupid to keep using it if it caused disproportionate amounts of wear. – imsodin Oct 16 '17 at 10:31
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    Hi fuenfundachtzig, and welcome to TGO. When you say you notice abnormally strong wear on the rope, are you comparing it to another belay device you're familiar with? – Roflo Oct 16 '17 at 16:22
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    You mentioned the comparison you have are different ropes: Does anyone use the same rope so you can compare with them? Otherwise I would strongly advice to show the rope to your seller, it is not unthinkable that this model is simply unsuited (whether by design or just quality wise) for indoor use. – imsodin Oct 16 '17 at 20:49
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    Holy crab, those pictures put a different spin on this! Swap that biner ASAP. I would usually say that round dents aren't an issue, but when you see wear like this I wouldn't take the chance - a rope is so much more expensive than a biner. Then show this to the seller of the clickup. Not that there is any chance of this being on guarantee, but if he is competent and this is really due to the biner, he will recognise the problem immediately. – imsodin Oct 22 '17 at 15:00

Any belay device will cause wear and tear on the rope since they work by applying friction to the rope.

There is a lot more friction when lowering a person than when belaying them so wear on that part of the rope is to be expected.

It’s pretty normal for the sheath to look fuzzy or have some tears in it, but if any tears expose the core, it’s time to put it out to pasture.


Its not uncommon for a rope to have pilling or to not look as nice after a lot of belaying. I have seen pilling pile up when lowering with a Gri Gri so it doesn't surprise me.

In summary this type of wear and tear is normal and probably not related to your specific device.

However, it would still probably be a good idea to ask an expert who can physically examine the rope and belay device. They should also be able to teach you how to check your gear.

If you wanted gear that will last longer, try a static as opposed to a dynamic rope and steel instead of aluminium caribiners and belay devices.

The only way of avoiding this type of wear and tear is to stop climbing :)

  • Totally agree and the following is mostly a reaction to the downvote than much new information: Regular use in the gym is one of the harshest "normal" things to do to a rope sheath. It is not only the belay device, also simple redirection at the top and contact to the walls contributes. Our training ropes (used up to 4 times a week) feel pretty used after only a month. If you know what is done with a rope, you can pretty easily determine whether it is still safe by inspection - but "learning" that should still be done "live" with someone experienced as Charlie wrote. – imsodin Oct 16 '17 at 10:38
  • Maybe you should state the implicit conclusion (as to my reasoning, maybe I'm wrong) that rope wear is normal and probably not related to the particular device explicitly. As it stands if one is pedantic, you address the more general title question, not the more specific issues explained in the body about edges on this belay device. – imsodin Oct 16 '17 at 10:42
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    @imsodinv Given time, any rope and or belay device will show that kind of wear. Unless the core of the rope is showing or the caribiner is grooved, its still probably good to go. – Charlie Brumbaugh Oct 22 '17 at 20:06
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    Given time yes, but my ropes don't look like that after using them 10 times. The rope is safe indeed, but I assume it's handling has already deteriorated quite a bit. – imsodin Oct 22 '17 at 21:11
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    @imsodin I once saw a similar wear on a brand-new rope and a Reverso (1st model). Someone told me it was common in some new ropes. I trusted him, but still decided to retire the reverso. – Roflo Oct 25 '17 at 18:10

If the wear is indeed in the region which is mostly (only) in contact with the Click-Up, I'd double check the carabiner. Here the device is sold only together with its carabiner, to avoid mismatches which can cause increased wear, and reduce braking friction (so one part of the answer: in special cirumstances: yes it can). Is the carabiner original? Is is really without any edge?

I enjoy the company of a few people while training, who use a diversity of belaying devices (each their favourite, each for considerable time). There is no apparent difference in wear (that is my answer) for tubes (e.g. ATC), Click-Up (which is also considered a tube-like device) or grigri. There is considerable increase in rope twist when belaying with a munter hitch.

There is noticable wear around the region of redirection when top-roping on routes when the redirection point on the rope is around the same region for some time.

All of those people are deliberately using the rope from both ends (to even out the unavoidable wear and twisting).

Apart from wear through belaying and redirection I would also check whether the rope drags regularly over abrasive surfaces on the wall.

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