Both of these two belay devices offer assisted-braking functionality but which one is (at least slightly) better?
1. Weight – 0:1
With its 115g (190g stated by the producer is for the Click-up “kit” = the device + the carabiner) the Click-up is lighter than the Grigri 2 which weighs 185g.
2. Mechanics – 1:1
The Click-up gains a point for its simplicity. There are almost no mechanical parts (except for one spring inside which I believe just prevents unwanted shifting into a locked mode but otherwise doesn’t play any significant role in the operation of the device). There is nothing to go wrong with the device. On the other hand, the carabiner is an integral part of the system. You cannot use any carabiner but an HMS carabiner and its thickness plays a role. Moreover, the device needs to operate freely inside the carabiner so for example the DMM Belay Master’s plastic bit that prevents cross-loading of the carabiner also prevents the use with the Click-up. All in all, there is a reason why Climbing Technology ships the device with its own carabiner.
At the same time this is where Grigri gains a point. You can use it with any carabiner and actually in some emergency situation you can connect the device to a secure point by any other means. However, it is relatively more complex and there are mechanical parts which can theoretically go wrong.
3. Belaying a leader – 0:1
The trick recommended by Petzl to pay off rope quickly to the leader when using Grigri lays in pressing down its cam with your thumb. While this (most probably) doesn’t sacrifice safety if done properly, it is somewhat unintuitive because you naturally want to avoid having your fingers on/near moving parts like a cam (even though there is no risk your finger/thumb can get squeezed by Grigri) and it makes belaying slightly awkward. The Click-up gains a point in this one as its operation doesn’t differ from tubular belay devices - paying off the rope is easy.
4. Top-roping – 1:0
I’m adding this point because if we remove the need for paying off rope quickly, it might alter the score of the previous point. And in my opinion it does.
Both devices must be operated with your hand on the dead end of the rope as neither of them is a hands free solution to belaying. However, to lock the Click-up needs to go from one mode to the other. While it happens automatically once the climber falls it can theoretically not get into the locked mode if you don’t hold the dead end of the rope. The Grigri 2 can fail as well but it’s in my opinion less likely to happen. Also the Click-up requires somewhat more strength to release and lower the climber.
5. Belaying a second off an anchor – 1:0
The Grigri and the Click-up in the locked mode operate similar but it’s easier to pull the rope through the Grigri. However, the main Grigri’s advantage lays in its mechanics. Its cam is hidden inside the device and needs to move freely only on one side of the device. The whole Click-up on the other hand needs to tilt freely and a restriction on any side can prevent it from locking-up properly.
The only downside of Grigri is that with lots of rope going to the second before he starts climbing, the weight of the rope (plus possibly some extra force like wind) can pull the rope through the device as its cam wouldn’t get engaged under such a low and slow load. It’s more of an annoyance than a safety concern.
6. Abseiling – 1:1
Both devices work well for abseiling on a single rope. The operation is the same as lowering a climber.
SCORE Grigri 2 vs Click-up: 4:4
So… a draw. If you wanted an advice which one to buy, you are now probably disappointed by this article. I like both of these devices and think that whichever you buy, it will work for you just fine.