Descenders and belay devices: overview of various types on example of Climbing Technology

Belay / rappeling devices

As a rule, almost all belay devices can be used in two ways: for rappelling and for belaying a partner. Their shapes and designs differ in functionality and purpose. It is impossible to definitely say which type of device is better and there is no universal form that is equally suitable for all types of mountain disciplines. The choice of belay device depends on what type of climbing / mountaineering you plan to do.

The product line from the Italian brand Climbing Technology has four main types:

1. Tube-shaped devices
2. Multiuse devices (modifications of the tube-shaped with an auto-block)
3. Figure-of-eight devices
4. Self-braking belay devices

1.  Tube-shaped belay devices


Doble by Climbing Technology Doble by Climbing Technology


The tube-shaped devices are very common and are suitable for all types of mountaineering and rock climbing. Easy to use, the rope can be threaded from different directions. Provides good friction, great for rappelling and belaying.

Doble V-row by Climbing Technology Doble V-row by Climbing Technology


A type of tube-shaped device, equipped with V-shaped friction grooves that guarantee better braking performance. The rope must be threaded in accordance with the instructions / drawing on the device itself.

Advantages of tube-shaped devices:

→ Lightweight and compact
→ Works both with single and double rope
→ Designed for rope diameters from 8.9 mm to 10.5 mm
→ Creates a lot of friction
→ Equally functional both on descents and on belays

Disadvantages of tube-shaped devices:

→ Does not interact well with thick and icy ropes
→ The option with friction grooves sometimes (when the rope is thick, the slope is not vertical) gives a jerking effect on the descent.

2. Multiuse devices (modifications of the tube-shaped with an auto-block)

BE UP by Climbing Technology BE UP by Climbing Technology


Multiuse belay/rappeling device with innovative and compact design. Designed for sport mountaineering and rock climbing.

  • The special design and ring on the body allow the device to be used in “guide mode” with both single and double rope. This ensures independent control over each of the ropes;

  • When belaying on multi-pitch routes using two ropes: BE UP allows one rope to be released while the other remains blocked. Be Up is the only device of its kind.

  • Special V-shaped notches are designed to effectively control descent speed. During long descents, the free end of the rope is is not twisting into a spiral.

Multiuse belay device application Multiuse belay device application



→ Light and small sized
→ Suitable for use with double and single ropes with diameters ranging from 7.3mm to 10.5mm.
→ Unlocking the rope is easy
→ Lightweight, extremely functional shape
→ Intuitive and simple design
→ Equally functional both on descents and for belaying


→ While the reinforced ring is an easily identifiable part (preventing errors during use), the rope must be threaded correctly into the device.
→ Interacts poorly with thick and icy ropes.

3. Figure-of-eight belay devices

Otto L figure-eight by Climbing Technology Otto M figure-eight by Climbing Technology Otto S figure-eight by Climbing Technology


The classic figure-of-eight belay and rappel device is designed to work with double, twin and single ropes. Comfortable, simple and durable, made of hot forged alloy. Available in 3 sizes. Ideal for classic and high-altitude mountaineering. There are options with special “horns” that make it easy to block the rope when descending.


Otto Curved by Climbing Technology Otto Curved by Climbing Technology Otto Curved by Climbing Technology

Otto curved

A type of figure-eight belay and descend device. The square shape reduces rope twisting and the curved profile allows for better control of descent speed.

Advantages of "eights":

→ Suitable for use with double and single ropes
→ Easy to use, you can thread the rope from different directions
→ When descending it has a smooth ride (without a jerking effect)
→ You can use ropes of different diameters including thick ones 11-12-13 mm
→ Great for abseiling, rappelling, canyoning, rescue work, high-altitude mountaineering, climbing
→ There are different options for threading the rope into a figure eight to increase friction

Disadvantages of "eights":

→ Can work for both belay and descent, but due to insufficient friction, the use of a figure eight for dynamic belay is not recommended
→ Due to the design features, when belaying it is necessary to ensure the correct position of the carabiner, which connects the device to the main loop on the harness
→ Eights usually twist the rope more on the descent than tube-shaped (however, much depends on the shape of the device, the density of the rope braid, and the skill of the user)

4. Self-braking devices


Click Up by Climbing Technology Click Up by Climbing Technology

CLICK UP is a modern self-braking belay device without additional moving parts. Braking is accomplished by jamming the rope between the belay device and the carabiner. To lock the rope, just clutch your end of the rope in your hand: under load, the rope in the CLICK UP automatically moves into the groove, where it is securely fastened. In order to unlock CLICK UP, you need to press the device with your palm or thumb.

Extremely convenient for use on a climbing wall both for top-rope and lead climbing. Works equally well for belaying and descending.

ALPINE UP by Climbing Technology ALPINE UP by Climbing Technology


New generation belay device. Modified analogue of CLICK UP, with the ability to use with a double rope.

Advantages of self-braking belay devices:

→ Can be used with rope diameter from 8.6 to 10.5 mm
→ Designed to improve braking efficiency in critical situations and provide maximum protection against errors (eliminates subjective factors such as the strength and skill of the belayer)
→ Locking in the event of a fall occurs instantly and very reliably
→ If the rope is not installed correctly in the device (sides upside down), the specific V-shaped friction grooves will still provide an effective belay with safe braking
→ Easy to unlock once locked
→ To descend a rope, it is enough to hold the device with one hand - if you remove your hand, the device will automatically block the descent


Сlimber's library

 Q. Anchoring on rocks with stoppers
 Q. Care and maintenance of climbing gear
 Q. All about carabiners  Q. Day hike checklist
 Q. How to choose climbing harness?  Q. Winter camping: main rules
 Q. Climbing shoes: types, features and use
 Q. Avalanche safety by Alexey Raspopov
 Q. Descenders and belay devices
 Q. Khan Tengri Peak history: first ascent
 Q. How to choose mountain boots  Q. Talgar Peak 5017m climber's checklist