GCR looks at the new single rope belay device from Edelrid
Innovative belay device with high braking performance for single ropes. The optimized Mega Jul geometry ensures easy and secure belaying even with thicker ropes.
In 2013 I tested the Edelrid Mega Jul belay device, my conclusion was that it was a great performing device with a little bit of practice. Since then I’ve plenty of them at the crag so it was great to get hold of the new Jul² which has been designed for single rope use.
Firstly the Jul² is still well engineered in stainless steel and it is much easier to use than the Jul (which took a little practice to use). It is really a much evolved version of the original Jul and much nicer to use.
In use I found the Jul² really easy to use, it offered plenty of assisted braking when mates were working routes. It must be noted though that the Jul² is not a hand free device (I always teach my clients that no belay device is hands free) and I did notice on a recent Dry Tooling day out with my 8.9mm alpine rope there was a little slippage through the device. Also it works best with a HMS screwgate carabiner. Since then, Edelrid stated that the Jul² is engineered to worked with the Bruce Steel FG screwgate as the steel to steel minimises wear and I’ve used it several times with the Bruce FG since. When I have used it I have noticed an improved performance, I have also used it with the HMS Strike Slider for a lighter weight option (as the steel was quite heavy, which is not an issue with sport climbing or cragging but I wouldn’t pack it for a mountain day, although it is lighter than a screwgate GriGri set up).
It was easy to pay out and when in the lock mode I could relax my hands a little. With a little practice it was smooth for lowing off as all you had to do put your thumb through the plastic thumb loop and push/lift it upwards. As soon as you let that go it locked up again, it really was that simple. It was very easy to control the descent with my thumb. I have used plenty of passive assisted braking devices in my time and the Jul² is by far the easiest and at £25.00 is very affordable.
It is very well made and robust and consequently a little heavy, but my thinking is that it’s sport climbers that will find this most useful when weight isn’t so much of an issue. Even so at 102g (compared to 173g for a GriGri2) it won’t weigh you down for that hike up to Ceuse. The stated weight however is 105g so it’s always nice to see the weight lighter than the stated one.
I don’t think you would use the Jul² for abseiling/rapping unless you were using a tagline, in which case it will probably work as well as any other belay device (that is it won’t stop the ropes getting hopelessly twisted!).
All in all the Edelrid Jul² is a nice new addition to the assisted braking devices out there and it is well priced to so I expect to see plenty of them at the crag and the climbing wall/gym.
SRP: £25.00 for the Jul² and £45.00 for the belay set which comes with the HMS Bruce FG screwgate.
Dave Sarkar has tested and reviewed climbing, mountaineering and outdoor equipment for almost 10 years. He works as a qualified MIA: working full time as a mountaineering instructor and expedition leader for his company Wild Spaces. When he isn’t working in the mountains he’s playing in the mountains and enjoys all aspects climbing and mountain sports whether bouldering at his local crag or ice climbing; as long as he’s going upwards he’s happy!