/ PRODUCT NEWS: A New Concept in Belay Devices from Edelrid

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EDELRID Mega Jul, 3 kbThis month sees the UK launch of a new generation of belay devices from German climbing specialists Edelrid. The two new devices – Mega Jul (RRP: Ģ30) and Micro Jul (RRP: Ģ25) are compact, ultra-light, and versatile, built using stainless steel for increased durability.

Read more at http://www.ukclimbing.com/gear/news.php?id=5319
Craig Geddes - on 21 Mar 2013
In reply to UKC Gear: Seems to be a combination of a variety of the best features of other none-mechanical self lockers. Anyone got their hands on one to play with as yet?
ericinbristol - on 21 Mar 2013
In reply to UKC Gear:

Looks really good.

We had a play with one when they came in, and we were really impressed. Paying out to a leader takes a bit of getting used to, but that's the case with any auto-blocker really. It catches really well with a Grigri-like grip when the climber falls, and you can keep both hands on the dead rope while lowering. The best thing about it for us is just how lightweight and simple it is.

The one semi-criticism we had is that it doesn't lock half as well if your karabiner inverts, but it does still bite more than a normal device. Trying stop this happening by using a DMM Belay Master doesn't really work because the extra size of the holding loop pushes the plastic gate open, but a BD Gridlock worked a treat.

Joby
SCC - on 21 Mar 2013
In reply to UKC Gear:

Anyone know of anywhere that currently has these in stock?

Cheers,

Si
AlH - on 21 Mar 2013
In reply to SCC: Currently I don't know but as it says in the article boulders will have them at beginning of April http://bouldersuk.com/edelrid-mega-jul?utm_source=Paid%2BReferral&utm_medium=UKClimbing&utm_...
In reply to UKC Gear:

Yeah sorry, they went out as quick as they came in and now we can't get hold of any for about ten days!
SCC - on 21 Mar 2013
In reply to AlH:

Cheers, I'd seen that on their website.

Si
Alexandre Buisse - on 21 Mar 2013
In reply to Craig Geddes:

I've been using one for the past few months, mostly alpine in Patagonia and Chamonix, some ice and a bit of indoor sport climbing. I love it, very complete device, light, works just as well as a regular ATC but with the auto-blocking feature which is super nice when belaying someone working a route.

The only down side I have seen is that it blocks one hand for lowering (to pull the green thumb tab up), so can be a bit awkward/tiring when the ropes are tangled below the device.

Also, there is a small learning curve as many orientations changed compared to an ATC, so do read the manual and practice in the gym first.
Calder - on 21 Mar 2013
In reply to Alexandre Buisse:

I really like the look of this. I'd been considering a Click Up or Alpine Up, but this is much cheaper, and a damn sight lighter.

I've a question though, from the looks of it you put your thumb on the release mechanism when paying out rope. If you're doing this when your leader falls off, or if you get lazy and leave your thumb sitting on the release 'button', can your thumb stop the device locking or is there enough force to push your thumb towards the krab?

To clarify, I guess what I'm asking is can your thumb stop the device assisting the brake, and if so is there still enough stopping power from your hand locking off the dead rope?

Cheers.
JD84 - on 21 Mar 2013
In reply to UKC Gear: hmmm, wonder how well it pays out with 10 or 10.5mm ropes.
Alexandre Buisse - on 21 Mar 2013
In reply to Calder:

I don't actually use my thumb while paying out rope, as it takes a very strong and sudden pull on the rope to get the device to block. If you're gentle paying out, even when the leader pulls rope to make a clip, it will be fine.

But even if you do use your thumb, I am not concerned at all about the device staying "unlocked". Unlike with a grigri handle, there is no mechanical advantage, so the whole weight of the climber falling will pull down on the device, and your thumb won't be able to hold it. And anyway, you're not supposed to let go of the dead rope with your other hand, and even if your thumb somehow manages not to engage the auto-blocking, it will still behave like an ATC.
Calder - on 21 Mar 2013
In reply to Alexandre Buisse:
> (In reply to Calder)
>
> ...
>
> ... And anyway, you're not supposed to let go of the dead rope with your other hand...

I know this. But thanks, sounds like a good device. So much so I've placed an order.
martinph78 on 21 Mar 2013
In reply to UKC Gear: Hardly seems revolutionary does it? I can't see what the excitement is about. Must be the colour ;)
Nath93 - on 21 Mar 2013
In reply to UKC Gear: I'm assuming it works fine for bringing up a second while not using guide mode as well ? Sorry if that's a stupid question but the video didn't show them doing this ?
valjean - on 21 Mar 2013
In reply to UKC Gear:

cant wait. ive had a mega jul preordered for weeks now.
all the advantages of other devices but with the one drawback of paying out being a bit different (ive had some practice with my mammut smart though)

a bit of learning will have to happen in setting it up in guide mode since it looks a bit different in orientation compared to an atc guide/reverso

i was just about to get an alpine smart, then i saw this.... no brainer for me to get this one.


Calder - on 21 Mar 2013
In reply to Martin1978:
> (In reply to UKC Gear) Hardly seems revolutionary does it? I can't see what the excitement is about. Must be the colour ;)

I see it as evolutionary rather than revolutionary.
martinph78 on 22 Mar 2013
"I see it as evolutionary rather than revolutionary."

"...all the advantages of other devices but with the one drawback"

It's hardly a "new concept in belay devices" though is it? Misleading title/sales pitch in my opinion. I was expecting to see something a bit more exciting/different than a reverso with a thumb plate...


SCC - on 22 Mar 2013
In reply to Martin1978:
> "I see it as evolutionary rather than revolutionary."
>
> "...all the advantages of other devices but with the one drawback"
>
> It's hardly a "new concept in belay devices" though is it? Misleading title/sales pitch in my opinion. I was expecting to see something a bit more exciting/different than a reverso with a thumb plate...

I wasn't aware the Reverso locked off like this?

Oh, it doesn't.

So *quite* different to a reverso with a thumb plate then...

Si
Calder - on 22 Mar 2013
In reply to Martin1978:
> .......
>
> It's hardly a "new concept in belay devices" though is it? Misleading title/sales pitch in my opinion. I was expecting to see something a bit more exciting/different than a reverso with a thumb plate...

I disagree. Just because it uses ideas found in other devices doesn't deprive it from being a new concept. Have you done any product design?

Look at all those concept cars you see at automotive shows - many have 4 wheels and an engine, yet are still new concepts.
ads.ukclimbing.com
martinph78 on 22 Mar 2013
In reply to UKC Gear: Guess I'm just not seeing anything that special about it, and must be missing something if it locks off any differently to a reverso/guide? That's ok, I'm not the target market anyway.
In reply to Martin1978:

It locks off while belaying a leader, a bit like an SRC or Mammut Smart. But you're right, the guide mode is just like a Reverso.

Joby
martinph78 on 22 Mar 2013
In reply to Boulders@Cardiff: Cheers Joby.
jimtitt - on 22 Mar 2013
In reply to Calder:
> (In reply to Martin1978)
> [...]
>
> I disagree. Just because it uses ideas found in other devices doesn't deprive it from being a new concept. Have you done any product design?
>
> Look at all those concept cars you see at automotive shows - many have 4 wheels and an engine, yet are still new concepts.

Itīs certainly stretching "new concept" a bit far though as regards belay devices. The Sticht plate, Salewa Antz, GriGri, Tre Sirius and Faders Sum/Trango Cinch were all new ideas of how to increase the braking force. Combining the braking assist of angling the bottom of the plate with a guide mode was done years ago by Trango in the B52, having a lowering lever on a device with braking assist was done by Wild Country and so on, making a release hole for guide mode was done by Petzl.
Edelrid have merely combined a load of (more or less desirable features in one device so evolutionary rather than revolutionary. The danger of course in this approach is that it may do loads of things but none particularly well, whether it still feeds as well as an ATC with a grotty old rope or locks as well as a Grigri is certainly doubtful to put it mildly.
rgold - on 23 Mar 2013
In reply to jimtitt:

I agree with Jim. There's nothing new, much less revolutionary, about the features of the Jul, especially in view of the Mammut Smart, which works exactly the same way. By and large, previous efforts failed to catch on, if I may be allowed to use that phrase, because of poor handling. If the Jul has solved the handling issue, then it would represent a useful evolution of the original concepts.

Given that the Jul is Mammut Smart-like in its operation, I have my doubts about it for half-rope belaying, but only actual experience with the device will tell about that.
AlanLittle - on 23 Mar 2013
In reply to rgold:
>
> By and large, previous efforts failed to catch on

They may be about to catch on more, at least in continental Europe, if a rumour I read a couple of days ago on one of the German forums is true.

The first part is not rumour but sourced from the current issue of DAV Panorama (which Jim will also doubtless have seen): the rate of dangerous belaying errors observed in a study in German climbing walls is around 4x higher for ATCs than for assisted braking devices.

The rumour part: the DAV is therefore considering switching to the Smart / Click Up as the "standard" device taught in beginners' courses.


jimtitt - on 23 Mar 2013
In reply to AlanLittle:
We shall see! The article/study has a few problems in that it is observational and the criteria they define as dangerous not nescessarily the ones the rest of the world uses. Itīs worth noting that the `errorī which condemns the HMS is exactly the method taught by the DAV for over 30 years, a credit to their teaching abilities perhaps. And the most common failure with the GriGri was the manufacturers recommendation for many years.
The failures which condemn the ATC style devices is "holding the brake hand too near the device" and "holding the brake hand high too long" which is about as vague as it gets. And Iīm probably as guilty as everyone for not holding the brake rope cleanly, itīs in my hand not held with a death grip all the time. In a typical climbing wall its also almost inevitable that the belayer is encouraged to hold the rope to make rapid paying out easy since the leader is clipping every couple of moves, that holding the hand too high is actually dangerous is very debatable and they authors (nor anyone else) have offered proof that a trained belayer cannot drop their hand fast enough to arrest a fall.
Personally I doubt the DAV will change from teaching the correct use of the most common and versatile device though they might want to review their training system. Logically either all the people belaying badly with ATCīs were trained by the DAV and their teaching methods failed or none of them were trained by the DAV in which case changing to another device in their courses wonīt make any difference.
rgold - on 23 Mar 2013
In reply to jimtitt:

Wait---which system is the DAV now finding error-prone? If you are using a Munter hitch, the high hand is not a problem; that's the locked position for a Munter. If the high hand is a problem, then they must be talking about ATC-style belay devices.

I've noticed suboptimal hand positions in the gym and wondered about them too. The high hand results from a "pinch and slide" technique in which the non-belaying hand remains high on the active rope, forcing the belaying hand to be brought up to it so the rope can be pinched in the non-brake hand and the brake hand slid back down. I thought most people had given up that method (which does make sense for hip belays and the Munter but is awkward for the palm-down brake hand position) long ago, but I still see it in the gym sometimes. It does adds a potentially vulnerable moment to the belay process and could explain how ATC belayers have sometimes lost control of a top-rope fall.

If you belay this way with a Smart or Click-up, I don't think the locking action will activate until the high brake hand is dropped---in this regard the new devices may be no different than ATC's. If this is true, then as with an ATC, the rope could already be running when braking is attempted and I don't know how the new devices function at that point. It is at least possible that neither assisted locking device provides a good solution to the high brake hand, in which case the DAV won't be solving any problems by switching to them. Knowing the DAV, no doubt tests are already underway...
AlanLittle - on 23 Mar 2013
In reply to rgold:
> (In reply to jimtitt)
>
> Wait---which system is the DAV now finding error-prone?

ATC, standard method with the brake hand (supposed to be) held low. This is what they have been teaching in their beginners' courses for some time now, ever since they switched from teaching the munter hitch.

Even if it isn't what you've been taught, it's all too easy to drift into keeping the brake hand too high for too long if you're anticipating giving rope out quickly for a clip - somebody picked me up on this at the wall a while back, for which I was duly grateful. Jim thinks an alert belayer could probably, mostly, get the brake hand down fast enough for it not to matter and he's probably, mostly right. But you only have to fluff it once. And the wall is full of obstacles to attentive belaying.
jimtitt - on 23 Mar 2013
In reply to AlanLittle:
Well and the pinch and slide for HMS is also apparently not approved of even though thatīs how it was always taught until it wasnīt taught that way any more!
There are a number of problems with the report, what consists of "too high" or "too near" for example. There isnīt any information available even for us who have worked as DAV instructors so by whoīs criteria are these factors potentially a problem? That nearly everybody using an ATC actully holds the braking rope somewhere halfway between paying out and full braking is obvious and clearly causes no real problems but may not be what a climbing instructor wants to see from his pupils since his book will show it rigidly clamped in the full braking position when not actively paying out.

Another factor which raises ones eyebrows a bit is that the increased percieved danger of the various methods/devices is at direct odds with the statistical accident rate using these devices in previous studies done by the DAV which makes one question the accuracy of percieved risk. Or to put it more bluntly; what a student doing a practical year at the DAV thinks is "dangerous" belaying behaviour may well be a product of his years of following the party line and teaching punters at his local wall and may not reflect the real cause of belaying accidents. While probably no better or no worse than other countries the DAV instructors are definately neither all-knowing experts nor in some cases intellectually ever likely to be.
The entertaining schism between the DAV and the OÄV over the HMS is remembered fondly by many, while the two bodies cooperate on safety research and training they were still teaching different methods and both convinced they were right, the rest of the world of course just ignored them and bought an ATC.

The most noticeable feature of the results however is something completely different. The number of perceived failures increases with the time the device has been on the market or in common use AND the time the DAV have been instructing its use. The HMS has been taught for about 40 years and is appalling and the Click-Up not yet taught and interestingly is the safest by far. The ATC and GriGri fall perfectly into this observable pattern which one could well use as justification for rubbishing the DAVīs teaching. Itīs a hard life out there!
Very interesting device indeed. However, I personally don't like devices where you have to fiddle too much for giving slack to the climber. Feeding the rope into the device, like you do with any tube, should be enough imho.
SteveSBlake - on 29 Mar 2013
In reply to UKC Gear:

All very interesting stuff up above.

Surely the prime driver for the production and design of the device is the new super skinny rope?

Designing in other features, to make it appealing to other users is presumably a marketing imperative.

Functionality aside it looks gipping and will not be joining my 40 year old collection of belay devices!
coldwill - on 03 Apr 2013
In reply to SteveSBlake: two devices, one smaller than the other. Looking at the Mega Jul there isn't much metal involved already. Anyone know any data on how hot these can get when abing and what the heat transpher rate of steel is against aluminum?
coldwill - on 07 Apr 2013
In reply to coldwill: haven't absailed yet bet this has to be the stiffest devise out for bringing up a second in auto lock mode. Very tiring after a full day.
AlanLittle - on 07 Apr 2013
In reply to jimtitt:
> The most noticeable feature of the results however is something completely different. The number of perceived failures increases with the time the device has been on the market or in common use AND the time the DAV have been instructing its use. The HMS has been taught for about 40 years and is appalling and the Click-Up not yet taught and interestingly is the safest by far. The ATC and GriGri fall perfectly into this observable pattern which one could well use as justification for rubbishing the DAVīs teaching.

Bit late responding on this but, being slightly less tongue in cheek: could his be evidence of a piece of technology that is actually (shock, horror) *improving* over time?

The GriGri, for example, introduced a certain level of failsafe operation but at the expense of being large, heavy and different / unintuitive to operate compared to other devices in common use. Now we have devices that are smaller, lighter, and more intuitive/"normal" to use, but with a similar level of failsafe operation. Win.
valjean - on 07 Apr 2013
In reply to UKC Gear:

mine just arrived. yet to use it in anger
climbing partner just got the alpine smart

will give both a good test next weekend and share my impressions of both

initial impression just trying it out at home, the transition from bringing up the second and letting him lead through is not ideal (both the smart and mega jul) compared to and ATC Guide or Reverso

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