/ Edelrid Mega Jul - anyone used it yet?

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BenPitt - on 14 May 2013
Am toying with the idea of buying some more unnecessary shiny stuff and wondered if anyone had experience with this new belay device? Looks quite good, if a bit pricey. Anyone with first hand experience of it?

Cheers.
LiamJC - on 14 May 2013
In reply to BenPitt:
I'v been using one for about a month now. Great bit of kit, the assisted braking works really well. Lead belaying takes a little getting used to but once you're used to it its pretty instinctual. Only problem is that being made from steel and the body material is quite think it scrapes the aluminium carabiners, hasn't damaged it yet but has removed the coating.
BnB - on 14 May 2013
In reply to LiamJC: I've had one for a week. As the previous poster said, it takes a little getting used to, although if you get the ends mixed up it still functions like a backwards tuber - ask me how I know?

Best application would seem to be as hands free locking abseil device.
Gavin - on 14 May 2013
In reply to BnB:

I have been using one for about a month now. It is a good bit of kit and I like it for day to day belaying.

Things I have found:

It needs to be paired with the right karabiner which has to be quite broad/flat across the top edge - I played with several in the shop before deciding.

While the locking does provide abseil security I wouldn't trust it on it's own and still take a couple of turns round my leg as another backup if I am stopping.

As previously noted, it does scratch the anodised coatings off krabs, so be aware of this.

It is very grabby when using it to abseil in the 'locking' mode and only using the thumb loop to release it (i.e. not using an extra lever karabiner).

I have found lowering people is smoothest when directly below them and lifting the thumbloop upwards (as opposed to trying to rotate it round). This will hopefully make sense once you start using one.

The hole that can be used to add a 'lever' karabiner to relase it from guide mode or when abseiling is small. A lot of my krabs would only get the nose into it and would not close. Again with a bit of playing in the gear shop I found the DMM Phantom was about the best one for this. It would go through the hole and close, but wasn't so small that it freely rotated and therefore worked effectivley as a release lever.

I havn't used it properly in guide mode, other than a quick play at the climbing wall, but it felt OK. I may get chance to play with this a bit more this weekend when I am hopefuly out on some bigger multipitch (and compare to my mates' reverso and ATC guide)

Thanks,

Gavin
BenPitt - on 15 May 2013
Thanks all for your responses. Looks like a useful and lightweight bit of kit but could take some getting used to. Might see if I can get my hands on one to borrow for a bit before shelling out. I don't plan to ab much (God willing!) so might not be for me.
rgold - on 15 May 2013
In reply to BenPitt:

Some info here, including at least two incidents in which the wire loop broke: http://www.mountainproject.com/v/edelrid-mega-jul/108052298 .

If you are using half ropes, I think the Climbing Technology Alpine Up is better, but it is also much heavier and more expensive.
BenPitt - on 16 May 2013
In reply to rgold:

Thanks for the link. Makes for some interesting reading (especially during work time!!!).
TRip - on 16 May 2013
In reply to BenPitt:

I brought one last week and have only used it on a couple of routes. I bought it to replace an ATC Guide that had worn out.

I'm not that impressed to be honest. It does a lot more than a normal belay plate. However I don't think it belays particularly well. I found it quite grabby and that I had to concentrate a lot more when paying out quickly.

I also found it difficult to rig for bringing up a second, a apart from in guide mode, which I don't unless the anchors are completely bombproof.

It also concerned me that there is no retaining loop when using the plate in guide mode, which make the chances of dropping a biner much higher.

The thickness of the loop used to attach the plate in guide mode also concerned me. It felt like I could snap it with a little effort (I doubt I could in reality). The loop is also too small and one cannot rotate a screw/gate karabiner fully through it.

In short: An clever lightweight device that offers a variety of functions. However it performs the key task of a belay plate less well than an ordinary plate and therefore I can't recommend it.

I have just purchased a Reverso 4.
latestarter - on 16 May 2013
In reply to BenPitt:
I bought one recently and have used it for one indoor session only, and an hour of practice on my garage wall for abseiling. I agree with the previous comments about 'ok when you get the hang of it' for top rope and lead belaying, and the auto-block works well for belaying and abseiling. However, I am slightly disappointed about several things:
1) The inability to use a 'normal size' biner in the 'lever' hole. The control for lowering is better by this method than using the thumb loop, but I'd probably have to carry a suitable 'hook' to use in the hole, or buy an extra thin biner.
2) My (new) biner that I bought with it (DMM Sentinel KL HMS) now has two palpable grooves in the top surface - the points of contact of the Mega Jul with the biner are too thin and feel quite sharp. This much wear after just a few hours use is not good, and heavier use would presumably eventually make a deep groove and compromise the strength of the krab? I have gone back (as suggested) to an older but thicker biner.
3) At one point the wire loop (which as stated, is quite flexible) distorted enough to become partly trapped on the outer side of the biner, while lowering (maybe I was just incompetent) and this obviously stopped the auto-block working efficiently. A stiffer wire would be better.

Overall I think the basic design is good, but feel that Edelrid got carried away with weight saving (and indeed, it is a much smaller and neater bit of kit than the Mammut Smart Alpine, for double ropes) and thus compromised its strength and its compatibility with 'normal' karabiners. It could be beefed up a bit to stop the surface wear on the biner, enlarge the lever hole, and strengthen the wire - the extra weight would surely be negligible given the average trad gear carried on most climbs?
GridNorth - on 16 May 2013
In reply to latestarter: I use a nut extraction tool with my Reverso 3, would that work with this device? It works really well, means that you don't have to carry another item ( a krab with a notch on the gate) or faff around with a sling just for lowering and provides some extra leverage.
SCC - on 16 May 2013
In reply to TRip:

You interested in selling it Tom?

Cheers,

Si
BnB - on 16 May 2013
In reply to SCC: Isn't it a bit too early for any of us to pronounce absolutely. I'm going to persevere for a few outings to see if I can dial in to its strengths.
TRip - on 16 May 2013
In reply to SCC: you've got mail Si...

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