REVIEW: Edelrid Jul 2 Belay Device

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 UKC Gear 03 Nov 2016
Using the thumb to lift the device while feeding out rope, 4 kbAssisted braking belay devices help catch a leader fall by doing some of the braking work for you. With no moving parts, the Jul 2 is simpler and more user friendly than most, says John McKenna.

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 Rick Graham 03 Nov 2016
In reply to UKC Gear:
The lock down photo appears to me to be in need of some rotation.

It makes the device look threaded in the wrong direction.
Post edited at 09:35
In reply to Rick Graham:

Your right actually, it did look like the device was back to front. I've rotated the photo so it look's correct now. Thanks for pointing that out.
 Gavin 03 Nov 2016
In reply to Rick Graham:
Also, from my experience of owning one, and I like it btw for general wall use, I found myself abseiling from the top of a single pitch climb a few weeks ago and when used as I would my normal unbraked belay device e.g. extended off my belay loop with a sling it was hard work to descend as my arm needed to be continually raised so my thumb could unlock the device. It was much easier when the device was connected directly to my belay loop.
Post edited at 10:04
 snoop6060 03 Nov 2016
In reply to UKC Gear:
The best thing about these is watching people lose the plot trying to use them. And it just gets even better when they decide they might try abbing with it. Cue a tirade of swearing followed by complete defeat.... 'I think i'll just sell it'.

I'm sure you get used to them .
Post edited at 11:49
 Greasy Prusiks 03 Nov 2016
In reply to UKC Gear:

A soft catch sounds like a big improvement! I have a mega Jul and a lead fall on that is a pretty violent experience compared to a tube.
 Marco Plebani 03 Nov 2016
In reply to UKC Gear: it looks like a lighter version of the Mammut Smart. It'd be interesting to read about a comparison between the two.
 jimtitt 03 Nov 2016
In reply to Marco Plebani:

It´ s heavier.
 peachos 04 Nov 2016
In reply to snoop6060:

First time I did an ab with my MegaJul was off the Index in Cham this summer. That was an experience...
 coolbert 04 Nov 2016
In reply to UKC Gear:
I have one, I've used it plenty. I like the concept, the build the finish. I like edelrid in general and i use a mega jul for any multipitch trad i do. I know there is a sweet spot etc etc.

Therefore, i say this with kindness:

The lowering is so bad (inconsistent) that it is not an option for indoor climbing. Boom.
Post edited at 11:22
 rgold 05 Nov 2016
In reply to coolbert:

If lowering inconsistencies render it inappropriate for single-pitch climbing, then it has absolutely no raison d'detre.
 Harald 05 Nov 2016
In reply to UKC Gear:
I've used/tested all assisted braking devices on the market. I prefer the spring operated devices (Grigri/Matik) myself rather then the auto-tuber style devices. Unfortunately the Matik functions only with thin/new ropes. It's a pain in the ass with fat/fluffy ropes. Grigri is kinda tricky to operate for novices. Unfortunately a lot of belayers behave like idiots (letting go of the rope/to much slack) and do not know the common mistakes made with these devices.

Auto-tubers are less prone to black box behaviour (don't know what goes on inside my Grigri, it'll probably lock, so I stop paying attention to the climber...). The Edelrid Jul2 looks like an ordinary tuber. People assume it works the same - I.e. always keep a hand on the brake side and pay attention. The Jul2 is the cheapest, simplest and probably most hard-wearing of the lot. Hard to fault. Never had any trouble lowering the climber. But I do think paying out rope for the leader is easier with the Grigri.

Favorites for single ropes: 1) Grigri; 2) Jul2; 3) Salewa Ergo
Favorites for twin/double ropes: Edelrid Microjul.

WC Revo looks/felt like it'll beat 'm all. Petzl Grigri+ looks/feels to complicated.

 rgold 07 Nov 2016
In reply to Harald:

> Auto-tubers are less prone to black box behaviour

Maybe "less prone" but not immune. The problem with the Juls and the Smarts is that in order to pump slack to the leader, the device has to be levered away from the body, which temporarily disables braking so that slack can be pumped. If the leader falls in this position, the belay might not release the thumb loop/catch in time and then there is almost no friction for stopping the fall. This is, as far as I know, a hypothetical issue for the Juls, but there have been some dropped climbers with the Smarts because of this. When it comes to beginner behavior, I've seen people belaying with these devices and keeping them perpetually unlocked (I guess for maximum ease in paying out the rope in all situations, not just when the leader is clipping).

Since you mention double ropes, these devices are also awkward to use with half ropes when it is appropriate to simultaneously take in one strand and pay out the other. The brake hand is tied up levering the device with the thumb loop, so the other hand has to frantically alternate pulling in one strand and paying out the other.

Since you've used all the assisted braking devices on the market, I'm curious about your reservations about the CT Alpine Up (and/or the Click Up). These take in and pay out slack exactly as a tube-style device, require no special brake-disabling gestures for pumping slack, and simultaneous taking-in and paying-out (with the Alpine Up) are just as easy as with a tube. The device is also better than the Smart and much better than the Juls at multiplying grip strength under high loads (according to tests by Jim Titt). The Alpine Up is bulky and heavy (on the order of a Grigri) compared to a Jul---is that why you don't mention it?

 jimtitt 07 Nov 2016
In reply to rgold:

I´ m always curious about devices that can give a "soft" catch without any kind of load-sensing mechanism. Usually its just another way of saying they have no braking power.
In reply to UKC Gear:

Something bothers me about the look of this device, something I can't put my finger, or maybe thumb, on...

I have a vague feeling that it's to do with forcing a slipping feed, and the fact that the thumb is isolated from the fist when gripping.

I'll stress that I haven't used one, or seen one; it's just a gut feeling that it looks 'wrong', somehow.

Anyone else? Or is it just me...?

Maybe if I had a play with one, it would make more sense to me.
In reply to captain paranoia:

Mega Jul works the same way and I see your point but after a couple of years of using it it really does feel just like 'normal' tube type devices.
 Harald 08 Nov 2016
In reply to rgold:

True. I know of 3 instances myself where people got dropped by the belayer using a Smart. One resulted in serious injury. Reconstruction of the incident (I interviews those involved) did not lead to valuable insights in how to avoid future accidents. Which doesn't happen often.

I don't know how your German reading skills are, but the current issue of BergundSteigen contains a letter by Walter Britschi, from Gaswerk in Zürich. He has done some research into hand positions before and during a leader fall. It appears most potentially critical actions during belaying have no consequences when the leader falls. Or less then previously thought.

I mostly climb with twin rope technique so paying out either rope alternately does not happen that often. Euro-multipitch style... You are spot on with your observations, off course.

The Alpine Up is way to complicated, heavy and bulky. Most people can't figure out how to operate the Up without a Manuel. I've seen people struggle with normal ATC Guide style devices when tired. The Alpine Up is overkill. We are teaching our current instructeurs in the correct use of the different belay devices and how to advice their clientèle. I used to take an Eddy and an Alpine Up but stopped after realising I'd better focus on the devices people will actually use.

Looping forward to the Revo. Looked/felt good at the trade show. Curious about acceptance by the public though. Grigri+ Looks a bit to complicated.

Bottom line: advising which type of belay advice to use for modern (I.e. No tradional climbing background/100 % consumer) gym climbers isn't easy. A least not when you look at the whole scheme of things and wan't to minimize risk and subsequent liability. Had a hard time rewriting the German/Swiss/Austrian/etc. advice on 'Halbautomaten' for our 'market'.

 rgold 09 Nov 2016
In reply to Harald:

Ok, I see you have a certain perspective about potential users---"modern (I.e. No traditional climbing background/100 % consumer) gym climbers" for whom "the Alpine Up is way to complicated, heavy and bulky."

I was thinking of a competent audience when I made my remarks.

Even so, I can't for the life of me see how the UP is any more complicated than a Grigri, and the weight and bulk are the same, but whatever. As for having to look at manuals, quite a few problems would be alleviated if more people did that, regardless of the device being used.
 winhill 09 Nov 2016
In reply to coolbert:

> The lowering is so bad (inconsistent) that it is not an option for indoor climbing. Boom.

What sort of climate are you using it in? I've never noticed an indoor/outdoor difference.
 Harald 09 Nov 2016
In reply to rgold:

Based in the Netherlands, far from cliffs and mountains my main focus is on climbers from a non-traditional background. Though spare time is abundant, few make the effort to get out often (kinda challenged by geographical location).

Ahh, yes the manual. Probably went in the bin straight away. Climbers are hopeless in the way very few bother to get additional information on failure modes, accidents, near misses, additional/new techniques, etc. Risk management and evaluating with climbing partners is rarely done effectively. Strange, because climbing, ski mountaineering, alpinism are relatively simple activities (technique-wise anyway). Getting enough mileage is something else.

Perceived level of knowledge and skills by people who are active for some time usually is high. In reality it it probably pretty mediocre. As well as only based on their own experience.

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