The Edelrid Mega Jul is a lightweight multi-functional belay and abseil device that features an innovative self locking mechanism without any moving parts. The Mega Jul is suited for both lead climbing and belaying a second on either single rope, twin or double ropes from 7.8mm to 10.5mm in diameter.
Ease of Use
Prior to buying or using the Mega Jul, it’s certainly worth viewing the instructional videos on the Edelrid website (see below), this belay isn’t as straightforward as a standard ATC or Guide style device and requires an extra knowledge base. If used incorrectly, the lowering and abseil action in the auto-locking mode can be pretty awkward.
It’s not our place to moan, (but for our less experienced readers) we should note taking the braking hand off the rope when belaying, and lowering off a single anchor is generally bad practice.
When leading, the Mega Jul pays out absolutely beautifully, one of best actions we’ve tested. The action is smooth and does not catch on the rope at all. We should note the guideline maximum rope width is 10.5mm, so this device may not be suitable for some of the chunky walls you find at indoor gyms on top rope.
So when a climber falls and/or weights the rope, the carabiner is forced up into the unusual cutout in the side of the device. basically, this thing locks like an absolute bastard – which is a good thing for safety. It locks so tightly that you can (but you should not) go hands-free on the rope, this does however somewhat complicate and compromise the lowering characteristics…
So when lead belaying, you’ve got a few options (all of these are shown in the video above): The first is to rotate the fluorescent armature away from you and upwards, we found this had a series of drawbacks, firstly, unless your wearing gloves (as in the video) the rope burns into the webbing of your thumb as it forced to run through your hand in this position, and secondly you need to push with quite some force to release the lock.
The next lowering option is to use your thumb on the top-rear carabiner hole (for lowering a second) and cam the device in the same manner as before (difficult to explain, but shown in the video) this is an improvement on option 1 as it leads to a smoother action with less rope burn.
Alternatively, with slightly more faff, you can stick a carabiner into the top-rear hole like a stein pull and use an action a bit more like a GriGri to lower the climber. This is the smoothest and least burning method, but does require extra gear and time. When seconding, the device is used much more like an ATC guide and has just one more familiar method of lowering (using a carabiner to release the lock), we haven’t tested the lowering on a second yet but will update this page when we do!
The Mega Jul is made from stainless steel, which is more durable then aluminium. The general build quality feels good, however the guide loop looks absolutely terrifying, in that it’s only a few millimetres wide, we couldn’t find the load rating on this part of the device. Update 09/04/14: Edelrid have since been in contact and provided the following reassuring information regarding the guide loop
According to preEN it has to hold 8kN (approx. 800kg). We have tested its strength in-house and it exceeded the required strength by far.
Our research has revealed several accounts of failures on the Mega Jul. Edelrid have responded and have since rectified the situation:
We have had a very small batch of MicroJuls were the cable easily pulled out. We managed to keep the majority of these MicroJuls away from the market but a few got sent out. It seemed like you had one of those. Microjuls that read 1/13 or 2/13 on the side are from that bad batch. The Microjul´s cable has now been redesigned to eliminate the possibility of ripping the cable out.
Quotation and photo source from www.mountainproject.com
Photo: Kai Larson
With Edelrid having now addressed the build qualitly issues, the Mega Jul measures up as a lightweight belay and abseil device suited mostly to lead climbing. We did find the lowering action and subsequent complications a little irritating – it is something you get used to after some practise but it might not be for everyone. The main selling point for us, is the small size and lightweight construction, the auto-locking system is clever and hats off to Edelrid for trying to make things safer, ultimately though you will have to weight up the pro’s and con’s to see if this device is the right device for you.
We’ll be updating this review (and others) in April after our first outdoor test in El Chorro, Spain. Like us on Facebook to get the latest news and reviews.