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Switch from ATC to Jul


Original Post
Dead Head · · an asshole · Joined Jul 2017 · Points: 65

I am thinking about switching from ATC to The Edelrid Jul due to the assisted braking feature that could potentially save a mistake.  Anybody have Testimonials? Stories? positives? negatives?

David Forrest · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2017 · Points: 0

I like my Mega Jul for belaying. Depending on the rope, you may have issues feeding for lead belaying, or it may be great. I've had good luck with the 9.8 mammut rope I use. 

Rappelling is pretty good in the non locking direction, and I don't have any issues compared to an ATC. 

Guide mode is not so smooth, but can work with a bit of effort. 

It is light and simple, so I think a good option. I'm sure other people will explain all the potential shortcomings, but I haven't experienced those issues, so can't comment. 

I've moved to using a gri gri for belaying and bringing an ATC for rappelling, but the Mega Jul is still a good device in my mind.

PatMas · · Tulsa, OK · Joined Jan 2017 · Points: 0

Only issue I have is rappelling. If you rappel in non locking mode, and make a mistake and have to ascend the rope, it will lock every time you try to pull the rope through. Which can make “jugging” back up a few feet of you pass a belay pretty tedious and potentially dangerous if you don’t have some systems dialed.


As a single pitch device it’s fantastic, or as a backup on multipitch (its impossibly light) but I still can’t justify it as my only device.

Anne McLaughlin · · Raleigh, North Carolina · Joined Jan 2008 · Points: 131
  • Belaying from below, I like that the worst mistake you could make is threading it backwards, in which case it just becomes a normal ATC
  • It is light yet locks quite well, at least as well as a gri-gri
  • You can do a normal rappel with it, unlike a gri-gri or other braking-assist devices
  • I rappel in non-locking mode, but had a climber go by me a few months ago who was rappelling in lock-mode and even then it seemed to work ok
  • Belaying from the top in guide mode, it works just as well as my Guide ATC

Cons:

  • I can lower pretty smoothly, but any little hiccup locks the device 
  • The amount of lock seems to depend on the angle of the rope. There are times when it feels like it's slipping and times when it feels like I could let go and go have a sandwich (kidding!)
  • There is more friction on the rope, so pulling out slack for leading takes more strength and more strain on my shoulder that with my ATC or gri-gri. I think this is also because the MJ demands my right hand pull the MJ away from my body to keep it from locking, but with an ATC I can feed rope with the right hand while pulling out slack with the left. The gri-gri has so little friction when unlocked that it's easy to depend on just one arm for pulling slack.
  • Belaying from the top in guide mode looks strange and is nonintuitive. If you keep the carabiner on the outside, it is easy to set up (See Figure 1). This works with multiple carabiners. But with that comes the chance that the carabiner could rotate and a thin rope would switch sides, removing the auto-locking capability (danger!!!). This video demonstrates it*.  
  • The solution is to clip the carabiner also through the thumb loop. It took me a while to find a carabiner that worked well for this and it still feels clunky and hard to set up quickly even though I've done it many many times. (Figure 2) 
  • It is unreasonably hard to escape guide mode when the device is locked and weighted. The instructions say to put the nose of a carabiner into the little front hole and ease it up. This does not work. We set it up in my basement with at least 4 people trying to free it when weighted. No one could do so. We also tried girth-hitching a skinny dyneema sling through it, redirected through a master point so we could pull down. No one could unlock it, not even when we stepped in the sling and jumped on it.

Figure 1: MJ with the carabiner on the outside

Figure 2: MJ with the carabiner correctly clipped both inside and outside. 

Conclusion:

 I like it, my partner hates it. But he also doesn't mind carrying around multiple heavy devices and I'm obsessed with carrying less, so it works well for me.


*Many thanks to the guy who did this awesome video!

mountainhick · · Black Hawk, CO · Joined Mar 2009 · Points: 120

I have never used a jul, but have been used by one. My partner for the day swore by it and heaped praise upon it, but kept short roping me, and being lowered was herky jerky start stop, kept locking up on him. I expect there are those who can actually belay well with it, but I wasn't impressed!

Old lady H · · Boise, ID · Joined Aug 2015 · Points: 743

OP, you might clarify if you mean Jul2 or Megajul, and are coming from an ATC or ATC XP. Do you need to rappel with it? Use it in guide mode on multi? Just belay single pitch leads in a gym?Makes a difference.

Best, OLH

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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