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Giga Jul Initial Impressions


rgold · · Poughkeepsie, NY · Joined Feb 2008 · Points: 526
Malcolm Daly wrote: Jim Titt,
What’s the story on direct belaying the leader on multi pitch? Edelrid seems to recommend doing that rather than belaying off the harness.  Should we re-learn everything we thought we knew?

Again?

Mal

Eastern Europeans have been using a Munter hitch on the anchor as a leader belay for years---its old news there.  Now the French are coming around, as the linked video posted above illustrates.  If you have a modern bolted anchor at eye-level, the Munter on the anchor is seeming more and more like the best leader belay, both in terms of controlling peak loads to gear,  minimizing impacts to the belayer, and ability to handle the dread factor 2 fall with no alteration in the belay technique.

But that's still a big "if" in the US...
Kevin Shon · · Unknown Hometown · Joined May 2009 · Points: 65

following

Pavel Burov · · Russia · Joined May 2013 · Points: 50

Has anyone tried it out with sub-8mm halves/twins?

Tradiban · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2004 · Points: 11,510
Jared Chrysostom wrote: Have either of you used the Smart or Smart Alpine? If so, comparisons?

I have extensively used both the smart alpine and the jul. I liked the jul because it was lighter and compact, but the thumb loop broke on me once. The smarts are bigger but the "action" for leading, rapping etc is better. 

Partners are always impressed by my do everything device, that many have gone out and bought one right away. So silly to be carrying an atc and gri nowadays.
Jared Chrysostom · · Charleston, SC · Joined Oct 2017 · Points: 5
Tradiban wrote:

I have extensively used both the smart alpine and the jul. I liked the jul because it was lighter and compact, but the thumb loop broke on me once. The smarts are bigger but the "action" for leading, rapping etc is better. 

Partners are always impressed by my do everything device, that many have gone out and bought one right away. So silly to be carrying an atc and gri nowadays.

The Tradiban acknowledges my presence. Warm fuzzy feeling ensues. 

Sloppy Second · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2018 · Points: 0
Jim Titt wrote:

I try to restrain myself from testing new devices, even if the numbers say it´s a heap of shit the enthusiastic new owners get all hot under the collar. I´ve found it better to wait a few years until some reality appear in the users impressions before sticking my head over the parapet!

Edelrids views on direct belaying are unknown to me, I´ve never seen them. The application of belay devices isn´t really my subject, I only test their capabilities within the constraints of the manufacturers instructions and say if they work or not. 

Jim,

I was wondering how testing works. Do all manufacturers use the same system for testing devices? Is it standardized? Is there a standardized calibration method, etc. ?

Do you test with a manufacturer (your employer's) test rig or your own?
Malcolm Daly · · Boulder, CO · Joined Jan 2001 · Points: 380

Sloppy, the standard for Testing belay devices is linked. Unbelievably, there is no standard for performance testing of manual belay devices in either the CE or UIAA procedures. Specifically:

  1. The recommended rope diameters are just—in the famous words of Jack Sparrow—“guidelines”. There is no test to determine if the devices actually work with the “recommend” diameters. 
  2. There is nothing in either test that determines if the device is effective for rappelling or belaying. In other words, you may or may not be able to catch a fall with your belay device. While we all catch falls and rap with our manual devices, and do it frequently, there’s no testing standard. How DMM tests vs how Edelrid tests may be totally different. Most likely, they make a few prototypes, hand them out their athletes and ask them what they think.
  3. CE or the UIAA standards both have a breaking (not braking) standard which basically pull the device apart in a fixture. And both have some sort of Strength Standard where a rope is threaded through the device then pulled to 7kN. The rope can’t break. 
The smartest climbing engineers on the planet haven’t been able to figure out how to test for all the various combinations of rope diameters, ages, handling characteristics, dry treatments and variations in humidity so they just don’t.

Climb safe,
Malcolm
Jim Titt · · Germany · Joined Nov 2009 · Points: 490
Sloppy Second wrote:

Jim,

I was wondering how testing works. Do all manufacturers use the same system for testing devices? Is it standardized? Is there a standardized calibration method, etc. ?

Do you test with a manufacturer (your employer's) test rig or your own?

There´s no standardised test for the braking performance of belay devices as their performance is rope dependent and without a "standard" rope it is impossible for the testing laboratories worldwide to achieve the same results. 

For researchers it is different as we can test a number of devices with the same rope and come up with a comparative result, the benchline device was previously the ATC and nowadays the ATC XP which in low-friction mode gives comparable results to the original ATC anyway. This method would be unnaceptable to both the laboratories and the manufacturers. The rope problem is also still there to some extent but we know how to overcome that (basically we try to turn new ropes into averagely used ropes and get rid of the smeary shit they cover them in these days).
The actual method is fairly standard, we pull the rope through the device while applying a known force to the dead rope to represent the belayers hand force, as there are a number of researchers who use both drop towers and pull-through we know the results of both methods are comparable.
The only manufacturers I know of who have ever actually tested their devices in this way are Salewa when they introduced the Sticht plate in the early 70´s (though they used a human belayer) and BD who had an internally available set of results when the ATC XP was developed. Some of the other manufacturers send their devices to me for testing and what the rest do I´ve no idea!

Employer? Heven´t had one of those since 1985! I design, do consultancy work and make climbing equipment, I´m the boss  
William R · · Unknown Hometown · Joined 30 days ago · Points: 3

I should be getting mine soon, I'll let you know how it works with a 10.2 mm Sterling rope

Sloppy Second · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2018 · Points: 0

Thanks Malcolm and Jim, interesting stuff. If I understand Malcolm's link it seems the only official test for a tuber device that it can hold a 7kN static weight (with the brake strand attached to the floor) and not fall apart. The test does not verify performance, it basically checks that the device is not junk.

Jim, do some manufacturers not have their own test equipment? Do they work with consultants to get independent verification of their own results or are they looking for feedback on their designs?

It's interesting because most climbing hardware manufacturers have been around a long time and we tend to think of them as pretty substantial manufacturing outfits with plenty of their own R&D resources. I would not expect them to outsource their testing but there may be reasons for doing so.

Malcolm Daly · · Boulder, CO · Joined Jan 2001 · Points: 380
Jim Titt wrote:

There´s no standardised test for the braking performance of belay devices as their performance is rope dependent and without a "standard" rope it is impossible for the testing laboratories worldwide to achieve the same results. 

For researchers it is different as we can test a number of devices with the same rope and come up with a comparative result, the benchline device was previously the ATC and nowadays the ATC XP which in low-friction mode gives comparable results to the original ATC anyway. This method would be unnaceptable to both the laboratories and the manufacturers. The rope problem is also still there to some extent but we know how to overcome that (basically we try to turn new ropes into averagely used ropes and get rid of the smeary shit they cover them in these days).
The actual method is fairly standard, we pull the rope through the device while applying a known force to the dead rope to represent the belayers hand force, as there are a number of researchers who use both drop towers and pull-through we know the results of both methods are comparable.
The only manufacturers I know of who have ever actually tested their devices in this way are Salewa when they introduced the Sticht plate in the early 70´s (though they used a human belayer) and BD who had an internally available set of results when the ATC XP was developed. Some of the other manufacturers send their devices to me for testing and what the rest do I´ve no idea!

Employer? Heven´t had one of those since 1985! I design, do consultancy work and make climbing equipment, I´m the boss  

I think it's odd that Teflon--or that smeary shit they cover them with as Jim Titt so eloquently states--is what is used to waterproof ropes and is known for it's slipperyness. And we have to belay climbers with that? WTF? Jim Titt, have you done any device tests that compare belay devices' function using identical ropes but with differing, or no, coating?

Jim Titt · · Germany · Joined Nov 2009 · Points: 490
Malcolm Daly wrote:

I think it's odd that Teflon--or that smeary shit they cover them with as Jim Titt so eloquently states--is what is used to waterproof ropes and is known for it's slipperyness. And we have to belay climbers with that? WTF? Jim Titt, have you done any device tests that compare belay devices' function using identical ropes but with differing, or no, coating?

Personally no, I gave up the first time. I know a guy in Italy who also had to abandon his test series until I told him how to get rid of it. A guy at Cambridge University reckoned normal dry was about 15% worse than untreated but got no further than that. 

I asked the guys at Beal about it once, pointing out  we were trying to make better belay devices and they were trying to make things worse. I  was told the climbers should wear gloves.
Jim Titt · · Germany · Joined Nov 2009 · Points: 490
Sloppy Second wrote: Thanks Malcolm and Jim, interesting stuff. If I understand Malcolm's link it seems the only official test for a tuber device that it can hold a 7kN static weight (with the brake strand attached to the floor) and not fall apart. The test does not verify performance, it basically checks that the device is not junk.

Jim, do some manufacturers not have their own test equipment? Do they work with consultants to get independent verification of their own results or are they looking for feedback on their designs?

It's interesting because most climbing hardware manufacturers have been around a long time and we tend to think of them as pretty substantial manufacturing outfits with plenty of their own R&D resources. I would not expect them to outsource their testing but there may be reasons for doing so.

What, test and find out it's worse than competiton? Better to write "massive stopping power and increased safety" in the advertising and leave it at that. Mal can tell you about testing one of his designs and the beer bottles if he feels like it (it was actually quite a good one for it's time)! 

Another company produced a plate designed by long-standing memberof the UIAA Safety Commision, he was a bit pissed when it was pointed out it was defying the laws of physics and a minute reading a basic materials handbook would have told him so.

There aren't actually many experts on belay device design, maybe 3 in the world, the rest roughly guess.

Sloppy Second · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2018 · Points: 0
Jim Titt wrote:

What, test and find out it's worse than competiton? Better to write "massive stopping power and increased safety" in the advertising and leave it at that. Mal can tell you about testing one of his designs and the beer bottles if he feels like it (it was actually quite a good one for it's time)! 

Another company produced a plate designed by long-standing memberof the UIAA Safety Commision, he was a bit pissed when it was pointed out it was defying the laws of physics and a minute reading a basic materials handbook would have told him so.

There aren't actually many experts on belay device design, maybe 3 in the world, the rest roughly guess.

Wow, since you are one of the three experts that means there are only two others.

But there are far more manufacturers making belay devices: Petzl, BD, DMM, Edelrid, Mammut, Wild Country, Grivel ... just some names taken from a quick glance at the REI belay device page.

Most of these companies do not have their own in-house expertise? ...most of the big players are just guessing!

Yikes!!!
Malcolm Daly · · Boulder, CO · Joined Jan 2001 · Points: 380

Jesus! I’d totally forgotten about the beer bottles. I must be getting old... I really do need to print that bumper sticker:

Too old to climb
Too scared to quit

Mal

William R · · Unknown Hometown · Joined 30 days ago · Points: 3

This thread has turned out to be a great thread about belay devices. Thank you for all of your expertise. Really interesting stuff

Chad Lake · · Santa Clara, CA · Joined Mar 2011 · Points: 20
Jim Titt wrote:

Mal can tell you about testing one of his designs and the beer bottles if he feels like it (it was actually quite a good one for it's time)! 

Inquiring minds want to know....

Malcolm Daly · · Boulder, CO · Joined Jan 2001 · Points: 380
Chad Lake wrote:

Inquiring minds want to know....

I have to go pretty deep and I no longer have access to my old Trango emails but here ya' go...

Way BITD Trango was a tiny company in a North Boulder warehouse. It was just just me and a couple of friends at folding tables. Our first product was the Pyramid, a squared version of the Tuber that I had been working on with Greg Lowe. They abandoned the climbing gear market and I took over the project. I'd been trying to sell the Pyramnid to REI and the head of their test lab, Steve Nagode, had been running some low mass and low-fall factor drop tests to compare belay devices. I didn't have the rig for that so I came up with the Beer Can Test (BCT) to compare the amount of friction that it took to make each device begin to slip.

Here's how it goes...
Step 1: Fix a climbing rope to the roof rafters in the warehouse. Any old rope will do since these are comparative tests all done at the same time there is no need for conditioning or pre-tensioning.
Step 2: Attach your belay device to the rope in the belay mode and attach a carabiner to it. Be sure to use the same carabiner and rope for each test.
Step 3: Decide how much weight you want on the brake strand and attach it to the rope below the belay device. This weight simulates the resistance, or braking force, that is used to stop a fall. We used 12kG because that seemed to be a reasonable amount of force that a normal human hand can hold, plus we happened to have a 12kG plate lying around from our bench press rig.
Step 4: Attach a container to the belay carabiner (We used an old Buzzard Mountain pack) and start adding full beer cans. When the belay device starts to slip, record the number of beer cans that you've put in the pack and that's your friction number. The higher the number, the more friction your belay device can generate.

The reason we used full cans of beer is that it is a easily handled standard unit of mass. Plus, they still have a great usefullness after the test is completed. BTW, invite your friends over for BCT night and have all bring their favorite rig for testing. Set it up in your garage or in a tree and who ever comes closest to guessing the order of friction gets all the beer. Or whatever.

Cheers,
Mal

PS - In a strange afterword, when the CE began to try to develop a test for belay devices they came up with the concept of a "Friction Multiplier" test that was strangely similar to the BCT. Nobody could agree to what rope to use, what the conditions would be and how it would be reported so they bailed.
coppolillo · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Sep 2009 · Points: 70

God bless Mal Daly and his fevered visions...

i shore · · London · Joined May 2018 · Points: 0
Jim Titt wrote:

There´s no standardised test for the braking performance of belay devices as their performance is rope dependent and without a "standard" rope it is impossible for the testing laboratories worldwide to achieve the same results. 

For researchers it is different as we can test a number of devices with the same rope and come up with a comparative result, the benchline device was previously the ATC and nowadays the ATC XP which in low-friction mode gives comparable results to the original ATC anyway. This method would be unnaceptable to both the laboratories and the manufacturers. The rope problem is also still there to some extent but we know how to overcome that (basically we try to turn new ropes into averagely used ropes and get rid of the smeary shit they cover them in these days).
The actual method is fairly standard, we pull the rope through the device while applying a known force to the dead rope to represent the belayers hand force, as there are a number of researchers who use both drop towers and pull-through we know the results of both methods are comparable.
The only manufacturers I know of who have ever actually tested their devices in this way are Salewa when they introduced the Sticht plate in the early 70´s (though they used a human belayer) and BD who had an internally available set of results when the ATC XP was developed. Some of the other manufacturers send their devices to me for testing and what the rest do I´ve no idea!

Maybe its the rope manufacturer who should have each rope tested and list some recommended 'safe' devices, after all each rope model has to pass certain standards anyway. If so they should really test a new rope, after all people will be risking using it in that condition initially and presumably surface friction will only improve with wear. We pay a lot for a rope but a compatible plate type device is comparatively inexpensive.
Would still be problems: eg Edeldrid would obviously recommend their own or an allied company's devices or might be paid to test and recommend a device.
Of course in the days of the original Sticht plates things were simpler with fewer rope variables  since everyone used either 11 or 9mm ropes: the plates had different size holes for each diameter and there was no dry treatment (as far as I remember).

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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