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Giga Jul Initial Impressions


Fran M · · Germany · Joined Feb 2019 · Points: 0
rgold wrote:

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...

Specially true for sigle rope or twin rope technique. For half rope technique, each Munter needs to be on different carabiners at different heights to avoid rope abrassion and rope management becomes adventurous.

For half rope technique, the German Alpine Club (DAV) recommends a tube device such as the ATC XP as its "braking effect corresponds approximately to the braking force of the Munter hitch". BUT, the brake strand needs to be redirected for falls onto the belay anchor (FF2 falls) as shown in the pictures. "Although the configuration on the left side is more comfortable for rope management, it still has issues. If the leader has placed a doubtful piece that does not warrant removing the redirect carabiner (fall onto the belay anchor still possible) and falls with said piece holding, the tube rotates to face upwards and the braking force is reduced to the friction of two carabiners (marginal braking force). 

"The right side configuration does not provide as comfortable rope management but provides adequate braking with an upwards or downwards pull. after the leader places a solid piece, the carabiner can be removed and the tuber operated as usual". (DAV 2012 - Tube am Stand. Caution, my own translation and rephrasing)


Notice, this does not matter when both anchor points are solid (bolts). The first piece acts as redirect.

This remains true for a harness belay! (EDIT: I  wonder why they didn't clip the first draw to the lower bolt)

EDIT: Half rope technique with two Munters
William R · · Unknown Hometown · Joined 30 days ago · Points: 3

FYI, just received my Giga Jul and testing it at home hanging from the rafters it will not lock up with my newer 10.2mm Sterling rope (giga jul Rated for 7.1 to 10.00mm). When I try to repel in brake assist mode the rope has a bunch of drag and requires very very little force to stop but will not lock (expected).  With the drag it is very smooth.  In the manual mode (non brake assist mode) it seems to work just like a regular atc.  In the owners manual it shows the preferred single rope for brake assist mode is 8.6 to 9.7mm.  I tested it out using an Edelrid HMS bulletproof carabiner and an Wild Country Ascent lite.

BTW: backcountry.com has it currently for $37.46, plus you can bundle with AJ.

rgold · · Poughkeepsie, NY · Joined Feb 2008 · Points: 526
Fran M wrote:

Specially true for sigle rope or twin rope technique. For half rope technique, each Munter needs to be on different carabiners at different heights to avoid rope abrassion and rope management becomes adventurous.

For half rope technique, the German Alpine Club (DAV) recommends a tube device such as the ATC XP as its "braking effect corresponds approximately to the braking force of the Munter hitch". BUT, the brake strand needs to be redirected for falls onto the belay anchor (FF2 falls) as shown in the pictures. "Although the configuration on the left side is more comfortable for rope management, it still has issues. If the leader has placed a doubtful piece that does not warrant removing the redirect carabiner (fall onto the belay anchor still possible) and falls with said piece holding, the tube rotates to face upwards and the braking force is reduced to the friction of two carabiners (marginal braking force). 

"The right side configuration does not provide as comfortable rope management but provides adequate braking with an upwards or downwards pull. after the leader places a solid piece, the carabiner can be removed and the tuber operated as usual". (DAV 2012 - Tube am Stand. Caution, my own translation and rephrasing)


Notice, this does not matter when both anchor points are solid (bolts). The first piece acts as redirect.

This remains true for a harness belay! (EDIT: I  wonder why they didn't clip the first draw to the lower bolt)

EDIT: Half rope technique with two Munters

The unavoidable conclusion is that no one has produced a device for half ropes that is meant to be used direct on the anchor. (No surprise since the market would be very small.)  The work-arounds for ATC's are awkard and in some cases ineffective.

Jim Titt · · Germany · Joined Nov 2009 · Points: 490
rgold wrote:

The unavoidable conclusion is that no one has produced a device for half ropes that is meant to be used direct on the anchor. (No surprise since the market would be very small.)  The work-arounds for ATC's are awkard and in some cases ineffective.

TRE Sirius  

Fran M · · Germany · Joined Feb 2019 · Points: 0
rgold wrote:

The unavoidable conclusion is that no one has produced a device for half ropes that is meant to be used direct on the anchor. (No surprise since the market would be very small.)  The work-arounds for ATC's are awkard and in some cases ineffective.

I'd argue the ATC at the anchor workaround is less cumbersome and less time consuming than the ATC at the harness workaround (lowering the belayer and redirecting at the master point) which has it own set of issues as well. (In either case, the "workaround" refers to dealing with a fall onto the belay without a solid first piece so that the master point must be somehow used as redirect)

From the Giga Jul manual:

In either belay configuration (Anchor, 11a ; Harness 12) the solid redirect is mandatory. Belaying from the anchor is endorsed only in manual mode.
But, what happened to the precaution highlighted in red when belaying from the harness? I believe it still applies, as the ENSA video posted before shows. Assisted braking mode is possible in said configuration but according to Jim Titt's data the assisted devices based on the carabiner pinching the ropes loose their advantage for high energy falls (with the exception of the Alpine Up).

I think the need for the "workaorund" when belaying off the harness is often overlooked. Even by the manufacturer in this case (manual says 11.18).
rgold · · Poughkeepsie, NY · Joined Feb 2008 · Points: 526
Jim Titt wrote:

TRE Sirius  

Jim is "laughing" because he knows I was an enthusiastic user of the Tre Sirius.  I've since forgotten that it could have been used direct on the anchor, as such belays weren't on my horizon when the Tre was available.

The Tre needed a few engineering tweaks.  Edelrid bought the patent, produced a total dud (which, among other things, only accepted one rope), and no one has been interested or able to revive the thing since.
rgold · · Poughkeepsie, NY · Joined Feb 2008 · Points: 526
Fran M wrote:

I'd argue the ATC at the anchor workaround is less cumbersome and less time consuming than the ATC at the harness workaround (lowering the belayer and redirecting at the master point) which has it own set of issues as well. (In either case, the "workaround" refers to dealing with a fall onto the belay without a solid first piece so that the master point must be somehow used as redirect)

From the Giga Jul manual:

In either belay configuration (Anchor, 11a ; Harness 12) the solid redirect is mandatory. Belaying from the anchor is endorsed only in manual mode.
But, what happened to the precaution highlighted in red when belaying from the harness? I believe it still applies, as the ENSA video posted before shows. Assisted braking mode is possible in said configuration but according to Jim Titt's data the assisted devices based on the carabiner pinching the ropes loose their advantage for high energy falls (with the exception of the Alpine Up).

I think the need for the "workaorund" when belaying off the harness is often overlooked. Even by the manufacturer in this case (manual says 11.18).

Well, my use of "workaround" was rather different.  I meant specific actions taken to make an ATC clipped to the anchor functional in a factor-2 fall.  An ATC on the harness is capable of catching a factor-2 fall, the only "workaround" being that the brake hand has to be brought up to chest level rather than down to hip level. No carabiners have to be added and no redirection of either the brake or load strands is involved.  If the ATC is rigged to the belayer's rope loop rather than the harness belay loop and the tie-in is snugged, then the load goes straight to the anchor without blasting the belayer and so you get the same advantage of having the device on the anchor.  To facilitate the factor-2 catch, the belayer should belay palm-up until the leader gets in their first good piece.  All of this is less awkward and complicated than the workarounds needed for using an ATC directly on the anchor.  The manufacturers, for some reason, avoid mentioning this response, and a surprising (to me) number of climbers don't seem to know about it at all.  Of course, gloves are required for this and any belay that is potentially dynamic because of high loads.

I think lowering the belayer belongs to a different class of techniques.  In that case, the basic issue is not preserving the functionality of the belay device, but rather the desire to reduce the peak load to the anchor when it is also being used as the first piece of protection.
Fran M · · Germany · Joined Feb 2019 · Points: 0
rgold wrote:

Well, my use of "workaround" was rather different.  I meant specific actions taken to make an ATC clipped to the anchor functional in a factor-2 fall.  An ATC on the harness is capable of catching a factor-2 fall, the only "workaround" being that the brake hand has to be brought up to chest level rather than down to hip level. No carabiners have to be added and no redirection of either the brake or load strands is involved.  If the ATC is rigged to the belayer's rope loop rather than the harness belay loop and the tie-in is snugged, then the load goes straight to the anchor without blasting the belayer and so you get the same advantage of having the device on the anchor.  To facilitate the factor-2 catch, the belayer should belay palm-up until the leader gets in their first good piece.  All of this is less awkward and complicated than the workarounds needed for using an ATC directly on the anchor.  The manufacturers, for some reason, avoid mentioning this response, and a surprising (to me) number of climbers don't seem to know about it at all.  Of course, gloves are required for this and any belay that is potentially dynamic because of high loads.

Well, you can count me among the ones not aware of that harness-belay "workaround" for the high factor falls directly onto the belay(er). haven't seen it mentioned in bibliography before. Thank you for sharing this simple yet not-so-intuitive insight.  I will look into it.

Jim's comment in "The deadly ATC" thread is on point regarding double-slot assisted-braking device's behavior in high energy falls such as this one.

I think lowering the belayer belongs to a different class of techniques.  In that case, the basic issue is not preserving the functionality of the belay device, but rather the desire to reduce the peak load to the anchor when it is also being used as the first piece of protection.

I agree. Lowering the belayer reduces the fall factor as there is more rope in the system.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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