Brian has been climbing since he was 15 years old. His experience has been gained in the vertical world of Devils Tower, Yosemite’s big walls and the remote sandstone towers of Utah’s desert. His knowledge of regional climbing areas is unrivaled. Brian loves guiding because it gives him a chance to share something with others that has been meaningful to him… Clients keep coming back because of his philosophy “safety first, summit second.” – Front Range Climbing Company
The Edelrid Mega Jul is a lightweight stainless steel belay device suitable for light and fast alpine adventures or multi-lap cragging days. Good for belaying up a second and rappelling in both a high friction and a low friction mode. You can expect durability and longevity out of this device thanks to its stainless steel construction.
The Edelrid Mega Jul and its “little brother” the Micro Jul are cut from the same mold but serve two different ranges of ropes. The Mega Jul works on ropes with a diameter between 7.8 and 10.5mm while the Micro Jul goes even smaller – working on ropes with a diameter between 6.9 and 8mm.
Although the Mega Jul works fine belaying and lowering a climber on ropes with a diameter of 7.8, you will find the friction (or lack thereof) to be a bit rough on your hands while rappelling. If you use (and rappel with) half or twin ropes frequently that are 8mm or under, you will be happier using the Micro Jul over the Mega Jul.
The Mega Jul quickly replaced my need for any other tube-style belay device. The lightweight aspect of this belay device (weighing in at 2.3oz, compared to 3.1oz for a competitive brand’s version) paired with its stainless-steel construction is what wins it my go-to vote. No wear and tear marks to be seen after extensive use. Expect the Mega Jul to last you two or more years, even if you find yourself climbing with it 200 days a year. Pair this device with the Edelrid Bruce, a locking steel carabiner (28kN major axis, 4.72oz), and your belay system will last for years.
Another added benefit to this device is its “semi-assisted braking” geometry. Due to an extra bit of tongue on the device’s braking surface, it locks down hard on the rope when weighted by a falling climber. Use the assisted braking thumb loop to release this assisted brake and lower your climber as normal.
This extra braking power comes into play heavily while using the device for rappelling. With the rappel set up in a normal orientation you have the power of this extra brake creating loads more friction. Clip a carabiner to the little eyelet on top of the device to create a handle to help rappel smoothly. This comes in handy while rappelling single lines or skinny ropes. Don’t need the extra friction? Flip the device upside down and the extra brake is eliminated. Expect this orientation to provide less-than-normal friction. If you are a bigger climber or are using new or thinner ropes, exercise caution.
Pros and Cons
- Lightweight – no extra mass here. Racks up nicely on an already full harness
- Stainless steel construction – means you’ll be spending loads of quality time with this belay device
- Assisted braking geometry – makes belaying heavier leaders or those working projects a bit more relaxing on your hands
- High friction rappel mode – great for heavy climbers, thin ropes or single line rappels
- The steep learning curve of this device is its biggest drawback. Although it works the same as another belay device, there are nuances that make it a bit more finicky to use if you are not used to it. Extra time is needed to become proficient in its use – once you are there, though, you will never look back.
A high-class belay device worthy of its Climbing Magazine Gear of the Year Award in 2014. Lightweight, durable and multifaceted, the Mega Jul will quickly become your go-to.