Saturday, 17 August 2013

Edelrid Mega Jul Review

Edelrid have released a new belay plate to the market. In essence it is an auto locking tuber plate. Its name is the Mega Jul. It takes ropes between 7.8 and 10.5 mm and has a smaller brother called the Micro Jul.
If its just an auto locking device then why not just use a trusty GriGri I hear you say? Well a GriGri only works on one rope, unlike the Mega Jul.
The Mammut Smart Alpine works on 2 ropes what about that? Yes Mammut does have and auto locking belay plate which works on 2 ropes but it doesn't have a guide mode, which is very useful if you are doing a multi-pitch route. The Mega Jul also weighs much less than the smart (65g instead of 125g).
Here is the operational video which Edelrid have released to go with the Mega Jul. I think its best if they explain how to use it.

I really like the auto locking feature of the belay plate. It makes it much nicer to belay with when sport climbing. The handle makes it easy and smooth to pay out slack for the leader. Lowering takes a bit of getting used to but is easy to do once you have practiced a bit.
When I have shown the belay plate to people they seem a bit put off by how thin the metal work is. I suppose this is just progress though. All belay plates need to meet the same criteria to be put on the market so I have no problem with the quality of the materials used.

So how does it stack up against other conventional belay plates? The Mega Jul does everything a normal guide mode belay plate does, and then some, but does this come at any disadvantage.
Well weight wise no. Black Diamonds ATC Guide weights 88g, 23g heavier than the Mega Jul, and the Petzl Reverso 4 comes in at 59g, only 6g lighter. I think to have the auto locking function available its worth the extra 6g.
Guide mode is set up in a slightly different way than with the Black Diamond and Petzl plates but it all works the same.
The Mega Jul comes with the added advantage of allowing you to abseil without using a prussick. Personally I don't like abseiling so I will just stick with what I know (a prussick), but its nice to know its there.

Unfortunately the lightweight Mega Jul does seem to have some problems. I have seen 2 different images online of the exact same breakage, where the handle breaks off from the main tuber plate. This is a bit worrying, and fortunately hasn't happened to me.

The Edelrid Mega Jul gets a rating of 1 thumb down. I really like the auto locking feature but those breakages really need to be seen to by the guys at Edelrid. I really wish I could have given it a higher score.

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