Short Version: The Edelrid Micro-Jul system brings brake assisted belaying and rappelling to double ropes!! However to get proficient with the device, a good deal of patience is required. It has very specific details to its use. READ and follow ALL safety manuals! When combined with the Flycatcher Twin 6.9 mil ropes, you have a super light system, and confidence that will come from familiarity with this advanced product.
Wait, what is “Brake Assist”?
Long Version: My older climbing friends and I find we are continually getting drug into the future (In some cases kicking and screaming). I am usually the first though to get on board with trends like the Gri-Gri, and the many other advances that come along. It was only 6 short years ago that I finally got my first “Brake Assist”(BA) Reverso for bring followers up in an auto-lock type belay. A few years later I got a Gri-Gri, and have never looked back. The upside from a safety standpoint is obvious. Lets face it; the advantages against all of the distractions of a busy crag, the stress of a tough lead, etc. are more than enough! Why wouldn’t you take a long accidental drop out of the equation? Despite concerns about belay habits with such devices,
most(many?) climbing gyms now only allow BA use.
The last rope-lead system not to have Brake Assist was the use of double or twin ropes. 2 rope systems are often used on long ice climbs and rock routes that have long rappels off, About 6 months ago, I stumbled on a super lightweight 2 rope system that offered BA. I was in Pro Mountain Sports complaining to Jim that I wear out my Reverso every year. He suggested going to a steel model and showed me the Mega Jul from Edelrid. There was a learning curve for me though, at first I didn’t read the brochure. I had no idea about the BA properties, so it came a pleasant shock when I got the hang of it. Soon my curiosity led me through an ever-revealing look at the company producing the device.
When it came time to replace my ice ropes Jim, from Pro Mt. Sports, suggested I look at the Flycatcher/Micro Jul system. After a season using them I am glad I invested in them. When I say invested, I don’t mean just money. They are expensive yes, but they will require an investment in learning time too. After getting used to them, I am happy with how they handle, the ease of how they drop throwing them on rappel, and how secure the belay and rappel feels (several options for rappel). Downsides also include how awkward it is load up for top/following mode. I have found that if you load one rope at a time, it is much easier. (see photo). Be sure to load both ropes, and lock those ‘biners!
Another small disadvantage for now is that I had to buy additional belay devices to cover my partners when using my Flycatcher system. Despite a few hitches, this is a major advance in technology that other companies will imitate soon. The next generation of this device should be even more awesome.
Competitors will struggle however in trying to get an eco-friendly award called: Bluesign Certified. I had no idea how dirty the rope business is ecologically until my research led me there. Some big players are headed to Edelrid due to them setting a great standard in this and other fields. Have your own look into this good example of a modern and progressive corporation. I cant wait to try out more from their vast product line.
|Task at hand||Reverso/ATC type||Jul type device||Advantage:|
|Lowering||Smooth||Smooth + BA||Jul|
|Top/Follow belay||Smooth and easier to set up+BA||BA, smooth, tough to set up/counterintuitive||Rev/ATC|
|Rappelling||Smoother||Smoothish+BA, 3rd option? 2 biners||draw|
|Longevity||Aluminum wears quickly||Steel yet lightweight||Jul|
|Learning curve||Easy||Takes awhile to become proficient.||Rev/ATC|