The Jul 2 is slated as a single tubular belay device. It’s tied for the least-expensive brake-assist device on the market at $29.95. It’s most similar to the Edelrid Mega Jul ($34.95) and the Mammut Smart ($29.95), but adds the benefit of a much softer catch. The stainless steel core means it will last for years without wear and it’ll reduce heat build-up on long belay sessions.

 


Update 2

We have update the video above showcase the production version Jul2. The biggest difference is that it locks off the climber and has no “slip.”

Update 1

The Jul 2 is no longer coming out in Spring 2015. Now due to release in Fall 2015, the Jul 2 will include changes to become a brake-assist device instead of just a brake “boost” device This change stems from studies conducted by the German Alpine Club and Edelrid that found high misuses of climbers using tubular devices.

You can read an official Edelrid Jul2 update in english (PDF). The end of the article mentions that starting in 2016 Edelrid will no longer sell any standard (non-brake-assist) tubular devices.

At this time we’re not sure all changes the Jul 2 will go through (looks/price/stats), so the following post has not been updated to reflect Jul 2 Fall 2015 updates.


 

Best for Gym Climbers

The Jul 2 was made to excel while handling the thicker ropes typically found in gyms. Bring on the oldest, fuzziest, fatty ropes and the Jul 2 will impress.

You’ve probably noticed the well-used 10.5mm ropes that many gyms provide challenge your belay device, and test your strength as you attempt to stuff that fat rubbery python into your device. The Jul 2 eliminates this problem with its wider rope slot.

Compared to the Jul 1, the modified geometry allows for easier, more controlled lowering via the brake-assist functionality.

Edelrid Jul 1 and Jul 2

Quick aside: The world’s largest climbing association, the German Alpine Club (DAV) has conducted climbing gym studies that found belaying with a brake-assist device is much safer in terms of number of belaying errors found during use. This has caused a debate to teach only assisted locking devices on beginner’s courses.

Taking initiative on preventing belaying accidents, there are single gyms in Germany, where Edelrid is based, that sell more brake-assist Mega Jul’s than the entire US market. Similarly, some Canadian gyms are only allowing the use of brake-assist devices for belaying. And this is why you’ll find many American gym climbs pre-equipped with GriGri’s.

Why the Jul 2 is Unique

Instead of instantly locking up during a fall, the Jul 2 acts more like a brake boost, progressively catching the the fall. If the belayer does not apply any tension with their brake hand after the fall, the device will continue to let the rope slowly slide through the device.

Since the Jul 2 “slips,” the belayer learns to never let go of the rope – a harmful habit often picked up with fully locking brake-assist devices.

The reduced braking strength naturally allows for a dynamic fall that is substantially more comfortable for the climber as compared to every other brake-assist device on the market (exception: CAMP’s new Matic belay device). This also means it’s a great device for your new climbing friends, who have yet to learn how to dynamically belay with their body.

Jul 2 Use

For giving slack you can use it exactly like a standard tube belay device. Or, you can hold the device up with the thumb loop, releasing the Jul’s tension as you pay out rope (see photos below).

For lowering you also lift up on the thumb loop releasing tension to establish your preferred lowering speed (see photos below).

Jul 2 open and closed positions
Note: This is a picture of an earlier model. The current model has does not have a green exterior.

Geeking Out

The Jul 2 is rated to handle ropes 8.4mm – 11mm. Thinner rope will slide easier and thicker ropes will naturally add more braking force.

Due to the stainless steel core the Jul 2 weighs in at 87 grams, heavier than most tubular devices. However, it’s still substantially lighter than all the mechanical braking devices. Click to see and compare every belay device available on the market.

The only challenge with the Jul 2 is that it will have a harder time transitioning outside, past the single-pitch crag, when one needs the ability to rappel. This downfall exists with all single strand devices like the GriGri 2 ($99.95), Cinch ($85.99), and Click Up ($59.95). Although it is technically possible to rappel with a single-rope device, it requires advanced rappelling techniques and is not normal procedure.

Further

To really dial in your belay you can try using different HMS/Pear belay carabiners. Carabiners with a round cross-section basket will have less braking force and will be a bit gentler on your rope. A profiled carabiner (non-rounded, often an I-beam construction) will add more drag and braking power.

For even more safety while climbing, Edelrid (and most other climbing manufacturers) recommend using a carabiner with a captive spring. This prevents the carabiner from twisting in the belay loop and potentially cross-loading the carabiner while catching a fall.

Edelrid HMS Strike FG Edelrid HMS Strike Slider FG

Conclusion

Edelrid says this device was made for beginners, but any top-roping or single-pitch climber will enjoy the benefits. The Jul 2 provides a softer catch than most brake-assist devices, helps establish good belaying habits, and will last forever thanks to the steel core. And, since the handling is so similar to a tubular device, you’ll easily be able to switch between devices without needing to learn new techniques.

If you want a device for top-roping and single-pitch lead belaying, the Jul 2 is a fantastic choice that won’t break the bank.

The Jul 2 is coming out in spring fall 2015. Until then, here’s where you can buy the original Jul (not brake-assist), and the Jul 2’s brake-assist cousins the Mega and Micro Jul:

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Alison Dennis

Alison Dennis

Alison (she/her) runs WeighMyRack from her 17' travel trailer. She is currently touring the US and would love if you contacted her to meet up to talk about climbing, climbing gear, or if you have any fun and/or ridiculous adventure in mind.

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