Following the success of their Jul and GigaJul devices, Edelrid has introduced the GigaJul. The GigaJul offers the unique ability to switch between assisted and unassisted belaying using the same device.
To switch, just shift the slider from one side of the device to the other. The slider, when activated by the brake rope, kicks into assisted braking mode. The wire loop works great for a locking carabiner. Two grooves on one side of the device add enough rope friction to quickly stop the rope. A steel clip-in point to hang the device from an anchor to belay the second extends from the body of the device.
We found it easy to shift from manual to assisted braking. The diagrams on the sides of the device and the letters engraved on the slider make it easy to check whether you are in the desired mode.
The GigaJul is designed to work well with ropes from 7.1 to 10mm and we found that it was especially handy with thinner lines that are often the best choice for long routes, but harder to brake. The assisted braking function really shone with these thin cords. Our older 10mm rope worked fine, but didn’t feed through the device so silkily.
Standard belay plate and tube style devices tend to work well for rappelling and the GigaJul is no exception. The GigaJul is a great device for anyone doing multi-pitch climbing. It’s a little heavier and more expensive than alternatives, but for the assisted braking option and sturdy steel construction, it’s worth the difference. (124 g, MSRP $59.95)