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Climbing harness
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David Olsen

Locale: Steptoe Butte
Climbing harness on 06/15/2012 14:52:42 MDT Print View

My harnesses are over a decade old now. What is UL these days. For alpine and cragging in
the backcountry. Oh, and cheap.

drowning in spam
(leaftye) - F

Locale: SoCal
Re: Climbing harness on 06/15/2012 15:05:13 MDT Print View


Richard Fischel
for alpine, i'm pretty happy with my bd alpine bod on 06/15/2012 15:12:25 MDT Print View

about as simple as a harness can get. the snap-opening leg loops are great. no belay loop, but i manage fine without it. Don't think i'd want to hang in it for an extended period of time. i have never tried the bd couloir, but i have heard lots of good things about it.

Edited by RICKO on 06/15/2012 15:16:32 MDT.

Khader Ahmad
(337guanacos) - F

Locale: Pirineos, Sierra de la Demanda
light harness on 06/15/2012 15:12:54 MDT Print View

Salewa, camp, cilao and yates.
You don't want a fall with any of the lightest. A world of new sensations between your legs.

Andrew Zajac

Locale: South West
make your own on 06/15/2012 15:47:33 MDT Print View

You can just by a few feet of 1 inch tubular webbing and tie your own. I have tried it before and it isn't very comfortable so I wouldn't used it for leading, but I'll bet its pretty light and super cheap. Arc'teryx makes one that is super light called the S220 LT for about $100, but you probably stopped reading when you saw 'arc'teryx' if you really wanted to go cheap.

Stephen M
(stephenm) - MLife

Locale: Mind your own business
Re: Climbing harness on 06/15/2012 16:19:34 MDT Print View

I am not being smart but I would not go down that route, leave safety gear to the Pros.

David Olsen

Locale: Steptoe Butte
Alpine Bod, swami and leg loops on 06/15/2012 21:14:26 MDT Print View

My old harness is an alpine bod. Kind of beefy for UL. Looked at some of the other racing
harnesses, they seem a little too fragile, but maybe not and was hoping that someone had some positive experience with them. My favorite one so far is old school swami
and leg loops that weigh about 1/2 what an Alpine Bod weighs. Does anyone make leg loops

Khader Ahmad
(337guanacos) - F

Locale: Pirineos, Sierra de la Demanda
Re: Alpine Bod, swami and leg loops on 06/16/2012 03:48:52 MDT Print View

Ive seen a fall with this harness:

The harness is safe (CE certified), but the victim entered a world of pain and his hopes of producing offspring dissipated, he was bruised (and laughed at) for a long time. As I said before, you don't want to fall using a racing harness.

BEAL makes a nice alpine harness, that's the one I use, the new version is called aereoteam or something similar. 30€ comfortable and weighs 300gms.

Andrew Zajac

Locale: South West
diy harness on 06/16/2012 09:02:49 MDT Print View

Here is a link to what I am talking about. As I said I wouldn't use it to take huge whippers in a leading situation. Don't worry about being 'smart' or offending me as it is definitely not offered as an ideal solution for every situation. In fact its not an option that I would want to use due to comfort. However, intense UL-ers will use a 2.5oz ccf pad to sleep on which is something that I would not do because of discomfort, so it seems like plenty of people will sacrifice comfort in the name of lightness. I have used this technique once before for some top ropes when I forgot my harness. Just make sure to use a water knot with a good amount of tail to tie the webbing and use a carabiner to tie in. Direct rope on webbing would definitely be a bad idea. Having an attentive belayer to keep the rope up so you minimize fall factor as much as possible is also a good idea. If you are only using this harness for the occasional top-rope then I could see it being a good solution. I think it would also be a great solution if you were only going to be using it for rappelling.

Eric Krumland
(Eric_K) - F

Locale: The northwest is the BEST
What are you using it for on 06/16/2012 16:02:48 MDT Print View

If the climbing is basic glacier/snow climbs (Mt. Baker/Rainier) then a super basic alpine Bod harness is perfect, this one looks nice to me If you are actually climbing(vertical rock/ice) and you need a UL harness I hear madrock has some decent cheap options, but I think you should save up your cash and buy a really nice harness. You will use your harness more than any other type of gear so buy what you really want. I love my arcteryx and my wife loves her petzl.


David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Re: Climbing harness on 06/16/2012 20:11:06 MDT Print View

Back in the day, every climber could tie a swami belt from a 20-foot loop of 1-inch tubular webbing. Very cheap and 4000-pound break strenght, although for Single-Rope Technique (a la caving) or lead climbing, I'd want something in 2-inch for a more comfortable seat. Flat webbing would not be rated as high, but for high-angle snow where you're not taking a leader fall, I'd consider the trade-off.

Avery S
C.A.M.P. Air CR on 06/20/2012 16:40:07 MDT Print View

Check out the CAMP Air CR. It's 8.5 oz, can be had for $60, and makes far fewer compromises than anything within a few ounces of it.

Brad Walker

Locale: SoCal
CAMP on 06/20/2012 22:46:50 MDT Print View

$25 for the 10 oz Coral right now:

Looks like a great light but functional (mostly for winter) harness to me. Hard to beat the price too.

Avery S
CAMP Coral on 06/21/2012 10:12:10 MDT Print View

I have the CAMP Coral, and it works well for glacier travel (what I bought it for) or if you're trying to wear a harness and a pack with a hip belt (I have hiked the harness up and clipped the hipbelt under the belay loop). I have even used it in the gym when I was lending my BD Momentum to a friend. I would not use it for anything with prolonged hanging, or if you need more than 2 gear loops. I think the versatility of the CAMP Air CR justifies the extra $35. Plus the plastic buckle leg loops just freak me out.

David Olsen

Locale: Steptoe Butte
Camp and BD on 06/21/2012 10:29:27 MDT Print View

The BD harness looks good at about 8 ounces. The Camp for $25 looks like a good deal, but
at 12 ounces for small not so UL. You can sew on your own gear loops if you need more,
but I like to rack on a sling so I can pass it to a partner.

Self sewn leg loops from seatbelt web and tubular and tied 1" double pass swami run about 6 ounces, but one has to source new webbing and thread. Webbing, other than climbing specific tubular, is often either surplus, 2nds and or sat on the shelf for a long time. Thread varies in quality and may also have sat for awhile. Plus then one has to test.

Great ideas everyone.

Brad Walker

Locale: SoCal
Re: CAMP Coral on 06/21/2012 10:36:13 MDT Print View

Thanks for the Coral mini-review. I definitely don't need another harness right now, but it's good to get feedback. As I'm sure you figured out, the plastic leg buckles aren't required for safe load bearing--the BD Couloir harness has a similar design.

Yes the CAMP Air harness is really nice. I have one of the Quartz (CR3?) and really like it. I just thought the Coral at $25 is a great deal and pretty close to meeting the OP's requirements.

Nick Truax
(nicktruax) - F

Locale: SW Montana
Another harness option - Mammut Zephir Altitude on 06/21/2012 11:34:40 MDT Print View

At ~7.5oz bit heavier than the Alp95, but lighter than the Air CR, and somewhere in between in terms of function. It is more comfortable than the BD Couloir for a similar weight. It is also very compact, akin to the Couloir. Something that I did not like with my Air CR when packed was its bulk.

I just bought one and have brought it along on one alpine trip thus far. Seems like a keeper.

Here's a link:

Art ...
(asandh) - F
Re: Climbing harness on 06/21/2012 11:41:02 MDT Print View

David ... and anyone else who climbs,
ever heard of Todd Skinner, one of the most prolific climbers in the USA, or world.
yah he had a 10 year old harness too ... and it broke and he fell to his death while trying to free a big wall in Yosemite.

Replace your harness when you replace your rope, they are a team.
4 years max, much sooner if you use it regularly, and much sooner if its a UL harness.

Khader Ahmad
(337guanacos) - F

Locale: Pirineos, Sierra de la Demanda
Rope and Harness safety on 06/21/2012 12:15:32 MDT Print View

As always, check with Pit Schubert and Pepi Stückl books, they know better than anyone about climbing safety and accident forensics.

And keep away of the swami belt or full body harness for leading. Really dangerous for your spine.

Eric Krumland
(Eric_K) - F

Locale: The northwest is the BEST
Replacing harness at the same time as a rope? on 06/21/2012 12:16:15 MDT Print View

I hope I don't need to replace my harness at the same time as my rope. I go through about two ropes a year. I replace my harness at a minimum of every 2 years but it is more likely to be about every 4 years. If you are in doubt replace your gear, but I check all my equipment before and after every use so I know its bomber!


Art ...
(asandh) - F
Re: Replacing harness at the same time as a rope? on 06/21/2012 12:41:52 MDT Print View

the point of replacing the rope and harness as a pair is this:
whenever your rope absorbs a force so does your harness.
take a fall, rap, jug, rope and harness take the same forces.

yeah, I've replaced rope and harness at 6 month intervals when I was climbing very heavily, the cost does addd up.

your life ... your call.

Khader Ahmad
(337guanacos) - F

Locale: Pirineos, Sierra de la Demanda
Re: Replacing harness at the same time as a rope? on 06/21/2012 15:37:25 MDT Print View

A harness is built with huge safety margins, but Art is right. That's why I owned several sets of ropes and harnesses when I was a full time climber. The crag set was cheap and was replaced every 6 months.

David Olsen

Locale: Steptoe Butte
Age of climbing gear on 06/21/2012 16:13:47 MDT Print View

Age is of little importance. It is the wear and exposure to chemicals that is what
damages ropes and such.

"Those who attended the Conference were told in no uncertain terms that the claim for such a short life expectancy of ropes was no longer sustainable. Pit Schubert, President of the UIAA Safety Commission, declared in his inimitable Germanic accent “if you want to break a climbing rope you must cut it over a sharp edge, corrode it with acid or use a weight drop machine. Everything else EES IMPAUSIBLE!”*

Speaker after speaker supported the view. Researchers from a number of university and college departments presented evidence on how ropes could become weaker through use. However, none of the ropes failed on it's first drop, even using weight drop machines. There was always severe and detectable damage (such as the tearing of the sheath) before subsequent drops produced complete failure. And the oldest rope tested was 29 years old! "

You can easily wear through a rope on a 1 pitch jug by a team of climbers if it is on
an overhang and you don't take precautions to stop the sawing action. That would have
no real effect on the harness wear.

Todd's belay loop gave way on rappel and he remarked to his partner that it LOOKED worn beforehand.

Beal gives a total maximum lifetime of 15 years for a climbing or static rope.

For their harnesses.

Lifetime = Time of storage before first use + time in use.
The lifetime depends on the frequency and the type of use.
Mechanical loads and rubbing diminish the properties of the harness little by little, UV and wetness may lead to accelerated ageing.
Storage time : In good storage conditions this product may be kept for 5 years before first use without affecting its future lifetime duration in use.
- Normal duration of use : 5 years
- Occasional use : 10 years.

Edited by oware on 06/21/2012 16:19:17 MDT.

Art ...
(asandh) - F
Re: Age of climbing gear on 06/21/2012 19:48:59 MDT Print View

I have known almost zero climbers who store their ropes and harnesses properly.

breaking strength is not the only relavent factor for climbing ropes. an old rope that is not too old to break yet, could break you in a lead fall because the shock absorption has been taken out of it.

yes ropes have gotten better over the years, but there have been tests where 10 year old unused ropes broke on the very first fall test.

anyway, again ... your life your call.


Edited by asandh on 06/21/2012 19:57:59 MDT.

David Olsen

Locale: Steptoe Butte
Proof on 06/21/2012 20:24:49 MDT Print View

"breaking strength is not the only relavent factor for climbing ropes. an old rope that is not too old to break yet, could break you in a lead fall because the shock absorption has been taken out of it.


Jake D
(JakeDatc) - F

Locale: Bristol,RI
Re: Proof on 06/21/2012 21:36:52 MDT Print View

I also disagree. There has never been an incident of a rope breaking that was not caused by a sharp object of some type.

my last 9.5mm lasted for 5 years and i still use it for gym leading since i had to cut off a core shot so it's only 56m. my 9.8mm had wear issues and Mammut replaced it. my new 9.5 is starting it's 2nd season

i am on my 3rd harness in 13 years of climbing.

Time almost has no bearing on quality of softgoods. stuff will wear out far faster than it 'breaks down'

Todd Skinner was a professional climber and guide.. he put more wear on his harness than any of us could imagine. he recognized that it was worn out but did not replace it, time had nothing to do with it.. belay loops are insanely bomber.. they don't 'break down' it wore out and it cost him. many new harnesses have a red layer stitched into them so that if the outside sheath wears out then the red will show through and you can judge how much it is worn.

Edit: how don't they store their stuff properly? who do you climb with? Most people i climb with keep their rope in a rope bag as i do. my harness stays on a shelf in my basement along with all of my other climbing and camping gear. How much climbing do you actually do?

Edited by JakeDatc on 06/21/2012 21:39:02 MDT.

Brian Austin
(footeab) - F

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: for alpine, i'm pretty happy with my bd alpine bod on 06/21/2012 21:43:25 MDT Print View

"about as simple as a harness can get. the snap-opening leg loops are great. no belay loop, but i manage fine without it. Don't think i'd want to hang in it for an extended period of time. i have never tried the bd couloir, but i have heard lots of good things about it."

I took my normal BD padded harness and cut the belay loop off as it saves weight, but I wanted the padding. I want a complete tie in of hte waist loop. The leg clips are nice on the alpine bod and use it when going up north. Don't think I would want to rock climb in it though.

PS. I grew up on 2" old car seat belt stitched webbing harnesses. When I actually bought a harness with a belay loop, I was like, what the heck is this for? Didn't trust it. Well not really, but when you are not used to it. =)

Jake D
(JakeDatc) - F

Locale: Bristol,RI
Re: Re: for alpine, i'm pretty happy with my bd alpine bod on 06/21/2012 22:39:40 MDT Print View

belay loop is for belaying and rappelling.

tie in loops are for tying in with.

doing the opposite is not how the manufacturer intended and is not recommended.

Stephan Doyle
Re: Climbing harness on 06/22/2012 13:14:48 MDT Print View

I love my BD Couloir. It's super light, simple, and packs down into a tennis ball. For alpine/mountaineering, it's great. For cragging and actual climbing, I take a padded harness, as the Couloir is painful to fall in. The BD Bod (or Alpine Bod) would be a good compromise, and super cheap.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Climbing harness on 06/22/2012 14:47:04 MDT Print View

I have a Whillans Sit Harness that I purchased in the 1970's. It still works good, except that my waistline is about three inches too big to fit it.


eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
harnesses on 06/23/2012 09:47:00 MDT Print View

get one of the newer UL harnesses ... buy it from REI ... much better than one of those "alpine" harnesses if youll be doing actual rock climbing in it ....

as to replacing equipment ... the number given by some manufacturers is really to cover their azz .... the UIAA has tested even old ropes and found they would take at least one factor ~2 fall ... as long as you keep it away from chemicals and store it decently, ropes dont break they get cut ...

i climb 150-200+ days outside a year and i dont replace my ropes/harnesses every 6 months ... or even every year ... unless they actually wear out

as to belaying off the tie in loop, as long as you tie in with a fig 8 backed up with a stopper its fine and even recommended in certain circumstances ... check the BMC literature ...

Edited by bearbreeder on 06/23/2012 12:15:06 MDT.