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Gear Review

1 5

Not a Good Harness for Long Belays

After seeing this harness highly reviewed by supertopo and almost every independent reviewer, I went and tried on a slough of harnesses myself and still chose this one for comfort. True, the gear loops are a bit flacid, poorly placed and generally uninspiring, but it felt so good!

Then I climbed in it. Granted, I put it to the comfort litmus test and went aid climbing in it, but after a mere four hours of sitting in hanging belays I almost could not stand it anymore. The problem was unexpected, and here's what happened:

The padding in the harness was great at first, but what's really keeping you safe is a piece of flat webbing that looks to be under an inch in width, running through the 3" wide padding. After sitting in the harness for a few hours I had already managed to break the nice padding down so that I could almost exclusively feel that narrow, flat webbing. One of the things that makes harnesses comfortable is how they diffuse the pressure of your weight over a greater area, so to be sitting not on 3" of padding but less than 1" of webbing is a big difference. I essentially wasn't benefitting from the padding much at all.

I had adjusted the harness up and down my lower back and along my legs to disperse the discomfort, but after 4 hours there was no place left that was not extremely sensitive. I've aid climbed in several harnesses now and I understand things get uncomfortable, but this is absurd. Climb the Nose in it? I'd rather get kicked in the belay loop. I will be buying another harness and trying to sell this one to someone who isn't looking to climb long routes in it.