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Gear Review

5 5

Worth a serious look!

I've completed a two-month, patient search for my next harness -- and it's the Calidris. I'm a 6' 165 lb guy, 33 waist, with 10 years of gym/sport/trad climbing (I max out around 12- on top rope) and I intend to continue doing all three. My first harness, overdue for retirement, was a Metolius, and I liked it. In addition to the Calidris, I tried on and hung around in the Corax, the CR3, the CR, Metolius Men's Safe Tech, and a bunch of BD harnesses. All of the BDs that I tried had adjustable leg loops, and all of these had unnecessary pressure points in the leg loops, a design flaw caused by the metal attachments connecting loop to waist and poor placement of stitching. Best looking harnesses, though, and I do care about the look. This appearance concern ultimately ruled out the Quartz CR3, which I deeply admire for some design innovations but looks like of offspring of a circus tent and a holstein cow. Note that my wife and my buddy think it looks just fine. However, I also have decided that I really like a double tightening system for waist-belts, as every time you wear this type of harness you dial in a perfectly symmetrical fit, custom to that day's clothing and physical condition. In this regard the smaller Corax is a very fine harness, but in close comparison with the Calidris, it lost. Why? -- Comfort and ventilation. The Calidris' leg loops are wicked comfy -- and without bulky, heavy padding. The Calidris allows air penetration of waist belt and leg loops, and I expect this prolongs the life span, as the harness does not soak up body salts. People comment on the weight of climbing harnesses, and in reviews you pick up the idea that a few ounces lighter is meaningful. This is a load, so to speak. There is no way that the difference between sending that route or taking a whipper is dependent on a matter of ounces, when all harness are attached to a human being measured in many pounds. What is meaningful in my experience is the way that minor harness discomforts in the gym become somewhat more pronounced hang-dogging on a sport climb, and became nasty searing demons of pain when strapped into long belay stances on a multi-pitch day. The Calidris is a really fine blend of everything I wanted -- impressive comfort, easy and symmetrical adjustment, simple and elegant appearance. For my size and frame, I hang in a very balanced position.