A featherweight harness for technical and vertical adventure.
- Load-bearing and strength-rated design
- Webbing gear loops and ice clipper slots for your hardware
- Can be put on and taken off while wearing skis
- Low-profile gear loops don't interfere with your harness
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Share your thoughts
The Couloir Harness
- Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
The Couloir Harness gets the job done, but it is not perfect. That being said, this is my, and many of my friends go to harness for glacier travel, alpine climbing, and all my ski mountaineering.
My first recommendation for someone looking to purchase this harness is check the size. I am around a 30 waist and I have the Couloir in a size Small. I found the Medium to be too big, and had problems with it sagging. My recommendation on sizing would be going with the smaller size bracket you may fall in if you are between two sizes.
My biggest, yet still minor, complaint with the harness is the buckle. Using this guy in some very cold places it would be nice to have a buckle that I could follow through with gloves on. It is not the easiest buckle to tighten and easy to not tighten correctly if you are not paying attention.
If you are looking to use with Ice Screw Clips, I would suggest buying the Black Diamond Ice Clipper one, as it works well with the clip loops.
Another convenient feature of the harness besides its compact and light design is its ability to be put on with skis on. Whether skinning onto a glacier or encountering some unexpected rope work, its nice to not have to fiddle with skis or crampons to put this harness on.
The Couloir packs down to a little bigger than a fist, and comes with a nice stuff sack. The two gear loops are more than adequate, but don't expect them to clip as easily as a normal harness with rigid loops. This is not a comfortable harness when weighted, but comfort is not what the Alpine is about. Unweighted, and even when roped up, the harness is quite comfortable and perfect for long days.
Below: The Fabrikant styles out in his Couloir harness on top of the Grand Teton.
Now in fashonista black!
- Familiarity: I've used it several times
I got this harness a few years ago and it was only available in burnt orange. Now it's in black! how exciting!
Forgetting the fashion talk for a minute, this harness is perfect for mountaineering and ski mountaineering. At 9 oz. it sits in the bottom of my bag next to a biner and ATC for that occasional repel during technical ski tours. I don't have to worry about making space for a full sized harness, yet I can climb vertical ice or rappel on this with confidence. It comes completely apart so you can get it on without removing skis That's key.
It's not much fun to sit in and weight. but it's not designed to be comfortable. Sitting is for a Lazy Boy, in his Lazy Boy.
Off-sized and awkward
The Couloir looks like a great alpine mountaineering harness that I want to be stoked on. Unfortunately the pitfalls were too many to stand behind and I ditched this harness after one guided course on Mt. Shuksan, North Cascades NP. I've used the BD Alpine Bod and several Arcteryx lightweight harnesses for mountaineering but I really liked the lightweight and packability features of the Couloir. When on an expedition, I generally only clip my gear to one gear loop on each side, so 2 loops are perfect. Unfortunately, the gear loops on the Couloir sit too far forward so my rack is always clanging on my thighs (folks who use the shoulder sling method need not worry). The sizing is also challenging, I'm 5'9" 145 lbs and the S-M is maxed out in tightness. If I'm in a wind shirt only, it feels like I'm a gangster in baggy pants. Also, the buckle is very tight fitting and small, so it's very difficult to adjust, let alone managing it w/ gloves on in bitter temps. All complaints aside, if this harness fits you well I highly recommend it: it's comfortable , affordable, and wildly lightweight, for everybody else though, the BD Alpine Bod is still around for a reason.
perfect for alpine/glacier travel
Perfect alpine harness
- Familiarity: I've used it several times
This thing weighs and packs down to nothing, allowing you to easily take it on any alpine adventure. It's surprisingly confortable, too, given the lack of padding (especially if you have a couple layers on underneath). I'm sure a huge whipper or hanging in it all day would leave a couple marks, but that's obviously not the purpose.
Having the belay loop is clutch, too (vs. the Bod). You can still get it on/off easily (without having to go over skis/crampons/boots/whatever), but having the belay loop provides an idiotproof attachment for belays, raps, and the like. Likewise, it avoids the temptation to create a belay loop via a carabiner, which is a no-no due to triaxial loading.
The only improvement would be if they could figure out how to use speed buckles instead of the traditional, double-back variety. Dealing with the double-back is a huge pain in the ass with gloves. Make it happen BD!
I love this harness!
Not the most comfortable but what do you expect out of a harness that packs into a jacket packet, can get wet, easy to put on/take off (even with skis on). I travel a lot therefore love this harness!
Great lightweight and packable harness for glacier travel up in the PNW. The buckles on the leg loops make this thing super easy to get on. Highly recommend.
Like all the other reviews say this harness is the bees knees for ski mountaineering, glacier travel and easy alpine climbs.
It's minimalist style makes it light and very compact which is a big advantage over any harness made for crag climbing.
The feature that really sets this harness apart from something like the Camp 95 (another ultra light skimo harness) is that you can easily get in on whilst you're wearing your ski boots, crampons or even skis.
The ultimate ski mountaineering harness
I have owned the Black Diamond Alpine Bod Harness for many, many years and finally upgraded to the Black Diamond Couloir Harness. I love how little space it takes up in your pack and it doesn't weigh anything.
Couloir Harness in the Ruth Amphitheater
Noah Howell in the red, sporting a BD Couloir harness.
No excuse not to take along.
Lightweight and packable enough to bring along on backcountry hikes for unexpected rappels down sketchy terrain.
Would any of you folks that have purchased...
Would any of you folks that have purchased mind sharing your stats,the size you got, and the result. Im 6'2" 205 lbs with a 34 in waist. Thinking Im M/L here but its tough when Im usually on the larger end of things.
I don't own this, but I'd recommend the the L/XL if you're using this for alpine ventures. My reasoning is because you'll have layers, and it's better to be safe than sorry. This harness is super adjustable, so I think it should suit your needs. Best of luck!
Good point. Thanks
I'm 6" 2", 195 lb, 36" waist, and got the L/XL. Over non-insulated pants, I just have enough webbing after doubling back to meet BD's recommendations....
Just another example. I am 5'10" and 165lbs and the S/M fits me like my rock climbing harness does, but I went with the M/L to make sure it fits over all of my ski clothes.
Thanks guys. I went l/xl and it will be just right with light insulation. Glad i didnt go m/l
If you were to decide between this harness,...
If you were to decide between this harness, and the Arc'Teryx S220 for light alpine situations, which would YOU choose?
You're making a tough comparison, as the two harnesses are not in the same "weight class" The Arc'Treyx S220 has padding and much more robust leg and gear loops than this harness. It's like comparing a Yugo to Lincoln Town Car.
You'd do better comparing the Arc'teryx S220 to the BD Momentum AL. In that case, I'd say get the BD Momentum AL.
Really? It seems like they are in the same class to me. First of all, there is only 10g difference between the two. Second - both are marketed as packing incredibly light/ small. Third - both are to be used for alpine climbs when you won't be sitting in the harness for long. Sounds like a lot of similarities, other than the leg loops...
As far as glacier travel and other non-technical climbing scenarios, the Couloir is superior to the 220. They're not really in the same 'class' because the 220 is pretty much a normal harness whereas the Couloir is a lightweight harness primarily intended for situational use in the cold, when you are wearing a bunch of layers.
the arc'treyx is designed to be more comfortable. even if you never fall, you may have some hanging belays, and you'll be wearing a lot less clothing than ski mountaineering. plus the molded gear loops will make placing pro easier than the fabric loops on the BD.
Not for rock climbing
Not that soft
- Gender: Male
- Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
Go to harness for ski mountaineering and alpine climbing where I don't anticipate any falls or extended time sitting. It does not have any padding so don't plan on using this for big days of "regular climbing" but it works great on alpine ice, and 5.easy rock climbing. Perfect for glacier travel, packs up tiny in the bag. I sometimes find that the haul loop sits uncomfortably on my tailbone when wearing larger backpacks. 4 ice clippers can be attached. Gear loops are a little flimsy but I don't think I have ever actually used them. The M/L size fits pretty universally well - go for the other sizes if you are far on either end of the spectrum.
Packs small, and fits well. Perfect for ski touring and ski mountaineering.
IF your looking for a great ski mountaineering harness this is it. breaks down into a tiny bag, but gives you confidence whn on glaciers, or roped up on bigger peaks. Use it on any trips!
Super light\small, take one with you!
Awesome harness, all the function without any bulk. does cut into my legs on a rappel but its going to stop a fall so can't really complain. Simple straps easy to use
Everything you need!
This harness is super light, and packs down ridiculously small. It's comfortable over a bunch of winter layers, and has enough room to keep necessities at hand. The thing I like best, taking it on and off is super easy, and doesn't require any messing about, just put it on and go.