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Ryan K.

Ryan K.

Ryan K.

Ryan K.wrote a review of on February 13, 2017

2 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I really wanted to like this harness.

But I can't.

I bought this since it seemed to be the lowest profile harness I could find: no leg loop buckles, minimal padding, etc. This has turned out, well, as advertised. But beyond that, I don't have much positive to say about this harness.

The very first route I did in this left me with bruising on my hips in the shape of the waist belt for over a week. Granted it was a pretty heinous flared, bombay chimney to offwidth, but I've done similar stupid decisions with other harnesses without results like that. I really hoped it would break in quickly, which it has, but kind of alarmingly so. Despite being only a few months old, the structure feels pretty similar to my 2 month old aspect, and not a ton better than my 2 year old one. Except those are actually comfortable. Guess we'll see how that one plays out though. The face fabric is holding up great, just the quicker than expect softening that concerns me.

Edit: Actually I take that back. The face fabric is holding up pretty well, but the abrasion resistant material? Well, that's coming off in small chunks in multiple places. Is this some sort of joke?

Even broken in, it is incredibly uncomfortable to hang in. I even hate belaying an average sized person hangdogging on TR. The waist somehow manages to crush my hips, first rib, kidneys or all of the above, no matter how I position it. I have started referring to this as the BD Kidney crusher.

That aside, the fit is weird. the leg loops are on the small side for the waist. I love the rigid gear loops and wish more companies did this. It feels like you can fit a lot more pieces without it turning into a crowded cluster vs soft loops. However, the loops are excessively justified towards the back on the smaller sizes. I am right between a small and medium - the medium mostly fits if it is completely tightened down, but if I am carrying a heavy rack, I'd like to be able to snug it up a little more. I have the aspect in a medium and this in a small. I don't mind the gear loops on the aspect (wouldn't want them further back but forward would be okay), but in the chaos, the rear loops feel almost directly behind me. I also don't like how the harness is pretty lopsided unless tightened as tight it will go, but I know that's how a lot of harnesses are so that's just me nitpicking.

Gear loops - a flagship "trad harness" should be able to carry everything one would want on an average multipitch route. This cannot. The medium small gear loops make the "5th gear loop", as featured on some of the company's lower end harnesses, completely mandatory in my opinion. Yes, you can carry a gear sling, use all shoulder slings not alpine draws, not wear gloves, freeze your ass off at belays, get super dehydrated, break all of your toes from walking off in your climbing shoes, not carry a cordelette, etc. But I can also do that with a $60 sport weenie harness. And be more comfortable since my kidneys will actually be intact at the end of the day.

This would be 3 stars if the cost to features ratio wasn't so dismal. Most of my complaints are fit related complaints but they are subjective and I realize that. Since many others seem to like the fit, I don't necessarily hold it against BD (minus the gear loop locations). All those complaints aside, I think it's a fairly "average" piece of gear. However, at this price point, it might be one of the most overpriced items of gear I unfortunately own.

Edit 2: Harness lasted about 3/4 of a spring in the desert before the leg loop face fabric (not the load bearing structure, not yet anyways) was disintegrating and a gear loop broke. So all in all, fairly average durability. My assertion stands that this is, or rather was, the most overpriced piece of gear I have owned.

Black diamond please offer the aspect with non adjustable leg loops. That is all.




Ryan K.

Ryan K.wrote a review of on September 8, 2016

4 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I've climbed probably 15-20 days in this shoe so far.

It is a very unique shoe right now - nothing available comes anywhere near as stiff, aside from the boreal ballet (the upcoming astroman may also come close, but is not available yet). The narrow and wide last options are nice to see, however, this "wide" isn't nearly as wide as the alutra wide in the toe box. The shape of this is more along the lines of a shoe like the mythos. Blunt, round, clunky.

Some things this shoe does well: Offwidth, especially inverts. This was my main reason for buying this shoe. This shoe completely blows away things like a TC pro in this realm. Hanging upside down from heel toes is almost effortless. Lower angle, moderate offwidth feels like climbing stairs. But you already could have guessed all that...

What could be improved: Almost everything else. This sounds harsh, but there are so many little things wrong with this shoe that don't necessarily ruin it, but would be so easy to change and make the shoe so much better.

Why is this shoe not a high top? Why would you offer a board lasted low top and a high top with a relatively soft midfoot, rather than the other way around?

The TC pro did a nice job protecting the laces as well as reasonably possible. These I am going through a pair of laces like every 10 days, even with tying them back together multiple times.

There is so much useless padding in this shoe it is ridiculous. If I wanted to climb in hiking boots, I'd do that (which honestly edge better, more on that in a second). I cut a bunch of it out and the shoe is much, much, much more comfortable.

For a stiff shoe, these are HOPELESS at edging. I have found myself knee barring rather than edging on large crystals in flared OW/chimneys more than once because the rubber is so terrible. Especially when new, it is so soft and so thick, but so not sticky, I would stand on a 1/4" edge and watch the rubber deform and roll off the edge. The rubber bends more than the shoe, which is an extremely unpleasant feeling. The sole now looks like a chew toy for a dog - rather than gradually rounding out, the edges are coming off in chunks everywhere. I can tear pieces off with my fingernails it is so soft. Now that much is missing, it does edge a little better. I am very excited to resole this shoe with a more appropriately stiff rubber and see what they are capable of.

I cannot emphasize enough how poorly the choice of rubber and the shoe go together.

All that said, this is a unique shoe right now. There is nothing that does what I need a shoe to do as well as this, and on that basis, 4 stars out of 5. However, it wouldn't take much competition to make this, say, 2 stars out of 5...

For sizing - I wear an 8.0-8.5 street shoe, 38.5 TC pro snug not quite tight, 41 scarpa vapor lace, 8 moc crack sized, 8 altura comfy, and got this in an 8.5. If you go a half size up like butora recommends, you might as well be climbing with rubber sole uggs.