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Alpine harness

Postby Ben Beckerich » Sun Jun 24, 2012 6:56 am

Howdy

I'm about to buy a new harness. My old Adjama is about as beat to crap as I think I'm comfortable with, and I figured I'd probably just go ahead and get another Adjama (and did, in fact, and discovered Petzl changed their freaken sizing on me, so sold it again, at a loss).... but since I'm just not all that up on all the new gear out there, I should probably check in with people who are first..

What's the 'best' mixed alpine harness out there right now? Must be light, comfortable enough for occasional hanging belays, pack-compatible gear loops, ice clipper slots, adjustable leg loops.. that's 'bout it.

Thanks!

-Ben
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Re: Alpine harness

Postby ExcitableBoy » Sun Jun 24, 2012 11:55 am

Too bad about the Adjama, I have one and love it. The BD Couloir is one of the lightest alpine harness out there and gets good reviews from the folks I know who use one. If alpine climbing your clothes should be enough extra padding to make a hanging belay bearable, but I wouldn't plan on making it a habit. It has all the features you asked for, and not much extra.
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Re: Alpine harness

Postby Dow Williams » Sun Jun 24, 2012 1:44 pm

Ben, I actually wear a "g-string" ski harness on most my alpine trips anymore...., grade IV or V, steep ice or snow, wads up in my fist. But if getting into rock or many hanging belays....(print what I am about to say for future throw back).......I use a dead bird harness. As a joke, I received a best man's gift at a wedding last year of Arc'Teryx's mixed harness....320a or something like that...has the holes built in for my ice screw clips....so much lighter and less bulky than the Adjama which was my harness of choice before for waterfall ice. In any regard, it was a joke, because the entire wedding party of Canadian Mountaineers knew my disdain for Arc Teryx, due to how foolish their prices are for equipment that should be destroyed in an appropriate amount of time if properly used. Most folks are paying a premium to essentially belong to a club. However, after enjoying this "Warp" technology first hand last winter, I was completely impressed on hanging belays...then I saw backcountry.com (steep n cheap) offer dead birds rock and mixed version's for $50-60, more than half off...and at that price, this harness is well worth it. Everybody at a certain time of year seemed to be offering these harnesses at 50% off...guess they could not rally their "club" members to pay such a ridiculous price for a harness. The Warp thing is realy more comfortable, less weight and bulk. My hat is off to them on that.
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Re: Alpine harness

Postby AlexeyD » Mon Jun 25, 2012 3:38 pm

BD Bod - the regular, not the "alpine" version. It has just enough cushioning around waist loop to make it decently comfortable for hanging belays; four durable gear loops permit plenty of on-harness racking, and a regular belay/rappel loop. At the same time, it is considerably lighter and more compact than most harnesses out there, and of course the detachable leg loops make putting it on and taking it off over crampons or large boots a breeze. Not to mention the price is quite affordable - under $50 I believe. Biggest drawback IMO is that the "cushy" padding around the waist belt could absorb water in heavy rain or snow, making the harness heavier and less comfortable...but I have yet to experience this problem.
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Re: Alpine harness

Postby ExcitableBoy » Mon Jun 25, 2012 5:30 pm

AlexeyD wrote:BD Bod - the regular, not the "alpine" version.

The BD Couloir is less than half the weight and bulk.
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Re: Alpine harness

Postby AlexeyD » Mon Jun 25, 2012 5:49 pm

ExcitableBoy wrote:
AlexeyD wrote:BD Bod - the regular, not the "alpine" version.

The BD Couloir is less than half the weight and bulk.


Sure, but it has only 2 gear loops, and no cushioning whatsoever, so have fun spending an hour in a hanging or even semi-hanging belay in it. I agree that for strictly alpine applications it may be the better choice, but in my interpretation the OP seemed to indicate that he's looking for something a bit more all-around, for which I think the Bod is better.
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Re: Alpine harness

Postby Vitaliy M. » Mon Jun 25, 2012 6:16 pm

I also use a BD Couloir. Spent a good amount of time hanging in it etc, it is not that bad. Although it was not pleasant but I love how compact it is. It is not something I would do a big wall in, but something I would bring on every alpine climb when I am not planning to hang out on the harness or take whippers on. It has a few spots for clippers (to rack ice screws) as well. Love it.
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Re: Alpine harness

Postby Ben Beckerich » Tue Jun 26, 2012 4:06 am

Sounds like I need to take a look at the Couloir...

Thanks, gentlemen.
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Re: Alpine harness

Postby Ben Beckerich » Tue Jun 26, 2012 4:13 am

Anybody used the Deadbird 340a?
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Re: Alpine harness

Postby Rick Huff » Tue Jun 26, 2012 5:06 am

For many years I used a CAMP STH 245 harness for alpine climbing. It was perfect for me and very light. I just replaced it with the CAMP Blitz that I got on sale for under $50...very compact and it weighs 8 oz. for a size large. It isn't as beefy as the other harnesses mentioned previously, but could work for you.
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Re: Alpine harness

Postby Gafoto » Tue Jun 26, 2012 5:42 am

I bought the BD bod and it's comfy, but the gear loops suck and it's just generally clunky. I wouldn't recommend it for alpine climbing.
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Re: Alpine harness

Postby ExcitableBoy » Tue Jun 26, 2012 12:05 pm

AlexeyD wrote:
ExcitableBoy wrote:
AlexeyD wrote:BD Bod - the regular, not the "alpine" version.

The BD Couloir is less than half the weight and bulk.


Sure, but it has only 2 gear loops, and no cushioning whatsoever, so have fun spending an hour in a I or even semi-hanging belay in it. I agree that for strictly alpine applications it may be the better choice, but in my interpretation the OP seemed to indicate that he's looking for something a bit more all-around, for which I think the Bod is better.


I owned a Chouinard Bod harness. The current BD Bod is basically the same design with a few more features. Some thoughts:

-The Bod is not a comfortable harness to hang in, regardless of the waist padding. This is due to the diaper style and lack of leg padding. The Couloir will likely be just as (un)comfortable, just considerably lighter, (by less than 1/2), a big consideration for alpine climbing. For me, light weight and function trumps comfort at hanging belays because on alpine climbs they are so rare. The OP specifically mentioned a harness for mixed/alpine climbing, not alpine climbing, and cragging, and aid climbing. For an all around harness I would recommend something else, definitely something with padded leg loops and not a diaper style.

-The 2 gear loop thing for me is no big deal. I generally only rack on my first two loops and my ice clippers, for which the Couloir has dedicated slots.

-For many years my alpine harness was a webbing only harness, but not a diaper style. I threw it away when Todd Skinner died. The lack of padding was never an issue, it was fine for short hanging belays because of the design (swami belt plus leg loops). It had no ice clipper slots or even gear loops. I used the gear loops on my pack.
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Re: Alpine harness

Postby Autoxfil » Tue Jun 26, 2012 4:08 pm

The Couloir blows the doors off every other full-featured alpine harness (ie, not the CAMP thongs).

It packs down the smallest (by quite a large margin)
It's shockingly comfy to hang in (at least as good as the Bod)
the floppy little gear loops are up front and easy to use (better than the loops on the Mammut Alpine Light)
4 well-positioned ice-clipper slots provide lots of versatility
it's very easy to get on and off
The price is great

I've used the regular and alpine bod. My regular old Momentum AL harness weighs about the same and packs down about the same, while being hugely more comfy and versatile.

Sorry that I'm pissing in the only photo I have of this harness...
P1020724 (Small).JPG
P1020724 (Small).JPG (53.12 KiB) Viewed 2171 times
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Re: Alpine harness

Postby Autoxfil » Tue Jun 26, 2012 4:18 pm

ExcitableBoy wrote: I used the gear loops on my pack.


This is a great option. Not for the OP, but for stuff like ski mountaineering and easy alpine routes, I wear a 3.5oz CAMP XLH 95. I ski in it, I run in it; I never notice it's there. Gear is on a sling or on my pack, and the harness disappears under my pack's waistbelt.
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Re: Alpine harness

Postby kylenicolls » Wed Jun 27, 2012 6:11 am

Autoxfil wrote:Sorry that I'm pissing in the only photo I have of this harness...
P1020724 (Small).JPG


Unacceptable. If you were hanging and taking a leak, that would be acceptable.

To contribute just a tid bit, I used a alpine bod once and it seemed to have a bit of a pressure point on my hip that was somewhat bothersome. Altough pretty bearable. That could have been more of a backpack hip-belt issue too, though. But taking it on and off, that was cake. I'd have to say I liked it more than my older BD Chaos harness, though.

I have been curious on the Petzl Hirundos. Its super light and cant be nice to hang in. But light and small.
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