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Need recommendations for a climbing/mountaineering harness

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Need recommendations for a climbing/mountaineering harness

Postby mambwe » Fri Oct 21, 2011 11:27 pm

I need a harness that I can use on Rainier and I also want to use it to get into rock climbing. Wouldn't mind giving ice climbing a crack one day as well. Would a harness that I use to be roped up on Rainier be that same harness that I would use rock climbing? Thanks. Sorry for all of the questions.
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Re: Need recommendations for a climbing/mountaineering harne

Postby ExcitableBoy » Sat Oct 22, 2011 12:29 am

Any lightly padded harness with detachable leg loops, four gear loops, and a belay loop will meet all your needs. Extra points if it has a full strength rear haul loop. I have a Petzl Adjama which seems to be fine, as good or better than any harness I used before.
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Re: Need recommendations for a climbing/mountaineering harne

Postby BigMitch » Sat Oct 22, 2011 3:11 am

I have used my BD Bod harness for mountaineering, rock climbing, ice climbing, and canyoneering. A decent all-around harness for not much money.

There are much lighter mountaineering harnesses available that are designed primary for glacier travel (when you don't expect to be hanging in the harness unless you fall into a crevasse), but they lack the padding that you would like when you are doing a hanging belay.
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Re: Need recommendations for a climbing/mountaineering harne

Postby Kai » Mon Oct 24, 2011 1:51 am

Black Diamond Couloir harness is light and will work well for mountaineering and other climbing. Not too pricey either.
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Re: Need recommendations for a climbing/mountaineering harne

Postby Autoxfil » Mon Oct 24, 2011 3:42 am

Is Ranier something you are just doing once? If so, bias the harness for rock instead of mountaineering.

The Bod is pretty old-school. The couloir is better in every way, and is a really excellent harness. But, the Coulior is still pretty specific to mountaineering, and is not comfortable to climb in. Leading in it sucks because the gear loops are floppy, and the lack of padding makes it less comfy than a regular harness for top rope learning.

I suggest a more all-around harness. The Adjama would be great, although it's a bit pricey - the BD Momentum AL is a nice alternative if you want to save a little coin. There are tons of similar harnesses as well. What you want are adjustable leg loops which open so you can put them on over skis or crampons, stiff gear loops, and some padding on the leg loops and waist. It will be slightly bulky on Rainier compared to the plain webbing harnesses like the Coulior, but will handle anything from gym climbing to ice cragging to El Cap.
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Re: Need recommendations for a climbing/mountaineering harne

Postby philso » Mon Oct 24, 2011 3:44 pm

my own 2¢would be to start with the alpine bod, the reasons being these:
- the bod is a perfect match for rainier. the couloir would also be ok, as i guess you'll be going guided or with others who know what they're doing and are doing the leading. the couloir i think has only 2 gear loops(you'll want to double check that though) while the bod has 4. as you do more challenging mixed routes you'll want those other 2 rear loops.
- if you really want to do it all, you'll eventually end up needing/wanting 2 different harnesses anyway. alpine climbs generally require little to zip hangtime unless you end up in a crevasse or you get good enough to handle world class routes, by which time you'll be embracing minor discomfort to shave 5 or 10 grams. rock climbing generally requires a lot more hangtime, and i personally don't mind a few more ounces of weight & bulk in exchange for all day comfort. besides weight/ compactness/ features issues i'd say the the bod is more comfortable for moving in while a rock harness is more comfortable for hanging in.
- you may find getting a rock harness on over a bunch of layers problematic
- the alpine bod is about as inexpensive as they come short of making your own or using webbing for a swami wrap
- it will also be good enough for your first season or two of rock climbing. the only drawback i can think of offhand is its lack of belay loop (and padding, of course). by your second season you'll have a good idea of what exactly you'll want in a rock harness before popping the cash.
- my 2 current harnesses are my 2nd alpine bod and a metolious something-or-other, which haave stood me in good stead for the last 15 years or so, so what i'm about to suggest is not based on direct personal experience of any particular harness. there may be good harnesses out there that will serve you well on both rock and alpine, but my own personal hindsight of trying to make 1 thing do it all in the mountains is that i'd have saved myself a lot of money and dissatisfaction in the long run by getting the right gear in the first place.
- if you do decide to go for a do-it-all harness, excitableboys list of features will do you right.

best of luck on rainier
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Re: Need recommendations for a climbing/mountaineering harne

Postby Hotoven » Thu Oct 27, 2011 6:18 pm

I like the petzl adjama. Its more money, but you get what you pay for, an all around good harness. I have a few harnesses, one for rock and ice, one for alpine routes, and one for fat friends.

The adjama fits flat, so you can carry a huge backpack on it. it also has enough gear loops and padding for rock and ice climbing. Adjustable leg loops are a must for mountaineering and this has that as well. With multiple layers on, you need the straps larger for walking, and when rock climbing, you'll need them smaller since you don't be wearing so much.

I like the BD bod and Coulior, but they don't have much padding, and if you want to rock climb, you'll be hanging in the harness at one point or another and its never fun having webbing eat into your skin.

Beware of harnesses with molded plastic gear loops that stick out. I used one for Rainier, and my backpack did not fit well with it.
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Re: Need recommendations for a climbing/mountaineering harne

Postby TimB » Thu Oct 27, 2011 6:36 pm

I am also looking at purchasing my first harness, and the Adjama is looking better and better.
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Re: Need recommendations for a climbing/mountaineering harne

Postby Hotoven » Thu Oct 27, 2011 7:05 pm

TimB wrote:I am also looking at purchasing my first harness, and the Adjama is looking better and better.


Yeah the price is a little high, but it has many little perks.

I have the BD couloir harness which is perfect for mountaineering and ice climbing when wanting to go light. The big down side I find to it is the main buckle you use to tighten it. Since its so small and light, its almost impossible to loosen or take off without freezing your hands and fingers off. You need to take your gloves off and you are then fiddling with cold metal and bare skin. The Adjama has the nifty petzl DoubleBack buckles where you need only thread it once. Its easy to loosen and take off, you only need one finger to do it and it can be gloved!
Also the newer models have even better padding then my older one.

If your not sure you will be climbing a lot or getting into the sport seriously, its a risky investment because of the high price, I started off with a used and even still use the BD momentum AL for my sport and trad climbing. (Its risky buying used harnesses though and should check it out in person and know where to check the fail points on them before you buy them)
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Re: Need recommendations for a climbing/mountaineering harne

Postby TimB » Fri Oct 28, 2011 2:01 am

Hotoven wrote:
TimB wrote:I am also looking at purchasing my first harness, and the Adjama is looking better and better.


Yeah the price is a little high, but it has many little perks.

I have the BD couloir harness which is perfect for mountaineering and ice climbing when wanting to go light. The big down side I find to it is the main buckle you use to tighten it. Since its so small and light, its almost impossible to loosen or take off without freezing your hands and fingers off. You need to take your gloves off and you are then fiddling with cold metal and bare skin. The Adjama has the nifty petzl DoubleBack buckles where you need only thread it once. Its easy to loosen and take off, you only need one finger to do it and it can be gloved!
Also the newer models have even better padding then my older one.

If your not sure you will be climbing a lot or getting into the sport seriously, its a risky investment because of the high price, I started off with a used and even still use the BD momentum AL for my sport and trad climbing. (Its risky buying used harnesses though and should check it out in person and know where to check the fail points on them before you buy them)


I appreciate the input!

I have tried a few new harness' locally, but the selection is pretty slim, and the Adjama,of the ones I have tried is the most impressive, fit as well as quality of construction wise.
Still, I have noticed that it is one of the more expensive units out there.
I will probably continue to use the harness my instructor loans to me, and see how things go-before I buy one of my own.
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Re: Need recommendations for a climbing/mountaineering harne

Postby Autoxfil » Fri Oct 28, 2011 3:22 am

Hotoven wrote: I started off with a used and even still use the BD momentum AL for my sport and trad climbing.


Same here. It's my only regular harness and I see no reason to upgrade. Works just fine.
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