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Climbing Harnesses


Adjustable harnesses (upper) let you fine tune leg-loop fit, handy when you shed or don layers due to weather, and give you the perfect fit. Non-adjustable harnesses (lower) are lighter weight. Both designs usually have four gear loops for carrying quickdraws and, on gear routes, nuts and cams.You have a good rope, but how do you fasten it to yourself? With a climbing harness.

Many harnesses are fully adjustable, and these are great for getting a perfect fit in the legs. They are, however, a few ounces heavier than the types that only adjust at the waist.

Your harness should fit snug, but still lets your legs move freely. There’s a difference between a sport/gym harness and a trad harness. The sport variety is lighter, less padded and will have few if any gear loops. A “trad” harness or big-wall harness will have at least four rigid gear loops, a haul loop, and extra padding for long ascents. We suggest a harness with at least four gear loops for ease of carrying your quickdraws or protection up a climb. Most harnesses have single-pull buckles, which lock automatically, but always remember to double-back the waist buckle if it’s a manual buckle that doesn’t lock itself. Climbers have died when they neglected to buckle their harnesses correctly.



Before you make the first move up any climb, check that your harness buckle is properly threaded. Some harness buckles require a “double back” thread, while others are single pass. Read the instructions and cautions that come with your harness, and always have your climbing partner check that your harness is safe and secure.



Gym harnesses are different from outdoor harnesses. Indoors, you don’t need the sort of padding you’d want for long days with your butt in the sling, so the gym variety is much lighter. Indoor harnesses also don’t have as many gear loops or a haul loop.


Check out Rock and Ice's harness reviews here.


Next Carabiners and Quickdraws
Revisit Climbing Ropes

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