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Gear Guy

Can I MacGyver a Belay Loop Replacement?

With a PAS? A girth-hitched sling? Sounds sketchy, you say...

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Although the chances are slim that a belay loop would wear out gradually with the rest of a harness, if it did could you use the first loop of a PAS-style tether or a short sling girth-hitched to the tie-in loops to temporarily replace a damaged belay loop?

—Ngoh Seh Suan

No. Don’t do it. If your belay loop shows signs of wear, and you aren’t comfortable using it, then the leg-loop connecting strap has likely long since worn out, and your entire harness needs replacing.

O.K., yes, you could in an emergency use a PAS or a sewn sling as the belay loop, but this would mean that your belay loop suddenly wore out with no warning. You were climbing one day, and BAM—the belay loop instantly shot itself to threadbare hell.

Really, if you have any observational skills at all—“Hey, did you grow a moustache?”—you will notice the gradual wear on the belay loop and when that loop looks possibly, maybe, perhaps frayed to the point where it is anything less than solid as a nuclear bunker, just get a new harness. There are myriad models from as low as $35 to $55, and I think you’ll agree that that is a small price for safety. Gear Guy has spoken!


This article appeared in Rock and Ice issue 246 (November 2017).


Got a question? Email: rockandicegearguy@gmail.com


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