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Climbing Harnesses

Beal Ellipse XT

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This article appeared in Rock and Ice issue 247 (January 2018).

Beal Ellipse XT / $79.95 /
Beal Ellipse XT / $79.95 /

Over the last eight months, while getting my ass handed to me at climbing locations throughout the Southwestern U.S., I began to question my gear choices. Tape, I thought, I need more tape! Or maybe new shoes? Or jammie gloves? Lighter cams, tighter pants; I tried it all. Except for a new harness. I never thought much about my old harness; I just grabbed it like an old wallet.

The Ellipse XT is my new wallet and has become part of my go-to kit for numerous reasons. First is the comfy Web-core Technology, which spreads the load, is tough as nails and makes uncomfortable hanging belays slightly less shit, all without inches of padding that get me stuck in a stinking Zion offwidth. The low-volume also means I can pack the harness up inside my helmet with room to spare.

The four gear loops are large and well positioned, so gear is accessible but not so far forward that it will migrate to your crotch when you move. There is also a handy haul loop and two ice-clipper loops, and the adjustable leg loops and double-buckle waist fastening allow you to adjust the harness so it’s centered and comfortable whether you’re wearing six layers or one.

The Ellipse XT is pitched as a big-day mountaineering harness—and it ticks that box—but its light and slim-line design also make it perfect for sport climbing. If you want a simple and versatile harness you can grab for any adventure, the Ellipse XT is a great choice.


-14 oz. (size 1).


-Low volume.

-Packs up small.


-Only comes in two sizes.


-Sport climbing, trad climbing, big day mountaineering.

Also read Gear Review: Mammut Ophir Speedfit Harness