When handed the Lotus harness, all I could see was the beefy plastic sheath that encased the leg-loop tie-in point. And all I could imagine was it getting in the way.
The tie-in protector is designed to prevent wear on your rope and help protect the leg-loop straps, an area that often abrades simply from tying in. Since the unsettling death of Todd Skinner when his harness belay loop failed (apparently due to damage or abrasion), the smooth plastic reinforcer looks all the better.
At 13.4 ounces, the Lotus is obviously light, and chiefly, simple. Made for sport and trad climbing, a dualism I personally find handy, the harness is comfortable. I hardly even notice it when it’s on, which is what I most want in a harness.
Other features include a permanently threaded buckle to eliminate pilot error in doubling back, and four large molded gear loops. The leg loops thankfully lack buckles, but even better, the leg-loop-to-waist ratio is designed for normal-size women—the leg loops are not tight, something common and mortifying for some of us.
One aspect to be aware of is that sizing only goes from XS to M. Jeff Cunningham of Mammut, which is based in Switzerland, says the labeling represents a universal harness-sizing and is the equivalent of a women’s S to L. “These are really the sizes that actually sell for women,” explains Cunningham. “The U.S. is primarily the only country where larger women’s sizes are even requested.” Yet the M, which purportedly also comprises L, was a perfect fit on me, a “bog-standard” (as the Brits would say) size medium. The lack of larger sizes seems limiting.
The harness contains a drop seat, although if, like me, you are already used to relieving yourself while wearing a harness with attached leg loops, you may not need that. The drop-seat apparatus actually provided the only flaw I noticed in the harness: once the elastic stretches, the hook occasionally falls out.