UKH

/ Winter harness recommendations

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NottsRich on 18 Mar 2018

I'm looking for a new winter harness but struggling. My usual complaint is that gear loops end up too far back around the sides and I can't find the gear I want, even when I buy a larger harness and do it up tight.

I'm a slim build, usually climb in base layers, fleece and hard shell, but still loose the gear loops. Can anyone suggest good harnesses to look for, perhaps ones where the loops slant forwards, or are positioned further forwards than normal, or are floating loops (not sewn onto the waist strap). Must have attachments for ice clippers. A bit of padding but not too much (more than the DM Super Couloir). Thanks.

The Ex-Engineer - on 18 Mar 2018
In reply to NottsRich:

My current harness (Mammut Togir Light) has solid moulded plastic gear loops with fairly 'square' corners.

I'm a definite fan as you can rack about 11 krabs on them, greatly reducing the need to use the rear gear loops with the consequent faff.

So, my main suggestion is go for something with the largest capacity front gear loops you can find. It may not be a perfect solution, but it provides a step in the right direction.

Anyway, good luck finding something that works for you.

HeMa on 18 Mar 2018
In reply to NottsRich:

Old 'Ryx M270 would be perfect... too bad no longer made.

Prof. Outdoors on 18 Mar 2018
In reply to NottsRich:

There seems to be a trend for harnesses to have gear loops further back. The new DMM renegade has the same length waist belt but the gear loops are further back than the old model.

I am in the market for a new harness. I do use a bandolier sometimes but would like gear loops that I can reach in winter attire. I intend to look at Edelrid Jay 2 and Climbing Technology Ascent harness which are both available from the Climbers shop in Ambleside.

Good luck

 

matthew - on 18 Mar 2018
In reply to NottsRich:

Surprised how few people complain of this. Maybe the disappearing winter gear loop problem affects slim climbers more. So far as I know, there is nothing on the market that successfully answers the question of how to put gear loops where you want them, regardless of whether your waist size is at the upper or lower end of the harness's range. Some harnesses won't equalise the gear loops for any wearer! It is a spectacular failure on the part of manufacturers and if anything has got worse with addition of lumbar pads, quickly followed by lumbar cutouts, that end up off-centre for most climbers.

The floating belts on some DMM models are maybe the best effort and at least allow you to centre the racks so you don't have one too far forwards and one too far back. There are also the models with a buckle either side but they all come with a weight / bulk penalty and still will not allow you to slide both sides forwards or back to adjust for bulky clothing.

Could you improvise some kind of additional gear rack to fit on the the front end of your belt for when you are wearing thicker clothes?

 

Ben Sharp - on 19 Mar 2018
In reply to NottsRich:

Mines a Mammut togir click and I've found that ok for racking, as ex-engineer says the gear loops slope nicely forward. Being able to clip in and out of the harness with your feet on the ground is great.

NottsRich on 19 Mar 2018

Thanks for your comments everyone, glad to see I'm not alone with frustrating gear loops! I did add a gear loop to the rear of a trad harness before which has lasted for years. Easy to do because I could just tie it off to the rear or the side loops. Add a front loop won't be quite so easy but I'll have a look.

My current harness has two front tightening buckles so I can at least centre everything, but even so the loops are too far back.

Thanks for the recommendations too, I'll have a look at them all.

 

nufkin - on 19 Mar 2018
In reply to HeMa:

>  Old 'Ryx M270 would be perfect

Mine still is!

Martin Bennett - on 19 Mar 2018
In reply to nufkin:

 

>  Old 'Ryx M270 would be perfect

> Mine still is!

 

Ryx?

 

 

tripehound - on 19 Mar 2018
In reply to NottsRich:

I use a rucksac with gear loops on the waistbelt, backed up by flutes on a bandolier for screws and another bandolier for extra gear.

 

Prof. Outdoors on 19 Mar 2018
In reply to NottsRich:

I once added two extra gear loops to a Wild Country harness.

Harder to describe than to do but uses half inch webbing tape.

Make a loop of tape that will be a reasonable fit around the padded main belt of the harness in front of the existing racking loop. It will end up on the racking side of the  fastening buckle(s). Overlap ends of webbing and sew together.

The idea is to tie some perlon cord from recently made webbing loop to the attachment point of front racking loop thus making an extra gear loop. It was stiffened by threading the perlon through some plastic tubing. The length will need tweaking to obtain the correct position on the harness. The structure of the harness is not comprimised but the knots do need to be tight!

Sounds a bit Heath Robinson (showing my age) but I used that harness for years without any trouble.Might be worth a shot.

 

 

Kirill on 19 Mar 2018
In reply to NottsRich:

I use a BD harness, not sure what exact model (possibly earlier version of Chaos). I find that the gear loops are too much forward if anything. Quite annoying at times when gear gets tangled between my legs. Does have attachments for ice clippers too.

HeMa on 19 Mar 2018
In reply to Martin Bennett:

'Ryx as in Arc'Teryx...

Presley Whippet on 19 Mar 2018
In reply to NottsRich:

Any ideas where I can get a harness with proper double back buckles, not these crappy fashionable health and safety things that are all the rage right now? 

It is more important to me to be able to put the harness on whilst stood firmly on the ground than to have the doubling back done for me. 

Making things "safer" has made things much more hazardous in this instance. 

2
HeMa on 19 Mar 2018
In reply to Presley Whippet:

DMM Renegade?

Martin Bennett - on 19 Mar 2018
In reply to HeMa:

> 'Ryx as in Arc'Teryx...

Crikey. I knew abbreviation was in vogue but I've seen it all now! Thanks for the interpretation.

Agree they make great harnesses. I'm on my third, but with each of the ones I've had (AR320, AR300 and AR summat else) I've had to go up to the large or find the gear loops are too far back. This means when I'm in one of my slimmer periods and wearing little they only just go tight enough around my sylph-like (32" at best) waist.

For the Winter I use a DMM Super Couloir so that it goes on and off easily with crampons on.

Presley Whippet on 20 Mar 2018
In reply to HeMa:

Just checked the renegade, nanny state buckles there too sadly. 

1
Andy Hardy on 20 Mar 2018
In reply to Martin Bennett:

> >  Old 'Ryx M270 would be perfect

> Ryx?


Give him a break. He probably had to trade in half his keyboard to be able to afford one.

TobyA on 20 Mar 2018
In reply to Presley Whippet:

> nanny state buckles there too sadly. 

You realise you can open those buckles fully if you want? Ziplock buckles have been around since at least the mid 90s so hardly a new thing!

 

1
Presley Whippet on 20 Mar 2018
In reply to TobyA:

Hmm yes, but try giving them the Scottish winter simulation test. 

Place you hands in the freezer for 10 mins then try to put the harness on, in the dark, in the shower with the dog licking your face whilst giving your wife a good listening too about upsetting her sister yet again

They have been around for some time but it seems there is no longer an alternative.  

Kirill on 20 Mar 2018
In reply to Presley Whippet:

Why would you wear a harness in the shower??? 

3
phizz4 - on 20 Mar 2018
In reply to Presley Whippet:

Black Diamond Bod and DMM Couloir have thread-back buckles and allow you to keep feet on the floor when fitting.

David Myatt - on 20 Mar 2018
In reply to Presley Whippet:

Among the many harnesses I've had, including the Alpine Bod, I find the DMM Super Couloir overwhelmingly my favourite for winter and Alpine. Light, and with proper a "proper" buckle. Best trad harness was a Troll Technician bought around 1992. Floating waist belt with doubleback buckle, no buckles on the leg loops, and you could have the gear loops exactly where you wanted. Totally brilliant, no idea why no does one similar now. 

joe.91 - on 20 Mar 2018
In reply to NottsRich:

I have the same problem, I have two harnesses the BD Solution for rock ad mixed and Hirundos for ice as it has clippers.

The Hirundos I can't access the rear gear loops with a pack whereas the BD is a dream, luckily BD now do the technician which has clippers. I'll most likely replace my Hirundos next winter for the Technician! Also the Vision which is lighter/more expensive but I believe the gear loops are different. 

TobyA on 20 Mar 2018
In reply to Presley Whippet:

I just use a fixed leg loop harness these days for winter with no problems. Perhaps you should reconsider your mountain management skills and just put your harness on a bit earlier when it's safe? For example ski mountaineering, if I need one, I tend to just wear a harness all day. Winter climbing, I can fit my harness leg loops over boots and crampons without any great struggle.

Also you might want to try some better gloves if you feel like your hands have been in the freezer. My wife doesn't have a sister so I don't need to worry about that one.

 

2
Presley Whippet on 20 Mar 2018
In reply to TobyA:

I believe the risk of going a over t down a snow slope whilst tangled in a harness far out weighs the risk of neglecting to double back the buckles. A friend of a friend died that way.

Of course, I bow to your superior mountaineering skills, never, ever having put yourself at risk due to perfect planning on every occasion. I am clearly not worthy. 

1
johnt - on 20 Mar 2018
In reply to Presley Whippet:  Have you looked at the Metolius Safetech harness ?  It has traditional buckles on the waist and legs and gear loops that are not hidden around the back in addition to an adjustable rise although no clipper slots - one of my favourite harnesses of all time and now only £39.99 at Rock & Run..... 

 

A9 - on 20 Mar 2018
In reply to NottsRich:

I'd say an alpine bod or similar.

Something that you can get in and out of with both feet firmly on the ground - whether on a stomped out ledge or on the flat in a storm. Should be basic to sort out and very simple to use. No bid wads of damp sponge round thighs and waist to sap the heat away (plenty padding in winter and shouldn't be falling off too much anyway). Roll down small for packing in a rucksack, lightweight to carry and quick to dry out. 

johnt - on 20 Mar 2018
In reply to Presley Whippet:oh, and don’t get worry about the lack of clipper slots on the Safetech -  those Petzl Carritools fit just fine without them. I think the only other option might be a DMM Renegade Pro - it has a traditional type waist buckle and floating waist belt and gear loops that are nowhere near the back of the harness.....  note this is the PRO model not the standard Renegade that has pre-threaded buckles ( you guessed it, I don’t like them either)...

 

johnt - on 20 Mar 2018
In reply to Presley Whippet:and the Renegade Pro has 2 Vault slots - DMM’s equivalent of clipper slots.... 

 

nufkin - on 20 Mar 2018
In reply to Presley Whippet:

I salute the phrase 'giving your wife a good listening to', but a) perhaps you should avoid antagonising your wife while gearing up, and b) it seems you're unfairly directing a certain amount of blame towards your harnesses for putting them on late. I've been guilty of putting mine on in foolhardy places plenty of times, but generally the fault is mine - and it might well be argued that not being able to easily put on a harness while unwisely teetering is not necessarily a bad thing

NottsRich on 20 Mar 2018

More great suggestions everyone, thanks. 

TobyA on 20 Mar 2018
In reply to A9:

I still have an alpine bod somewhere and used one for my main harness for ages, a good design for its age but not having a belay loop could be a pain and it was actually painful for longer and steep abseils. But looking at it now its amazing how heavy it is compared to modern designs! You would reckon it would be light just being webbing but it shows how much modern technology has moved on.

There are some truly amazingly light nappy style harnesses out there now - some have OK features on them for UK winter climbing (lightest mainly are skimo oriented so don't have much). But I've not tried any of them so don't know if they are comfy for say a semi hanging belay halfway up Beinn an Dothaid or similar!

1
TobyA on 20 Mar 2018
In reply to Presley Whippet:

You were the one going on about the nanny state. In stormy weather or if you aren't in a particularly flat place trying to gear up, I found having all the buckles open on a classic style harness is a faff because they all get twisted around each other and you end up with the leg loops on the wrong way round and such. A nappy style harness like the BD Bod or Alpine Bod (very cheap I note too!) avoids that and have the type of buckle you want.

1
HeMa on 20 Mar 2018
In reply to Andy Hardy:

Actually, I could afford even a keyboard so I have to cope with the touchscreen one on my iPad. And together with loss of skin due to already climbing 3+ weeks in ’Bleau means that the least amount of typing is best.

NottsRich on 22 Mar 2018

 

Does anyone know if a BD ice clipper will fit onto the DMM Renegade Pro 2? DMM have their Vault system now (no idea what it really is), so I'm wondering if my existing ice clippers will work with it.


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