/ Are 4 gear loops enough?
I'm currently looking at getting an all round harness for trad and winter climbing (something i want to get into this winter having never done it before), and maybe mixed climbing after that. After some sifting through reviews and deals, the Petzl Corax seems like a solid choice. The question I have is, do you think 4 gear loops is enough? Does anyone that climbs ice/mixed find that they would prefer some extra loops on their harness? My thinking is that, not being the most flexible 6'4 bloke, extra gear loops at the back would just be harder to access than something on a sling over the shoulder. But ehn is this doable with a pack on?
Thanks for any advice you have!
Yes, it's plenty. If it's not then you can always throw a sling over your shoulder.
I find extra gear loops at the back of my DMM Renegade to be quite redundant even when summer rock climbing when all loops are as far forward as they can be. Put some winter layers on and all loops end up further back of course. I'd rather have four bigger loops than the six of the Renegade.
Sling over shoulder with a pack on is perfectly doable and quite normal, if you can't fit all your gear on the harness (though for me it's been less a case of "can't fit it on the harness") and more a case of "have gear in a variety of locations in case I can't get to it on my harness")
Have yoiu ever found any dramas doing this whilst climbing with a pack?
I *always* get tangled while climbing with a pack, mostly it's because I'm a muppet. It's never too dramatic.
When I'm climbing with a sack, although I use mostly the gear gear loops on the sack, I have also found it easier to use the DMM loops at the front - although that's more to do with the fit of the harness than the number of loops.
That said, the Corax was a good harness and I only changed to DMM because Petzl have changed the new model and it doesn't fit me any more.
So, yes, 4 are enough, but 6 are better for me.
In addition to its four big loops, the Petzl Corax has a small tape between the loops on each side designed for you to thread through a Petzl Caritool:
Intended for you to rack ice pro (screws/pitons etc), you can also use it to carry cams, nuts etc
This greatly expands your options but to create the most space when carrying a full rack I thread all my slings bandolier style over the shoulder. This also makes them more accessible and removes the need to twist them up into manageable balls.
The Corax is a popular choice for good reason. And good value too.
I have the Corax and find it fine for trad, but then again I use a bandolier for cams and wires and qd's yosemite racked on my gear loops. I find this works well for swapping leads and it also means you don't have so much weight around your waist.
As well as working great for racking ice screws the Caritools also work really well for racking extenders on, which then gives you much more space on the existing gear loops. They are easily removable so you can just add them when you are going to be climbing with a sac or carrying a larger than normal rack.
The same applies to most modern multi-use harnesses.
I've never known it to be an issue of space to rack, but personally I like the extra (I've got 7, can't remember the harness, it's orange...and also it fits well which was the main reason), it's more a bit of OCD organising so I know exactly where everything is.
Though for winter climbing I tend to have some loops on sack (on the over-the-shoulder straps at the front and on the waist belt) as they're usually easier to get to. Things will start on the harness but as I realise they don't fit where I want, or if I'm seconding they'll end up on the sack loops and only get moved back when we stop to swap over.
For UK use, two are perfectly fine.
You would only really want more if you were going to be spending several weeks or more each season abroad in Norway, Canada etc. climbing cascade routes.
I've never had any problem with 4 gear loops - and I've no shortage of gear in both summer and winter.
I've never had to use a bandolier for racking, though normally the second uses one for recovery. I find accessing gear loops at the back of the harness a pain with a pack on so tend to have everything on the front loops + rucksack waist strap (winter).
Sling / badolier with a pack is fine as long as you have a bit of a system. i.e if I'll have it on for the entire route, I'll put it under the sack. If I'll be passing it between myself and my partner at belays, then ontop.
I've always had a 5 loop harness which means that the rear of the side pair is more side-on than rear. You also get a single back loop to keep belay plate, spare bits and bobs etc out of reach from your climbing rack.
Personally I find four loops annoying and much prefer having 5 with the one at the back for my belay device, prussiks and nut key etc. The 7 loops on my Renegade make racking even easier, but then again all this winter I was using a harness with two loops and one little tape strip at the back and you learn to live with that as well!
I'm sure you'll be fine with four, but I think five is definitely better. I made one on an old Petzl harness with some cord wrapped in duct tape and that worked ok.
I had 4 loops on my old Petzl harness so made an extra one in the centre at the back.
Think I used shoelace and covered it with a tube made from the insulation from chopped up electrical cable.
That made it much easier to store belay plate and prussics out the way.
I like the 7 loops of the Renegade, but wish they weren't angled. I think DMM have changed that in the Renegade 2.
I have thought about cutting rearranging and stitching the loops into a more friendly angle.
As far as I can see it should be safe enough as the load bearing part of the waist belt passes through the outer padded bit that the loops are attached to..
Any thoughts from anyone?
I've done the same with both petzl harnesses I've had, it gives you somewhere to put all the stuff you're highly unlikely to use while leading but is needed for setting up a belay.
To the OP: Personally I think four gear loops is more than enough.
Last week I climbed the West Buttress Eliminate - A long, very well protected E3 on Cloggy.
I took a massive rack, with a full set of cams to 4", Two sets of wires, 14 quickdraws and some hexes. In addition to this I had my Belay plate and an extra screwgate. I had no problems racking all this on my BD Harness that has only 4 average sized gear loops.
If the route I was doing required more gear I would probably resort to Yosemite racking, or more likely rack my quickdraws on a bandolier.
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