/ I am looking for a new light winter harness. Anyone used these?
I want something unpadded and very light that I can put on over crampons etc. Decent gear loops is preferable (number less important as I can add extra) and a few ice clipper slots would be nice but not essential. Also something cheap is preferable!
Currently I am looking at either getting another BD Couloir (in the correct size!), a DMM Super Couloir or the BD Alpine Bod.
I am now less keen on the BD Couloir though as the gear loops were shit and the buckle a nightmare to use. Though maybe I am put off after it slopping about?
Unfortunately there is no shop in London that stocks all three so I can't try them side by side. So... anyone had the luxury of trying more than one of these? Or just any thoughts?
Or I could always just use my modified BD Momentum, put up with the extra weight/pack size and remember to always put it on before crampons.
I have given up on my alpine bod due to the pain it causes when loaded. If you aren't going to sit in it, then it is a great harness; if you are, then I suggest my current fave, an Arcteryx R280, which I can honestly say can be put on over crampons (I put them on first by mistake...) though I suggest you put the crampons on second...
I use one of these for ski touring and the odd winter climb:
Fits well and very light and compact.
I have a DMM super couloir and rate it highly for winter. Fine for summer trad as well - only thing I don't like it for is sport / indoors where I spend more time falling / hanging!
One of these and just don't forget to put it on before you put your poons on. Not THAT hard to remember is it ;) I have the predecessor and it's super light, really compact, comfy, has the right number of gear loops to prevent yo from taking too much crap with you or to use a bandolier with and it's unconfusing - you don't have to do mutiple buckles up that get stuffed with snow when you chuck it down, there's an abseil loop etc. I used to have an alpine Bod and this is lighter and better by far. I now use it for all my trad climbing too. Yeah the loops are a bit crowded when I take lots of gear but if you man up you can learn to live with it...
BD Couloirs just don't fit me right, otherwise I might think they're OK - though I agree the buckle is rubbish. I used a Bod then an Alpine Bod for many years and I liked the AB, but...
I've been using a Petzl Hirundos, which for a sport climbing harness is extremely popular for alpine climbing. It's really light and - on me - very comfortable. The most comfortable harness I've ever used, and for that reason it keeps getting used. However for extended abseiling or hanging belays it just isn't padded enough (nor am I) and you do have to remember to put it on before your crampons, though it does fit over them if necessary. It's not very durable, if you think you'll be thrutching up chimneys etc. On the other hand I really like the easier and quicker buckle on the Petzl compared to the old BD finger manglers.
As you seem to have figured, you really need to try harnesses on, plus it depends exactly what sort of winter climbing you'll do. If it's steep and you might hang a bit, something like the Hirundos might be too thin, but you really need to try one on and hang in the shop to get an idea of that. Personally I'd suck up the weight penalty and go for one of the BD harnesses designed for technical ice. Never tried the DMM.
Yes perhaps I should have explained the sort of mountaineering I do. Currently it is mostly grade II ridges though I'll be doing much more grade III this season and hitting the Alps over the summer. But something that will serve me for a few years up to say grade IV would be good so hanging belays and chimneys etc are going to be very unlikely. When I do that sort of thing in trad I am very happy with my modified Momentum.
Thanks to others for their suggestions. Though I'll be staying away from Arcteryx as I think everything they sell is hugely over priced. Something in the £40-£50 range is preferable as I am a tight git :)
Just to confuse the issue further, I've been eyeing up the Blue Ice Choucas, looks like a nice minimal harness :)
Cheers. Yeah I am aware of that, though looks almost identical to the couloir, save for the two ice screw loops on the leg loops. The buckle looks better too, but as with the couloir I suspect too much usability has been sacrificed for weight to make it a decent mountaineering harness for the sort of thing I do.
I have an old alpine bod (no belay loop). It's very light, quite similar to the DMM Super Couloir to put on, and uncomfortable to sit in. Lack of belay loop does become annoying for anything other than long multipitch/all day routes, but overall the good outweighed the bad.
I would get one again, except that the DMM Super Couloir has all the good features, plus an extra gear loop and wider tape so it is a bit more comfortable.
Can't say I have tried the BD couloir, but between the other two I would pick the SC over the Bod unless weight is the most important thing.
Personally I would cut the belay loop off anyway and use a pair of opposed lockers. Means you can take a piss easily (or a crap) while remaining tied in to the rope. Useful if you need a pee on a ridge as I like to do long 2-3 day routes.
I didn't know the tape was wider than on the Bod though... looks the other way around in pics. Useful to know. Yeah 5 loops is good for keeping a nicely organised rack (I am anal about that and don't like bandoliers much) but easy enough to add a fifth to a harness if it hasn't got one.
Websites state the SC has two ice clipper slots (or something to that effect) but I can't see this in pics. Can you confirm whether this is the case?
My Super Couloir has slots for ice clippers on the waist belt on each side, inbetween / overlapping the gear loops.
Its definitely a pretty minimal harness but I like it!
I would have to check, but that's my impression from sitting in them. The SC is definitely more comfy anyway.
I just think it does everything the alpine bod does, but a bit better.
I do still use my old alpine bod occasionally. Mostly when I need to lend someone a harness and I let them use the SC.
Hah! This is the Arcteryx harness I recommended (in my size too... am tempted to get a spare!) for £54! http://www.ellis-brigham.com/products/arcteryx/womens-r-280-harness/133303
Thanks. Not a bad price on offer, but very similar to a normal trad harness so no point me buying one that is similar to mine.
I am glad to hear people have liked their super couloir harness and that it has ice clipper slots. Is it just one per side or two?
Sounds like that harness is winning... removal of the belay loop and it would be perfect.
Does anyone know of a London store that stocks it? All the usual don't as far as I can tell and I really want to try it on before buying.
Sell the Couloir, you'll easily get 30 quid as long as it is on great condition. A new Couloir is only 35 with a bit of shopping.
Just had a look at my SC and it has 4 attachment points per side for ice clipper type things. They run from the middle of the 1st gear loop to the middle of the second.
4? Ah that's great. Plenty of options then. If only I could find a London supplier...
In reply to nickinscottishmountains:
Not a bad idea actually. I'll post up this week.
I hate the buckle on the Couloir. The double buckle design is difficult to manipulate with gloves on .
My favorite light harness is the Camp Blitz:
Looks pretty good and is damn light.
But which retard at Camp did the sizing???
S: Waist 24 - 31.5 in
L: Waist 33 - 41 in
And I am a 32! lol. An overlap on the sizes or a medium size would have been prudent!
Why are people recommending harnesses with fixed leg loops? Sure, you can use them for winter but it's a PITA.
Well just ordered a Super Couloir through Rock On Climbing! As I found no supplies in London I rang them to see if they stocked (never used them before) and they said they'd order a medium in and if it didn't fit they'd order me a small (assuming the size was the problem) as they'd have no problem selling a medium on. Nice of them!
I've used the alpine bod for the past 3 years and beer seemed to have a problem with it. Good solid harness that's all you need ! My opinion anyhow :)
What's a PITA about them? They're lighter, more compact and do the job just as well bar getting them on over crampons...
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