Climbing Technology Ledge Harness£50, added May/2011, see all Climbing Technology news & reviews
Reviewed by Toby Archer
Although badged as 'Climbing Technology' – an Italian firm – if you look carefully at the instructions attached to the harness, you see that the Ledge is actually made by the Czech soft-goods manufacturing powerhouse of Singing Rock – a firm that actually makes harnesses sold under the brand names of a number of other leading companies. The Ledge seems to be of the same great quality of manufacturing that you expect from these harness experts.
The waist padding is of the split-frame design with one strip of webbing at the top of the harness and one at the base allowing gaps in between. This both saves a few grams in weight and means you get slightly less sweaty under the padding on hot days. I didn't notice any less lumbar support from the harness due to this design and, as a result, rather like it. On the other hand, I thought the leg loops could give more support. The foam in the leg padding is soft so despite being relatively wide it does not give a lot of support. When you are actually climbing and even falling off you don't notice this at all, but when my climbing partner Ed used the harness when we were ice climbing in Norway, his first comment arriving on easy ground after a long abseil on the descent was: “the leg loops aren't very comfy on this harness!”
I wondered if Ed was comparing it rather unfairly to the burly industrial harnesses he used to wear in his previous career as a roped access worker, but have since found similar whilst using the Ledge myself. It was most obvious whilst belaying another mate Tony on one of his redpoint projects. I normally find belaying people who are working routes quite a mellow process but that day, with the legs loops pushing sharply into the back of my thighs, was fighting the urge to tell him that he had now taken quite enough of a rest and could get his weight off the rope and try the bloody move again!
Using the Ledge for jumaring ropes for photographic purposes has only reinforced my opinion that this isn't the best harness if you expect to be hanging in it (or holding someone else's weight on it) for long periods. If there is an upside to the softness of the leg padding, it is that the harness folds up very easily and neatly into a small package in comparison to many other fully adjustable all-round harnesses – not a bad a thing if your climbing often starts with a lengthy hike. At 540 grams, it is also not too heavy in comparison to some of its competitors, although some lighter options exist.
Racking comes from four medium sized looped racks and one additional small webbing slot at the back that will hold one krab – for example the HMS holding your belay device. Whilst being able to carry a reasonable amount of gear on the four racks, it felt cramped in comparison to the seven large racks on my DMM harness. This perhaps betrays the harness' Italian design where sport climbing and icefalls – both of which don't require huge racks – are more the norm. Bolder climbers who don't need a large rack to make up for a deficit of courage will not notice the racking space though!
The Ledge is nicely made all-rounder. If you do a lot of projecting on sport (or even trad) routes and, as a result, spend a lot of time hanging in your harness or taking the weight of your partner whilst she or he works the moves, then I think finding something with a bit more leg support might be better. But, if you are type of climber who is bashing up some classic gully on the Ben one month, cragging at Stanage the next and multipitching Lakeland classics a few weeks after that, and want one harness that does it all at a competitive price – then the Ledge is well worth looking at. Indeed, at less than fifty quid, you'll find it hard to find a fully adjustable harness of this type cheaper unless it is discounted.
On a final note, the sizing given on Climbing Technology's website for the harness is bizarre. According to their measurements, I should have gone for an XL size with my 89 cm waist, but actually the M/L fits me fine with and could take a waist size much bigger than mine. I wear 34 inch jeans, so if you are the same or smaller, the M/L is as big as you will want to go.
About Toby ArcherToby Archer is based in Finland.
He describes himself as an "international politics think-tanker, perennial PhD student, hopeless but enthusiastic climber, part-time gear reviewer, often angry cyclist, idealist, cynic."
Climbing keeps him from getting too depressed about politics. He blogs about both at:
See this product at the Joe Brown - Snowdonia shop
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