Dan Fitzgerald reviews Edelrid's new simple, lightweight, fully adjustable and reasonably priced Creed harness, designed primarily for alpine climbing.
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Related UKC Forum discussions
If you were to choose a harness primarily for alpine use, what would its main characteristics be? There are some different opinions on this, but the main criteria seems to be: simple, lightweight and fully adjustable.
At 380g the Creed is certainly light, and it's also fully adjustable for different layering combos. So far so good. Edelrid are apparently the first manufacturer to use skinny 10mm buckles on a harness. These are ideal: small, unobtrusive, adding a few grams compared to a harness with fixed leg loops, but keeping the weight low.
The small size of these buckles doesn't overly affect how easy it is to tighten or loosen the straps, but they are a little fiddly to completely undo - certainly compared to the easy clip buckles on something like the Alpine Bod. It is possible (but typically a bit of a faff) to put the harness on over crampons without completely undoing the leg loops. Usually I put my harness on before I put my crampons on so this hasn't proved a problem. Stretchy V-Loop at the front of each leg loop enhance the fit and add to the freedom of movement.
Once the Creed is on it's barely noticeable, which is excellent. Edelrid use a sewing technique which they call the 'Triad System'. This basically means the webbing of the harness sits flat against the body, distributing the load more evenly, adding comfort and reducing uneven pressure points. These thin but stable waist and leg loops dry quickly and absorb little moisture when skiing or ice climbing.
However, there is a downside to the Creed's lightness: the lack of padding means that the edges of the harness around the waist are actually quite thin and can cut in when not wearing many clothes. It is not the most comfy harness when hanging out at a belay or multiple rappels in the sun with no top on. The material is quite stiff, compared to something like a lightweight Arc'teryx harness with WST technology, or a Black Diamond harness with Kinetic Core Construction, but I'm happy to compromise for such a good price: £75!
The Creed sports four large stiffened gear loops and two accessory clip attachments that sit between the two gear loops on each side. The gear loops are large and forward angled, each comfortably racking 7-8 quick draws. Mesh covering on the gear loops seems to aid my oldskool biners with hooked noses un-clipping without snagging. I have found that when stepping high or leaning in, gear can sometimes slide forward over my legs though, which is quite off putting if I'm climbing a delicate section. This may be because I'm a skinny thing and therefore have my harness cinched in a lot, but I also think the front loops are more aggressively angled forward than on other harnesses I have owned. The Creed also has a small chalk bag loop at the back. This makes my chalk hang a little low so instead I have been using it to rack maillons in case I need to escape a route.
"...I'm happy to compromise for such a good price: £75!"
Unlike other harnesses that I have owned, the Creed's single waist buckle tightens by pulling towards the belay loop rather than the gear loops. The excess webbing then doubles over and tucks back on itself into a springy pocket and then clips on to a plastic clip. This whole system is very tidy and great for keeping the harness clean and simple. I have had instances before with my previous, traditionally fastening harnesses where I have inadvertently racked a quickdraw or piece of gear onto the excess webbing.
What else? The Creed has a releasable drop seat for those all important calls of nature at a cosy belay, but you may need your mate to help re-attach it. A Hytrel covered belay loop protector is a great touch: this is a rubberized plastic covering which sits where the leg loops join the belay loop on the harness. Many of harness that I have owned in the past have worn, some quite worryingly in this area, but this looks as if it should really last the distance. The Creed comes in S, M and L. I have a waist of 78cm and a leg of 45cm so I went for a small Creed and it is the perfect fit.
I've used the Creed pretty much every day over the last three months: it's been squeezed up alpine gullies, multi-pitch sport and trad climbing and glacial skiing. It has stood up very well to whatever I have thrown it at and is showing very little sign of wear. If you spend the majority of your time on high, snowy adventures then the Creed is the perfect harness. It ticks all the boxes first mentioned. As an all-rounder it performs adequately with some good features, but maybe lacking a bit of padding, and if you purely spend your time hanging around working the next hard route or chugging up a monster big wall then this probably isn't the best choice.
About Dan Fitzgerald
Dan lives in Chamonix with his fiancée, Georgie. He rock, ice and mountain climbs, boulders skis and mountain bikes. Dan and Georgie's blog is below.