UKC

Alpine Harness

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What’s the general consensus on alpine style harnesses (Petzl Altitude etc) for alpine mountaineering and UK scrambling use? I’m considering using an Altitude for a Cuillin attempt later this summer and then for alpine trips when that’s possible again. However I’m wondering if it actually adds much value compared to modern lightweight harnesses such as the Sitta and Ace. I use an Edelrid Ace as my main harness now as it seems to work for everything, I initially got it for indoor use but it’s proved exceptionally versatile, the Altitude is only 100g lighter and less comfortable so just wondering if it’s  actually going to add much value? Obviously it packs down smaller, but not by a lot. Any thoughts?

In reply to echo34:

I bought a Mammut equivalent (Zephir Altitude, I think) for low-grade alpine mountaineering, and love it (though the plastic quick-release buckle is a bit unnerving). Mostly not because of weight though (though it is is also incredibly light), but because it's absolutely tiny; it takes up virtually no pack space. A good purchase, I think.

 maxsmith 22 Jun 2021
In reply to echo34:

I use a Camp Air CR harness for everything, it's only 290g so I don't see the need for having three different ones for sport, trad and scrambling/mountaineering.  That model is discontinued but I believe there's similar all round harnesses in that weight range.  Your Ace sounds perfect for a Cuillin attempt...I'd prefer to use something I'm familiar with when I'm knackered than some fancy 100g mankini

 Jenny C 22 Jun 2021
In reply to echo34:

I have a lightweight BD one that i bought for via Ferratas.  Yes it's lighter, but the main benefit over my DMM Renegade is the packsize. Downside is that it's horrifically uncomfortable once fully weighted, so would only want to use it for very short occasional abseils. 

Oh and check out the the leg loop release system at the back, the BD design is utterly terrible making it almost impossible to have a "comfort break" without taking the damn thing off. Probably more of an issue for girlies!

In reply to echo34:

I've been spending a lot of time in my altitude recently. I love how light it is and how small it packs. I have no complaints about comfort for abseils, but I haven't been sitting around with it weighted for hours. I've even used it on some fairly technical stuff requiring lots of gear, using the extra gear loops on my pack.

 tingle 22 Jun 2021
In reply to echo34:

I used the altitude for a full day with a smallish rack of nuts in Scottish winter and i found it uncomfortable and awkward. Glacier travel though it cannot be beaten.

 jezb1 22 Jun 2021
In reply to echo34:

I use a Blue Ice Addax, fully featured and 150g for my medium.

Far more comfortable than I expected, I’ve worn it for all sorts but it’s especially suited to mountaineering type stuff.

Im supported by their distributor but have a lot of other harnesses to choose from, and this is the one that comes to work pretty much every day.

 VictorM 22 Jun 2021
In reply to echo34:

I have a previous generation BD Coulouir which I quite like because I can pack it down to next to nothing, walks comfortably and I can don and doff it without taking my feet off the ground. 

I would't want to wear it when doing anything complicated and involving lots of protection as the gear loops are tiny and floppy and don't support all that much weight. But when it's  glacier travel or moving together while slinging rope around rock for pro then these harnesses can't be beat. 

 Mike-W-99 22 Jun 2021
In reply to maxsmith:

I'm similar, use a Simond Edge for everything except winter. Its 290g and seems to handle the abuse I dish out to it.

 waitout 22 Jun 2021
In reply to echo34:

Blue Ice Choucas Pro is good and a 'real' harness, just very light.

To my mind the advantages in dedicated alpine harnesses is getting them on and off, over crampons, big boots, laying in a tent etc, so I dismiss ones that need too much fiddling and threading, of which the Choucas Pro just scrapes thru. The least fiddly I've used is the Petzl Fly, worth it if you'll use it a lot, but the Choucas Pro also works for normal climbing (anything without a lot of gear to rack pretty much).


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