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Harness retirement and replacement options

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Hello!

I’m wondering whether my harness needs retirement or it is still good for some time… I’m always struggling with this, looks like the fabric covering load carrying part of the lower loop has worn off, the actual load carrying loop seems fine but I’m guessing that this fabric is there to prevent wear on the loop and give an indication that you should replace it. I’ve got it for 3 years maybe now… any thoughts on this? 
Also anybody used Petzel Hirundos? Is it comfortable if compared with DMM Mithril (the one on the picture)?

Cheers!


 chris_r 22 Jun 2021
In reply to AnnJ:

If in doubt, replace it. You don't want a nagging thought holding you back as you push through the crux of a route, even if there's nothing actually to worry about.

3
In reply to AnnJ:

Any doubt then replace it, hirundos is my favourite harness , comfy, light and does everything,  use it in winter as well. Doesn't necessarily mean it will be for you though,  need to try a few on

3
 VictorM 22 Jun 2021
In reply to climber34neil:

Any doubt then replace it, hirundos is my favourite harness , comfy, light and does everything,  use it in winter as well. Doesn't necessarily mean it will be for you though,  need to try a few on

Great harness, love mine. The only gripe I have with it is that the rear gear loops are quite small. 

Post edited at 11:27
In reply to AnnJ:

Yes, it's time to retire your harness. It's like a core shot rope. Probably still strong enough, but...

1
 Brown 22 Jun 2021
In reply to chris_r:

I have no comment on this harness but rather the attitude you expound.

Is there any evidence that throwing away objectively safe equipment makes someone worry less.

Surly once you have fallen into the trap of pandering to your fear of an objectively safe harness failing you will move onto a fear of quickdraws unclipping, knots untying and holds snapping.

It looks similar to OCD checking behaviour, where the more that checking takes place, the less certain the checker is in the memory of the check.

The more you succumb to throwing away your gear the first time you feel doubt in it, the more you will doubt.

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 whenry 22 Jun 2021
In reply to Brown:

The line between definitely safe and definitely unsafe when it comes to a rope or harness can be quite fine, and I doubt many people would want to keep using a harness right up to the point where it was unquestionably dangerous. I've replaced a harness when it's worn because I've started to doubt it, and I've never moved onto a fear of quickdraws unclipping, knots untying and holds snapping - which sounds quite ridiculous.

Replacing a harness because it's worn and you aren't sure you can trust it is perfectly sensible.

1
 whenry 22 Jun 2021
In reply to AnnJ:

Personally, I'd replace it. I've replaced a harness after three years when I've used it 3-5 times a week, and I don't think that's exceptional.

2
In reply to Brown:

Not sure if understand what you are talking about… Checking for wear and tear of your safety equipment is a normal thing and everybody should do it. It’s the acceptance limits for that wear and tear which are not that easy to establish and that’s why I’ve asked for the opinions from others.

Post edited at 14:08
 Brown 22 Jun 2021
In reply to AnnJ:

I'm suggesting that the opinion "if you have any doubt at all get rid" is not a helpful or sensible bit of advice.

It does not help with looking at gear to determine if it needs replacement, which if the special sacrificial wear material on the belay loop has worn through it almost certainly does, but rather just looks at your mental state.

Gear checks should be based on the state of the gear and not fear and doubt.

I have looked down, from a long run out, and momentarily been afflicted by doubt. I'd left my new rope on the parcel shelf of the car on the way back from the shop. It had been exposed to solar radiation. I was going to die. To get down and throw away my rope because of this is quite obviously madness and yet that is what is suggested every time someone asks about gear.

7
In reply to Brown:

I got it now and yeah I agree with you. I’ve seen it many times when people questioned conditions/ integrity of perfectly fine rope (especially mine 🤣). 

In reply to AnnJ:

There's clear wear through the outer fabric.  It is definitely going to keep wearing and when it does  it will become unsafe.   If it was mine I'd replace it and I'd be inspecting it every time before climbing until I had a new one.

1
 John Kelly 23 Jun 2021
In reply to AnnJ:

From the photo - wear appears concentrated on the fabric covering the leg loops not waistband or the belay loop - I may be completely wrong thinking this but it's the waistband and belay loop I'm most concerned with, because location of wear I'd keep going a bit 

2
 GrahamD 23 Jun 2021
In reply to John Kelly:

Unless there is something I can't see there, I personally wouldn't retire it.  Visible wear is small and on the leg loop tie in.   But it's a personal call.

1
 DaveHK 23 Jun 2021
In reply to whenry:

> The line between definitely safe and definitely unsafe when it comes to a rope or harness can be quite fine, 

Two words for anyone considering walking that fine line: Todd Skinner.

1
 DaveHK 23 Jun 2021
In reply to Brown:

>  To get down and throw away my rope because of this is quite obviously madness and yet that is what is suggested every time someone asks about gear.

I think it's really obvious that those saying 'if in doubt replace' are not advocating some sort of descent into paranoia and that it should be read as containing at least one hidden premise; 'if in doubt (and there is evidence to support this doubt) replace'.

2
In reply to AnnJ:

Is the issue the wear and fuzziness where the belay loop passes through the leg loops? If so, I wouldn't personally retire it at this point for that — the belay loop itself appears to be in good condition, and the equivalent point connecting it to the waist band appears to be in good condition. I'd perhaps keep in mind to inspect it more often, but the result wouldn't be catastrophic if that point failed (which itself seems incredibly unlikely without significant further deterioration).

Of course, if I've missed a different glaring problem then that opinion is completely null and void!

In reply to AnnJ:

Thanks a lot for all the comments this has been really useful!

In reply to AnnJ:

hirundos and mithril pretty comparable in terms of comfort - hirundos a bit lighter but as above the mithril got a bit more gear loop capacity so possibly marginally better all rounder. 

 Brown 23 Jun 2021
In reply to DaveHK:

But there is always evidence to support the doubt. That is an intrinsic part of the doubt.

It also shows how unhelpful the comment is in response to people asking for opinions on gear safety. It contains a hidden premise and the hidden premise relates to the actual question asked.

3
 HeMa 23 Jun 2021
In reply to AnnJ:

Easy...

as numerous have posted, if you're questioning the integrity now, what happens when you're actually climbing and get sketched out?

Besides, harnesses are reasonably cheap.

Hirundos is not a bad harness, but as someone also pointed out the gear loops are a tad on the small side. But there are numerous other harnesses available as well. I for one have liked the Ocun Webee harnesses, cheap and rather comfortable. Cons being the small gear loops and also a tad bulky pack size compared to some others.

1
In reply to AnnJ:

Im finding it very interesting that many people are saying that it’s better to replace it now so you don’t freak out during climbing. I never consider this to become a problem, if I set off from the ground I’ve already accepted that everything is in order and there is no reason to worry about it. What concerns me more is that that one day I would arrive the crag look at the harness and decide that this not ok and would need to go back home or rush to Outside to get any harness that will fit.

 Andy Cloquet 23 Jun 2021
In reply to AnnJ:

May I hijack this thread and ask if anyone knows what harnesses there are on the market which unbuckle completely, please (winter mnt. etc.)

 DaveHK 23 Jun 2021
In reply to Andy Cloquet:

If you mean completely open waist and leg loops most do that. If you want something you can put on without taking your feet off the ground or taking crampons off then the BD Bod or DMM Super Couloir are the classic choices although it looks like the latter may be discontinued.

In reply to Andy Cloquet:

The Mammut Zephir Altitude has a quick-release waist belt buckle and unclippable leg loops, but it is very limited on gear loop real estate and so wouldn't be very good for technical climbing. A great choice for glacier travel/scrambling/classic easy alpine stuff/etc though.

They also used to make the Zephir Alpine (I think), which I think had a bit more racking space, but I can't remember if it had the same buckle and it seems to have been discontinued anyway.

 Offwidth 23 Jun 2021
In reply to DaveHK:

Easy to say but the reality is it's still not clear what exactly happened.

http://www.supertopo.com/climbers-forum/1933713/Todd-Skinners-failed-harness-update

From what I can see there is no obvious need to retire the OPs harness. A harness is remarkably strong and a small amount of wear on leg loop attachments is no need to worry (unless there is major sun bleaching or chemical damage not obvious in the photo).

 Rob Parsons 23 Jun 2021
In reply to AnnJ:

> I’m wondering whether my harness needs retirement or it is still good for some time… 

FWIW that damage looks completely cosmetic to me. I'd continue using the thing with no hesitation.

In reply to AnnJ:

Harnesses are made of tape, and in tape every thread is on the surface every so often. Thus any 'fuzziness' damage weakens the tape much more than fuzziness on a kernmantel rope whose sheath is there to protect the core which takes the load.  If the tape's not fuzzy or degraded in other ways then it's safe to use.

In reply to AnnJ:

Several factors at play here to counter the ditch it school of thought.

1) the tape which has worn through is cosmetic and a wear protector. Is it getting towards the end of it's lifespan as recommended by the manufacturer, yes. But is that right this second?

2) the wear is on your leg loops which take a minority of the force in a fall. The waist band loks to be in good condition

3) as the structural part has not begun to wear, the leg loops are most likely in an almost full strength state.

Residual strengths of gear is usually surprisingly high. You are certainly not in any danger currently. The Todd Skinner incident was very different, as it was his belay loop which failed and was severely worn on a structural part of the harness. Would I be looking to get a new one? Yeah but as I said, if it's not this month, or even by the end of the year, I shouldn't worry to much. Just carry on visually inspecting it and if you begin to see that the main leg loop textiles are wearing, part with case. 

Hirundos, I have the previous version. I don't really like the rear loops as they are very far back making it difficult to eyeball gear on them. It's almost a 2 gear loop harness with plenty of space for your extra bits and bobs round the back than a 4 loop harness. Like it for ice climbing, not so much for Trad.

 Becky E 25 Jun 2021
In reply to AnnJ:

I'd probably keep using it, but pay close attention to the area where the fabric cover has worn through. If webbing itself starts to look worn, then replace it.

In reply to DaveHK:

> Two words for anyone considering walking that fine line: Todd Skinner. <

Just a couple of sentences about that accident from Offwidth's link: 

Skinner’s partner reiterated in interviews with rangers that he observed the loop “had been about 20 percent worn through three days prior,” to the accident. Faherty wrote that he, too, “also observed that the harness was extremely frayed and worn where the belay loop should run through the ‘swami belt’ and the leg loops.”

I think most people would retire their harness if it had that appearance and consider any fine line as being well past.

 bpmclimb 26 Jun 2021
In reply to AnnJ:

> Im finding it very interesting that many people are saying that it’s better to replace it now so you don’t freak out during climbing. I never consider this to become a problem, if I set off from the ground I’ve already accepted that everything is in order and there is no reason to worry about it. What concerns me more is that that one day I would arrive the crag look at the harness and decide that this not ok and would need to go back home or rush to Outside to get any harness that will fit.


But there is a lot of middle ground between being completely happy and freaking out. It's being aware of some wear on harness or whatever and thinking "hmm ... ok for now, but I'll keep an eye on that". How soon you buy a replacement depends on an assessment of the wear, but also if you're hard up, or how much you like buying new gear. Personally, I tend to replace when the new item I want is on sale somewhere, rather than when the current one is worn to the point of being dangerous.

Hex a metre 27 Jun 2021
In reply to Brown:

Whilst I broadly agree, I think you're slightly misrepresenting what is usually meant by 'if in doubt'. You're quite right that the literal interpretation would imply that the psychological state of the assessor was of more importance than the objective state of the piece of equipment being assessed; however, I think the sense of the phrase 'if in doubt' is more usually something like 'assess the piece of gear in question to the best of your ability and if what you see causes you to suspect that the gear may not be safe then replace it'

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