The Wildcountry Elite Ultralite Harness certainly does what it says on the packet – at 330 grams or under 12 oz it is the lightest harness I have ever come across. Weight has been shaved off wherever possible, from the miniature buckle to the 10 mm dyneema belay-loop (made of the same material as thin slings).
Belaying and abseiling from the ultra-thin belay loop is disconcerting at first! When you look down and see that you are dangling off something as thin as the belt loop on a pair of jeans it feels wrong somehow! I'm not sure how it will wear with time, but it has been tested to the highest safety standards!
The harness as a whole is unfussy and really easy to adjust, the excess strapping from the waist loop tucks away neatly into two elasticated keeper loops, and the tie-in points for your rope protrude enough so that tying in doesn't feel fiddly – you could do it with gloves on if necessary.
The waist loop is fairly wide and comfortable, despite its lightness, and the leg loops sit well and will unfasten at the back (important for girls!)
I found that the lack of padding on the leg loops led to a slight 'cheesewire' effect when holding your own (or someone else's) weight for prolonged periods.
Weight has been kept to a minimum with the gear loops too – there are only four. For sport climbing, this is plenty, but for trad climbing, personally 4 gear loops just isn't enough. (I've been used to a harness with 7!) I'm not a great fan of the way they slope downwards, either – I can understand the thinking behind this when trying to fit 7 gear loops onto a harness, but when you've only got to fit four on what's the point? You just end up with everything slipping forward and more dangly bits that you need between your legs. (Titter titter!)
Why would you need such a light harness?
Well, for long Alpine routes where weight-saving is of utmost importance, and a bandolier may be carried if necessary in addition to the 4 gear loops. For sport climbing it may be useful on long, fully bolted multi-pitch routes, where all you need to carry is a set of quickdraws, or for your hardest red-points when weight is really an issue. And you have to walk up a big hill to get to the start of the route. Or for trying to get your bag down to 15 kilos on a Ryanair flight. For general single-pitch sport routes, however, I'd rather wear a slightly heavier, more comfortable harness, which didn't feel as though it might slice my legs off when lowering or belaying.
All-in-all, I thought this harness was great if weight-saving was one of your main goals, but for an all-round trad or sport-climbing harness, it would be better to invest in something more comfortable and versatile. As a super-light harness it has been well designed, well made and looks great too.
Info From The Wild Country Website:
- New 'Super-Ergo' belt
- New 20mm Waistbelt webbing
- New 10mm Dyneema belay loop
- 4 gear loops
- 25kn belay loop
- Wear indicator
- Elasticated leg loops
- Duo clip off point
- Tie in point protector.
Elite Ultralite Statistics
- Wild Country Titan 2 and Oxygen Keylock Karabiner and Quickdraw 29 Sep, 2008
- Red Chili Spirit Lady VCR - Impact Zone 31 May, 2008