For novice rock climber the primary support system is the climbing harness. It is a pivotal attachment between your body and the climbing rope. It includes a padded tightly woven fabric which wraps around our thighs and waist and gives support and controls the motion especially in case of sudden fall. The harness is available in various styles and material; you can explore the recent trends regarding patterns and styles of gears used for adventure sports on www.t3.com.
Some of the essential parts of harness include:
1. Waist belt: Should be designed in such a way, that it distributes the body weight evenly and gives the desired comfort.
2. Buckles: There are one or two buckles attached to the front of the waist belt. It allows to double back the webbing ensuring that harness stays intact even when we meet an accident.
3. Leg loops: These are padded webbings which wrap around the upper thigh and is attached to the waist belt from the front. The fundamental role of these loops is to distribute the weight between the leg and pelvic area in the event of an accident.
4. Gear loop: It is a plastic harness used to hold the climbing equipment like cams, quickdraws etc.
5. Haul loop: This is on the back of the harness, used to clip an additional rope or haul line if required.
6. Belay loop: Made from nylon, these webbings are the strongest and weight tested part of the harness. It is an attaching loop between waist belt and leg loops.
7. Tie-in points: This is an essential point of the harness, here is where the belay loop which is further attached to two loops, tie up to the waist belt,
8. Crosspiece- This is the length of fabric connecting two leg loops from the front of the harness. It is adjustable and is one of the points where the rope passes through while getting tied to the harness.
There different types of climbing harness:
• Sport or gym harness
• The traditional harness has additional gear loops. Also, extra padding is there to support lower back considering long hours of wearing it.
• Mixed harness specially designed for winter rock climbing
• Mountaineering harness
Being an essential component of your climbing gear kit, it is crucial that harness should be well fitted and comfortable and should not cause any rubbing while climbing because that can cause persistent pain which would distract you from going in for climbing. Hence specific factors which are essential to be evaluated before buying the harness are as under:
Should check for buckles on the climbing harness, it should be doubled back and should have auto locking procedure to ensure complete safety.
Correct size and comfortable fit
Too big a fit, the harness will move up the waist and create pressure on the wrong points. Too small and it will cause discomfort and difficulty in movement. Depending on your body type, either you wear the harness on the waistline or hip line. The harness should be loose enough with a scope of slipping in one or two fingers between the harness and your body. The rise which is the connection portion of the back of your leg loop and waist belt also plays an essential role in deciding the comfort level and balancing of your body.