Feb 20, 2006 at 8:06 am #1217815Feb 21, 2006 at 3:20 pm #1350962
Sick!Feb 22, 2006 at 2:58 am #1351008
Camp is the King of lightweight harnesses, only a rope around your middle would be lighter (depends on the rope).
Mammut has a very light Alpine harness but that is still around 200 gramms.
There is no lighter harness.
They make some very light crampons as well.Feb 23, 2006 at 12:34 am #1351103
carlos fernandez rivasBPL Member
@pitagorinLocale: Galicia -Spain
agree with ben …. Double sick ;-)
In the last two years in the search of ultralite climbing/alpine stuff I tried some of the lightweight harnesses in the European market like cassin eolo (260 grams) mammut alpine light (280 grams) or camp sth 245 and Black diamond alpine Bod (372 grams size m)
Well………. all sub 300 grms harnesses are uncomfortable (in easy duties like top rope climbing or rapelling) ….of course all can save your life but pain is guaranteed …..and in my opinion only recommended for easy alpine routes, whit not serious risk of falling (and ski and adventure races were you are forced to carry one for occasional use)
Nowadays I carry a next to sub 5 pack but I prefer a “heavier” harness … (bd for technical routes and mammut alpine light for easy ones)
One 95grams harness…. Well I think that’s one specific item for race freaks or walkersFeb 23, 2006 at 9:09 am #1351119
Indeed, double sick…perhaps I should elaborate.
I love to see seriously light gear, whether it’s backpacking, climbing, biking, heck…any sport.
I would not crag in such a harness either. I agree, something like the BD Alpine is about as light as I’d go for anything other than light rappelling or maybe glacier walking (no glaciers here, though).
Noentheless, the innovation is interesting.Aug 14, 2007 at 9:39 pm #1398622
@sidmanacLocale: Pacific Northwest
The lightest available harnesses all have a feature which almost eliminates their usefulness, IMO. They dispense with a buckled waistbelt whose size can be precisely adjusted, instead favoring either velcro or elastic to hold it in place, and the tie-in or biner to keep the two ends of the belt together when loaded. This is perhaps ok when the load comes from above, but there are many situations were the rope might be pulling toward your feet. In that case, the inability to perfectly fit the waistbelt above your hips via a tightened (usually double-backed) buckle may well result in the harness slipping off to your knees and beyond. These downward loading situations include: 1) Being the upslope person self-arresting to stop the slide of a rope team. Even with a tightened conventional harness, I've almost had it pulled off, having to stick my butt way up in the air to form a shelf for the back of the belt to catch on. (Stick your butt too far out and you may be levered off the slope over the pivot point of your feet.) 2) You invert, which is possible even in the the mild situations these harnesses were designed for. Such as while falling into a crevass on a glacier rope team. Or letting your feet get too far above you on rappel. Or in a leader fall, or possibly even when belayed from above, both of which can be happening during less-than-vertical scrambling or snow movement, which any harness should accomodate. 3) You do a hip or ice ax belay involving running the rope through a biner on your harness.
Harnesses that do not buckle include the 95 and older 130g CAMP XLHs, and the Cilao 100, 145 & 150g (three different models). While the weights are tempting, it would seem too easy to get into a situation for which they are not safe.
The harness I chose as my lightweight, not-hanging-around-much harness is the Mammut Alpine Light, 280g. It is essentially a slimmed-down BD Alpine Bod (395g) with a fancy Swiss weave that varies the belt width in different places. As a diaper-style, you can put it on around boots and skis, drop the leg loops while still tied in on the waist, and you don't have to worry about sizing leg holes. The light straps in back are dropable as well for dropping your drawers. (Several types of clips out there on the Alpine Light dropseat, some more useable than others.) It has two reasonably stiff gear loops.
Note that Mammut is updating this with a belay loop. This decreases multi-point loading on a biner, as well as the tighten-release feeling when the old style is lightly loaded, such as when walking on a rope team. The disadvantage is that you can't drop the leg loops and stay securely in the belt when changing pants or relieving oneself. It may be designed so you can chose not to pass the belt through the belay loop, but I haven't seen the new model up close to know if this is the case.
The lightest buckler is the 250g Trango Mountain Harness, which looks similar to the Mammut Alpine Light with belay loop.
Another light buckler is the Cassin Eolo, 260g (225g?) with a funky-looking set-up. (Might cause you to raise one leg a little when loaded, like a marionette.) Don't think it's widely available in US.
For light mountaineering, I've accessorized with 27g Mammut Moses wiregates (world's lightest by manufacturer specs) and Trango Superfly lockers 41g (likewise current lightest). Can still do a Munter on the little Trangos, at least with the 8mm rope I use in this role. I've slimmed down a notch to 5mm for prussik/belay escape/rappel backup/crevass rescue system loops. I use Mammut Contact 8mm single & double runners, 18 & 30g per loop, and a Petzl Tibloc on glacier.Aug 15, 2007 at 8:14 pm #1398771
@climberevanLocale: western colorado
i used the XLH 95 this past june to climb the Cassin Ridge on Denali. before the trip i tested it extensively ice climbing. it's not super-comfy, but with winter layers underneath it isn't too bad for full-length raps. the concern about pulling out of it in an upside-down fall is real, so during glacier travel we rigged chest harnesses with double runners. the greatest part of the harness is how it disappears under a pack hipbelt, which one is always wearing during an alpine route.
i'm a huge fan, and will use it on future trips! it's not for cragging, but for lightweight (packs around 25lbs, ascent under 60 hours) attempts like ours, it's a great way to save 8 oz or so.
evanAug 15, 2007 at 9:14 pm #1398782
Alfred, thanks for mentioning the Mammut Alpine Light; It will replace my heavy Alpine Bod. Looking at the website it appears the newer harness with the belay loop can still be put on without going over the feet- critical of course.
I was encouraged to read about your lightweight mountaineering setup, 8mm, 5mm, and light lockers. Last weekend I "epic-ed" and had a very ugly and dangerous retreat off Mt. Karuisawadake partially because I went too light and did not have lockers, a safety line, etc.. Ended up using my swiss seat webbing to belay with, etc.. you know the drill.
In the future I will ALWAYS carry 20m of 5mm, some 9/16" webbing, and a few lockers.
I would like to hear more about your light setup; maybe you could post your mountaineering gear list at your profile?Aug 16, 2007 at 1:08 pm #1398874
Not sure if there's much use in having a general purpose mountaineering gear list. The amount and type of technical gear you'll bring is extremely dependant on the route and your ability.
There's no point in me taking the same gear for a climb from someone who climbs three full number grades higher than me.
Some guys are cool going up grade 3 ice with one tool, others not … etc etc …
You have to bring enough so that YOU feel confortable with what you have.Aug 16, 2007 at 11:19 pm #1398961
A very valid point, Alfred. Losing the harness on the way down is no fun.
This lack of waist adjustability really concerns me, as I suffer from a typical runner's build: skinny torso, bony waist and chunky legs.
My initial idea was to use the harness for those occasions in the Alps where I really regret not having a rope… But I continue to backpack solo anyway. Few wish to sleep under the stars when there's a hut every 5 km. So I still had no chance to use it.
Meanwhile, how about a French variant: the Cilao mega-light harnesses? Starting at 100 grams for a Medium…Aug 17, 2007 at 2:09 am #1398972
thanks for the link, as a european climber i never heard of them. i have a camp XLH 95 but the Cilao harnesses look very promising too.
I might order one, they look a bit more robust than the Camp.
Although reading that one climbs the Cassin Ridge on Denali with the Camp changes my perspective one using those UL harnesses…not for cragging but there more possibilities than one can think of.
Thanks for the inspiration.Aug 18, 2007 at 12:36 pm #1399127
@drayLocale: Olympic Peninsula
I know it's a rabbit trail, but I was wondering Alfred what sort of rope you are using and how you are using it?Aug 21, 2007 at 4:47 pm #1399474
@lithiummetalmanLocale: Cesspool Central!
That's super light!! XLH95 is 95 grams?
For a long time I used Petzl's crux (195 grams)and thought that was light!
So far, for anything that isn't supertechnical I find using a tied webbing harness to be great as well as super-light!Aug 21, 2007 at 9:20 pm #1399530
Douglas, how about Beal's Joker?
A 9,1 mm, 53 grams per meter rope that's certified as a single rope, a half rope and a twin rope. Super versatile. Very nice, low impact force. Maybe the only negative aspect of Beal ropes, in my experience, is durability of the sheath. It frays too soon to my taste.
Mammut's Serenity is about the same weight, at 52 grams per meter. I have seen Mammut's ropes last forever, but falls resemble cable arrest landings.
I would use that kind of shoe strings for roped-up scrambling, definitely not for intensive cragging or ice-climging.
Jeroen, even farther from the thread's main subject, but still… First of all, thanks for the thanks!
If you're interested in European climbing boutique gear…. Have you tried Snap's stuff? Very comfy but not so uber light non-adjustable harnesses, great for cragging. And winter climbing, if you wear a tight-fitting Schoeller pant. Also, absolutely superb crash-pads with dual density foam. A ULA-sized business. The owner is a great guy.
I like bouldering in Fontainebleau most of all, followed by waterfall ice climbing. I am not a fan of alpine snowy stuff though, so please do not catalog me as an expert in that area. ;-)Aug 22, 2007 at 8:30 am #1399575
The beal joker falls apart really quickly. The serenity is the current king of skinny ropes, it can actually survive a big wall in a day a few times. I have to say that I've been very happy with the falls I've taken on Mammuts and Beals. The hand of the Mammut's is a bit stiffer, but the falls are almost as cushy.
That said, I just picked up one of the new Sterling nano which I'm pretty cycked on. If you're curious, I'll post about it when I've done some rock, some waterfalls and some other stuff with it…Feb 28, 2008 at 1:36 pm #1422420
Take a look at gear reviews on Alpinist.com. They review Cilao OZ 22 Race and discuss this issue. I just ordered a OZ 33 Pro for a trip to the Bugs this summer.Feb 29, 2008 at 5:50 pm #1422564
Al ShaverBPL Member
@al_t-tudeLocale: High Sierra and CA Central Coast
The Cilao looks worthy of consideration.
My commentary/insight is limited to my experience with the CAMP XLH95 harness and Beal Joker 9.1mm x 60M single/double/twin rope.
Like the CAMP 14oz crampons and 9oz axe that I own, the XLH95 is hyperlight. For comparison, a 2" tubular swami belt weighs 127g/4.5oz
Harness must be sized properly as it is not adjustable.
I had a large and added a few grams of cordlace racking loops for quickdraws and small tri-cams (nothing heavy). I discovered it sliding down my hips (I have since downsized to a medium). I tied a short piece of 2mm cord around the waist opening to cinch it tight around my waist. And then proceeded to take a head first 40 footer. Rope and harness worked as well as my BD Momentum and Blue Water 10.5 rope.
It is surprising how comfortable this unit is in falls and hanging belays – even without cold weather clothing on.
Still, I reserve this tool for climbs with long approaches, low risk of falls, few rappels and hanging belays. As this is my primary M.O., I use it alot. There's nothing like pulling into 12,600' Whitney Climber's Camp after a rugged, off trail, 6 mile approach loaded for 3 days of roped climbing carrying a 22lb pack!
Same goes for the Joker. I've dragged it all over the High Sierra (including rapping off the first 10 pitches of Royal Arches with one rope and leaving no gear (which SuperTopo says can't be done). It was abusive treatment on the rope but it still looks and handles well.)Mar 14, 2008 at 4:42 pm #1424368
I guess this is hijacking the thread, but it's old enough that I doubt anyone will mind. I'd be very interested in hearing about the rest of your gear Al. The techniques and equipment for really light mountaineering are usually controversial enough to be hard to find out about are you willing to share your gear list and discuss your technique?Mar 20, 2008 at 4:53 pm #1425036
@hotrhoddudeguyLocale: New England
Have you read Mark Twight's Extreme Alpinism or Hans Florine and Bill Wright's Speed climbing, or Andy Kirkpatrick's psychovertical.com (and soon to be a book too)? They have resources in them that allow you move alot faster. There are previews of the 2 books on Google books. I really can't think of anything more useful for getting into fast ascents than these three sources.Apr 28, 2008 at 1:29 am #1430505
Al ShaverBPL Member
@al_t-tudeLocale: High Sierra and CA Central Coast
Jonathan's 3 references are usefull indeed. Yvon Choinard's classic "Climbing Ice" (cheap used copies at abebooks.com)has a brief section on moving fast in the alpine environment that is as relevant today as when it was first printed.
Solo the entire route if you can. Leave the gear in the car.
In the past 3-1/2 years between Yosemite Valley, Tuolumne Meadows, Kings Canyon National Park and Mt. Whitney's East Face I've soloed 270 pitches carrying climbing shoes, 8oz helmet, Camelbak, granola, windbreaker and wind pants.
If you gotta rope up this is your heaviest item. See the two models suggested above. If you run into sharp rock and fair chance of falling or frequent ledges and fair chance of falling, double your rope and do 1/2 length pitches. This is the beauty of the Beal Joker. You can still clip in double or twin fashion and stay within UIAA load limits on your anchor.
Be wary of long ropes. They can save a lot of time by avoiding frequent anchors and change overs, but they are heavy. Better to simul climb whenever you can and run out the pitches that way.
My first time up the 16 pitch valley classic Royal Arches I had a real strong leader. SuperTopo calls it 7-10 hours. We simul climbed about half of it and topped out in 3-1/2 hours. By myself it takes 46 minutes. Soloing the 8 pitches of Snake Dike takes 30 minutes. Soloing or simul climbing are definitely the way to go when feasible.
Again, just like backpacking, bring as little as possible.
If you must bring it, take the lightest version possible.
TriCams – take longer to place, but are much lighter than active cams (often 1/2 of the weight). Many people carry the small sizes. I carry up through no 5. On rare occassion I take the 6 & 7 too. Practice placing, setting and loading them a lot 3' off the ground before using in the field.
Stoppers – They are so light and usefull (including use as low cost "leavers" on unplanned raps).Don't short yourself on these.
Rabbit Runners – Single strand of spectra webbing ~46" with a loop at each end. Far more versatile than sewn loops. In the alpine environment multiple use, versatility and creativity are not only ways to save weight, they will save your life. Metolius sells them. I have Mountain Tools (who makes a lighter version and calls them snake runners) custom sew a few double length ones in a contrasting color to go with their standard size units.
Quick Draws – Not versatile enough for alpine use. Leave them in the car.
Rap Retrieval Cord – I sometimes use a 3mm 65Meter static line to retrieve my 9.1mm dynamic rope. This way I can get 200 foot rappels with 8-3/4 lbs of rope and cord.
CAUTION: A knot in a 9mm rope could conceivably pull through the common SMC rolled steel rappel ring leading to death. Therefore I back it up with a rappel ring tied into the knot or a custom made rappel back-up plate that keeps the knot from even entering the fixed rap ring. This is described in much greater detail elsewhere in the climbing category forum. If this is confusing or sounds dicey, DON'T DO IT.
Risks and forces must be fully understood and tested THOUROUGHLY 3' off the ground before using this technique in the field.
Be Safe and Have Fun (in that order)
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