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How old is your harness?
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Oct 23, 2012
Rock Climbing Photo: Rapping Fitz
How often do you replace your harness? I've been climbing about 6 years on a regular basis (over 100 days a year in past years) and am on my 2nd harness. I have a Petzl Calidris that I have used a lot the last 2 years and the webbing on the leg loop buckles is quite worn (one side is about half worn through from chimneying) that I am considering replacing. Just wanted to get opinions of how long others will wait to retire theirs. I know people that climb less than me and replace theirs annually. earl mcalister
From Las Vegas, NV
Joined Aug 11, 2010
116 points
Oct 23, 2012
Rock Climbing Photo: me in mid summer on the column direct
When in doubt, replace it. I'm sure your life and the mental comfort of your partner are worth more than the $75-100 for a new harness.

In answer to your question, I replace mine every 4-5 years when I replace my rope.
ben schuldt
From Kirksville, MO
Joined Oct 16, 2008
51 points
Oct 23, 2012
Rock Climbing Photo: The Beginning of Mr. Clean (5.8) at the Barkeater ...
I heard this a while ago and can't remember from where but heard that 7 years is when nylon manufacturers recommend replacing nylon products.

If things are getting worn out though I'd say it's time, regardless of how long you've had it. That's when I generally replace things. It's usually long before manufacturer recommendations though.
jmeizis
From Colorado Springs, CO
Joined Jul 30, 2008
251 points
Oct 23, 2012
if you're getting 100 days a year, i'd say roughly every 2-3 years, depending on what you're doing.

most manufacturers will say 3-5 based on use.
John Wilder
From Las Vegas, NV
Joined Feb 1, 2004
2,471 points
Oct 23, 2012
Rock Climbing Photo: Best climbing pants EVER
Sounds like it's high time to replace your harness.

I replace mine every 3ish years probably, but I also have a ~10 year old Arcteryx Vapor (The first laser cut harness made, with purple fleece lining) that I refuse to throw away because it's just perfect. Best damn harness ever made. I use it pretty much exclusively in the gym and it's in perfect shape. It sat hidden in the bottom of my closet for 7 years probably and I just recently found it and started using it again.
Jon H
From Boulder
Joined Nov 24, 2009
133 points
Oct 23, 2012
Rock Climbing Photo: ...
Sounds like your harness still has PLENTY of life left.

Worn leg loops are not a big issue.

I wear mine until they're falling apart (So long as the belay loop is still in good condition).



Also, you can sometimes replace the leg loops with leg loops from other harnesses.

When I climb, I'm wearing a Petzl, Metolius...
Locker
From Yucca Valley, CA
Joined Oct 13, 2002
2,541 points
Oct 23, 2012
Rock Climbing Photo: Top of the 3rd pitch of Touchstone at Zion NP.
Interesting you post this topic on the anniversary of Todd Skinner's Death:

mountainproject.com/v/10587780...
Said
From Redlands, Ca
Joined Nov 23, 2008
617 points
Oct 23, 2012
I'm using one from 1994 or 1995. james-va
Joined Sep 5, 2009
0 points
Oct 23, 2012
Rock Climbing Photo: Rock Wars, RRG, 2008
I have a few to choose from , none older than 2008 and none with more than 20 days a year climbing on them. No severe lead falls, that's for sure. ( I'm easy going climber these days) Woodchuck ATC
Joined Nov 29, 2007
3,181 points
Oct 23, 2012
Agree. Sounds like it's time and you got your money's-worth out of it. Burd
From Selinsgrove, PA
Joined Dec 18, 2010
0 points
Oct 23, 2012
Rock Climbing Photo: Yosemite Valley..
Jon H wrote:
but I also have a ~10 year old Arcteryx Vapor (The first laser cut harness made, with purple fleece lining)


God I wish they would bring that harness back! Best damn harness I've ever owned.
Rob Kepley
From Westminster,CO
Joined Dec 28, 2005
1,153 points
Oct 23, 2012
I've got a circa-1992 era REI brand harness (remember when theymade climbing gear?) that had no padding (really just a glorified Swiss Seat) that gets used on occasion. Aric Datesman
Joined Sep 16, 2008
145 points
Administrator
Oct 23, 2012
Earl, it's time to replace that harness.

So much of the lifespan of the harness depends on what you do to your harness. Chimneying is really hard on harnesses. You can go through a harness on one route if it is tight enough of a squeeze. I recall rubbing through a leg strap on a harness on one desert chimney. Still, general cragging and minimal abrasions can get you into the 5th year. Inspect your harness each time you get out there, especially your belay loop (which can be backed up). Todd, we miss you. The old Petzl Jump harness seemed to be really tolerant of abuse.
Leo Paik
From Westminster, Colorado
Joined Jan 1, 2001
23,680 points
Oct 23, 2012
I get a new one every year. EB
From Winona
Joined Jan 1, 2002
804 points
Oct 24, 2012
Rock Climbing Photo: Rapping Fitz
Wow, that is a strange coincidence about the Skinner anniversary. I often think of him and look at my belay loop when I do a lot of raps. Thanks for the info everyone. earl mcalister
From Las Vegas, NV
Joined Aug 11, 2010
116 points
Oct 24, 2012
Rock Climbing Photo: Magic Ed
My sport harness is fine but my big wall harness, which I use when bolting new routes, is too old and abused. Frayed as all hell-but I did back up my belay loop. Ed Wright
Joined May 14, 2006
332 points
Oct 24, 2012
Rock Climbing Photo: Rock Wars, RRG, 2008
Aric Datesman wrote:
I've got a circa-1992 era REI brand harness (remember when theymade climbing gear?) that had no padding (really just a glorified Swiss Seat) that gets used on occasion.


Same here, those seat belt webbing sit-harnesses with the 2 big tie in loops up front. Ageless REI design. Cheapest harness available for 19.95 or so. Got some from the early 80's around yet, in 3 different sizes and colors.
Woodchuck ATC
Joined Nov 29, 2007
3,181 points
Oct 24, 2012
I have had the leg loops on two harness blow out. Both times were from falls in climbing gyms, on retired (from outside climbing) harnesses. Both falls were pretty scary in that, once the leg loop breaks, your center of balance is off and there is the feeling that it may be possible to fall out of the harness, which realistically is probably not likely.

I primarily trad climb, and like the wide, so I sense my leg loops may get more abrasion than others may experience.

Agree with the general sentiment expressed here, inspect your gear, when in doubt, replace it.

The comments about harnesses from 1992 and 1994 still in use - that is a long time ago - perhaps consideration should be given to retiring those harnesses!

Climb Ohn. Wally
Wally
From Denver
Joined Apr 12, 2006
32 points
Oct 24, 2012
Woodchuck ATC wrote:
Same here, those seat belt webbing sit-harnesses with the 2 big tie in loops up front. Ageless REI design. Cheapest harness available for 19.95 or so. Got some from the early 80's around yet, in 3 different sizes and colors.



Surprisingly comfy in spite of the lack of padding, aren't they? Only reason mine has be relegated to spare-harness-for-TR-or-gym duty is the lack of gear loops. Perhaps I should add some gear loops and rack up the set of Titons I've slowly been acquiring?
Aric Datesman
Joined Sep 16, 2008
145 points
Oct 24, 2012
Rock Climbing Photo: Rock Wars, RRG, 2008
Aric Datesman wrote:
Surprisingly comfy in spite of the lack of padding, aren't they? Only reason mine has be relegated to spare-harness-for-TR-or-gym duty is the lack of gear loops. Perhaps I should add some gear loops and rack up the set of Titons I've slowly been acquiring?


I actually did add a section of 5mm cord for gear loops on one of them to carry a few items along. Hand sewn, so not very strong. Agree that they were pretty foolproof. YOur double tie in points guarantee you are upright, and even hold if buckle failed. Quite a unique design for REI to come up with. Agree they are still good enough for gym or easy toprope use yet.
Woodchuck ATC
Joined Nov 29, 2007
3,181 points
Oct 24, 2012
Wally wrote:
I have had the leg loops on two harness blow out. Both times were from falls in climbing gyms, on retired (from outside climbing) harnesses. Both falls were pretty scary in that, once the leg loop breaks, your center of balance is off and there is the feeling that it may be possible to fall out of the harness, which realistically is probably not likely. I primarily trad climb, and like the wide, so I sense my leg loops may get more abrasion than others may experience. Agree with the general sentiment expressed here, inspect your gear, when in doubt, replace it. The comments about harnesses from 1992 and 1994 still in use - that is a long time ago - perhaps consideration should be given to retiring those harnesses! Climb Ohn. Wally

When your leg loops broke did you get hurt from the waist belt slamming into your chest/armpits? It seems like you could get some bad whiplash on your back from a fall being caught by only the waistbelt.
JKzxcv
Joined Oct 12, 2011
10 points
Oct 25, 2012
If you start worrying about it, then replace it. chosspector
From San Juans, CO
Joined Oct 19, 2008
1,366 points
Oct 25, 2012
JKzxcv wrote:
When your leg loops broke did you get hurt from the waist belt slamming into your chest/armpits? It seems like you could get some bad whiplash on your back from a fall being caught by only the waistbelt.


Thousands of people took numerous whippers on nothing but a swami belt (or less!) "back in the day".
Gunkiemike
Joined Jul 29, 2009
2,453 points
Oct 25, 2012
Here is some hard data.

blackdiamondequipment.com/en-u...

rockandice.com/articles/how-to...

I also remember another research project involving harnesses as old as 1950's and cotton. Also keep in mind, exposure to VOC's and acids are more serious than a fray here and there. Keep your harness off the floor/ground, and in a harness bag.

I bought my petzl harness used nearly ten years ago. It is a champ, and while it may be slightly less integral, it is likely quite redundant or overkill yet on force it could withstand.

If I knew I was going to be taking many BIG falls onto a "worn" harness, i'd probably just shell out the $60 for peace of mind.
Forestvonsinkafinger
From Iowa
Joined Mar 6, 2008
2,900 points
Oct 25, 2012
Rock Climbing Photo: Buffsta
ben schuldt wrote:
When in doubt, replace it. I'm sure your life and the mental comfort of your partner are worth more than the $75-100 for a new harness. In answer to your question, I replace mine every 4-5 years when I replace my rope.


me too
Jon Zucco
From Denver, CO
Joined Aug 15, 2008
374 points
Oct 25, 2012
JKzxcv wrote:
When your leg loops broke did you get hurt from the waist belt slamming into your chest/armpits? It seems like you could get some bad whiplash on your back from a fall being caught by only the waistbelt.


Didn't get hurt, but almost flipped upside down the first time and might have flipped upside down the second time had I not bear hugged the taught rope I had just fallen on.

For both my outdoor and my gym harnesses, I will be more careful going forward. Having a leg loop fail in an outdoor climbing situation could increase the odds of the climber falling in a compromised position (i.e. - head first), which could increase the odds of injury or death.
Wally
From Denver
Joined Apr 12, 2006
32 points


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