• #pureclimbing
  • #pureclimbing

  

Your harness is your workhorse and your unsung hero.

 

1. How safe is your harness?

 

You often hear people talking about breaking loads of carabiners, rocks, friends and quickdraws, but when was the last time you heard somebody talking about the maximum load capacity of a climbing harness? In fact, how much do you know about yours? Do you know how it gets tested? How safe is your harness? Blind trust is never great basis to go on, especially when it comes to climbing.

 

2. How is a climbing harness tested?

 

Every Wild Country harness gets tested according to the safety requirements of the EN 12277 standard. This means that during testing, the waist belt is loaded to 10kN (1,000 kg) and no load-bearing parts may tear. The buckles are also tested by checking that they do not slip more than 2 cm.

 


3. How to inspect your harness

 

To ensure that your climbing harness still is safe after you have been using it for a number of years, or after a few big whippers, you should inspect it closely. Here are some guidelines on how to do this.

 

4. How old is your harness?

 

First up, how old is your harness? Each Wild Country harness has a batch label that shows when it was manufactured. You’ll find it under the waist belt strap.

 


The lifespan of a harness depends on a number of factors, and each harness should be assessed on an individual basis. However, generally speaking, products made of synthetic fibres, such as nylon or Dyneema® are subject to ageing, even if they are not used. This is why we declare a maximum lifespan or shelf life of 10 years from the date of production (even if a harness is not used).


5. When should you retire your harness?

 

Check your harness for signs of excessive wear, such as tearing, fraying and other damage to the tie-in loop or structural framework. If you see any of this, we recommend that you retire your harness immediately.

 

How often do you climb?

Climbers who train on a daily basis are obviously going to have to replace their harnesses sooner than those who only climb once a month.

 

Where do you climb?

Where you climb makes a difference too. Salty environments, like Scottish sea cliffs, sandy gritstone crags or the fine red dust of Utah’s desert towers can attack or grind into the material. Moreover, prolonged exposure to the sun’s UV rays can also degrade the structural materials in a harness.

 

6. How can you extend the life of your harness?

 

The easiest way to extend the life of your harness is to:

• keep it clean
• keep it dry
• and store it properly.


Treat your harness with respect – after all your life literally depends on it. Don’t chuck it down in the dirt at the base of the crag, or leave it lying in the back of the car with the sun shining on it.
We supply each Wild Country harnesses with a mesh storage bag – which is the ideal place to store it.
You can also help extend the lifespan of your harness by pulling out the rope out slower when you untie, instead of just yanking it through.

 

7. How to clean your harness?

 

To quickly remove dust and sand from you harness, you could use an air pump, (for example, the one you use for your sleep mat).
If you use compressed air, take care. It’s so powerful that you could easily cause damage. Keep a distance of least 30 cm between the air gun and your harness.

 

8. How to wash your harness

 

Like climbers, harnesses also benefit from a wash from time to time.

 

To give your harness some tender loving care, wash it by hand with:

• lukewarm water
• mild dishwashing detergent
• bucket (or sink)
• clean water

 

Firstly, don’t be tempted to put your harness in the washing machine!
Instead, fill a clean bucket with the lukewarm water (make sure it’s never been used for corrosive substances, such as bleach). Add a dash of mild dishwashing detergent (you don’t need much). Dunk the harness and move it gently in the warm water. If you’ve got steel buckles, try not to get them wet and dunk your harness bit by bit instead, keeping the buckles stay as dry as you can. Once you feel you’ve washed it enough, rinse your harness with clean water and hang it out to dry.

 

Never dry your harness in direct sunlight or over a heater. Instead, hang it in a nice, breezy spot. Make double sure that it really is 100% dry, before you store it away.

 

 

HOW TO LOOK AFTER YOUR HARNESS

Beta Talks series

 

9. Advanced inspection checklist

 

You might see each other every day and have shared many wonderful moments, but even with the best of care, your harness is going to get worn over time. Let’s face it, at some point, you will have to move on and go different ways .

 

These are our advanced inspection tips to help you make a detailed safety assessment of the main parts of your climbing harness:

 


.1 Waist belt and leg loops

 

Look for any:

• rip or hole in the webbing
• burnt, singed, or melted webbing
• torn threads
• heavily worn webbing
• faded, discoloured webbing

 


.2 Belay and tie-in loop

 

Some of our harnesses have a wear indicator in the tie-in loop (see the  label).
If you see red fibres sticking out of the tie-in loop, you know it’s time to replace your harness.


The other important points are the same as the waist belt, look for any:

• rip, hole or fraying in the webbing
• burnt, singed, or melted webbing
• torn threads
• heavily abraded webbing
• faded, discoloured webbing

 


The second part of the test procedure is testing the belay loop. For this, we place a harness on Jenny (our test dummy) and load it up to 15kN (1,500 kg). The same as in the first test, loaded-bearing parts are not allowed to tear, and slippage through the buckles may not exceed 2 cm.

 

  

Your harness is your workhorse and your unsung hero.

 

1. How safe is your harness?

 

You often hear people talking about breaking loads of carabiners, rocks, friends and quickdraws, but when was the last time you heard somebody talking about the maximum load capacity of a climbing harness? In fact, how much do you know about yours? Do you know how it gets tested? How safe is your harness? Blind trust is never great basis to go on, especially when it comes to climbing.

 

2. How is a climbing harness tested?

 

Every Wild Country harness gets tested according to the safety requirements of the EN 12277 standard. This means that during testing, the waist belt is loaded to 10kN (1,000 kg) and no load-bearing parts may tear. The buckles are also tested by checking that they do not slip more than 2 cm.

 


.3 Bar tacks

 

Bar tacks are the special stitched connection points of webbing on your harness. Bar tacks are always used where the stitching is safety-critical and load-bearing. They are always zig-zag stitched in a different colour to the webbing, to make them easier to inspect.

 

Check them for:

• torn threads
• signs of heavily wear
• faded, discoloured webbing

 


.4 Buckles

 

The metal adjustment parts on your harness are generally made of aluminium or steel.

 

Check that your buckles have:

• no sharp edges
• no signs of corrosion
• no sign of damage

 


Others from the Beta Talks series

 

1. How to look after your quickdraws


Let’s start with some good practise: Don’t throw your quickdraws (quickies, extenders) down into the sand/dust/ dirt, this might affect gate function and or cause dust to collect dust on the spring.


Make sure to use always the same carabiner (from the German term ‘Karabinerhaken’ or ‘Karabiner’ for short) to clip bolt hangers. And stick with your system. If you lend your draws to a friend, make sure you tell them about it.

 

2. Why care is needed with clipping bolts


Bolt hangers, pitons and rock are far harder than the aluminium used to make carabiners. When a biner is loaded this can lead to gauging the inner surface of the carabiner, leaving small rough burrs and score-marks.

These small burrs, which you might barely feel, can damage the sheath of a rope relatively quickly. Especially if you are say, working a sequence on a sport climbing project.

 

3. What about fixed gear/ in-situ quickdraws?



Another critical point is fixed draws left in-situ on overhanging sport routes. They might have been hanging there for a while and you have no idea of the condition they are in. Quickdraws get worn over time, leaving sharp edges and burrs that could seriously damage a rope during a fall.

Treat any in situ gear with suspicion. Always check the carabiner for grooves or burr and the slings for faded colours, abrasion, or cuts. Remember, even a comprehensive visual check cannot provide definitive information about its structural integrity.

 

4. When should I retire my quickdraws?


To decide this, you need to divide your quickdraws into their different parts and inspect them separately.

Here you see three non-locking carabiners, one wire gate and two solid gate, three dogbone quickdraw slings (runner) and some rubber vices that prevent the lower biner from twisting.

 


.3 Bar tacks

 

Bar tacks are the special stitched connection points of webbing on your harness. Bar tacks are always used where the stitching is safety-critical and load-bearing. They are always zig-zag stitched in a different colour to the webbing, to make them easier to inspect.

 

Check them for:

• torn threads
• signs of heavily wear
• faded, discoloured webbing

 

 


.4 Buckles

 

The metal adjustment parts on your harness are generally made of aluminium or steel.

 

Check that your buckles have:

• no sharp edges
• no signs of corrosion
• no sign of damage

 


At the end of the day, there are still a number of climbers using harnesses that are well past manufacturer recommended guidelines or even that are visibly damaged and should have been retired with dignity long before they got to that stage.

 

Don’t be one of them.Keep an eye on your harness and the tie-in loops in particular – and get your friends to check theirs too.

 

Spread the love. Share the beta.

 


Others from the Beta Talks series

 


Others from the Beta Talks series

 


At the end of the day, there are still a number of climbers using harnesses that are well past manufacturer recommended guidelines or even that are visibly damaged and should have been retired with dignity long before they got to that stage.

 

Don’t be one of them.Keep an eye on your harness and the tie-in loops in particular – and get your friends to check theirs too.

 

Spread the love. Share the beta.

 


The second part of the test procedure is testing the belay loop. For this, we place a harness on Jenny (our test dummy) and load it up to 15kN (1,500 kg). The same as in the first test, loaded-bearing parts are not allowed to tear, and slippage through the buckles may not exceed 2 cm.

 

Friends

Draws, biners & slings

Friends

Draws, biners & slings