By Tracy Wilson
For the last four years, I’ve lived a mere hour away from some of the best limestone sport climbing in the US, but it wasn’t until this fall that I finally embraced the climbing at Rifle Mountain Park. Almost immediately, I was blown away by how hard the climbers around me were trying. Seeing people working “projects” and repeatedly taking huge whippers inspired me to step it up a notch, and for the first time ever, I had a desire to project routes myself. Working the moves, figuring out crux beta and eventually sending came only after falling a lot, which really made me appreciate having a solid, comfortable harness.
I started using the Metolius Safe Tech Women’s Deluxe Harness in the early summer, and have been wearing it ever since for everything from trad and long alpine routes to sport climbing. Besides how comfortable it is, the best feature in my opinion is that almost every point that you could tie into is full strength: the leg loops, the gear loops, the haul loop, etc. It’s a nice bit of extra insurance against the dumb things that can happen out there, like getting caught out in the dark without a headlamp and accidentally clipping into just your leg loops to rappel. Some would say a feature like this is only appealing to idiots who think its ok to belay off your gear loops, but all of us who have climbed to the point of exhaustion on long routes know that even the most safety conscience can make deadly errors at the end of a long day.
The first time you see this harness, what you’ll probably notice right away are the double belay loops. While some might scoff and wonder why you could possibly need two, I found them useful for both managing belays on multipitch climbs as well as for cleaning sport routes. It helped me stay a little more organized in both of these situations, and when you don’t need the functionality of two you can just clip them together as one.
Another thing that really sets this harness apart from the rest is that in addition to adjustable leg loops, it has customizable rise, which means that no matter who you are, big or small, you can dial in the perfect fit.
In fact, the only feature I haven’t been super psyched about is the gear loop placement. They are staggered slightly on top of each other, which can be a little annoying when you’re racked up with a bunch of cams, and at least for me, the fit is such that gear loops on the left side sit farther back than the ones on the right, making it a little trickier to get to the stuff on that side. Another thing to note is that with all of the new skinny and light harnesses out there, this may feel quite bulky to some, but I can’t say the weight really makes much of a difference for me.
All in all, I love this harness. I think the added margin of safety is worth the extra bulk and weight, plus it’s super comfortable. I wouldn’t hesitate in buying another and have already recommended it to friends. Go to your local gear shop and give it a hang.
Get the full specs on the Metolius website.
Tracy Wilson did indeed get into projecting this fall, although she usually sent much quicker than what most would consider the time needed to wire a “project.”
Disclaimer: The FTC wants you to know this product was provided to SplitterChoss.com for the purpose of reviewing. Like that makes a difference on how much we beat the crap out of it …