How to Tie a Safety Harness

How to Tie a Safety Harness
The Swiss Seat and Studebaker Wrap are both improvised seat harnesses tied from webbing or rope. Due to the added security and comfort provided, and the ability to take a front or rear clip-in, the Studebaker Wrap is worth the extra few minutes needed to construct it.


Difficulty: Moderately Challenging

Tying Studebaker Wraps

Things You’ll Need:
  • 30-foot 9mm dynamic rope or
  • 30-foot 1-inch tubular webbing
  • adjust length by 2-foot increments to adjust for an individual's size
Step 1
Inspect rope. Find the center and place it on your left hip. While maintaining the center of the rope on your hip, slide your right hand holding the rope behind your back and toward your belly button. Slide your left hand holding the rope to meet your right hand at your belly. Form a surgeon's knot by passing the right rope over the left, then the right over the left again. Pull snug and ensure that the knot rests above your hip bone.
Step 2
Drop ropes and pass them through your legs. Wrap the right rope around your right leg and return it to front hip; repeat with left leg. Squat and tighten both ropes.
Step 3
Pass the entire right rope between your belly and the vertical right rope, pull it snug toward your right hip. Pass the entire left rope between your belly and the vertical left rope; pull snug toward your left hip.
Step 4
You have just constructed a Swiss Seat minus the finishing knot. To complete the Studebaker Seat, repeat Steps 1-3.
Bring the ropes to the center of your back and form a surgeon's knot. Tighten ropes, drop them down your back and between your legs. Reach through and wrap them around the proper leg (maintaining the right rope on the right side, left on the left side) until your hands return to back. Pass the entire right rope between your buttocks and the vertical right rope; pull snug toward your right hip. Repeat with the left side and tighten the harness.
Step 5
To finish the harness, wrap the ropes around your waist at least one time until the ends of the rope hang at your knees. Form a square knot on your right hip, with barrel knots on either side to ensure the harness's integrity and to avoid your knot getting in the way of your carabiner.
Step 6
When attaching the carabiner in either front or rear clip-in, the carabiner should pass through all strands at the center of the harness.

Tips & Warnings

The harness is properly tied if there is a:
-surgeon's knot in front and back
-diamond on each hip
-square knot and barrel knot offset on right hip
-tight fit with no slack present in ropes
While Studebaker Wraps offer more comfort than Swiss seats, you can run the risk of cutting off circulation to the femoral artery if suspended for five minutes or longer, resulting in unconsciousness or death.
Responsibility belongs to the climber for ensuring gear is properly maintained, tying and dressing knots properly and recognizing inherent risks in the sport.

Article Written By Liz Hinman

Liz Hinman in an English teacher from North Carolina. She has spent the past seven years helping students better their lives through reading, writing, and experiencing the outdoors. She has decided it is time to better her own life by returning to her passion for writing.

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