Climbing Harness Inspection Checklist

Climbing Harness Inspection Checklist
You should thoroughly inspect all of your rock climbing safety gear before you go rock climbing, every time. Climbing safety gear includes those pieces of climbing equipment that play a direct role in preventing injury or death as a result of falling while rock climbing. Climbing equipment requiring regular and frequent at-home inspection includes belay devices, carabiners, removable protection, climbing rope, slings, quickdraws and the climbing harness. Inspecting a climbing harness for safety before you go rock climbing only takes a few minutes---a few minutes that could save your life.


Difficulty: Moderately Easy

Step 1
Examine the belay loop of the climbing harness. Scrutinize it for any fraying, corrosion, stains, splitting seams or other visible signs of damage. Run the belay loop through your hands to feel for any inconsistencies. Look for signs of weathering, such as faded coloring or lack of suppleness in the webbing.
Step 2
Inspect the tie-in area of the climbing harness using the same methods described for the belay loop.
Step 3
Examine the harness belt as carefully as you examined the belay loop and tie-in area.
Step 4
Scan the leg loops of the harness, including the attachment points in front and back, for any signs of fraying or wear. This includes elastic that has lost its stretch, which increases its danger of snapping.
Step 5
Inspect the metal portions of the harness for grooving, warping or other signs of wear. This includes the belt buckle, as well as leg loop buckles and connectors should the harness have these.

Tips & Warnings

If the climbing harness shows any visible signs of wear, including fraying, weathering, grooved metal or splitting seams, retire the harness and purchase a new one.
As a rule, retire a climbing harness after two years of regular weekend use, even if it still looks good, as noted on You may need to retire your climbing harness sooner if you rock climb frequently, take large falls or otherwise put heavy loads on the harness.
Do not purchase a used climbing harness. Your life depends on this piece of climbing safety equipment, literally, making it important to use a climbing harness in top condition at all times.
Don't use duct tape to repair a climbing harness. It simply covers up the climbing harness's unsafe, worn condition.
In addition to inspecting a climbing harness regularly, you must know how to use a climbing harness before going rock climbing. This climbing harness inspection checklist does not include instructions for how to fit or use a climbing harness. Take a rock climbing lesson to learn how to use a climbing harness before attempting to use it on your own.
Rock climbing is an inherently dangerous activity with consequences that can include serious injury or death. Regular inspection of rock climbing safety equipment does not ensure that the user will be protected from serious injury or death.

Article Written By Alli Rainey

A professional writer since 1997, Harvard graduate Alli Rainey has written several books, including "Wyoming: An Explorer's Guide." Her articles have appeared in "Climbing Magazine," "Rock & Ice," and "Men's Fitness," among many others.

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