How to Tie a Climbing Harness

How to Tie a Climbing Harness
The harness is one of the most important pieces of climbing gear. It's what connects you to the rope, whether leading, following or belaying. If your harness isn't tied correctly, you could come undone, fall or drop your buddy. It's very important to make sure your harness is tied correctly. While harnesses come in a variety of designs, they all rely on a simple concept to stay snug and keep you connected.


Difficulty: Easy

Leg Loop Harnesses

Things You’ll Need:
  • Harness Attention to detail
  • Harness
  • Attention to detail
Step 1
Step both legs through the leg loops, and pull the harness up to your waist.
Step 2
Thread the belt through the buckle, from right to left, and pull snug.
Step 3
Double-back the belt through the buckle, going over the buckle and back through the first opening. This is very important. Beginning climbers sometimes forget this step. It's what creates the friction to keep the buckle secure. If you forget to do this, the belt can come undone once load is placed on the harness. Some modern harnesses do not require this action (see Tips).
Step 4
Check your leg loops. Make sure they are secure, with double-backed threads if they have them. Make sure they are adjusted to be snug and comfortable.
Step 5
Adjust the leg loops to be the right height. They should rest just above the mid-thigh.
Step 6
Don't tie the harness too tight! Comfort is important. At the same time, make sure the harness is snug. A good rule of thumb is to ask, will I fall out if suspended upside down?
Step 7
Attach the karabiner to the belay loop. Make sure the belay loop is in the correct place. On most leg loop harnesses, it should join the waist belt and the leg loops in a triangular arrangement.
Step 8
Get your buddy to check you are secure.
Step 9
Attach yourself to the rope, and test the harness by applying weight. Check to see if there is any movement in the waist belt and that the karabiner is taught, relaying weight appropriately to the leg loops.

Less Modern Harnesses

Step 1
Older harnesses use a waist belt and a seat that is brought up between the legs. Attach the waist belt first, and make sure you double-back the belt.
Step 2
Reach between your legs and bring the belay loop up to the waist belt.
Step 3
Attach the karabiner through the belay loop and around the waist belt.
Step 4
Make sure the harness is snug and the seat is comfortable. A loose seat will cause pinching and discomfort during and after a fall, giving additional pressure to the waist belt.
Step 5
Get your buddy to check you're secure before hitting the route or belaying a friend.

Tips & Warnings

Some modern harnesses do not require doubling back the waist belt. If you are purchasing a harness and are unsure of the buckle arrangement, make sure you ask a rep at the store. Read the instructions, and get familiar with your harness.
Always check your harness. Even experienced climbers repeat safety checks. Buddies check each others' gear. As far as extreme sports are concerned, habit and complacency can be deadly!

Article Written By Benjamin Williams

Ben Williams is an award-winning reporter and freelance writer based out of Colorado. He has written for conglomerates of newspapers and magazines, supplying news, features, editorial and opinion. While running an Energy Services and consulting firm, he also writes for multiple websites.

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