Homemade Climbing Harness

Homemade Climbing Harness
While you'll want a dedicated climbing harness in most situations, a hand-knotted harness can do in a pinch. Often called a Swiss seat, this tied harness is typically used in rappelling or belaying situations, since climbing in one for any long period of time would be very uncomfortable. Think of the Swiss seat as a complicated knot that you'll never forget once you've memorized it; you'll have it down in no time.


Difficulty: Moderately Challenging

Things You’ll Need:
  • Webbing (10 feet) Locking carabiner Helmet
  • Webbing (10 feet)
  • Locking carabiner
  • Helmet
Step 1
Fold the webbing in half, doubling it. Grasp your new, five foot length of webbing with the top fold in one hand and the two ends in the other.
Step 2
Hold the webbing against your hip at the folded midpoint. You'll want the webbing to rest against your non-dominant hip. So, if you are right-handed, place the webbing against your left hip.
Step 3
Wrap the webbing around the back of your waist. Hold both ends of the webbing in front of you, one end in each hand. The two lengths should be uneven, with less webbing in your dominant hand.
Step 4
Tie a double overhand knot against the front of your body. You should begin the overhand with the right end of the webbing crossing over the left. Then simply loop around like you would in the first step of tying your shoelace. Repeat, running right over left one more time. The webbing should now be tightly twisted against the front of your body, with the slack dangling in front of you.
Step 5
Draw the two slack end of the webbing through your legs. Run the webbing up and over your buttocks, then draw both lengths of webbing under and over the back of the webbing tied tightly against your waist. This step will now have the slack webbing dangling down the back of your legs, with the webbing securely taut against your inseam.
Step 6
Run the two lengths of webbing under themselves at the point where the webbing is on the back of your buttocks. Basically, you are forming a loop, tightening the webbing over the back your waist belt and drawing it forward. You should now have each length of webbing in front of you in each hand. At no point in step five or step six should the two ends of webbing cross over each other.
Step 7
Tie a square knot on the front, non-dominant side of your waist. After you've complete the process of drawing the webbing through your legs, then looping it over the back of your hip belt, you should have significantly reduced lengths of webbing with which to tie your square knot. A square knot is tied by taking the two ends of webbing and first running the right over the left end, followed immediately by running the left over the right end. It's basically a well-manicured double knot.
Step 8
Add an overhead knot to either end of the square knot. This helps to ensure that the square knot stays tied, while also eliminating any excess slack.
Step 9
Put on your helmet and clip your locking climbing carabiner over the double-twisted webbing on the front of your waist. You are now ready to go rappelling.

Tips & Warnings

You can use rope instead of webbing, but make sure its thick enough not to cut off your circulation.
Do not trust your own Swiss seat until a trained professional has double-checked your work. Always wear a helmet while climbing. Using only climbing-strength webbing and carabiners.
Do not trust your own Swiss seat until a trained professional has double-checked your work.
Always wear a helmet while climbing.
Using only climbing-strength webbing and carabiners.

Article Written By Louie Doverspike

Based in Seattle, Louie Doverspike has been a professional writer since 2004. His work has appeared in various publications, including "AntiqueWeek" magazine, the "Prague Post" and "Seattle Represent!" Doverspike holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Hamilton College.

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