The Basic Art of HarnessingAug 24, 2001 Write an essay on this topic.
Popular Products in Sport and OutdoorThe Bottom Line Always have a partner make sure that you are safe. Always make sure that your partner has you locked in.
Harnesses are there to keep you safe from harm (that means falling) but if you don't put them on right, they can be more harmful than helpful.
First, I suggest you make friends with the harness from the start and go to a professional to tell you how to put one on. There are many places you can study the art of harnessing- one being REI and another being Adventure Rock (if in the Milwaukee vicinity). If you take an indoor rock climbing lesson, you will learn how to put on and adjust your own harness before climbing. Here is what you will hear from your guide:
"Always double check your partner."
What this means is, after you have put on your harness and knotted your rope to keep you from falling, check the belayer because basically they are keeping you safe. The harness is no good if it is not locked in and definitely not helpful if your own knots are incorrect. Your rope and your partner are what is keeping you safe in addition to your harness. Without those three things, you can and will get injured.
As lame as this may seem to the professional climber, it is important and too easily do those who "know what they are doing" take a fall because they didn't check their partner's knots or see if they were locked into the belayer.
Another thing to remember about harnesses is that they are more uncomfortable if they are too snug or not snug enough. Basically the judge of how snug is snug is to place your upper four fingers between the waist belt and your body to see how tight the waist is. If it is too snug to fit your hand through easily, you are on the right track. If, however you can fit your hand easily through the waist area, you need to make your harness tighter. Too many new climbers tend to want to wear their harnesses around their hips which is a very bad idea. One, you can fall out, and two, the harness can hurt you if you wear it too low. Basically you want to look like a cowboy in chaps...not stylish but safe (minus guns).
The leg loops are the hardest to adjust on most harnesses because it is that old "how snug is snug" thing again. I suggest climbing a couple of times at a decent tightness and then loosening the leg loops if they hurt when you descend.
Depending on the harness you purchase, there could be different ways of securing. I suggest if you do have a new harness to ask for a demonstration on how to use it so that you are safe while climbing and descending.
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