Big wall climbing is work and don’t believe anyone that says otherwise. The constant jugging, hauling and climbing will have most climbers exhausted at the end of a day. This is not the place for a minimalist sport climbing harness. Instead, big wall climbing requires a wide, supportive, Barcalounger-like harness, plush enough for the multi-hour leads required on most routes. Not only do these harnesses need to be comfortable, but they must also be capable of carrying big racks, provide hammer holstering options and be durable enough for the inevitable chimney-grovels.
Here are some top options for any big wall adventure.
Big Gun – $100
The Big Gun delivers all the durability, comfort and performance most big wall climbers will ever need. The combination of robust exterior fabrics and smooth lining materials, ensure the Big Gun is will survive many routes while providing the comfort and support necessary for success on a big wall. Black Diamond has wisely included numerous reinforced gear loops as well as a removable hammer holster. Double belay loops simplify cluttered belays, while the easy-to-use rear-riser strap buckles allow for unexpected calls-of-nature. A solid harness that will do nicely on any big wall.
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Waldo – $109
Metolus have outdone themselves with the Waldo. Built with incredibly durable materials the widest load-supporting proportions, the Waldo is our top pick for serious bill walls. Multiple ultra-strong gear loops provide plenty of carrying capacity for big racks and can easily serve double-duty as a hammer holster. Double belay loops bring welcome organization at busy belays and metal rear-riser strap buckles will survive any chimney pitch. Highest rating.
B 360a – $175
The new B 360a harness brings Arc’Teryx’s Warp Strength Technology (WST) to big wall climbers. WST construction allows Arc’Teryx to build a wide, supportive harness without adding unnecessary weight. For even more comfort, Arc’Teryx has this year redesigned the leg loops. This update will be welcome by many climbers who felt the old leg-loop shape created pressure points along the top edge. For big wall size racks, Arc’Teryx adds six gear loops and 10 elasticized ice clipper-style biner slots. While the elasticized slots are an innovative way of carrying more gear, any biner clipped into them can be felt through the waistbelt; this might lead to chafing and after a few days on a wall. For easy fit adjustments, The B 360a employs smoothly-working single-pull buckles. While perhaps not the best choice for serious big wall routes, the B 360a is a viable option for shorter walls or long free climbs.