Monday, September 12, 2011

Gear Review: Petzl Hirundos Harness

The hirundos harness is my new, favorite all-around harness. It is both very light weight (280 grams, size M) and versatile. I have used it for sport climbing, trad climbing and alpine climbing and have not been disappointed in it. Since it is so light weight, it fits easily in a pack and doesn’t add too much additional weight to heavy loads. This was especially nice on a recent trip to the Bugaboos in Canada where heavy packs are the norm for the brutal approach. It also dries very quickly since it is made of lightweight mesh material, which is also nice for snowy alpine routes.

The harness has two gear loops that are large and stiff enough for the heavy racks associated with trad and alpine rock climbing. The belay loop is super skinny but just as strong as a thicker belay loop. A small piece of improvement would be to add a skinny haul loop to the back of the harness.

The leg loops are not adjustable but are designed with stretchy material so that they do not add any bulk to the harness. This is especially nice feature for the athletic movements associated with steep sport climbing. The harness ‘double-backs’ automatically. I did notice that the leg loops are sized a little smaller than other harnesses and I had to order a bigger size than I have with other brands. Although it fits women fairly well, it would be nice to see a women’s model in bright pink or purple! I would not necessarily recommend this harness for routes or climbs that require a lot of hanging in the harness, as it is not very comfortable. But aside from that this is my go-to harness for everything else. It has worked great on alpine routes in the French Alps, to trad climbs at Index, WA to sport climbs in Italy!

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