History of climbing harnesses

gallery: Eastern European copy of an Edelrid chest harness
Homemade, can take apart to use rope and cord. 1967-68
gallery: Bill Forrest Waistbelt
Sold separately from leg loops (next slide) for precise sizing. 1968
gallery: Bill Forrest Leg Loops
These and the waistbelt were always used together. 1968
gallery: Whillans Sit Harness
Made by Troll of England, designed for the first ascent of Annapurna South. 1970
gallery: Clan Robertson Harness
Made by Brian Robertson in Boulder. Early 1970s
gallery: Troll ABS Harness
Has a wide range of adjustment buckles that can’t be fully undone for safety. Late 1980s

We’ve come a long way, baby—from the (literally) gut-wrenching swami belts and painful chest harnesses of old to sleek, comfortable models weighing less than a pound. To see how good we have it today—with upgraded features and materials like comfortable padding, breathable mesh liners, and laser-cut webbing—peep these antique (but state of the art in their time) rigs on display at Neptune Mountaineering in Boulder, Colorado.


Photos by Ben Fullerton
Climbing.com – the history of climbing harnesses
Special thanks to Gary Neptune and Neptune Mountaineering

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