How to attach a Harness

Attachment methods

All Aspiring harnesses, with the exception of the Height Safety harnesses and the Speleo caving harness, use one of two different styles of attachment point. On our Stratos climbing harnesses we use the Located Belay Loop; on our other harnesses, the Direct Attachment Point. These differ in the methods of connecting into them.

Located belay loops

A unique design for our top climbing harnesses, designed to give a naturally balanced hanging position. Our stitched-through belay loop creates a higher centre of balance and therefore a more stable hanging position. Unlike other belay loops, our located belay loop is designed to tie directly into. The ultimate strength of the belay loop is over 35 kN – nearly double that of many other belay loops – and it is reinforced to ensure maximum life.

How to attach a Harness

Most climbing harnesses use a plain open loop to attach leg loops to the waist belt. This belay loop is for karabiner attachment while belaying, abseiling or connecting to anchors. When tying into a rope, the rope must be tied around both the leg loop and waist belt, following the belay loop. As a result these harnesses have an effectively lower centre of balance. This may be dangerous for some people because they may tend to tip backwards in a fall, which is likely to cause head injuries.

An option to tying in solely to the top of the belay loop is to include the waist strap also (see drawing). This will alter the harness geometry but may suit some people better.

Do not use the traditional tie in method unless you are sure that the resultant hanging position will not cause tipping back into a head-first fall.
Direct attachment point

A single attachment point that you can tie or clip everything into.

A single attachment point that you can tie or clip everything into.
A single attachment point that you can tie or clip everything into.

The advantages of this concept are its simplicity and the benefit of having all attachments horizontally arranged. This attachment is used on many of our harnesses, particularly those design for group activities and outdoor education. Each product uses a different variation of the direct attachment point, but the principle remains the same.

Any attachment using either a rope or karabiner is made directly to the front of the harness (making sure to exclude the retaining loop which prevents the rope or karabiner moving sideways in the case of the Classic harness).

Anchoring safely

Many climbers are unaware of the requirements for safe anchoring. In the first place, the anchors must obviously be secure (note that we are using the term “belay” only in the narrow and more correct sense of controlling the rope).

Secondly, the method of connecting the anchors to each other must be sound (this is a complex topic which cannot be covered here), and thirdly the connection from the anchors to the harness must be safe. Here many people make the mistake of attaching to the rear of the harness. This is fundamentally incorrect, even if the harness has a strong enough attachment point available, because it inserts the belayer’s body between the anchor and the belay (the point where the load is being applied to the belayer). The anchor connection must always be to the attachment area at the front of the harness.

Note: When tying on to a rope it is always preferable to tie the rope directly to the harness, rather than use an intermediate karabiner, as the rope can conceivably detach from the karabiner. Also, the gate can catch on the harness and may be side-loaded by the rope.

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