Types of climbing harnesses
The EN-standard 12277 differentiates between four different construction shapes of harnesses: combi-harness (Type A), childrens combi-harness (Type B), waist harness (Type C) and chest harness (Type D). Every type of harness has a different role and function; you choose a suitable model depending on the purpose for use and personal preferrance.
Typ C - Waist harness
The waist harness is, and for very good reason, the most widely used model. It is suitable for nearly every discipline of mountain sport, especially for difficult climbing on rock, ice and on alpine routes. 80% of the fall load is transferred through the leg loops onto the thighs, while the belt around the waist protects the spinal column. Since the waist harness is built around the bodies centre of gravity, the pull of the rope on long pitches is less annoying than other harness types. It also has great freedom of movement and a comfortable hanging position.
Innovation type – Climbing Shorts
Although the Mammut Realization Shorts officially come under type C – i.e a hip belt, and have been tested as such - this innovative product is far more than a traditional climbing harness. For the first time, the Mammut Realization Shorts combine the load-bearing structure of a climbing harness with a pair of shorts. The result is a whole new level of comfort, combined with great freedom of movement and a unique look. The Realization Shorts are ideal for indoor climbing in the gym or out on the cliffs and are helping Mammut Pro Team athletes and other climbers to achieve top performance on the rocks.
Typ D - Chest harness
In a few situations it is recommended to complete the waist harness with the additional use of a chest harness. Children up to the age of about 12 years old could slide out of a waist harness, which can be prevented through use of a chest harness; As they are often a bit top-heavy as well, it can help to keep them upright. People with a large hip circumference can also benefit from a chest harness to avoid slipping out of a harness.A chest harness should never be used by itself, since hanging free can lead to death by asphyxiation within a short space of time. To connect the waist and chest harness, usually an additional sling is used.
Typ A - Combi-harness or Full-body harness
The combi-harness has the same safety advantages for the demands of special situations as the combination of a waist and chest harness, but with less hanging comfort; however it is lighter and you don’t need any other equipment to put it on, and due to it’s large adjustable area, it can be used for everything. It is especially good for Via Ferratas, where falls seldom pose a threat, but can often happen unexpectedly. Combi harnesses are also practical to rent out.
Typ B - Children’s combi or Full-body harness
«Small body harnesses» are, according to standard, permitted for up to 40 kilograms body weight; due to this, narrower webbing can be used, which saves weight for the young mountaineer and improves comfort. The fully-adjustable harness has been especially designed to fit a childs anatomy and grows with the child. The Mammut childrens combi harness also has padded leg loops for more comfort and fun when climbing or mountaineering.
|Type||Typ C (Waist)||Typ D (Chest)||Typ A (Combi)||Typ B (Children-Combi)|
|optimal||Sport Climbing, Glacier Tours**, Ice Climbing, Mixed Routes||Only together with a waist harness: Alpinism, hanging with heavy backpack, heavier people||Alpinism, hanging with heavy backpack, heavier people, Via Ferrata||Kids (up to 12 years)|
|suitable||Alpine Climbing, Ski Touring||Only together with a waist harness: Via Ferrata||Beginner, Alpine Tours||-|
|acceptable||Beginner, Via Ferrata*||-||-||-|
|not suitable||Children (up to 12 years), heavier people, hanging with heavy backpack||-||-||-|
* Waist harnesses alone, or in combination with chest harnesses, are equally recommended for roping up in Via Ferrata.
** On Glacier tours, chest harnesses together with waist harnesses are not used anymore for tiing in, due to the uncomfortable belay position.