Among the obligatory material to cover the via ferratas there is, together with Set da Ferrata and helmet, the harness. The choice of harness is important both for our safety and comfort during progression. We have prepared a simple guide on some useful factors to consider before buying a harness. Here is our guide:
Partiamo da alcune informazioni generali: l’imbrago è uno dispositivo di protezione individuale (DPI) di III livello, è nostro. E’ necessario avere consapevolezza che dalla sua integrityto ne deriva la nostra sicurezza. Dobbiamo valutare attentamente le sue condizioni dopo cadute significative e non usarlo oltre la durata utile indicata dal produttore, generalmente 10 anni dall'acquisto o 12 dalla produzione. L’imbrago non deve entrare in contatto con sostanze che ne potrebbero intaccare le caratteristiche (es: oli, acidi ecc), non dobbiamo lasciarlo al sole o in ambienti molto umidi che potrebbero indebolirne le cuciture.
Harnesses are subjected to aapproval e l’etichetta di questa omologazione è generalmente inserita nella cintola. Le marche più comuni di materiale per gli sport di montagna omologano tutti gli imbraghi e, tenuto in considerazione le condizioni oggettive di quell’imbrago, possiamo essere sereni su come è stato progettato. Se noleggeremo un imbrago (es: in vacanza) è buona norma controllare che sia omologato sulle norme EN e CE.
We are unbalanced: thecomplete harness provides greater safety on via ferrata. We will explain the reason in more detail and why you can also use the low harness. Compared to sport climbing, the fall line in via ferrata tends to follow the metal cable, not just the force of gravity. This is sometimes placed diagonally. Without going too far into the innumerable cases, the complete harness helps to avoid, in the case of rollovers, slips of the harness that could be potentially fatal. To accentuate the chances of tipping over via ferrata, both affect the presence of backpacks that shift the center of gravity of our body is the weight of the'hiker. On the weight it is important to emphasize that for very light or very heavy people, the probability of overturning in the event of a fall increases as well as the possibility that the harness may slip off.
Given these premises, the complete harness is a choice that certainly privileges safety. It must be said that there are no longer many complete harnesses available on the market. Each manufacturer maintains one or two models, among which we point out the Petzl 8003 or theOcun Bodyguard. The Salewa Civetta II model was a widely used model but was recalled by Salewa a few years ago and was not replaced.
However, it is undeniable that the complete harness restricts movements more and for this reason, low harnesses are often preferred. It is also possible to buy a low harness to add one to bib with a good compromise between safety and comfort. This harness is adjustable and connects to the harness via a locking carabiner or rather with a cord with an eight knot (the cord has the advantage that in the event of a fall possible compression of the ferrule on the ribs is avoided). Among the bibs available on the market, we report the CT Torse and Kong Secure Eight.
A solution that is certainly less convenient but that can be adopted to prevent the harness from slipping in the event of a rollover is to have a 120 cm dyneema webbing (like the CT Looper 120 mm) and create an eight where we will insert the arms and around the shoulders. We will connect this webbing to our harness with a locking carabiner. In the event of overturning, the harness will not slip off because the webbing wraps around our shoulders. This situation is not approved but can increase safety by preventing the harness from slipping in the event of a fall.
A separate discussion, which we then deepen below, should be done for i children. For children we strongly recommend having a complete harness or low harness with bib.
Notwithstanding the fact that the complete harness is the solution of greater safety, we feel we can add that the low harness is generally sufficient for people in “normal” weight form, neither too thin nor too heavy. Let's deepen below the differences between available low harnesses.
Harnesses are generally divided into 3 types:
If we enter a store and ask for help in choosing a harness, before tackling the fateful price theme, we will reduce our choice based on certain factors. Who will guide us in the choice will have made an idea of our size - given the weight and height. There are harnesses designed specifically for female morphology, therefore women's harnesses (eg the CT Anthea or the Petzl Selena), as well as harnesses specifically designed for children (eg the CT Ascent or the Black Diamond Momentum). So a first differentiation is given by our body.
A second feature that distinguishes harnesses is if i leg straps are adjustable or elastic. The first ones have an adjustable webbing for each thigh, while the second ones have an elastic band that makes them stick to our leg. The harnesses with adjustable leg loops are generally more expensive but give a better feeling of adherence to the leg and comfort. In the past, elastic leg loops were also less comfortable. In this context, considerable progress has been made recently and the feeling is more pleasant than in the past.
Thecentral ring varies in size between the various harnesses. For via ferrata it can be convenient to have a rather large ring, sometimes having to connect both the Ferrata Set and a lanyard or chain of quickdraws for simulate a stop on the way up.
Although not used as in other disciplines (eg trad or artificial climbing), even on via ferrata we use material carrier rings. The number of material carrier rings varies from harness to harness. The harnesses currently produced generally have at least 4 rings and can have up to 8. To travel via ferrata 4 material loops are sufficient. At the back of the harness there is often a small loop where typically, if you climb, a quick link is stored (hoping not to use it ...).
The various differences indicated above result in one compensation between weight and comfortto. Non è una regola fissa, ma gli imbraghi più pesanti tendono a essere più comodi per la maggiore imbottitura, presenza di fibbie ecc. Viceversa, gli imbraghi sportivi tendono a fare della leggerezza il loro fulcro, talvolta a scapito di una maggiore comodità. D’altronde sono studiati per essere indossati alcuni minuti durante un tiro e poi essere tolti o allargati. Su questo punto sono stati fatti passi avanti dai produttori che oggi offrono imbraghi da alpinismo leggerissimi e super performanti come ad esempio il Kong Aeron Flex or the Camp Impulse Cr.
Premise: there is no right harness for everyone, it depends on what use is made of it and on your body.
Se si arrampica e si fanno vie ferrate con brevi tratti verticali si potrebbe optare per un sport climbing harness. A simple and light model like the CT On Sight or the Camp Air CR could do for us for most of the exits guaranteeing a good mix of lightness, comfort and price.
Vale la pena sottolineare che le vie ferrate talvolta richiedono di indossare l'imbrago per diverse ore. Per chi å appassionato e pensa di fare ferrate lunghe consigliamo di optare per un modello leggermente più imbottito che abbia un buon comfort nel tempo, come generalmente sono gli imbraghi trad or mountaineering. Opting for average prices, among the models available on the market the CT Ascent, the CAMP Jasper or the Petzl Corax they are good options with ample adjustment possibilities, a good number of material carriers, well-padded and versatile enough to be also used in climbing or indoor.
Each harness manufacturer sells specific models for children. The risk of tipping over for children is greater due to the different weight distribution they have between the upper and lower body parts compared to adults. For this reason, in via ferrata as in climbing if they climb from first, the complete harness or the harness with the harness are mandatory for child safety.
Among the models of complete harnesses for children we mention the CT Jungle or the CAMP Child. For low harnesses we signal CT Ascent or the Black Diamond Momentum with the option to add a bib between the various available, such as the CAMP Harness or Ederrid Kermit. Remember that the bib must be connected with a closed-ring carabiner, such as a CAMP Oval.