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Uh -oh....check your climbing harness

Updated: Feb 22

check your climbing harness

We’d just climbed a big multi pitch route and were starting to plan to head down at the end of the day. I’d set up for the 1st of 2 abseils with both folk attached to the ropes and then I gently eased over the edge. I remember hearing a small tearing sound at this point, like the ripping of clothing. ‘Bugger’ I thought, I bet my arse is now hanging out. Throughout both the abseils I duly performed as if nothing had happened....obviously! On reaching terra firma, my trousers (and pants!) were in good order and after a quick check and finding nothing I actually forgot all about the tearing sound.

Next day as I was putting my harness on I noticed some extreme ‘fluff’ on the belay loop. It actually turned out to be some fairly major damage. Remembering the tearing sound from the previous day, I can only assume that was it - I’ve certainly found nothing else damaged, ripped or torn. Limestone can be notoriously sharp and wreck ropes and gear frighteningly quick, but I genuinely don’t recollect any connection with the rock in that area of my harness - I’m not really into hugging the rock for a cuddle. It’s not a particularly well used or even old harness, I guess I’ll never know how it happened, but it demonstrates the constant vigilance needed in checking your gear, especially your climbing harness....

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