Disclaimer: Modifying your harness in any way is not to be recommended. You will definitely void any kind of warranty, and what’s more, you could end up causing structural damage to what is one of the most safety critical pieces of climbing equipment you will ever own.
If you don’t like something, change it.
This is a philosophy I have been known to apply in many areas of my life, from where I’ve been living, to the job I’ve been doing, the kind of food I’ve been eating etc etc, but in this instance I’m talking, once again, about climbing equipment.
Now, anyone who has been following this blog for a while will know that I’m not averse to ‘improving’ pieces of equipment that I’ve bought but which have just not been quite right (a prime recent example being the sprung leashes for my ice axes).
This time it is the turn of my harness. I have already made small modifications to it in the form of adding extra webbing straps for fixing more ice screw clippers, but this time I have finally gotten round to adding a much needed fifth gear loop on the back.
- My harness is a Petzl Corax, and is about 7 years old (I can’t remember exactly when I bought it, but it is certainly no younger). It has been used extensively over it’s lifetime, from indoor top roping, to long runout scary ice leads, to Alpine mountaineering, but by far the greatest amount of use it now gets is for UK trad climbing.
- It has four plastic moulded gear loops which all slope forwards in order to bunch all your gear up in a horrifically annoying fashion.
- I am a total wuss when it comes to downclimbing/scrambling on wet grass in rock shoes, and as such I often like to carry my approach shoes up with me, clipped to my harness.
- I sometimes like to carry the guidebook clipped to me in a lovely guidebook cover, along with my camera and sometimes other items.
- I also sometimes tend to carry quite alot of gear.
All of these points add up to this: a fifth gear loop out of the way on the back of my harness would be awesome. I could clip my shoes on it so they don’t get in the way so much, and I could also clip all the ‘non-primary climbing equipment’ bits onto it to allow more room on my main gear loops for, yes you’ve guessed it, gear.
Here we go then, time to pimp my harness:
Firstly, what do we need? Well, I’ve decided to use some 3mm climbing accessory cord, inside some 5mm diameter PVC tubing (bought at my local hardware store):
Next, I worked out the length of pipe and cord needed to make a sensibly sized loop, then made it by threading the cord through the pipe and tying an overhand knot in each end, allowing 2-3mm of space between the end of the pipe and the knot each side:
Next, I used some strong cotton thread and a decent needle, to sew one end of the cord onto the padding of the harness (note, I am not sewing through the strength critical harness webbing). The technique I’ve used to fix the loop on is to simply sew round the cord underneath the knot so it can’t slide through:
Finally I sewed the other end of the gear loop onto the harness, making sure that the loop was going to be nicely central, and of a sufficient depth to make clipping things to it simple:
And this is the final result:
Hopefully I have used enough stitches (if you do decide to copy this, make sure you stitch over and over and over again, the more thread you use, the stronger it will be), and the loop will prove to be yet another ‘life extender’ for my old friend.