Review:Black Diamond Big Gun Harness

Well in order to try and make suffering up El Cap as comfortable as possible, we as a team have been looking for some ‘Big Walling Harnesses’. Now there are a few options for the UK based climber. Why? Well despite Metolius making a great big walling harness that is a safe-tech design, they haven’t had it CE tested so they can’t sell it in the UK.

Even some cross the ocean emailing left us high and dry, which was such a shame because I borrowed Alex’s who works in Joe Brown’s for a Big Walling Course I ran for both me and Plas Y Brenin. It was so, so comfy. In the end the Metolius office was out until Christmas, so couldn’t help us.

In the end we managed to get a harness through V12 Outdoor, and it was a Black Diamond Big Gun. Again a specific big wall harness. I have tried it out over the last few days working teaching leading, where I basically jumar all day. Result is that it is no way near as comfy as the Metolius.

Don’t get me wrong the harness is OK, but the tape you do it up with is limp, thin and just not as reassuring as the tape you find of Metolius, Petzl or DMM harnesses (sorry but that is the only harness I have used recently). The gear loops look OK, however having the knowledge that the Metolius Harnesses gear loops will take 10kn means that you won’t worry about them blowing if you catch a wire whilst climbing a wall, where you just can’t afford to drop any gear.

Worst of all is that when you walk in the harness, the material on the leg loops makes an irritating zip-zip-zip-zip-zip-zip as you stride. It drove me to distraction.

I might see how much the metolius version of the harness costs, and blow the expense for comfort. That must show my age, on my first wall, i took a standard harness and suffer. Now I am looking for the harness equivalent of the arm chair!

I have to thank Katie, for doing all the work in getting me this harness (how she found the time between juggling three kids is beyond me!) and Alex I hate you, as if it wasn’t for you I would think that this harness is the Bees Knees. As for Metolius, get your act together and get the harness CE stamped, as I will buy it for teaching and working in the UK, and I think a few other instructors would, because as we get older the weight becomes less of an issue, bad backs do though!

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