Note: Kevin talks about the Arc'Teryx a300a harness that he bought a year ago. ArcTeryx has since updated their line and most of their harness models inculde the features that was in the a300a. This inclues the R320a Harness for men, the R300 Harness for women, and a lot of other great harness found in the Arcteryx Harness category.
The day to retire an old harness and purchase a replacement is a familiar experience to many rock climbers, and I chose to purchase an Arc’teryx harness at Travel Country. The design principles of the Arc’teryx a300a climbing harness really caught my attention long before I finally admitted to myself that I needed a new harness. Before I had the chance to fall in love with the a300a harness I looked at the price tag and thought to myself, “I’m not that good of a climber yet, I’ll buy something less expensive for now.” Luckily for me, the other harness I planned on purchasing wasn’t available in my size so I tried the Arc’teryx a300a to see how it would fit and how well it would protect me from a bad whip.
Ladies and gentlemen, the a300a is the most comfortable harness I have ever put on; it felt like nothing was on!
The WARP Strength® Technology – along with other design principles, craftsmanship and research that went into to the a300a harness has changed the way modern climbing harnesses are made. At 10.5oz (just under 300g) it is difficult to believe that a harness this lightweight and thin could protect a climber from a hard fall - yet Arc’teryx not only puts a great amount of care and research into all of their climbing products, but their harnesses have also been certified safe for alpine environments by the International Mountaineering and Climbing Federation (Union Internationale De Associations D’Alpinisme). Though I wish there were more gear loops, two are sufficient for most exploits – and the lightweight and durable double-backed buckles also give me a lot of peace of mind and are conservatively sized. I never would have thought that a harness so minimal would maximize my climbing experience.
I knew this was the harness for me, so I waited to receive my paycheck and promptly purchased it. After months of training at Aiguille Rock Climbing Center, I took my protection to the Appalachian rock faces of the New River Gorge in West Virginia with two of my co-workers in the fall of 2008. In 2009, my harness got much use amongst the Andes Mountains of Western Colombia. My first time climbing outdoors is something I’ll never forget and has since made me dream about climbing often.
It is liberating being on a rock face; playing on nature’s playground, feeling the wind on your body, listening to the sound of the gear clanking together, the sound of your heart beating, taking in the spectacular views. Imagine that with a harness that protects you but feels as if you aren’t wearing a harness at all. The a300a is that phenomenal harness: one fit for most climbers in almost any occasion. And as the new Arc’teryx line of harnesses has just come out – there is bound to be the perfect harness to fit your needs…and your hips.