Photo Gallery: The History of Climbing Harnesses

The History of Climbing Harnesses (6 Photos)

Eastern European copy of an Edelrid chest harness

Edelrid Chest Harness Copy

Homemade, can take apart to use rope and cord.

Bill Forrest Waistbelt

Bill Forrest Waistbelt Harness

Sold separately from leg loops (next slide) for precise sizing.

Bill Forrest Leg Loops

Bill Forrest Harness Leg Loops

These and the waistbelt were always used together.

Whillans Sit Harness

Whillans Sit Harness

Made by Troll of England, designed for the first ascent of Annapurna South.

Clan Robertson Harness

Clan Robertson Harness

Made by Brian Robertson in Boulder.
Early 1970s

Troll ABS Harness

Troll ABS Harness

Has a wide range of adjustment buckles that can’t be fully undone for safety.
Late 1980s

We’ve come a long way, baby—from the (literally) gut-wrenching swami belts and painful chest harnesses of old to sleek, comfortable models weighing less than a pound. To see how good we have it today—with upgraded features and materials like comfortable padding, breathable mesh liners, and laser-cut webbing—peep these antique (but state of the art in their time) rigs on display at Neptune Mountaineering in Boulder, Colorado.

Photos by Ben Fullerton. Special thanks to Gary Neptune and Neptune Mountaineering.