When Adam Ondra speaks, Black Diamond listens. The result’s the Black Diamond airNET Harness.
Black Diamond collaborated with mountain climbing celebrity Adam Ondra to develop a harness with a sole give attention to weight discount that might stand as much as a efficiency at the Tokyo Olympics.
The outcome was the airNET Harness, launched to the general public final month. We examined an early pattern through the fall and winter climbing season and got here away impressed.
The (Actually) Gentle Know-how
Black Diamond pulled out all of the stops to develop the airNET competitors and sport climbing harness. Not solely is it the lightest featured mountain climbing harnesses in the marketplace, nevertheless it additionally makes use of two patented applied sciences.
Our males’s measurement medium airNET pattern weighed a verified 8 ounces, but the harness isn’t utterly bare-bones. The Black Diamond airNET Harness represents the tip of the spear in harness design, attaining a uncommon trifecta of super-low weight, consolation, and sturdiness.
Black Diamond flexed the airNET patent to attenuate weight whereas concurrently enhancing perform and luxury. The airNET is a Dynex internet within the waist belt and leg loops — the open construction minimizes materials and reduces weight. The web additionally spreads the load throughout a fall and facilitates most breathability; there is no such thing as a further padding or lining.
One other mass-cutting function was impressed by Adam Ondra’s behavior of chopping off the rear pair of drugs loops to cut back bulk. Black Diamond took the trace and fashioned the rear pair of drugs loops out of super-minimalist webbing. The entrance two gear loops are the extra conventional pressure-molded selection.
Consolation & Sturdiness: As much as Snuff
Many outside merchandise that maintain lightness above all else vastly sacrifice consolation — however not the airNet Harness. Black Diamond avoids the standard binding tape on the perimeters that contact the climber’s physique; a seamless tape eradicates a possible supply of pores and skin irritation. And the model’s patented Infinity belay loop cleverly avoids the standard overlap of webbing and bar tacks.
This building offers uninterrupted surfaces for the whole lot of the loop, eliminating the seam that may snag carabiners. Not solely can this make belaying smoother, nevertheless it additionally removes the potential of drugs popping over edges, which could be startling to each climber and belayer.
The tie-in factors of a harness are normally the primary locations to point out put on. So Black Diamond didn’t skimp on this space to save lots of grams. Dynex wraps each tie-in factors for abrasion resistance and stiffness (to ease rope threading). The airNET additionally makes use of a standard-sized buckle; no fussing with tiny buckles with seizing palms and painful fingertips.
Black Diamond’s airNET had a perceptible quantity of breathability within the waist and leg loops, which I seen when the humidity was excessive and a light-weight breeze was current. Usually, the harness felt gentle throughout; the breathability actually performed a component.
A Minimalist Harness: Does It Work?
The lads’s measurement medium airNET Harness match my 6-foot-tall, 167-pound body nicely. I had 9 inches of tail left on the waist adjustment (32-inch waist). And the non-adjustable, elasticized leg loops felt comfortable however snug on my 22.5-inch thighs.
Each waist belt and leg loops felt easy in opposition to naked pores and skin or skinny layers. I wouldn’t categorize the texture as “comfortable,” as there’s no further padding or lining, nevertheless it was snug whereas unloaded.
The airNET Harness on no account impeded motion. The non-adjustable elastic twine that anchors the rear of the leg loops felt too tight initially however stretched simply, and I quickly forgot about it.
The quantity of rise within the entrance felt appropriate for my anatomy. And the tapered profile of the waist loop by no means pinched or irritated me. In brief, the harness grew to become largely unnoticeable.
I used to be paying further consideration to the Infinity belay loop whereas fifed into anchors. And my concern dissipated instantly, as there was no approach to pop the seam — as a result of there isn’t one. Kudos to Black Diamond for this innovation.
Lastly, my standard sport climbing zones have shorter routes, so I didn’t thoughts the minimalist webbing of the rear gear loops. The entrance loops labored advantageous; I discovered and eliminated quickdraws with out pause or thought.
On falling: One of the best ways to explain falling within the airNet Harness is that it was a non-issue. I fell on lead repeatedly, and I didn’t discover something. I felt the identical about hang-dogging for acceptable quantities of time within the airNET.
It’s not any roughly snug than different light-weight harnesses I’ve used or examined. That mentioned, this isn’t an all-arounder harness; I wouldn’t wish to grasp for lengthy intervals or climb massive partitions with it. It’s strictly supposed for sport or competitors climbing.
The Black Diamond airNet Harness is an excellent selection for sport climbing. Sure, it’s gentle, nevertheless it’s additionally snug for sport climbing and appears to be sturdy. The airNet know-how carried out as supposed, and the Infinity belay loop offered a novel benefit.
I’ve used different sport climbing harnesses of the “has all the pieces you want, nothing you don’t” ideology. They had been protected and lightweight, however there was at all times a noticeable unfavorable: fussy most important buckles, gear loops that didn’t keep open, or waist loops that chafed pores and skin.
The Black Diamond airNET Harness prevented all these pitfalls of uber-light design. The takeaway is lightness with out the standard drawbacks. Nice job, Black Diamond.