Body Harnesses

The only commercial harnesses approved by the UIAA are full body harnesses (fig. 6-31). Body harnesses, which incorporate both a chest and a seat harness, have a higher tie-in point. This greatly reduces the chance of flipping over backward during a fall, especially if a pack makes you top heavy. Because a body harness distributes the force of a fall throughout the trunk of your body, there is less danger of lower-back injury.

Although they are unquestionably safer, body harnesses are resisted by many climbers. They are more expensive and restrictive, and make it hard to add or remove clothing. Instead, many climbers prefer a seat harness for most climbs, and improvise a chest harness when one is warranted, such as when climbing with a heavy pack, crossing glaciers, or aid-climbing under large overhangs.

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