Performance climbing harnesses have become more Spartan as they vie for the lightweight prize, but they often end up thinner and less comfortable in the process. Taking the supportive width out of the waist and leg loops simultaneously removes weight and comfort, while minimizing or eliminating features like gear loops reduces overall usebility. But Edelrid’s new Ace harness possesses unique technology that allows a fully featured, supportive harness to remain lightweight.
The Edelrid Ace employa “3D-Vent Lite” technology with narrow HDPE (high-density polyethylene) strips embedded in the waist and leg loops to help distribute loads in a low bulk, lightweight manner. Since the HDPE strips that bear the load are small and spread out, the padded mesh woven waist and leg loops could be left wider and made with lighter materials.
The waist belt is a whopping 3.25 inches in the back, and the leg loops are an equally generous three inches wide at the rear of the thighs. The leg loops aren’t adjustable, but they have a stretch panel to accommodate variations in size and range of motion. The waist and leg loops also have a three-dimensional shape to better match anatomy.
During climbs, the width of the harness components was immediately noticeable compared to narrower, sport climbing specific harnesses I had been using, especially during marathon sessions on routes that push my limits. Long belaying sessions were also comfortable, with the large surface area and three-dimensional shaping becoming welcome features while catching falls and holding weight during redpoint working runs. Wearing the harness constantly during guiding days further proved the design’s comfort. The only noticeable negative of the Ace came on extremely hot days, as the larger coverage area at the lower back and the back of the legs held in heat compared to more minimalist harnesses. A size medium put my 32 inch waist on the small end of the waist adjustment range, and my legs fit perfectly with the 22.5 inch circumference.
Although the Edlerid Ace is a high-performance harness, it still has some of the features that discerning rock and ice climbers will appreciate. The four symmetrical gear loops are large and positioned well, while all loops proved stiff enough to remain open. The front pair are further stiffened with a clear vinyl cover as well. Both tie-in points are reinforced to fight abrasion and also stiff to ease rope threading. The waist loop has a pair of attachment points for ice screw clippers, and a chalk bag loop. The leg loops have a rear buckle that allow dropping them while remaining in the waist loop. The only minimalist nods that I found on the Ace harness were the 5/8 inch wide waist closure webbing and matching pre-threaded buckle, and the 1/2 inch wide, triple layer belay loop.
Fifteen days of climbing haven’t produced any signs of wear. The tie-in points remain smooth and fuzz-free despite repeatedly getting abused on working runs on lead. The belay loop is similarly free of any signs of wear. The only indications of use are some dirt on the easily soiled bright green and white color scheme.
The wide waist and leg loops, three-dimensional shaping, and a full list of features made the Ederid Ace harness capable of handling long days of sport, trad, and ice climbing comfortably, while the low weight afforded by the 3D-Vent Lite technology keeps the performance minded climber satisfied.
edelrid.com MSRP: $130