Black Diamond Momentum SA Review

January 8, 2012
Black Diamond Momentum SA
Black Diamond Momentum SA Black_Diamond_Momentum_Side-View Evie-in-the-Black-Diamond-Momentum

The Good

  • Easy to tighten waist belt
  • Rigid, horizontal gear loops keep quickdraws, cams or ice screws within reach
  • Low-profile haul loop
  • Slack-free adjustable leg loops streamline the harness
  • Lightweight
  • Compact

The Bad

  • Waist buckle takes some getting used to in order to loosen
  • Waist belt slack is hard to feed through belt loops
  • Medium-weight padding is not ideal for multi-day climbs

The Momentum SA is a very good, versatile harness, and we highly recommended it for any level of climber. It’s equally at home on ice, trad or sport routes, offering excellent rack organization (even when overloaded) and balanced weight, with low weight and low bulk. The Momentum SA is not ideal for multi-day climbs. It does not offer the support of big-wall specialty harness, which has more padding, and we noted some discomfort during long hangs.


The Momentum SA had the highest overall score for this review because of the easy-to-tighten waist buckle, no-slack adjustable leg loops, and rigid gear loops.

The semi-rigid construction of the Momentum SA makes it feel like a foam shell wrapped around your legs and waist. This semi-rigid shape keeps it from sagging over itself when stepping into it, meaning it takes less time to put it on than traditional harnesses. Four easy-to-reach rigid gear loops run parallel with the waist belt to keep items evenly situated on each loop, and the rear haul loop hangs flat and tucked away against the back. The adjustable leg loops are made with an easy-to-use, low-profile sliding plastic buckle called TrakFit, which automatically tucks the slack out of view. The design is neither too bulky nor too slim.

The waist buckle can be problematic to use at first. Cinching it down was never an issue–it was one of the smoothest in the review. Loosening it was difficult, until we finally figured out the trick. Our testers disagreed on how big of a problem this was. One tester, a 20-year climber (and 5.13 OW climber) out of northern Colorado named Brad Jackson (90s climbers have likely heard of him: ) cried “fail” as he first fought to get the harness off his waist. Another tester, Josh Holmes, () a former 10-year Yosemite local now living in central Utah, said it was not much more difficult to adjust than other auto-locking harnesses. My verdict: Figuring how to use the buckle is worth it – it’s not as intuitive as with other harnesses but after some practice, it feels like a light switch. The trick we found: The auto-lock buckle on the Momentum has a sweet spot; there’s an ideal angle where the thumb and pointer finger – while lifting the buckle up from the bottom and levering it away from the body — pushing in opposite directions, pops the buckle allowing it to slide away from the body. But first timers, or stubborn old-school climbers, may find this frustrating.

Comfort (1-10): 7
Adjustability/Smooth Buckles (1-10): 3
Gear Loops (1-10): 6
Leg Loops (1-10): 7
Haul Loop (1-10): 5


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