Mammut Zephir Alpine ReviewDecember 6, 2016
- Lightweight & compact
- Four wide gear loops
- Ten ice clipper attachment points
- Not comfortable for extended hanging sessions
- Gear loops harder to clip
- Hard to release adjustable buckle
The Mammut Zephir Alpine is a lightweight harness best suited for alpine and ice climbing adventures. With the ability to carry ample gear for a wide range of climbing objectives and a breathable waist belt, the Zephir Alpine is made for long days in the mountains. While it excels in the mountains, it is limited in its appeal as a cragging harness for sport or trad climbing as it lacks the comfort compared to other harnesses tested.
The Zephir Alpine features Mammut’s Split Webbing technology, where the webbing in the waist belt and leg loops is split, running along the tops and bottoms of each and allowing the middle to be comprised of highly breathable and lightweight material. This feature creates a wide waist belt and leg loops for such a lightweight harness and makes it attractive for alpine climbers who want a harness that will be comfortable while hiking in. Despite this, the Zephir Alpine lacks the comfort for extended hang sessions compared to other harnesses tested and limits its use to places where you can stay on your feet and not dangle from a hanging belay.
The Zephir Alpine has a single adjustable buckle on the waist belt. Constructed of aluminum, it is a sleek, thin buckle called the Slide Loc by Mammut. Testers found it to be a smooth operating buckle that was easy to tighten but hard to release. The fact that it was harder to release may owe in part to its small size, which was hard to use, particularly with gloves on. The leg loops aren’t adjustable and instead feature stretchy elastic to provide a snug fit around the legs.
Four, wide gear loops grace the sides of the Zephir Alpine, running all the way around the sides and rear. This allows for a myriad of options for where you are going to situate gear while climbing. The cord that makes up the gear loops on the Zephir Alpine is covered by rubber on the front gear loops to help them protrude from the harness and make them easier to clip. Compared to other harnesses tested, they still sit rather flat, making them comparatively harder to access. The rear gear loops lack that rubber coating and thus lay flatter, making them more comfortable when wearing a pack over the harness. The greatest advantage to the gear loops is the fact that you can always find one owing to the fact that they are everywhere around the harness.
One of the most notable features of the Zephir Alpine is the abundant ice clipper attachment points. Each side has 5 attachment points to allow climbers to customize their harness for setting up screws in gear in a number of configurations. Testers found this particularly helpful when their size or preference differed—they could adjust the location of ice clipper attachment points to find the sweet spot that worked for them. Another feature of the Zephir Alpine was the well-ventilated waistbelt, making it a pleasant harness to wear in warm weather and when hiking long distances. The Zephir Alpine also lacks a dedicated haul loop, a feature many appreciate for tagging a line on a long route.
The Zephir Alpine is named for its alpine prominence but it has enough features and comfort to also make it suitable for rock climbing in single pitch and multi-pitch environments. While the lack of comfort while hanging in the Zephir Alpine makes it less ideal for steep multi-pitch climbs where hanging belays may be encountered, it is suitable for less vertical terrain with ledges as you can carry plenty of gear on its spacious gear loops. As an alpine harness is where this thing excels. The stretchy leg loops go on and off easily and the lightweight construction and compact nature of the Zephir Alpine helps it fit into a pack and be endured through long carries. For ice climbing the Zephir Alpine is a great choice with its 10 ice clipper attachment points and wide gear loops.
At 250 grams (8.81 ounces), the Zephir Alpine was one of the lightest harnesses tested. It is about 30 grams lighter than the Petzl Sitta.
Schneiter is an AMGA-certified guide, founder of Glenwood Climbing Guides, and very quick on his draws.