The Petzl Corax is a climbing harness and is designed for climbers who wish to go rock climbing or mountaineering. But what is a harness?
A harness is the difference between you and a serious injury or worse death, and the reason why you should choose the best if you plan on working the heights.
Activities that involve heights are quite interesting when watching from afar, such as ziplining, mountaineering or trad climbing.
We then develop a deep desire to try it out and even include it in our bucket list, or as one of our objectives when we go on vacation.
What we fail to realize is that the people who are working the heights are professionals and have done this many times.
For example, look at the individuals, who jump out of planes and end up landing with parachutes, interesting don’t you think.
But, you can also do it, the professionals did have a first time and so will you, and it’s also good if you got it right the first time instead of ending up with broken bones and a lot of regrets.
So if it’s your first time working the via ferratas then I would suggest you invest in the Petzl Corax, because it is secure and offers so much comfort.
The Petzl Corax Design
The Petzl Corax harness performs three primary functions which we will discuss in detail, the first and most relevant function is the ease of use.
Even though we don’t trust ourselves when installing the harness before working a height, Petzl is user-friendly. For starters when you check at the waist belt area, you will discover that it has been integrated with two double back buckles.
Climbers can, therefore, center their harness after putting it on so that all the equipments that they have attached to the harness are in an optimal position and can be easily accessed.
For your legs, you do get an adjustable loop, remember we don’t have the same body types, therefore, the harness cannot be constructed with a one size fits all design.
And besides mountaineers need harnesses with leg loops that will adjust to the layers of clothing that they have to put on as they scale the heights.
Lastly, we have the workmanship, which is quite impressive and durable, so you can be sure that your harness will give you long service, but for as long as you do your part in maintenance.
The second primary function that the Petzl is well known for is its ability to organize equipments.
Important to note is that for a harness to be functional it has to provide you with the necessary attachment loops that will help you organize the stuff that you wish to carry up the mountain. To this end, the Petzl harness is equipped with two front equipment loops.
And at the back, the harness has incorporated two very flexible equipment loops that are also high capacity. With this feature, you are free to carry all the important equipment that you want and mind you it won’t interfere with your backpack.
There is also the accessory loop located at the rear center and you can also use the Caritool Evo with the harness for your tools and ice screws as you scale the heights.
So, after all, is said and done, the most important thing in everything that we do or aspire to do is comfort, which is also our third primary point.
The Petzl harness has incorporated the use of the frame construction technology on its waist belt, which enables weight distribution around the leg loops and the waist belt.
Besides, makers of the Petzl harness had their users in mind when they lined all the pressure points of the harness with a soft fabric.
The next point may not benefit all the users but is all the same important; professionals in mountaineering might have noticed that most harnesses have used a thin mesh in between the high strength tape, but not for the Petzl because it has used a thicker burlier foam.
The latter would work best with heavier climbers, as it tends to offer additional support. And for those who love to go bright, the Petzl harness comes in a variety of colors, so you don’t have to compromise your style for comfort or security.
Performance of the Petzl Corax
Truth be told that all products have been counterfeited, so if you are not keen you will also end up with a knock off when purchasing your harness.
So, how do you know that you have been duped, well the performance of the harness will tell you whether you got value for your money. And since imitations abound, let us dig into the performance of the Petzl Corax and reveal to you what you should expect.
The comfort features incorporated in the Petzl harness make it versatile and it can thus be used in the different forms of climbing such as ice climbing, mountaineering, alpine, and rock climbing.
As we had discussed earlier the Petzl harness prides itself with the frame construction engineering around the waist belt of the harness.
So what you don’t know about this technology is that it involves the use of front line components. For example, the belt has been constructed with high-grade polyester webbing that enhances its durability.
While using the Petzl, you don’t have to be afraid of its ability to hold up or to offer comfort; therefore, if you take a closer look at the leg loops and the waist belt, you will notice that it has been made with a mesh.
The mesh has thus incorporated a soft material for comfort, and the high-quality padding at the pressure points features some closed cells that totally eliminate discomfort as you work the heights.
The harness can thus be adopted for use by both men and women and has been manufactured using the best quality foam that is closed cell and perforated, a feature that contributes to the balancing of pressure during a climb.
The next feature is what you should be triple checking after your harness has been installed, and this is the tie-in point.
The latter uses the double buckle technology for enhanced security, so as you climb up the mountain you shouldn’t entertain any thoughts of your harness flipping open and releasing you to the ground.
Though there are some features that make the harness a bit bulky, its overall design is meant to make it less bulky, so that it can be used effectively and offer maximum comfort.
What are the different types of climbing harness?
Traditional (Trad) Harnesses
Traditional climbing is probably the most dangerous type of climbing and unless you have a few years of experience in this area, it is best to leave it to the professionals.
Climbers in trad climbing usually place all the gear that they need for protection against a fall and only remove it when they have completed a pitch.
In simple terms is that the leader after ascending a section of rock places their own protective device as they climb. To this end, it is very apparent that traditional climbing calls for the use of more gear than the other types of climbing.
The importance of gear in climbing is that they offer safety by allowing the climber to be stable when making a move or dampen the force thus reduce the distance at which the climber would have fallen.
Features to look out for in a trad harness
Since we already mentioned that you will need to carry a lot of gear, it is only logical to get a harness that has incorporated up to 4 or even more gear loops.
Ensure that your trad harness has integrated a haul loop, which you will use to carry the second rope and the leg loops should be adjustable and made complete with buckles for comfort and safety.
Dense padding is mandatory when undertaking this kind of activity, therefore, ensure that your waist belt and leg loops are well padded to offer comfort when hanging belays or during multi-pitch climbing.
Lastly, you could check out for extra lumbar padding a feature that is effective in stabilizing your waist and lower back.
Alpine climbing is the type of climbing where climbers aim to reach the summit of a mountain, also known as mountaineering.
This type of climbing, therefore, calls for a climber to be self-sufficient and should thus carry all the requirements such as shelter and food.
And in case you didn’t know there are camps set up by climbers in the mountain that they access at their own leisure.
So what should you look out for when getting your alpine harness?
First, you should ensure that you have at least 4 gear loops and ones that will not interfere with your bag pack.
Your waist belt and leg loops need to be fully adjustable, and whether you want an automatic or manual double back the choice is entirely yours, and remember this feature will allow you an easy on and off.
Check on the belay loop and ensure that it is thin to save on weight, in some harnesses you will find the belay loop unattached so you will have to rappel or belay either from the leg loop or the waist belt.
Ice harness features a design that enables them to cope with moisture absorption and winter conditions.
The overall characteristic of the ice harness is that they contain minimal padding and since you will have to change or add layers of clothes, the leg loops and the waist belt are normally adjustable.
Other features that you need to watch out for are the number of gear loops that should either be 4 or more, this is so to enable you to carry the required equipment such as the ice screws and ice clippers among other tools.
A haul loop should not miss and ensure that you have extra lumbar padding to help stabilize your waist and lower back.
Sport harnesses are normally light in weight for ease in movement.
They don’t involve much only that you will have to ensure that you don’t have many loops since you won’t be carrying a lot of stuff, two loops should, therefore, suffice.
Thin belay loops will also work wonders when it comes to weight reduction. The waist belt should be easy to put on or off, and they mostly come as single automatic or double.
Sport harnesses don’t have leg adjustability; they, therefore, incorporate a stretchable material. This is so because unlike the ice harness you will not need a layer of clothes.
The big wall harness
The big wall harness just like its name needs most of the features to be extra wide, this is because the task that it is intended to undertake is quite involving and climbers will have to stay up for extended hours.
Extra-wide padding should thus suffice; now for safety and rigging configurations, at least 2 belay loops should be incorporated.
And for the heavy lifting, the harness has to have about 10 extra loops and not below 6, this will, therefore, assist a climber in carrying a huge amount of gear needed while scaling the big wall.
A haul loop for attaching the haul line should be incorporated and mind you they should be full strength.
Other equipments that work with the harness
So when you use your brain to do a task, other parts of your body are involved to successfully complete the given task.
And that is how you will use your harness, the latter will aid you to get to your destination but in conjunction with other equipment, continue reading to find out what else you will need.
In all honesty, no one would want to suffer from a head injury, because it can completely incapacitate you or even leave you dead.
So this is what will likely happen if you don’t invest in a helmet while mountaineering, small stones or objects from your partner like pen knives or a mobile phone might fall on your head.
You could accidentally fall and hit your head on a hard surface and due to tremors or strong winds, ice and rocks are likely to fall on your head.
Helmets, therefore, are of different types some are densely padded and others are light on the head, so depending on your type of climb you should invest in one that will not be bulky or cause you to have a hard time climbing by retaining moisture.
There is something subtle about ropes that if you are a novice climber you may not be able to know. Ropes need to be dynamic; this is to enable them stretch when loaded.
The dynamic ropes are thus available in two designs, the double/half ropes, and the twin or single ropes. Therefore, when you go rope shopping ensure that the length of the rope that you choose is double the distance.
Did I mention the static ropes, of course not but are none the less important, because you are not going to use the dynamic ropes to transport equipment because of their ability to stretch? Static, on the other hand, don’t stretch.
The Belay device
Belay devices are normally used to control the rope when belaying; it, therefore, works as a brake. Belay devices are in different types such as the aperture and self-braking devices.
\The former features an opening where a rope can be passed, and are automatic. What’s more, is that the belay devices do not just work with ropes of any design, you should therefore, ensure to check the recommended one.
A simple way of understanding the anchor is that it is a system that is made up of single anchor points which are then linked together to come up with one master point, in which the rope and the climbers will clip into for attachment to the rock.
Anchors are thus used by climbers to protect them from falling, more like a fall arrest or a restraint system.
The above is not only what the anchor does, as it is also used in deviating a rope, hoisting and holding static loads.
Rock climbing anchors are available in different varieties, such as the removable anchors that consist of hexes, tube chocks, passive and nuts, there are also the fixed anchors and this consists of pitons and bolts and lastly, we have the Active anchors such as the cams.
Therefore, there are some routes that do have the fixed anchors and in areas that there aren’t any then climbers normally use the removable anchors.
Crampons are traction devices that you attach to your boots, especially when trekking over ice and hard snow.
They can also be adopted by people who want to safely travel while crossing snowfields, ice fields, and glaciers; they are effective in ascending snow slopes or when scaling ice-covered rock.
The attachment systems in the crampons differ, and their levels of stiffness and rigidity are also varied.
The ice tool
Ice tool is used during ice climbing, as climbers try to maneuver difficult configurations, it is thus multipurpose and can be adopted by mountaineers, who are either ascending or descending a route that is snowy or icy.
So, as you go out to purchase your ice tool be informed that they are normally shorter than 24 inches, so if you find one that is more than 28 inches then it will be of no use if you plan on engaging in technical ice climbing.
As you go rock climbing temperatures will change as the day gets older and you might begin to sweat, this will, therefore, make it difficult for you to achieve a stable grip.
Chalk is normally used in such situations to absorb sweat thus improve your grip. You are thus advised to use chalk that matches the color of the rock that you are scaling to minimize environmental impact.
Frequently asked questions (FAQ)
For how long should a harness be used?
Harness when properly used and cared for can last for more than five years, but then again how frequently do you use it, and do you properly care for it.
The above factors are determinants of whether to retire your harness or to continue using it, but if you do take care of it and use it frequently then the best time to give it a rest is after 3 years.
Can a full-body harness be used in mountaineering?
Full body harness are rarely used in mountaineering but have been largely adopted in the construction industry.
This is so because of the high number of accidents associated with the workers working on high floors. The full-body harness, therefore, offers fall protection for workers working on a surface that is 6 feet high and has an unprotected edge.
It therefore, works by suspending the subject in an upright manner.
How tight should my harness be?
Overall your waist belt needs to be tight but not too tight to restrict blood flow or make your waist area uncomfortable. You should, therefore, be able to slip your fingers in between your harness and your body.
An effective harness should not be too loose to the extent of riding up when you are hanging from it, and should not be too tight that you could barely walk or stand while you have them on.
Do I have to take a fitness class before I go rock climbing?
Rock climbing doesn’t require you to be very fit but you have to ensure that you can climb the stairs or a ladder, and most important is that you should at least fit into a harness.
Remember as you rock climb your life literary hangs on a rope, it’s thus best if you took seriously all the measures that are bound to keep you safe.Your harness should, therefore, snugly and securely fit above your waist.
Petzl Corax is a versatile harness both in use and adoption by the different genders.
It is an all-round type of harness complete with comfort and security features, the front of the waist belt has been equipped with two belt buckles that enable it to be fine-tuned so that it can be used by different sized individuals.
Even more interesting is that it comes at an affordable price and has been vouched for by some of the veteran climbers.