Chicks Gear Review: Petzl Altitude Harness


Written by: Chicks co-owner and guide, Angela Hawse

Petzl has dPetzl Altitude Harnessone it again, leading the industry with the first harness to incorporate Dyneema into an ultra-lightweight, full strength harness.  Weighing in at only 150 grams (5.29 ounces), the Altitude harness is the lightest in the world.  You can bet you’ll see others follow suit in the coming years to catch up to Petzl’s innovation.  Currently other’s in it’s class weigh in at 215 to 260 g. (9.17 oz).

If you are shopping for a lightweight harness for ski mountaineering, high altitude climbing or fast and light moderate alpine link-ups, pay attention to the features on the Altitude Harness that make it so desirable.

  • All-day comfort. For most endeavors requiring a light-weight harness, you’re wearing it all day long.  For ski mountaineering, which is why I got the Altitude, I can’t tell I have it on.  Unrestricted movement makes a big difference for all-day skinning and skiing.  It’s streamlined enough that it doesn’t add pressure points or rub under the hip belt of my pack.
  • Rigid Support. This is the unique feature that Petzl nailed with the use of Dyneema threads throughout the waist belt and leg loops that make it not only light, but stiff enough to provide the support needed when you weight the harness. Last year’s testers claimed it was as comfortable as the Petzl Hirundos Harness!
  • No Bulk. Doesn’t add weight or take up valuable space to your pack if you aren’t wearing it but just may need to pull it out for an occasional rappel or roping up.
  • Petzl Altitude HarnessFull Features. The ALTITUDE Harness has a full strength belay loop, speed buckle and leg loops designed for ease of entry with skis, boots and or crampons on.
  • Gear Loops + Screw Immobilizer. The skimpy gear loops look minimal and they are but for ski mo or moderate alpine they are completely sufficient. These Dyneema loops are actually stronger than any others in Petzl’s line and the unique configuration stacks carabiners nicely. This also makes it compatible with a pack’s hip belt which is the never ending challenge with the combination.  Unique to this harness, which other’s have followed is a double loop ice screw holder on the leg loops that keeps the screws in place, free from swinging and damaging your outerwear.
  • Minimal H20 Absorption. With the majority of the material Dyneema, the Altitude Harness is not going to suck up water and add weight to your day. Other’s in this class are predominately Nylon and will absorb water.

So if you are heading into the hills for big days, look at the make up of other light-weight harnesses, compare and decide for yourself. For $79.99, you’ll be glad you chose PETZL’s ALTITUDE Harness.