DMM Chest Harness

Climbing chest harness

Improvising A Chest Harness

There are certain situations where a chest harness might be a good idea, but all you have is the standard waist and leg loops deal. In a pinch, improvising one could be an option. If you're thinking of belaying children I personally wouldn't trust something like the sling method shown below. Buy a real kids chest harness for them.

Right: The REI adjustable chest harness. To be used in conjunction with a sit harness.

The chest harness is supposed to keep the climber upright in the event of a fall. Also possibly handy if you're lowering an injured climber for example. Certain devices (such as some self belay devices), require you to wear a chest harness. Other situations might lend themselves to using one, like when wearing a large pack. As with all pages on Chockstone, I make no claim the following is accurate or suitable for the purpose. (See: full disclaimer).

To improvise a chest harness using two short slings follow these steps:

Step 1: Tie two small slings together using a Girth Hitch or possibly something stronger, and drape it over your shoulders as shown. Adjust as necessary. Step 2: Join the loops in front of your chest with a locking carabiner, and clip the rope tied off from your normal harness to this crab. Step 3: At this point you might choose to stabilise the configuration with a short prusik tying the rope to the carabiner (not pictued).

Note: In case it isn't obvious the sling chest harness shown above is used in conjunction with a normal sit harness, never as the sole means of support. Also note that this is an improvised, emergency use kind of thing, and could well be dammed uncomfortable if not totally useless.

Further Reading:
Making Your Own Harness - Climbing skills article from outdoors.
Improvised Chest Harness - Small section towards the end of this page.

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