Your harness has been there for you, every climb, keeping you safe and giving you a sense of security on every 1000 foot climb. Your helmet, with your favorite sports team logo on it has protected your head from all the overhead debris. Even those boots, that are so well broken in that it feels like nothing is even on your feet. It is weird that such an attachment can develop to the items that are inanimate, but often it does and this attachment can lead some men and women to not trade out their equipment when it is needed.
Each harness, has a different lifetime. The same type of harness, by the same manufacturer will have a slightly different lifetime. On average, a harness will last from one to ten years, and they each come with a manual that has the projected lifetime. Don’t worry, these manuals are available online for those of us who don’t even crack open a manual before tossing it.
Regardless of the age of your harness, certain signs are red flags that a harness needs to be replaced. All harnesses will develop scrapes, cuts, tears, and minor fraying, not all of these will affect your harness. The tie in points are usually the first to wear out. Major brands have been putting a different colored nylon underneath the top layer as an indicator of when to replace the harness. Fuzzy fabric is normal, but the harness is thin, has large rips, tears, or abrasions then replace it. Check the waistband, leg loops and belay loops regularly for wear.
Since the majority of a tower climber’s job is, well climbing, then harnesses need to be replaced more frequently than people who would climb once a month, like rock climbers. One advantage to using your harness everyday is that the risk of rot is diminished. If your harness is going to be stored, it is best to keep it in a separate place from all of the other equipment. This limits the risk of premature tears and lengthens the life of the harness. A mesh bag is a good option, many harnesses even come with one for storage purposes.
The environment and elements will play a factor in the life of a harness as well. Dirt, sunlight and water happen, but exposure will affect harness life. If you end up on a tower at 1500 feet and it rains or has a thick mist, hang dry your harness before storing it. Wipe off any extra dirt or mud before storing a harness or it will eat at the material.
When it comes time to store your harness, avoid storing it in a basement, attic or garage and opt instead to store it in your house away from direct sunlight. Think of it like a nice suit, that just so happens to have life saving abilities. Hang it up when not in use and take good care of it and your harness will last for many many climbs.
Purchase your Harness at the Tower Climbing Equipment Shop.