The Petzl Hirundos is a high-end climbing harness designed primarily for the purpose of sport and alpine climbing. At the core of its construction is a lightweight design that provides a balance between comfort and a freedom of movement not found in your typical harness. Combined with a number of features that reduce the wear when taking multiple falls, the Hirundos has set a new standard for lightweight harness design. Squamish Climbing Magazine had a chance to field test the harness over the past six months and here is what we thought.
To guide our review, we have broken the harness down into its specific components to give you a full summary of its features.
The Hirundos harness finds a great balance between comfort and freedom of movement for climbing. One of the first things that we noticed when switching from the Sama to the Hirundos was a major difference in bulk and weight between the two harnesses. When comparing the materials of both harnesses, the Hirundos has reduced the thickness of the waistbelt and leg loops almost in half through a number of technologies including thermo-formed and fabric-fused foam. These changes resulted in a much lighter feel when climbing. We were pleasantly surprised by how much this reduction in bulk increased a freedom of movement while climbing that we had not experienced in other harnesses that we had tested.
With any harness, there is a fine balance between padding and comfort. To exacerbate this problem further, a day of climbing can involve a variety of situations that impact the comfort of the user. With this in mind, the Hirundos finds a nice balance between padding and comfort for the purpose of single pitch sport climbing. The Hirundos was able to handle long belays of heavy partners without discomfort. However, when hanging on the wall for a longer period of time, the harness still had the typical pressure points on the hips and behind the legs. The harness was also able to handle a large amount of quickdraws (15-17) and proved itself on longer single pitch climbs. However, when adding a rack, the harness was not able to handle the extra weight.
The Hirundos is well designed for single pitch sport climbing, light alpine climbing and high-end performance. The harness features four gear loops including two rigid loops on the hips and two flexible loops in the back. For alpine use, the harnesshas integrated to caritool tool holder slots. During the testing period, we found that the gear loops provided the right amount of room for a lot of quickdraws. The gear loops of the harness were naturally positioned on this hips to decrease clutter and promoting movement when climbing. We also found that the leg loops on both the medium and large versions of the harness were a more relaxed fit than previous models which added to a lighter feel.
After prolonged use and multiple falls, the Hirundos showed no signs of wear on the tie-in points of the harness or on the belay loop in the front of the harness. When redesigning this harness, Petzl put a lot of consideration into the materials that were used on the tie-in points and reinforced these points with a high-tenacity polyethylene to reduce rope friction. Although we didn’t do a large amount of scumming during the testing period, the outer material on the harness held up well to abrasions. Petzl has also integrated a DoubleBack HD buckle made of forged aluminum for safety when using the harness. It should be noted that when switching over to this harness, it took a small amount of time to get use to the thinner belay loop but after climbing in this harness for more than six months, the belay loop showed no signs of wear and felt equally robust as its thicker counterpart.
Any review of the Hirundos would not be complete without mentioning Petzl’s eco-design and Bluesign fabric that reduces air emissions and water pollution while continuing to provide safe materials. Although Bluesign is slowly becoming the standard for outdoor production, it is an important consideration when choosing which companies to support.
Overall, we really enjoyed the Hirundos harness throughout the testing process and would highly recommend this harness for the purpose of single route sport climbing. The Hirundos delivers when finding the balance between comfort and freedom of movement. It’s clean and lightweight design reduced a noticeable amount of bulk from previous models and made a huge difference when moving on the rock. It was also the first harness that was light enough to wear all day long despite moving from crag to crag. Although comfortable enough for a full day of single pitch sport climbing, we would not recommend this harness for hanging belays or traditional climbing. Finally, the Hirundos more than proved itself when it came to daily wear and tear. After wearing the harness for more than six months, the tie in points of the harness and the thin belay loop showed little wear and tear normally associated with working a project or cragging on a weekly basis.
Garantee: 3 years
Material(s): nylon, polyester, EVA, polyurethane, aluminum, high-tenacity polyethylene
Certification(s): CE EN 12277 type C, UIAA
The Petzl Hirundos ($155.00) can be purchased at Climb On Equipment in Squamish, MEC in North Vancouver and Vancovuer, and Valhalla Pure Outfitters in Squamish.