Blue Ice claim that their Choucas Harness is: “The lightest harness you can put on without taking off your skis!” Kev puts it to the test…
Overall Rating: *****
At 170g the Blue Ice Choucas certainly is light. It is one of those delightfully simple pieces of kit, that just works for the purposes it was designed for. It isn’t a harness you’d want to use for lots of technical climbing, particularly if you were going to spend any time hanging in it. That’s not to say you couldn’t, it just wouldn’t be very comfortable. But for it’s designed purpose of ski mountaineering, glacier tours and classic alpinism, it’s totally ideal!
I have worn mine on lots of days out glacier skiing and ski touring as well as on classic alpine climbs and it is so light and simple I forget that I’m wearing it. It’s really easy to put on even if you already have skis on, or big boots and crampons. So no teetering around trying to balance on one leg.
You just put the waist band around your waist, pull the belay loop through your legs, thread the waist belt through it and do up the glove friendly buckle (the buckle can be adjusted to fit various layers once it’s done up). All that is left is to clip the 2 plastic leg loop retainer buckles and you’re off, all without lifting afoot off the floor. A harness that enable you to put it on without lifting a foot is a real god-send, particularly for those moments where you’ve left it a bit late to put it on (you know the ones I mean!). The ease with which the Choucas can be put on and adjusted once on, allows you stay safe at all times.
The main body of the harness is constructed 100% from Dyneema®, which is light, tough and strong. The webbing is of varying widths which ensures a good fit. The feature list is minimal but it has all you need for the activities it has been designed for. Two gear loops, 2 ice clipper slots and 2 ice screw retainers (1 on each leg loop) which stop the screws dangling around, particularly when skiing. The whole package folds neatly and compactly into a supplied stuff sack when not in use and definitely won’t weigh you down in your backpack.
Full features list:
- Variable-width waist belt
- Glove-friendly buckles
- Adjustable leg loops
- Full-strength belay loop
- 2 Gear loops
- 2 slots for ice screw holders
- 2 Ice screw keepers
- Quick release leg loops
Apart from saying it’s not a one stop shop of a harness (it’s not supposed to be), I can’t fault the Blue Ice Choucas at all. It’s perfect for skiing and classic mountaineering as well as glacier travel. I’ll be wearing mine for many seasons to come. It’s made in France too and at £55 it’s not bad value for a quality piece of kit.
- RRP: £54.95
- Find out more at the Blue Ice website