It’s no secret that I’ve become a fan of Edelrid harnesses over the past few years and I know I’m not alone judging from conversations in the mountains and at the crag. Somewhat paradoxically with the CGR team reviewing both the standard and Prisma Guide it’s ‘average punter’ (me) reviewing the Guide and Kev (the guide) reviewing the standard!
A few years back I reviewed the ultra light Loopo Lite harness from Edelrid – a specialist harness aimed at ski mountaineering and high altitude mountaineering. Great though the Loopo Lite was, its range of applications was pretty narrow, you certainly wouldn’t use it at your local crag or a multi-pitch rock route in the Lakes. The Prisma Guide has that similar high tech Dyneema® look (Dyneema® makes up the edge binding) and a very low weight. Here though the similarities end. For alpine climbers I’d say there was little reason to consider the Loopo Lite now that the Prisma Guide has arrived.
Whereas the Loopo Lite had little in the way of conventional climbing features the Prisma Guide is a fully featured leg loop and waist belt harness. You get a standard belay loop which is made of a combination of Dyneema® on the inside and polyamide on the outside. According to Edelrid it is not only lightweight and abrasion resistant but also “impressively flexible, making the harness far more comfortable to wear when walking about” which I can certainly confirm. There are also adjustable leg loops, six racking loops and even ice clipper slots. All in all you can use the Prisma Guide for pretty much any technical climbing you’d like and carry a full rack. Having said that this is a minimalist harness and if you load it down with a full mixed rack it will not be the most comfortable of set ups as there is zero padding and the thin webbing tends to roll a little. However given the lack of padding it is a surprisingly comfortable harness for normal alpine climbing and long rock routes. You will notice the lack of support on extended hanging belays or multiple abseils but for the usual couple of abseils here and there and belays where you have a decent stance things are fine. With no support or padding in either the waist or leg loops you stay reasonably comfortable when wearing alpine or winter climbing clothes but somewhat less so a pair or shorts and a vest and in many ways it makes an ideal harness for those long easy alpine climbs where you want to keep kit to the minimum and just enjoy an unencumbered day in the mountains. The light frame construction makes the harness super quick drying which has obvious benefits both in summer (sweat) and winter (wet). With the Prisma Guide it is possible to get your kit slimmed down to a ridiculously light and compact set up – my standard adjustable leash is both heavier and bulkier than this harness! Despite the ultra light nature of the harness it does seem to be wearing well and although it is now looking a little grubby there are no real signs of wear 6 months into the review period.
I used the Prisma Guide for a limited amount of Scottish winter climbing (nothing technical or requiring a large rack) as well as alpine rock routes and multi pitch mountain rock routes in the UK. In winter it was perfectly comfortable on easy Grade IVs and after wet snow days it dried incredibly fast in the drying room at the end of the day. In the Alps it was perfect when doing the Perrons Traverse in shorts and a light sun hoodie which involved four or five abseils the minimalist nature of the harness helping to some extent in the 35°C temperatures. For ridge routes like this where there is quite a bit of ‘walking’ between any sections requiring a rope the Prisma Guide’s minimalist nature meant it went unnoticed which is ideal. On equipped and semi equipped multi pitch routes it proved ideal when moving quickly and wishing to keep kit weight to the minimum with the caveat that long hanging belays are best avoided. The Prisma Guide is well equipped with gear loops as previously mentioned, four semi rigid plastic covered and two at the rear just fabric ‘string’. These are all very thin and I did worry that they might snag the nose on some carabiners but I had no issues in actual use. When laden with a full rack there is a tendency for the waist belt to draq down a little which reduces comfort when wearing only light summer layers. The Prisma Guide’s adjustable leg loops use a simple toggle and loop system which gives you two ‘sizes’ to choose from. The system will allow you to put the harness on whilst wearing skis but adjustment is somewhat limited though a bit quicker than re threading a slide buckle. I have to say that I felt the ‘larger’ setting on the leg loops was a little snug. I have the size small harness and can cinch the waist belt up to its smallest setting but with the leg loops on the large setting I was only just comfortable with winter weight leg wear on – someone who’s been overdoing it on leg day down the gym might struggle! Overall this is a great harness for fast and light missions where you won’t be forced into extended hanging belay sessions or having to lug a massive rack. It might also serve as a ‘stealth’ harness to hide away along with slippers and a chalk bag on those family holidays (or even honeymoons mentioning no names Takana) so you can bump into fellow climbers and cadge a climb, …
- Ultra light
- Fully featured
- Comfortable enough
- Leg loops could adjust larger for winter
- Not suited to extended hanging belay duty
Disclaimer – CGR reviewers are never paid to provide a review and the website does not take advertising. We are a bunch of keen climbers and travellers that accept sample products and offer an honest and independent review of the item. The reviewer will often keep the sample after reviewing it for both hygiene reasons and more often they’re in no fit state to return!