The Loopo Lite is one of a growing number of über light Alpine/Skimo harnesses that are extraordinarily minimalist. They showcase just how much you can trim and minimise a mountaineering harness whilst still actually meeting the required safety standards. David Göttler rates the Loopo lite as his favourite piece of Edelrid kit loving it for:
“…guiding, fast and light alpine climbs and for my expeditions. It is perfect from gacier hikes to climbing an 8000m peak in the Himalayas. The advantage is the minimal weight, the possibility to put it on without lifting a leg and that it has two gear loops on each side, means you can carry a normal rack if you have to!”
When I first saw the Loopo Lite it was difficult to believe how compact and light it was – the stuff bag was almost as heavy as the harness! With its Dynema edge binding, and mesh construction it looks like lingerie and feels equally insubstantial in your hands – it’s difficult to believe that it can work as an alpine harness! The headline figure here is that this is an 86g harness – effectively a quarter of the weight of traditional lightweight harnesses! The edge bound Dynema and mesh construction explains some of the weight saving but as you would expect features have been pared down to the minimum including the elimination of buckle fastenings and a minimalist feature set. However it is more fully featured than other ultralight harnesses.
For Ski mountaineers and the Skimo racing subset it’s easy to see how such a featherweight harness would appeal especially as the diaper style allows you to put the harness on whilst wearing your skis – a useful plus for those climbers amongst us who just push on that little too far before deciding that it might be a good idea to tackle up on the 50 degree slope. For the average alpinist though it might seem a little too much – or too little even? So why might an ultralight harness appeal to a non-skier? There’s always the weight issue, less weight may save energy and time if it doesn’t impact usability. Compactness – this is the sort of harness you can throw in a sac for routes where you may only need to rope up if conditions dictate or you meet some unexpected obstacle. However if we’re honest the Loopo Lite will never be an alpinist’s primary harness – more likely a specialist addition and it will never compete in terms of versatility or durability with more conventional fare. If you are an Alpinist in search of the ultimate weight savings in the harness department then the Loopo Lite will fit the bill. Firstly although minimalist it does still include four gear loops so you can actually carry a rack with a few provisos, the thin cord racking loops are plenty strong enough but if you start loading up a full mixed climbing rack you will probably find the harness a bit uncomfortable as it tends to ride down onto your hips. With no buckle to snug things up the harness fits in a slightly different manner to a conventional waist-belt and leg loops affair. With a light rack of a few slings wires/hexes and a couple of ice screws there is no issue and even without a rope fastened through the two front belay loops it remains secure and unobtrusive. There is a little press stud convenience fastener to keep the harness in place which works well but I tended to leave a screwgate clipped through the twin tie-in loops as you’d most often have taken coils when using this harness it isn’t a hassle. Though there is nothing complex about donning the Loopo Lite it is as well to familiarise yourself with it before use as it is ‘different’ to most modern harnesses, there’s no vertically orientated belay loop as you tie into two colour coded loops from the leg loop section that thread through correspondingly colour coded loops on the waist belt. The tie in loops even have reflective tape to aid early morning/addled brain donning!
I half expected the Loopo Lite to shift about without any buckle to tighten it whilst worn unroped but this wasn’t the case at all. In fact it was totally unnoticeable in use. The first full abseil on our route did give a little trepidation but any fears proved unfounded – obviously the Loopo lite was safe but it was surprisingly comfortable too for such a minimalist harness. I’m not saying that it would be a good choice for repeated hanging belays or working your latest redpoint but hanging free with a sac on an abseil was perfectly fine.
To belay I simply connected a screwgate through the two tie in loops. Abseiling with an autobloc/prusik needed a little adjustment from my normal set up where I connect the autobloc to my legloop near my lower hand – this didn’t feel quite right with the Loopo Lite. Instead I used a sling to extend the descender (Petzl Reverso) away from the tie in and used the autobloc on a screwgate directly into the tie in loops creating sufficient space between descender and autobloc. Overall the Lopo Lite proved to be more comfortable and capable than I was expecting. It’s not the harness I’d choose fro a technical mixed route but for ‘dangerous walks’ such as a trip up Mt Blanc via the Three Monts or Gouter route it’s perfect. Durability wise I wouldn’t expect it to fare well compared to something like Edelrid’s own Gambit but for routes such as those mentioned where you’re not abrading it thrutching against rock it should do well enough.
- Comfortable for a minimalist harness
- Four gear loops
- Can be put on without lifting a leg (or ski!).
- Long term durability
Richie is the enthusiastic amateur of the team. Enjoying all aspects of climbing but especially alpine, winter and his local grit . Having managed to survive the vagaries of both fluorescent Koflachs and rainbow tights in the 80s he looks forward to an even more stylish future. A shady past in mountain marathons and adventure races, including the Marathon des Sables, means he’s an advocate of fast and light. Though the former is debatable if you’ve seen him on a tricky lead!
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!