This is the second installment of a multi-part series covering light mountaineering and ski harnesses. The first review covered the Mammut Zephyr Altitude, this one will look at the Camp Alp Mountain and will be followed by the Petzl Altitude. I’ll continue the series if there’s a good response and I’m able to get some more test samples.
Camp Alp Mountain
The Alp Mountain harness from Camp is lightweight and compact but still fully featured. Currently the only harness (that I’m aware of) that can be put on while wearing skis but still provide regular buckles on the leg loops instead of plastic clips.
Like all ski / mountaineering harnesses worth their salt, the Alp Mountain harness can be put on around a pair of skis or crampons. Camp has accomplished this in a similar fashion as the Mammut Zephyr Altitude or the Petal Altitude harnesses where the leg loops have buckles to hold them in place and the waist strap is fed through the belay loop before getting buckled. But unlike other mountaineering harnesses Camp has utilized full strength buckles on the leg loops in place of plastic clips as mentioned in the introduction. These proprietary Sicura buckles, basically a feed-through type double plate buckle, are intuitive to use and feature a red nylon tab that allows them to be done-up or un-done while wearing gloves. Becuase the leg loops feature a real buckle I found them useful as a clip-in point for my rappel, same as on my regular climbing harness.
The Alp Mountain has three gear loops: one on each hip and another at the back. The side loops have a clear plastic shield to provide rigidity and longevity but unfortunately can also create pressure points under the waist belt of an expedition pack (trimming the plastic shield should fix the issue). The rear gear loop is great if you need to tow a toboggan, a nice touch if you’re planning a big tour/expedition that requires some sledging. There are also 3 ice clipper slots, one on either side of the hip gear loops and another at 4 and 8 on the clock (with the belay loop at 12).
The swami belt on the Alp Mountain is made from a thin layer of perforated foam sandwiched between an interior fabric and exterior webbing and is 57mm wide. The leg loops are made from a soft nylon and are 47mm wide. Reasonably compact but still comfortable enough when hanging in the harness for a rappel.
At the tie-in point on the front of the Swami belt Camp placed a wear strip to protect the structural waist strap from the rope. This wear strip is made from a piece of red tubular webbing which making it quite visible when tying in. A great feature as harnesses that can be put on around skis or crampons do not isolate the belay loop at the waist strap to create an obvious tie-in point like climbing harnesses do. Instead the rope is looped directly through the waist strap and the bottom hard point. The Alp Mountain makes it easy to check that the rope has been correctly fed though the waist and not just through the tail of the strap as shown in the photo below. Unfortunately on the test harness this red wear strip started fraying after a season of use.
Pros: Versatile, comfortable, compact, easy to put on while wearing gloves
Cons: Rigid gear loops may create pressure points when the harness is worn under a heavy pack, red wear strip can fray.
Best Use: Expeditions, winter & summer mountaineering, ski touring, ski patrol. Anywhere you need something compact and light but still fully functional.
Not Ideal If: If you want a super-light harness and don’t mind sacrificing comfort and some functionality.
Other Reviews in this series:
Black Sheep Adventure Sports was provided with a test sample for review but this did not influence us in any way.