Review by: maculated, 2006-04-10
[size=12][b]Full Disclosure: The company that manufactured this equipment provided it free of charge to RC.com and RC.com then provided it as compensation to the reviewer for his or her review. This company does not currently advertise on RC.com -- 4/06.[/b]
I'm a woman. This harness is for me, right?
I have what I consider to be the most average of average body types for a woman. I'm the average height. The average size. I have fat deposits where the average woman climber has them. And I have long enjoyed woman-specific harnesses designed for the average woman.
I am not so sure that Black Diamond had that in mind when they crafted the ultra-cute and sparkly Primrose but then labelled it a trad climbing harness. This was designed not for your middle-of-the-road, average trad climbing woman, but for the kind of average woman sport climber with a tiny waist, tiny legs, tiny hands, and tiny caribiners. And wants to look hot at the gym.
Really, this harness is chock full of good features for the beginner woman climber who intends to use it mainly for the gym or sport forays - instructions on tie-in points are built into the harness, which, remembering my first self-taught days at the crag, could have come in handy. The adjustable leg loops are great, as some of us have massive, thunderously muscled thighs, and others enjoy lean, compact haunches. It's got a little velcro strip that one can use to secure the desired tightness of the waist loop. The belt itself is well designed if it fits you correctly - I have a long waist and it rode too high to be very comfortable.
Have I mentioned how much I love the color, though? Petzl has historically been the leader in cute colored harnesses, but the attention to detail on the Primrose makes it the ultimate in cute harnesses. The reflective blue color functions not only in drawing headlight attention during the inevitable night rescue, but in the attention of all men in the area. Men love shiny things.[/size] <img src="http://photos.rockclimbing.com/photos//718/71800.jpg">
[i]T-dog says, "Mmmmm, shiny."[/i]
[size=12]The silver webbing highlights match the plastic trim, and it's overall a cute, cute harness. And that's why I think it would suit a cute, cute girl who thinks about what she looks like at the crag or gym. No other harness out there has the sheer attractibility factor.
But the drawbacks are myriad. If you are not the woman designed to fit this harness, as I am not, it can be rather uncomfortable through the waist and legs on rappells or hanging belays. The gear loops are very small and few. They have interesting serrated insides, but in practical use, they don't do much to keep biners secure and moving. Their size and limited number really makes me wonder why Black Diamond markets this harness for trad climbing. It feels full with a set of nuts and slings.
You see, Black Diamond designed this to be an entry-level women's traditional harness, but the gear loops are so small, and if the fit is not perfect, so misplaced, that it would take the average professional woman climber (ie, tiny hands, waist, size) to make this harness really work for her on her attempts to free the latest aid route. It would also take a lot of Neutrinos and a tiny rack.
Overall, I feel like this harness has gone the way of most woman-specific offerings on the market - sacrificing real world functionality in order to appeal to the style-conscious woman. By the way, it goes really well with T-dog's fuzzy chalk bag monster.
For what it's worth, this harness has been used on single and multipitch trad routes, but the photos are missing. It was much happier in the indoor environment anyway.[/size]