An Ode to a Harness
One of my favorite writers and outdoor personality recently wrote a wonderful piece about the Joy of Wearing out a Piece of Gear. He published this on the exact day I had purchased a new climbing harness for the first time in five years.
I’ve always formed an attachment with my favorite gear. My hiking boots are my friends, my pack is a companion, my climbing shoes are my armor, and my car is basically my boyfriend (though honestly we fight more than anyone in a relationship should…). It takes a lot of trial and error to find the gear that works for you, that feels reliable, and that will be in it for the long haul. One of those pieces for me is my very first climbing harness.
In 2013 I started venturing down to Nashville every couple of weeks to climb with my brother. Eventually the rental harnesses started seeming more and more lame to me. If I start a new hobby, I usually don’t take long jumping into the gear side of things - my bank account’s greatest downfall. So I went online and found the first ladies harness in a not too sickening girly color and bought it. The dusty purple Black Diamond primrose harness was mine.
This harness took me from 5.6s to 5.12- (okay I've only climbed that once but it counts), it took me through two relationships, my first outdoor climbing trip, my first lead fall, trips to Nashville, my job at my new local gym, and so many new friendships in the climbing community. It’s completely discolored from sweat and grime, it’s stretched out so far that it’s a size too big, and I have the waistband doubled over to keep it secured on my hips. The tags on the inside have disintegrated and the leg loops are worn. But through it all, this harness has kept me safe and secure for the last five years. It’s seen my confidence in my abilities grow, my muscles strengthen, and my body change for the better. However, I'll never forget the time I put it on upside down AND backwards at a gym after I hadn’t used it in a year. I’ll never not be embarrassed about that unbelievable blunder….
I’m so thankful I bought this harness. But the time has come to say goodbye. I’ve bought a new one that is updated, clean (for now), the right size, and all shiny and new. I’m excited to make new memories with this one, but i'll always cherish the ones made in my very first harness.