What’s the Correct Way to Girth Hitch to Your Harness?

I’ve heard that you should girth hitch daisy chains and personal anchor systems (PAS) to your harness leg loops and around the waist belt. Is this the correct way to do it?

I’ve heard that you should girth hitch daisy chains and personal anchor systems (PAS) to your harness leg loops and around the waist belt. Is this the correct way to do it? I don’t like it.

—Julie Williamson

 

Todd Skinner died on the Leaning Tower in Yosemite in 2006 when the belay loop on his harness broke. Ordinarily, this loop is unbreakable, but Todd had girth hitched his daisy chains directly to his loop. Because the loop wasn’t free to rotate, every time he moved up in his jumars, the loop chafed against his leg-loop strap in the exact same place. The many, many thousands of feet he jugged eventually sawed through his belay loop. This might seem impossible to do, but consider that droplets of water can over time wear down granite.

Tests done on belay loops by Kolin Powick of Black Diamond showed an average breaking strength of 5,000 pounds. When Powick cut a loop 75 percent of the way through, it still held nearly 3,000 pounds. Even when a loop was cut 90 percent of the way through, it held 777 pounds. For Todd’s loop to break under body weight, it must have been worn almost completely through.

The <strong>CORRECT</strong> way to rig a daisy chain or PAS to a harness. Girth hitching to the harness’s “hard points” lets the belay/rappel loop rotate, eliminating the hot spot caused by girth hitching to the belay loop, as shown in the photo to the right.” title=”The <strong>CORRECT</strong> way to rig a daisy chain or PAS to a harness. Girth hitching to the harness’s “hard points” lets the belay/rappel loop rotate, eliminating the hot spot caused by girth hitching to the belay loop, as shown in the photo to the right.” style=”float: left; margin: 0px 10px 10px 0px;”> <img src=Also read Climb Safe: Worn Belay Loops and Retiring a Harness 

 

This article originally appeared in Rock and Ice issue 240 (February 2017).