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MBMG Reviews the Black Diamond Couloir Harness

Updated: Nov 14, 2018

I’m not normally a fan of super specialized equipment. I’ll often opt for items that have multiple purposes. That said, The Black Diamond Couloir Harness is one of the few pieces of niche gear that I have happily splurged on.


The Couloir Harness is a super lightweight, minimalist harness that Black Diamond is marketing to backcountry skiers, hence the name “Couloir.” The idea is that skiers don’t normally need a harness, so if they’re going to carry one for the rare occasion, it better be small. And small it is! When packed away in its little stuff sack, the Couloir measures about 6” x 3.5” and weighs a feathery 8 oz.


The Couloir is a traditional “diaper” style harness. This allows you to get in and out without having to step through leg loops with crampons on.  This is also what I would refer to as a “low frills” harness. There’s no padding or speed buckles, and it only has two gear loops. However, the few accessories it does have are done well. 4 Ice clipper slots give you the ability to add a ton of gear storage as needed, and the belay loop is really nice for just about any type of alpine climbing. I actually won’t even consider a harness without a belay loop anymore. It’s just too important to sacrifice.


The best way to describe the fit would be OK. The waist belt seems to ride low, and the leg loops high. This is true for any diaper style harness though. Black Diamond has some funny sizing as well. I have a 32” waist, and I’m a S/M. Definitely try the Couloir on before you purchase. You’re likely a smaller size than you think. The buckle is probably my least favorite part, as it requires great dexterity with gloves, and is difficult to tighten.


Normally I would opt for a heavier, more comfortable, easier to use harness - and this review definitely is not 100% positive, but that’s not what reviews are for. The Black Diamond Couloir Harness IS a Mt. Baker Mountain Guide Choice Pick because it is the absolute smallest, lightest harness you will find on the market. It’s so tiny that I have begun using it for alpine climbing as well as skiing, or in any application where I am trying to go really light. In that regard it’s one of the coolest pieces of specialized gear I have.


There you have it! The Black Diamond Couloir Harness is an MBMG choice pick. If alpine climbing or ski mountaineering is your game, than light is right. Grab a BD Couloir Harness and get outside. We’ll see you out there.


John Minier

Owner, Mt. Baker Mountain Guides

mtbakerguides.com



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