Out of the Box — Mammut Zephir Altitude Harness

Post by WildSnow.com blogger | May 10, 2016      

It is always nice when a package arrives and you know exactly what piece of equipment is inside, but it is lighter than you were expecting. That was one of my initial thoughts when opening the bag for the Mammut Zephir Altitude Harness.

Back/side view. The harness has a gear loop on each side and is compatible for up to four ice screw carabiners.

Back/side view. Mammut Zephir Altitude has a gear loop on each side and is compatible for up to four ice screw carabiners.

For mountaineering specific harnesses, this is what I look for:

  • Packability and weight — it is likely to spend a good amount of time in the backpack. It needs to be small and light.
  • Function and safety — gear loops and buckles should be placed well and easy to use with light gloves on and while wearing a backpack. It should be straight forward to put on and take off without needing to remove boots or crampons.
  • Fit and comfort — the hips and leg loops should have a wide enough range of adjustment to fit properly over a lighter to a heavier clothing kit. The harness should be comfortable to walk/ski in but I’m not expecting it to be super luxurious while hanging in it. They are able to reduce weight significantly by lessening the padding.
  • Front view. Minimalist design.

    Front view. Minimalist design.

    The Zaphir Altitude already meets my packability standard.

    Mammut Zephir Altitude meets my packability standard.

    With upcoming trips in the North Cascades, I’ll put the Zaphir Altitude to the test in the field.

    Weight: 215g
    Dyneema webbing
    Plastic and metal hip belt buckle
    Plastic leg and dropseat buckles
    Adjustable leg loops
    Two gear loops and four ice screw carabiner attachment points
    Color available: orange/grey
    Mesh stuff pouch included

    Shop for Mammut harnesses here.


    13 Responses to “Out of the Box — Mammut Zephir Altitude Harness”

    1. Mark Donohoe May 10th, 2016 11:22 am

      Please compare this to the BD harness, that would be interesting.

    2. Lisa Dawson May 10th, 2016 12:43 pm

      Mark, which BD harness should we compare it to?

      Here’s our review of the original BD Couloir harness: https://www.wildsnow.com/2208/couloir-harness-review/

      And here’s an overview of the redesigned Couloir that we saw at the Outdoor Retailer Show this past January: https://www.wildsnow.com/19203/black-vipec-available-in-us-news-from-black-diamond/

    3. etto May 10th, 2016 2:19 pm

      There are quite a few (ultra) light harnesses available. From Camp, Petzl, Arcteryx and so on. Most harness reviews online are for climbing, so a skiing specific comparison would be nice.

    4. Travis May 10th, 2016 4:52 pm

      This is great! I am looking for a solid mountaineering harness. I also saw that Petzl has a pending release for two harnesses: the Tour and Altitude. The tour is comparable in weight to the Mammut harness above, but the Altitude comes in at only 150g! Apparently they are using dyneema extensively. Would love to see a comparison review of all of them–I am sick and tired of dragging my monstrous sport climbing harness around with me.

      Tour: https://www.petzl.com/US/en/Sport/New/TOUR#.VzJl_4-cHWM

      Altitude: https://www.petzl.com/US/en/Sport/New/ALTITUDE#.VzJmBo-cHWM

    5. Nick May 10th, 2016 6:47 pm

      The use of plastic in the double buckle is a flaw in the design. It was obviously used for weight considerations. But longevity and issues with cold make this a real safety concern.

    6. Mammut Dave May 10th, 2016 11:10 pm

      Hi there! The “Plastic” buckle is actually made of metal, it has a plastic over-mould so it clips into the second buckle part. We call this our “click buckle”, which allows single-pass buckle functionality that you can put on over crampons or skis. The only all-plastic buckle is the rear one for the butt-straps.

    7. Rachel Bellamy May 10th, 2016 11:12 pm

      Travis, I’m very interested in the two new Petzl harnesses as well. One thing that I’m curious about is the gear loops. They’re more vertical than they are horizontal and I want to know how that will affect racking gear and ease of accessing individual pieces.

      I’ve been doing some research and it is just exciting to see more ultra light/packable mountaineering harnesses coming out on the market.

      Nick, I agree with you. The plastic part of the buckle has struck me as odd as well. I’m going to attempt to get more insight into the design reasons behind it.

    8. Rachel Bellamy May 10th, 2016 11:14 pm

      Oh! Mammut Dave, thank you for that clarity. So it is actually made of the same metal that the second half of the buckle is constructed of? What kind of metal is this?

    9. Mammut Dave May 11th, 2016 1:34 am

      Hi from Switzerland Rachel! The bottom half of the buckle is aluminum. The top part with the overmould is steel. If you look close at the top part, especially under the webbing, you can see the steel–there is no wear due to this, and even if one of the moulded-on tabs were to break off it still functions fine. It’s a cool buckle that is great for a winter/ski harness and it’s one of the reasons someone might choose this harness over some of the others, but we could certainly do a better job telling people about the details on it. I think if you try hanging in this harness you’ll also find it quite comfortable compared to similar weight ones. I’ll keep an eye on this, and looking forward to hear what you think after using it. Have a great trip!

    10. Trent May 11th, 2016 8:21 am

      Single point for the tie-in?

    11. Lou Dawson 2 May 11th, 2016 10:15 am

      Good unboxing Rachel.

      I’d like to see that tie-in loop made from slightly wider-thicker material, for confidence in abrasion resistance. I’d also be concerned about heat resistance as that loop can get pretty close to friction brake rigs, especially when improvising. The Dyneema textiles are confusing, I sometime hear they melt way easy, other time I hear they’re heat resistant… Of course, regular nylon is no heat resisting champ either.


    12. Rar0 May 12th, 2016 2:48 am

      I’ve been using this piece of gear throughout last season. Very comfy with a pack thanks to the low profile. Doesn’t get tangled up as much as my usual harness and very easy to put on with the metal buckle. That buckle is actually why I chose this harness over competition. Sweet.

    13. Mammut Dave May 13th, 2016 5:11 am

      Lou, you want a light harness or you want thicker? Pick your poison! I cant tell enough durability difference between my harness with this construction and thicker web to care much. Dyneema is more abrasion resistant than nylon, but melts at a lower temperature than nylon. I’ve never had any heat issues with mine and Im not aware of any cases where it was an issue on a harness like this.

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