Black Diamond Ultra Light “Couloir” Harness

Post by blogger | January 25, 2010      

It used to be hard to find ultra lightweight harnesses for backcountry skiing and ski alpinism. Most such gear was made for the rock climbing industry, and designers had trouble looking beyond cliff work to the needs of moderate glacier travel and such. Things got better (for example, with offerings from CAMP such as their Coral, 12 ounces, and Alp 95, 4 ounces).

With the addition of Black Diamond Couloir harness (8.2 ounces) to this category, along with other brands/models such as Arcteryx A300a (10.5 oz) your lightweight harness choices are now a veritable cornucopia of strapology.

Black Diamond Couloir mountaineering harness.

Black Diamond Couloir mountaineering harness. (NOTE, belt should be doubled back through the buckle in actual use.)

I’m liking the Black Diamond Couloir harness. For the call of nature or exit/entry with skis the diaper style leg loops drop completely down with the click of two buckles and opening of your waist carabiner (if you set it up that way, rather than threading the waist belt though the belay loop).

Any harness with buckles on the leg loops can be set up for hygiene needs or skis-on-feet, but the ones with tailored leg loops seem to tangle and confuse me more than the the Couloir’s simple leg loops, which are just a basic strip of webbing that can be easily pulled up and tucked away when necessary.

Black Diamond Couloir harness.

Black Diamond Couloir harness, showing how it opens to a simple diaper style of webbing that's easy to deal with.

Couloir harness storage size is amazingly small, keep it in a jacket pocket! 12kN rated belay and haul loops. 8.2 ounces real-world weight checked at WildSnow HQ, could be reduced somewhat by cutting off a few gear loops and such. I’ll probably remove the belay loop as well, since it’ll be replaced by my locking biner. In all, a good choice for moderate alpinism from Europe to Denali

Shop here for Black Diamond Couloir harness.


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10 Responses to “Black Diamond Ultra Light “Couloir” Harness”

  1. Mark W January 25th, 2010 7:56 am

    Fantastically minimal. Now, remind the fellow in the photo it is best to model any harness with the waistbelt tail double backed.

  2. Clyde January 25th, 2010 9:54 am

    Yet another Whillans spin-off. Note that, for all harnesses of this type, to have a true drop-seat, you should tie into the carabiner so using two lockers is recommended. Personally I prefer the no-thread buckle and greater comfort of the CAMP Coral for only 3 ounces more (better gear loops too).

  3. Greg January 25th, 2010 11:18 am

    Looks an awful lot like an Alpine Bod with gear loops. I’ll have to see how much mine weighs for comparison. A classic design and plenty comfortable as long as you’re not hanging in it all day.

  4. Lou January 25th, 2010 11:24 am

    It seemed fairly different than an Alpine Bod in terms of webbing sizes and so forth, but pretty similar in design. Agree, you wouldn’t want to hang in it all day. Totally not designed for that.

  5. Mark W January 25th, 2010 12:26 pm

    Clyde, many climbers now probably don’t know who Whillians is, but your comparison of this harness to one of his designs is noteworthy. By the way, this harness looks a good bit trimmer than my bod harness.

  6. Louie Dawson January 25th, 2010 11:17 pm

    yeah, the alpine bod is quite a bit heavier, 14 oz according to BD. The couilor definitely has narrower webbing than the alpine bod.

  7. Eric January 26th, 2010 4:32 am


    It’s nice to see the weights of everything go waaaaaaaaaaay down.

    Another option for harnesses that very similar from Mammut is their Alpine Light model at:

    The additional innovation with Mammut’s design is that the main buckle is quick disconnect where you don’t even need to re-adjust the waist each time you put it on.


  8. Rob Nichols March 5th, 2011 11:20 am


    First time post here. Thanks for all the great info. Just an observation on the Coulor vs the Bod. I have tried both and decided on the Bod because of the location of the gear loops. The Couloir only has two loops and they hold the beeners & prusiks too far forward so that they get in the way of pockets and become annoying (to me at least) while skiing. The Bod has 4 loops and the rear two keep the gear slightly behind my hips and out of the way while going downhill.



  9. mark December 13th, 2011 11:14 pm

    I just got this harness. Looks good. But after spending many years rock climbing in a Petzl, and many years skiing in the old Camp that closed with a locking biner; I had to double check the “double back” buckle. This harness needs to be double backed and it’s NOT on the photo.

    C’mon guys.


  10. Lou December 14th, 2011 7:15 am

    Haven’t used that harness for a while, but if the buckle double-back is mandatory then my bad and I’ll fix photo. Will check today. Thanks for mentioning. I saw that the first comment also mentions this. I was probably traveling or something at the time and never saw that comment. Lou

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