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Rock Climbing/Safety harness fail


Student at Captain John L. Chapin

Dear, Nicholas Bridgeland

I am a student currently attending Chapin High School in El Paso, TX, I am working on an engineering problem and was wondering about the dangers and safety issues with safety harnesses. The first question i would want to know is What type of harnesses are used by mountain climbers and what are the defects that they have, like what do the climbers complain about. The other problem that i want to know is how many people have died due to a safety harness fail, and if so what was the part of the safety harness that failed.


There are several makes and models of harness available to a mountain climber.  The specific model selected varies greatly depending upon the circumstances a climber expects to encounter. I suggest you take a look at websites such as,, etc. In my opinion, any complaint would the result of a user not picking the correct harness for their application, or selecting one that does not fit them well.

I don't have any statistics about climbing deaths, but I would suspect that any related to harness failure would be the result of improper usage, failing to retire a harness because of old age, or extreme accident such as the webbing being cut.  I've never personally heard of a harness failing because of a defect or related to a failure of the harness it's self.


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Nicholas Bridgeland


I am able to answer basic to some expert questions on the topic of rock climbing and some mountaineering. I have 2 years of experience in which i climbed about 5 in 7 days a week, work in a climbing gym as an instructor, and guiding climbing trips, one of which was to Utah, for Northern Illinois University.

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