Black Diamond Blizzard
The Blizzard has been discontinued. If you're looking for something new, check out the best sit harnesses for 2020.
Historic Range: $24.00-$79.95
Reviewers Paid: $40.00
I am currently on my third Blizzard, having used them for about 10 years on mostly glacier and ice climbs, but a few rock climbs as well. Recently, I used the current version on Mt Vinson. I find it to be very comfortable, even when hauling a sled and carrying a full expedition pack. Several times, at the end of the day, I found myself still wearing it long after taking the pack off and setting up the tent (my companions asked why I was still wearing it on a couple of occasions).
It works well on climbs where you do the first few days of approach at lower, warmer altitudes with less clothing, followed by days at higher and colder altitudes, perhaps in storm, when you have more layers on, thanks to a wide range of adjustment. For glacier travel, the gear loops are fine. For ice climbing, they are adequate most of the time on easier climbs, but for more challenging climbs and for trad rock, gear slings are needed (true with my big wall harness as well).
This is a great harness for ice, and I would echo all of the positive things said in the previous two reviews.
There is one detail that I found could be improved, and that is the layout of the ice clipper slots. They are situated in a way that they pretty much overlap the gear loops. If you rack a few screws on a clipper, it's hard to use the gear loop for racking your other necessities. I tried this both with the loops under the clipper, as well as with the loop running through the clipper and both ways had their limitations.
The slots are so close together that it's not practical to put two clippers directly side by side once they are full of screws. This means that on longer ice climbs where you might want to have more than one clipper of (4-5) screws per side, you have to space them out and you lose usage of your other gear loop in the mix.
The number and position of the slots are not universal. There are less slots up front on the right side, the side where I would like to carry extra screws because it's my favourite placement hand... Bummer.
I would have preferred having the same layout on both the left and right side of the harness, and maybe some extra slots between/behind/in front of the gear loops allowing the option of clippers being used without interfering with the loops.
The actual clippers work great. They are easy to clip and un-clip in all conditions. The harness is comfortable, fully adjustable, and tough. It is easy to walk in even on long snow routes at altitude. Would I buy this again? Definitely!
The best harness I have ever used. It works equally well on rock and snow. I have worn it on all kinds of climbs, and it is always comfortable. It is fairly lightweight, for its features. I have found the gear loops to work well, but you need a sling to rack some gear if your climb is a long, sustained trad route. It comes with a clipper, for ice screws, which is a nice feature, and it has slots for 7 for clippers. An awesome harness, well worth its retail price of $80, but you can usually find it on sale somewhere. I would check www.mountaingear.com
Price Paid: $40