Wednesday, November 25, 2015

How to Adjust the "Mountain Mama" Harness

This pregnancy, I used a borrowed "Mountain Mama" harness by Mad Rock, a.k.a. The Strangulator.  Learning how to fit it to my body required looots of trial and error.

Eventually, I figured out that I need two adjustment settings:  one for belaying and one for climbing.

Hopefully this beta will help some other pregnant climber out there.  :o)

To belay comfortably, loosen the strap directly above your hip so the tie-in point is high and looser at your breastbone, with the red belay loops close together.  Also, don't belay (toprope) climbers that are significantly larger than you are, as this adjustment transfers more pressure to your mid-back, instead of around your legs.

This is the intuitive way to adjust the harness, but it compresses your rib cage and prevents you from raising your legs.  Result:  if climbing, you can't breathe while weighting the harness, and you can't keep your face/ belly off the rock while being lowered.

belaying adjustment
To climb comfortably, cinch the straps directly above your hips down as far as reasonable.  This separates the tie-in points and pulls them low across your belly, but it also transfers more weight to the straps around your legs and lower back.  If I rest or fall, the tie-in point rises to the level of my sternum and doesn't crush the bump.

climbing adjustment
Around 36 weeks, the harness just got too uncomfortable, and I stopped toproping entirely and switched over to gentle bouldering traverses.


  1. Thank you so much for this!! I see this post is pretty old, but wanted to let you know I found it and it’s super useful. Just borrowed one as well and my first climbing session was pretty uncomfortable. Really appreciate your sharing adjustment tips.

    1. You're so welcome! And congratulations! How far along are you? That harness was NEVER comfortable, but it got progressively worse as the third trimester went along. I also think the comfort of the harness depends on how you are carrying... my daughter sat super high and close to my body until a few days before she was born, so I was less worried about "squashing" her than some ladies who carry low and wide.