Do climbers ever remove their harness when they are sleeping on the side of cliffs or for going to the bathroom? I imagine I would want to keep my harness on and be roped into the anchor even if the suspended bivouac has been set up and I am safely nestled inside of it.


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Big wall climbers always leave their harnesses on, at most they will loosen or unstrap their leg loops while they're in their portaledge. There's really no reason to ever take off your waistbelt, as you can change your pants and shirt with it on (although maybe slightly loosened) and when you toilet you only need to take your leg loops off so you can pull your pants down to poop into a bag with detergent in it and store it in your poop tube/waste case. Climbers will pee over the edge (depending on what the etiquette is for the area), but only girls need to remover their leg loops to accomplish that (unless they're packing a funnel like a GoGirl or Freshette).

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    While I don't have the courage, skill, or access to mountains to have personal experience with this, an image search appears to show that Tommy Caldwell wears a simple loop in place of a harness-- adventure-journal.com/2015/01/… (second photo down). This NPR photo shows his harness hanging up inside -- media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/01/06/… Commented Apr 21, 2015 at 13:15
  • Yeah, is that because Tommy Caldwell spends so much time on the big wall that he has maybe become blasé about SOP?
    – maxwell
    Commented Apr 21, 2015 at 15:34
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    @Chris - If a climber wants more comfort they will often pack a swami belt to wear in their portaledge so they don't have to lay on their gear loops. It's personal preference. I'm sure there are guys that hang out in their portaledges without being tied in with fall protection as well, but they're taking a risk if they aren't tied in.
    – ShemSeger
    Commented Apr 21, 2015 at 16:21

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