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Blue Ice Choucas Light Review

This ultra-lightweight skiing and mountaineering harness is the best in its class
blue ice choucas light climbing harness review
Credit: Blue Ice
Top Pick Award
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Price:  $80 List | $59.96 at Backcountry
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Extremely light, great mobility, functional enough
Cons:  Uncomfortable for hanging, not suitable for most types of climbing
Manufacturer:   Blue Ice
By Jeff Dobronyi ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Nov 3, 2022
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55
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#12 of 15
  • Hanging Comfort - 30% 3.0
  • Standing Comfort and Mobility - 25% 10.0
  • Features - 20% 3.0
  • Versatility - 15% 3.0
  • Weight and Packability - 10% 10.0

Our Verdict

The Blue Ice Choucas Light is a lightweight, mobile mountaineering and ski-oriented harness that is our favorite for these activities. It has an incredibly low weight, thanks to its minimalist design and lack of common features like a belay loop and gear loops. Users will have to get used to these changes, but they will be rewarded with unparalleled mobility and a tiny packed size. With zero padding and very little adjustability, this harness isn't comfortable for hanging, but it is just fine for the occasional rappel or hanging stance on otherwise benign alpine routes. If you are searching for the best harness for easy mountaineering and technical ski objectives, look no further.

Compare to Similar Products

 
Awards Top Pick Award Top Pick Award Top Pick Award Best Buy Award  
Price $59.96 at Backcountry
Compare at 2 sellers
$100 List
$99.95 at REI
$80 List
$79.95 at REI
$75 List
$74.95 at REI
$65 List
$64.95 at REI
Overall Score Sort Icon
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Pros Extremely light, great mobility, functional enoughComfortable to hang in, large gear loops, good mobility, versatileUnrivaled comfort while belaying and hanging, good mobility, affordableGreat features, comfortable, highly versatile, inexpensiveInexpensive, big gear loops, versatile, unrestricted motion
Cons Uncomfortable for hanging, not suitable for most types of climbingNo ice clipper slots, heavyGear loops are small for carrying a large rack, not very versatile for other styles of climbingNo ice clipper slots, heavyNylon belt slides through waist padding, leg loops feel stiff
Bottom Line This ultra-lightweight skiing and mountaineering harness is the best in its classA comfortable harness that excels on long, multi-pitch trad routes and is versatile enough for all kinds of rock climbingOne of the most comfortable harnesses you can buy, and our favorite for sport climbingA high-performing rock climbing harness at an excellent priceA decent all-around performer with a puzzling design that allows the nylon waist belt to slide through the padding, causing confusion and discomfort
Rating Categories Blue Ice Choucas Light Black Diamond Solut... Black Diamond Solution Petzl Sama Edelrid Moe
Hanging Comfort (30%)
3.0
9.0
9.0
8.0
5.0
Standing Comfort and Mobility (25%)
10.0
7.0
8.0
6.0
7.0
Features (20%)
3.0
7.0
6.0
8.0
8.0
Versatility (15%)
3.0
7.0
5.0
7.0
7.0
Weight and Packability (10%)
10.0
5.0
6.0
5.0
7.0
Total Scores (%)
10.0
10.0
10.0
10.0
10.0
Specs Blue Ice Choucas Light Black Diamond Solut... Black Diamond Solution Petzl Sama Edelrid Moe
Designed for these disciplines Mountaineering, ski touring, ice Sport, trad, multi-pitch Sport Sport, indoor, trad Rock, ice, alpine
Weight (size large) 3.3 oz 15.1 oz 13.3 oz 14.8 oz 12.3 oz
Gear Loops 2 5 4 4 4
Haul Loop No Yes Yes Yes Yes
Adjustable Legs No No, elastic No, elastic No, elastic Yes
Self-locking buckle No Yes Yes Yes Yes
Ice Clipper Slots Yes - 2 No No No Yes - 2
Waist Belt Construction UHMW polyethylene, polyamide Super Fabric Fusion Comfort Construction: Three bands of webbing, breathable mesh, EVA foam insert Double webbing strips padded with EndoFrame technology Soft frame construction with 3D mesh padding

Our Analysis and Test Results

The best of the new wave of mountaineering harnesses, the Choucas Light eliminates non-essential features like padding, a belay loop, gear loops, and adjustability in pursuit of the smallest possible weight. The result is a harness that excels on low-angle terrain and for routes when hanging is limited to the occasional rappel. It runs small, so if you are on the cusp between two sizes, choose the larger one.

Performance Comparison


blue ice choucas light climbing harness review - scrambling over low 5th-class rock in the choucas light.
Scrambling over low 5th-class rock in the Choucas Light.
Credit: Jeff Dobronyi

Hanging Comfort


The Blue Ice Choucas Light is not very comfortable for extended sessions of hanging belays or continuous rappels. The waist belt and leg loops are narrow, and there is no padding. The absence of these features signals a departure from the usual ways harnesses deliver hanging comfort. Furthermore, the leg loops are not adjustable to fit the user's legs, putting most of the strain of hanging onto the back and kidneys.


While we don't like hanging in this harness any more than we have to, the weight savings gained by eliminating comfortable features is more than tolerable for objectives where we don't plan on hanging very much. Even for technical ski routes and mountaineering objectives where a couple rappels are expected, we find the hanging comfort of this harness to be adequate for these short bouts of vertical exposure.

Standing Comfort and Mobility


The Choucas Light excels when you need to be highly mobile. The minimalist constriction and lack of padding keep the leg and waist loops thin and flexible. Compared to most climbing harnesses on the market, this harness will make you forget that you are even wearing one.


When you plan on spending all day slogging up a glacier, skinning to a high col, or cramponing up to the summit, you don't want your harness to limit your mobility and decrease the efficiency of your movement. This harness won't limit you at all, allowing you to don your harness earlier than you otherwise might. Some of our testers even put their harnesses on at the car before long ski mountaineering missions. One wore their harness under their ski pants, french-style, pulling the tie-in loops out of their pants fly when needed for rappelling, late in the day.

blue ice choucas light climbing harness review - with minimalist components, the choucas light is easy to wear and...
With minimalist components, the Choucas Light is easy to wear and doesn't limit movement.
Credit: Jeff Dobronyi

Features


What features? The Choucas Light eliminates anything you don't need for the occasional rappel or belay, including gear loops, a continuous waist belt, adjustable leg loops, and a belay loop. Instead, you'll get two minimal loops of thin webbing for clipping gear on the sides of the harness, a slightly adjustable waist clip, and two rabbit ear tie-in/clip-in points that are used similarly to hard points on more traditional harnesses.


One nice touch is the ice screw holder on the side of one leg loop. This allows an ice screw to be clipped to the "gear loop" with a carabiner, then the tube of the screw inserts into this holder, preventing the screw from dangling around. The minimalist webbing loops on the sides are large enough to hold a light rack, a couple slings, and a few lockers. If you need a larger rack for your objective, you might be encountering more vertical terrain than this harness is meant for.

blue ice choucas light climbing harness review - despite the minimalist gear loops, we are still able to fit a light...
Despite the minimalist gear loops, we are still able to fit a light rack onto the Choucas Light, with some creativity.
Credit: Jeff Dobronyi

Versatility


The Choucas Light is a highly specialized harness for ski touring on glaciers, ski alpinism, and mountaineering. It doesn't perform well for rock climbing, ice climbing, and gym climbing. While it is a certified type-C sit harness that will hold your weight in vertical terrain, we highly recommend against using it for these activities due to the extreme lack of comfort during long hanging sessions.


That said, our testers are big fans of light and efficient travel in the mountains, and we'll shave weight wherever we can. We use this harness while guiding easy rock climbing objectives on low-angle terrain and alpine ridges, even when a rappel or two is necessary. It might not be the best climbing harness out there for this kind of terrain, but it gets the job done at a low weight.

blue ice choucas light climbing harness review - the choucas light isn't useful for much besides easy mountaineering...
The Choucas Light isn't useful for much besides easy mountaineering and technical skiing.
Credit: Jeff Dobronyi

Weight and Packability


Every aspect of this harness helps it excel in this particular metric. At 3.3 ounces for a size large, this harness weighs next to nothing, and packs down into a tiny wad in a pack. Or, it can be stuffed down the sides of a full backpack without taking up any extra room.


It might take some time to get used to the process for putting the harness on, which is different than standard climbing harnesses, and users will have to adjust to the lack of large gear loops and different clip-in/tie-in points. Overall, these new processes are well worth the weight savings this harness delivers.

blue ice choucas light climbing harness review - at 3.3 ounces, the choucas light is unbelievably compact.
At 3.3 ounces, the Choucas Light is unbelievably compact.
Credit: Jeff Dobronyi

Should You Buy the Blue Ice Choucas Light?


If weight and mobility are the primary concerns on your mountaineering or skiing objective, there is no better choice than the Choucas Light. It is also a great choice for anyone who spends a lot of time climbing classic mountaineering routes on glaciers and snow slopes. This harness costs about as much as other high-performance harnesses, and the incredible weight savings make it a good value for niche users looking for a specialized harness. However, if you are looking for one harness that will be useful across many climbing disciplines, this isn't the one for you.

blue ice choucas light climbing harness review - the choucas light is a good choice for lightweight missions, but...
The Choucas Light is a good choice for lightweight missions, but it's not versatile enough for all climbing disciplines.
Credit: Jeff Dobronyi

What Other Climbing Harnesses Should You Consider?


While this harness is great for mountaineering objectives, technical skiing, and glacier travel, it isn't versatile enough to be used for more vertically-oriented climbing activities like ice climbing and rock climbing. If you are looking for the lightest harness that can be used for any type of climbing, the excellent Petzl Sitta is our favorite lightweight all-around climbing harness on the market — but it's expensive. If you need a harness that can do anything in the mountains and doesn't cost much, the Black Diamond Technician is a decent choice, and our favorite all-around harness is the Arc'teryx C-Quence.

Jeff Dobronyi
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