Edelrid Ace Review
Cons: Leg loops too narrow for folks with athletic thighs, pricey
Our Analysis and Test Results
Loud, proud, soft, and supple, the Edelrid ACE is a good harness for sport climbing and shorter multi-pitch climbs. It is both light and supportive thanks to its "3D-Lite Vent" technology that spreads the load across the entire width of the leg loops and waistband. It's available in neon green and a very attention-grabbing neon pink.
The Ace'sbest comfort feature is its wide waistband. The waistband and the leg loops are comprised of multiple lengths of high-density polyethylene webbing for better load distribution than traditional padded webbing designs. When hanging, this design encouraged us to lean back and relax a bit more, which led to slower breathing, and a clearer, more focused mind for deciphering tricky beta. Our only gripe is that in hot conditions, the wide waistband absorbs a significant amount of sweat. Our lead tester usually wears a medium-sized harness, and he felt that he could almost fit into a large-sized Ace.
Standing Comfort and Mobility
This harness is quite a bit softer than much of the competition. It's very comfortable for hanging out, snacking, and pantomiming beta, but the leg loops are very skinny, and most testers preferred to take it off for longer hikes between crags. The leg loops felt even more restrictive when wearing layers of insulated pants, which is troubling, since this harness has slots for ice screw holders. The belay loop is supple, and while there is a small ridge where it's stitched together, we never noticed it catching on the tie-in points while we walked around. The auto-double backing buckle is easy to cinch and release.
The Ace has two 4" and two 3.25" wide gear loops, with plenty of space for a double rack and then some. On the rear, there is what Edelrid calls a chalk bag loop. We prefer our chalk bag on a belt so we can move it around to negotiate squeeze chimneys. As a haul loop, it's held up so far when trailing a tagline. It isn't "rated", which is sometimes a complaint from tradsters, but in a scenario where a heavy haul bag somehow is in free fall, we'd rather it break the loop than our bodies. Like other models from Edelrid, the slots for ice screw holders are conveniently placed, and if you never use them, you'll never know they're there.
The wide waistband that makes hang dogging comfier also makes belay duty a more pleasant experience while you lean back and hold your perplexed partner as they work out a crux sequence. Our only beef while belaying is the tapered leg loops. Like other Edelrid models we tested, they taper where they meet the tie-in point and can eventually feel uncomfortable during marathon belay sessions.
This harness is a great choice for sport climbers who want something light and breathable, and it can handle a day of multi-pitching. We'd select a beefier model for big wall climbing, as it would be very uncomfortable for hauling. The ice screw holders make the Ace suitable for ice and alpine climbing, but again, the narrow and non-adjustable leg loops aren't very comfortable over thicker pants, and we'd hesitate to use it for glacier travel. Folks who climb lots of mountains have the thighs to show for it and should check out a model with wider, if not adjustable, leg loops.
The Ace is a bit pricier than average, and there are several models we tested that are more versatile, so it's not an outstanding value. However, if you have the opportunity to try one on and the fit is fantastic, don't hesitate to snag one. During our months of testing, it got a little dirty but had no signs of wear after many pitches.
While the Ace is suitable for ice and multi-pitch climbs, sport climbing and cragging are where it really excels. It's super packable, so if a Eurotrip with fine wine and steep limestone is in your future, this harness could be the perfect one to accompany you across the pond, where its "bold" colors wouldn't be out of place.
— Matt Bento
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