Sunday, October 24, 2010

Climbing pregnant, Week 24: Body harness

I fit in with the kids. That's really the first thing I noticed with the Petzl 8003 adult body harness. At first glance I thought it would be a puzzle to put on but it turned out to be way easier than any regular harness I've used. The "belay loop" as it were is in a very good place for a pregnant woman. It fits comfortably under my bra line and the rope or belay device connects the two sides of the harness. At first it felt really strange to tie in so high and I had to modify my belay technique just a hair to be able to belay comfortably. These are things any climber would easily figure out. The one conundrum is how to make the entire thing fit so it is snug but doesn't hinder my extension.

If I make the leg loops tight so they don't meander as I climb (which is really annoying and I end up fiddling with them throughout the route but hey it's good for endurance..) it shortens my reach. For example, if I have to walk my feet high to make a move that is at the extent of my entire 5'1" frame, the harness tightens in and I end up with a total length that is about 2 inches short of my norm...not that I need any more length cause I'm so tall. I've tried loosening the shoulder straps (dangerous), and the leg loops... not sure how to remedy this but if anyone technical has any suggestions let em rip!

Falling: I was belaying a much larger friend of mine the other night on top rope. And I have to preface that before him I had told my friends they weren't allowed to fall..I was scared, you understand. Anyway, he fell and I belayed him normally and the harness didn't pop my belly like a zit and everything was cool. It was actually more comfortable to catch his fall than it is to sit back at the top of a climb before being lowered. (It takes me a minute to situate.)

Overall this harness is exactly what I need to keep myself climbing.
I'm amazed that my stamina is progressing. It's very strange to feel more able yet weaker. Even though my endurance for routes is getting better, my ability to yard on small holds is diminishing! Here is my latest work-out:

2 times per week, two hour session:
1. Warm up easy, juggy 5.7/5.8
2. Then 5.8/5.9
3. 5.10 with crimps, slopers, one dynamic move
4. 5.10 with big holds on an overhang to induce some pump.
5. 5.11 project with small holds and no rest
6. repeat crimpy 5.10
7. 5.10 with sustained and dynamic moves (this is the only climb I feel I really use my abdominals)
8. 5.10 that makes you use your brain
9. and 10. cool down on two easy climbs

I've also come up with a stretching regimen that I'll video and post eventually.
I hope this helps, keep sending your comments and questions my way. This is fun!


  1. Hi Carrie,

    I came across your blog while looking up info on a harness for pregnant women. Your blog has been the most uplifting thing I've read since I found out I was pregnant last month. I'm two months in now, and feel like my world has been tipped upside down. I'm a climber, currently climbing 5.11 or V3. I was a couple of burns away from conquering my first 4, but I haven't bouldered since I found out because I read that falling onto a crash pad could induce miscarriage. It looks like you bouldered during your pregnancy. Have I been mislead? Sorry for being nosy, but you're blog has truly inspired me. One of the things I'm having the most difficult time with is the idea of climbing. I was climbing five times a week, getting stronger daily, and I've been completely bummed out about being too tired or nauseous to go, or getting weaker and gaining weight. I would LOVE to talk to you via Email or something if you have any time! Even now, my hormones are nuts, and I'm crying because for the first time I feel like I may still be able to do the one thing I love so much.

    Thank you for giving me that,

  2. Kristin,
    Keep your chin up!
    As far as climbing while you are pregnant I highly recommend top roping. The whole point of being pregnant is to produce a healthy child and be happy yourself in the process. I'm not going to say don't gun for the sends but I think its very important that during pregnancy, a mother to be should be happy as well as healthy and that means doing what you love. It may take a shift in mentality to make those two coexist. Personally, the moment I couldn't send v11 I took a relaxed approach to rock climbing. I allowed myself to play with balance in a safe environment of tr-ing. It's hard to get over yourself and ego likes to block that path but I loved being pregnant and I think it was because I was listening to my son and to my body. I suggest you think about what climbing means to you and decide if you can continue with that mentality in your current state. Some women can still gun for the top. But you also have to make it ok to just be a climber and enjoy climbing without attaching superficial goals to it.

    Good luck and I hope this helped!

    happy mom, happy baby,


Write your mind here.