PRODUCT SPOTLIGHT: Focus harness
Innovation is what drives everything here at Black Diamond. If we're not making gear better, stronger, lighter, faster, more durable and easier to use, then we're not doing our job. In this ongoing series of monthly posts, we'll be giving you an inside look at some of our most innovative products through one-on-one interviews with our team of industry-leading product designers and category directors.
This month we talked with Harness Category Director Nathan Kuder about the redesigned Focus harness, a 3-season workhorse that handles the day-in, day-out abuse dished out by Valley granite, desert offwidths and everything in between. Also check out the video below for a look at the Focus harness in action.
What was the design goal for the Focus harness?
We set out to create a bomber-tough, super-comfortable harness capable of taking years of abuse scrapping through off-widths and loaded up with cams. We wanted something that set the new high-bar for durability and simplicity, while at the same time provides unmatched performance for our most dedicated (and critical) climbers.
What are the benefits of the Focus' Dual Core XP Construction?
Simply—weight distribution. In the waist, the load is distributed over two structural bands that run through the interior of the waist, inset from the edges specifically to prevent pressure points. But, unlike a lot of harnesses on the market, our real focus was on the leg construction, where we use a single full-width high-tensile nylon webbing to distribute the weight evenly from edge to edge. There are a lot of harnesses that feel pretty good for 10 minutes hanging in a retail store, but we designed the Focus to really shine after a long day of hanging belays, and the only way to get that kind of comfort is by putting a lot of effort and construction into the legs.
What other unique features does the Focus have?
a. Bombshell Patches: custom, welded abrasion-resistant patches placed strategically around the waist and legs that increase the abrasion resistance of the material 20 fold. Crazy strong.
b. Rappel back-up anchor: small loop of webbing tucked next to the leg padding to locate a prusik back-up and keep it out of your rappel device.
c. 5th gear loop: nice accessory loop in the back to help keep the main gear loops clear of your anchor rigging, rappel device, and nut tool while you're climbing.
What kinds of climbing is the Focus ideal for?
It's perfectly suited towards 3-season trad climbing, but really works great on all kinds of routes all summer long. It's only not suited for ice (which is why we make the Aspect, Lotus and Xenos harnesses).
Any unique challenges encountered while designing the Focus?
The biggest design challenge was getting the Bombshell abrasion patches to work flawlessly. This is a technology that we had to create essentially from the ground-up, there's nothing out there nearly as tough.