Cragmama "Not all who wander are lost…" JRR Tolkien

Misty Mountain Threadworks: A Review

A couple of months ago I was contacted by Mike Grimm, owner of Misty Mountain Threadworks.  He asked if he could make me a harness, and after hemming and hawing for a while, I told him I’d have to think about it…Just kidding, of course I jumped on the offer!  Misty Mountain is a well-respected local company that has been around for quite a while.  They have a reputation for not only developing superior products, but also for a committment to sustainability and reducing their carbon footprint.

After a few emails back and forth followed by some detailed instructions regarding a measuring tape, I had a chance to try out my new rig the week before Christmas, on my first day back from hiatus.  Mike hooked me up with a custom version of the Women’s Bolt, which is a versatile harness that, according to Misty Mountain, “has the DNA of trad harnesses running through it’s sport harness veins.”  Here are my first impressions (which in full disclosure are of course my honest opinion, despite the fact that my gear was free…)

My new Misty Mountain rig

– LIGHTWEIGHT:  The Bolt weighs significantly less than any of my other harnesses.  It may only be psychological, but it seems like every ounce counts when your pumped out of your mind on overhanging terrain trying to pull up enough rope to make the clip.
– STURDY:  I was amazed that such a minimal harness could still provide adequate support and comfort!  If I was spending more of my time at hanging belays on long multi-pitch days, my guess is that I’d want a good deal more cushion, but for my usual roped climbing modus operandi (a heavy helping of sport with a side of trad), the Bolt is definitely substantial enough.
– GREAT FIT:  This harness is the first that I’ve had without adjustable leg loops, so I was a little concerned about getting the fit right, especially when I first tried it on…but it turns out all this time I’d been climbing on harnesses with leg loops too big, and with a waist that was too small.
– QUICK ADJUST:  A quick adjust buckle provides the same level of safety as a regular buckle without having to double-back.  Practically speaking, this means I can take my harness off and still keep it in tact (which in the long run amounts to a lot less frustration trying to pull on a jumbled, gear-laden mess after a quick pre-redpoint potty break.

To be honest, I wasn’t really expecting to see a monumental difference, as I’d always thought that all harnesses were basically created equal.  But after just a few test spins with my Misty Mountain set-up, I quickly realized the naivete of my thinking.  Now that I’ve learned firsthand how a harness is supposed to fit and feel, it’d be a hard sell to get me to wear anything else.    But the best part?  Since I’ve switched to Misty Mountain this past month, I’ve sent my first two 5.12’s…coincidence?  Maybe (probably).  But either way, Misty Mountain is working out nicely for not just me, but also the hubby, who just scored a Misty Mountain harness of his very own for his birthday a few days ago, courtesy of his amazing wife 😉

Any other Misty Mountain fans out there?  What about other brands – what’s everybody’s favorite and why?




9 Responses to “Misty Mountain Threadworks: A Review”

  1. He DOES have an amazing wife! 🙂


  2. Joy

    I got surprised last week and taken to Misty Mtn for my birthday (by wonderful boyfriend, Rob) and Mike was gracious enough to have a custom Bolt made for me while I was there…I was amazed at how light and comfortable the harness was once I had a chance to wear it in the gym. My favorite aspect of the harness is how it feels on a fall – I really don’t ‘feel’ it at all, so comfortable!

    Aidan (my fellow little climber) is quickly outgrowing his first harness and I think that a Misty Mountain Primo might have to be on its way soon for him!


  3. Benito

    I like the Bolt as well, it feels substantial around my waist and yet light enough when redpointing that it’s essentially unnoticed. The leg loops i felt were a little snug initially, however once in the thing and climbing, I realized that this is actually a very good thing, particularly for guys and their future offspring!


  4. Nice review, Erica. Misty seems to have a huge, almost cult like, following in the East. They must be good. However, when I looked at them in the shop they seem to not have the technology that Petzl and Arc’teryx have. Petzl and Arc’teryx transfer the load to the entire width of the hipbelt. Correct me if I’m wrong, but Misty just uses a ton of padding to distribute the load, but the load bearing part is just the webbing that goes around it. Perhaps they have changed? Let me know your impression on this… I’m very curious. Is it comfortable to hang in or does the load feel concentrated in one spot (the webbing) ?



    • Gif – My previous harnesses were Black Diamond and Metolius Safetech, so I can’t speak for the Petzl or Arc’teryx harnesses. I felt like the load was distributed pretty evenly in my Misty – the padding is thin, so hanging belays all day probably wouldn’t be that comfy, but for hangdogging my projects it was very comfortable. Hope that helps…

  5. I ❤ my Misty Mt Cadillac harness! RT .@womenoutdoors Misty Mountain Threadworks: A Review via @cragmama


  6. I’ve actually never heard of Misty Mountain til now. Thanks for sharing 🙂


  7. I had a Misty Mountain Finesse for many many years. I finally replaced it last fall. When I got my Finesse it was really beefy and had 6 gear loops like the Cadillac today, but now it’s a much lighter model. I thought I had put on a few inches since then and bought a size too large. So when I returned it, I decided to switch to the Cadillac. I just love all the padding and the extra gear loops. Living next to the Gunks, I do far more trad than sport, and I am so used to the 6 gear loops that my old Finesse had. It’s a shame you don’t see Misty Mountain harnesses in many of the gear stores. I am totally sold on their harnesses and so is one of my long-time climbing partners. We don’t bother looking at anyone else’s harnesses, we just go directly to Misty Mountain. Plus their customer service was excellent when they dealt with my exchange. Jealous that you got a custom harness from them!!!


  8. Great review – we’re in the market for new harnesses and will definitely go with Misty Mountain this time. Thanks!


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“Not all who wander are lost.” —JRR TOLKIEN