Black Diamond’s Momentum family of harnesses has been around as long as Climbing Category Director Kolin Powick can remember, and he’s been around for 17 years. I started climbing 11 years ago myself, and the Momentum was the first harness I climbed in, the first harness my climbing partner climbed in, and the harness I bought for my best friend in high school when he went through a two week phase of wanting to become a rock climber after watching a video of Sasha DiGiulian on YouTube.
After 20+ years on the market, the Momentum harness ($56.95) still sets the standard for affordable, multi-use starter harnesses. The Momentum is fully-featured. Unlike most other harnesses at the price point, it offers four pressure-molded gear loops, a haul loop, trakFIT ™ leg loops, and a Speed Adjust waistbelt for easy waist adjustment.
With a lifespan nearly as long as the Momentum harness itself, Black Diamond’s Momentum Package, which offers the harness in conjunction with several additional pieces of gear, compounds the “bang for your buck” value already offered by the harness. For $99.95, buyers get all the personal gear they need to start roping up: a Momentum harness (retail: $56.95), an ATC-XP belay device (retail: $21.95), a RockLock Screwgate Carabiner (retail: $11.95), a Mojo chalk bag (retail: $16.95), and a bag of White Gold chalk.
The Momentum Package is a perfect all-in-one gift for any climber looking to get started, offering a dependable tube belay device in the form of the ATC-XP, perfect for learning the ropes and building basic belay skills. Alternatively, climbers can look into the ATC Pilot, Black Diamond’s new geometry-assisted single-line belay device, which operates like a tuber but offers enhanced braking for increased security and more controlled lowering.
In addition, last year Black Diamond reached out of the protection, gear, and apparel sphere and made a foray into the climbing shoe game as well, introducing, among others, an eponymous shoe for the Momentum family. Black Diamond shoes, the Momentum included, bring something different to the table in the name of “Engineered Knit” fabric. This fabric “improves breathability,” said Powick, “so your shoes are less likely to get the standard rock shoe ‘funk’ after hours, days and weeks of use.” The Engineered Knit fabric also leads to supreme comfort by allowing the producers, Powick said, “to specify where we want it more stretchy and flexible for a comfort fit, and where we want it more rigid to provide the performance we need. In addition, Black Diamond’s shoes all utilize molded rubber, as opposed to the standard practice of cutting rubber from a consistent thickness sheet. This allows a fine tuning of rubber thickness in various points on the shoe, optimizing performance.
The Momentum shoe in particular, priced at $94.95, is a neutral, two-strap Velcro shoe with a soft-flex midsole for increased sensitivity. Designed for continuous wear on routes and problems of moderate difficulty, the Momentum shoe offers comfort and performance perfect for long days whether at the crag or gym.
For both starting climbers and veterans, the Momentum family of harnesses and shoes offers the perfect combination of quality and affordability. “I’ve seen 5.14 climbers at Rifle wear the Momentum harness,” said Powick. “It’s that versatile and good.”