Improvised climbing harness
Normally a climbing harness is made from materials tested according to international (UIAA) standards, light, and very comfortable. However these could not be found in the last decade of communism in Romania. The solution achieved by improvisation by Dragoș Petrescu has the following characteristics: “The climbing harness was a very important part. Precisely because you could never be sure of the object you had improvised, you made a combination of chest harness and seat. Out of worn rope, usually six lengths placed parallel and sewn together with synthetic surgical thread, you made a sort of waistcoat with braces made of tape for blinds, which you wore around your chest and with which you tied yourself into the rope. Initially, mountaineers climbed with only the chest harness, only that they realised that once you were hanging on the rope, the chest harness became very tight; the circulation stopped and that could be fatal. Then they came up with the idea that it was good to have a seat as well as the chest harness. The so-called seat was usually made from strapping for car seatbelts sewn with surgical thread, which looked like a belt with two loops for the feet, into which you fastened yourself together with the chest harness. For the seat, you got hold of various materials. Principally seatbelt strapping. Ideally, we used the seatbelts for Dacia cars, but these were quite expensive. Many ‘got hold of’ one of these straps from the people that worked in the factory in Braşov where they were produced and where the unfinished product was sold illegally by the metre. As a rule, we made ourselves both seat and chest harness.” The original complete harness, composed of chest harness and seat, exists in Dragoş Petrescu’s private collection of improvised gear, but it can no longer be used for climbing as the materials from which it is made have deteriorated.
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Year of creation
- Anonymous Mountaineer Collection
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Author(s) of this page
- Petrescu, Cristina
- Pătrăşconiu, Cristian Valeriu
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Pătrășconiu, Cristian. 2018. “Fiecare om are verticala lui: Interviu cu Dragoș Petrescu” (Each person has their vertical: Interview with Dragoș Petrescu). LaPunkt, October 23. Accessed October 30, 2018. https://www.lapunkt.ro/2018/10/interviu-dragos-petrescu-fiecare-om-are-verticala-lui/
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Petrescu, Dragoș, interview by Pătrăşconiu, Cristian Valeriu , July 12, 2018. COURAGE Registry Oral History Collection