Arc’teryx exploded into rock climbing with the thermoformed Vapor harness in 1992, ushering in a new technology that separated them from others. Similarly, the Arc’teryx C-Quence harness flexes a new technology.
The Arc’teryx C-Quence harness is a comfortable and capable all-around fixed leg loop harness. Its low bulk and thin profile made it largely unnoticeable during use, but it proved comfortable when loaded.
The C-Quence is made with Arc’teryx’s Warp Strength Technology, which, instead of making a scene, disappears on climbs, doing its job in relative obscurity.
For all forms of rock climbing short of big walls, the C-Quence is a great quiver-of-one. It’s suited for ice and alpine climbing as well.
The statistics of the C-Quence harness display the “all-arounder” moniker:
Arc’teryx C-Quence Specs
- Verified weight: 13.6 oz., men’s size M
- Construction: Warp Strength Technology in both the tapered swami and elasticized leg loops
- Features: Four molded gear loops and one webbing gear loop
- Four ice clipper attachment points
- Elastic leg loop risers that drop via a stainless-steel clip
- Wear markers on belay loop and tie-in points
- Price: $145
Arc’teryx also offers the C-Quence harness in a women’s version.
I tested the C-Quence for 2 months of spring limestone sport climbing, ranging from short, bouldery power routes to seemingly endless pitches on water-pocketed slabs.
Arc’teryx C-Quence Harness Review
I am 6 feet tall, 167 pounds, with a 32-inch waist. The men’s medium fit me on the smaller side of the waist adjustment range, and the leg loops in summer attire were loose.
This extra leg loop slack was surprising because I’m not a typical sport climber with twigs for legs. I have 22.5-inch thighs, not the spaghetti strands of my regular partners.
Although the slack in the leg loops didn’t present an issue for me during the testing period (and would allow for winter apparel), slimmer climbers take note.
The first thing I felt was how thin and low bulk everything felt. The waist and leg loops, although lined, are essentially unpadded.
Instead of relying on foam to help distribute the load more evenly, the Warp Strength Technology uses superfine wires in the Burly Double Weave four-way stretch fabric to support and disperse the load without adding discernible thickness or bulk.
At first, I was skeptical of this harness design, but it has worked surprisingly well. Whether I was belaying, hanging, or falling, the C-Quence handled the load comfortably. I never felt areas of higher pressure, and the tapered swami never cut into my torso, even during extreme contortions.
Occasionally, I had to pull down the leg loops while belaying or before hanging, but they never caused any pinching while falling — including a 20-footer! Otherwise, the larger-than-average leg loop diameter went largely unnoticed.
The minimal, thin profile and perforated lining kept things tolerable when the temperatures crept into the 80s, and nothing chafed even with the lightest clothing soaked with sweat.
The four molded gear loops were a joy to use with quickdraws. They taper down to a low front corner, which kept all the draws close to each other, which I liked (some may not.) And they have a generous opening, which made for snag-free, no-look unracking and re-racking.
I see how this design could be a negative for trad climbing, though, as cams bunching up could be problematic. The amount of real estate on these molded gear loops was plentiful; no problems racking 20+ draws for Potrero Chico sends or a generous trad rack for the crack junkies.
The center-rear webbing gear loop made a great spot to stash a leaver-biner, rap/belay device, prussik, and so on. Whenever I reached down to the primary loops, I knew that the only possible gear was for use while leading.
There are certainly lighter competition- or sport climbing-specific harnesses, and there are cushier trad climbing models. But the Arc’teryx C-Quence harness makes minimal compromises in its bid to be the quiver of one.
The low-profile Warp Strength Technology build keeps both the bolt clipper and hand jammer comfortable and mobile while climbing or loading the rope. And the spacious gear loops accommodate the longest of sport routes or a full rack of trad gear.
As of this writing, if I were to embark on a road trip with an agenda that said nothing but “climbing,” this is the harness I would pack. Sport, trad, alpine, or ice, the C-Quence can admirably do it all.