Objects Database

Troll Whillan's Sit Harness

Accession Number

369.2008.1

Object Name

Troll Whillan's Sit Harness

Created

14/11/2008

Creator

Hermione Cooper

Accession Date

14/11/2008

Brief Description

Troll 'Whillans' red and cream sit harness. Large black metal buckle. Four nylon equipment loops hanging from metal rings. Two tightening straps on back.

Materials

nylon webbing, metal

Dimensions

117 (l) cms

Number Of Objects

1

Inscription Description

Torn label on outside reads "WHILLANS "SIT HARNESS" DESIGNED BY DON WHILLANS AND MADE ( ) BY TROLL PRODUCTS" Label on inside has Union Jack with "TROLL MADE IN ENGLAND" written above it . Lso "IMPORTANT EACH TIME THE BUCKLE IS FASTENED CHECK THAT YOU HAVE DONE SO CORRECTLY"

Colour

orange, cream

Maker

Troll

Object Production Place

England

Provenance

Rope, leather and webbing from parachute harnesses were just some of the materials used for early climbing harnesses until nylon tape was invented, sometime in the 1960's, we think. The Americans wrapped tape around their bodies in various configurations and called it a 'Swami belt.
In 1970, not long after his successful climb of the Troll Wall in Norway, Tony Howard set up his mountaineering equipment company, Troll. Pretty soon after they teamed up with legendary climber, Don Whillans and between them they produced one of the first sit harnesses made/sewn with tape - Whillans used one on the South face of Annapurna and climbers all over the world used them for decades to come.
The central crutch strap on the Whillan's was said to have rendered several male climbers impotent and they were not the most comfortable for abseiling, though they did probably prevent lots of male climbers from falling off as the resultant damage to the nether regions was unthinkable!
The Troll Whillan's Harness was however a major step forward in climbing/mountaineering equipment development and just about every climbing harness on the market some forty or fifty years later is based on this original design.
We've got a few Whillan's harnesses in the collection so we've added this one to help with the various colour schemes!!!

Acquisition Date

14/11/2008

Condition Check Date

28/04/2009

Rules

Spectrum : UK Museum documentation standard, V.3.1 2007

Modified

28/04/2009

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