The first impression of Otzi's calf-leather belt is how unremarkable it seems. It is about 2 yards long, 2.25" high in the center, tapering to .25" at the ends. It is long enough to wrap around his body twice with plenty left over for tying a knot. Historically, most loincloths are held up with a simple single cord. Why would he need such a long, wide piece of hide to just hold up his loincloth? Some of you who rock climb may remember the old "swami belt", used before the advent of the modern climbing harness. It was just a flat piece of nylon webbing that was snugly wrapped several times around your body and tied securely. Because it was tied to the main climbing rope, the belt would spread out the force of a fall to a wider area helping to prevent injury. Even todays' backpacks have wide belts to help distribute the weight of the load over your lower back and hips.
swa·mi belt (plural swa·mi belts)
climbing harness: a crude climbing harness that has a waist belt but no leg loops, intended to distribute the climber's weight evenly in a fall.
swa·mi [ swmee ] (plural swa·mis)
Hindu title of respect: a title of respect for a Hindu saint or religious teacher
[Late 18th century. Via Hindi < Sanskrit svāmin- "being your own master"]
This is my first Freedom of The Hills 1965
and my notes
I don't know who where the name Swami Belt,
came from but this is what I found.
A SPECIAL THANKS TO MARY BETZ THE RIGHTS MANAGER OF THE MOUNTAINEERS FOR HER HELP.