/ NEWS: Do You Wear A Helmet?

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UKC News - on 07 Feb 2012
Dan Middleton, belayed by Carissa Lough, practicing what he preaches at Brandy Crag, Duddon Valley, Cumbria., 4 kbDo you wear a helmet whilst climbing? Many climbers do, some don't, but it seems obvious that wearing a helmet is, in all but exceptional circumstances, safer than going without.
The BMC is currently running a helmet safety campaign to encourage you to think carefully, weigh up the risks, and...

Read more at http://www.ukclimbing.com/news/item.php?id=66529
Fraser on 07 Feb 2012
hexcentric - on 07 Feb 2012
In reply to Fraser:
Non-helmeters are a weird bunch.
They really think they look better, cooler and more maverick. Hair in the breeze, photogenic and edgy.
Forgetting of course that they are Traddies and therefore geeks, helmet or no helmet.
Tony the Blade on 07 Feb 2012
In reply to hexcentric:
> (In reply to Fraser)
> Non-helmeters are a weird bunch.
> They really think they look better, cooler and more maverick. Beanie nice and tight, photogenic and edgy.
> Forgetting of course that they are boulderers and therefore not real climbers, helmet or no helmet.

Fixed that for you ;-)
Neil Williams - on 07 Feb 2012
In reply to hexcentric:

"They really think they look better, cooler and more maverick. Hair in the breeze, photogenic and edgy."

Actually, I just don't like things on my head in general. They tend to make me overheat and don't feel comfortable to me.

I do however own a climbing helmet. Whether I wear it or not depends on the circumstances; in particular I will pretty much always wear it when belaying if there is any sort of chance of rock fall, as not to do so is putting someone other than me at risk. I often wear it when scrambling(partly due to a very near-miss once involving rocks accidentally kicked down by someone above me). I sometimes wear it when climbing, depending on likelihood of rock fall, though I don't climb outdoors that often and when I do it isn't on hard stuff.

Must admit I approve of the BMC's approach of campaigning for people to think about risks when choosing to wear one. It's refreshing compared with the almost-nanny-stateist cycle helmet campaigns.

Neil
Michael Ryan - on 07 Feb 2012
In reply to Neil Williams:
> (In reply to hexcentric)


> Actually, I just don't like things on my head in general. They tend to make me overheat and don't feel comfortable to me.

You need to try one of the modern lightweight helmets if you haven't already.

I was climbing outdoors last week and my friend walked back to the car with his helmet on. He said that he had forgotten he was wearing it.
snoop6060 - on 07 Feb 2012
In reply to Mick Ryan - Senior Editor - UKC:

They are so light in fact, that if you take them off and put them down, they blow away in the wind and into the sea.
Michael Ryan - on 07 Feb 2012
In reply to snoop6060:
> (In reply to Mick Ryan - Senior Editor - UKC)
>
> They are so light in fact, that if you take them off and put them down, they blow away in the wind and into the sea.

Really.

Have you had that happen to you?

Which helmet?

I saw a prototype recently of what maybe the lightest climbing helmet in the world ever, well so far.

All the best,

Mick

idiotproof (Buxton MC) - on 07 Feb 2012
Interesting thread,

Just come back from skiing and once again probably a 10% increase in number of people wearing helmets when skiing (noticed about 10% increase every year for teh last 4-5 years).

I don't wear a helmet while skiing and not quite sure why...pretty much always while on my bike, probably 70% of the time while climbing.

Did have a look at them and considering getting one. I do ski quite fast and as with cycling etc half the problem is the unpredicatbility of the people around me. I do have a problem with getting a hot head and even when in minus 20 ish weather last week still only wore a thin buff doubled over my ears

Quarryboy - on 07 Feb 2012
In reply to UKC News:

I don't think I have ever seen someone climb a harder trad route then me outdoors whilst wearing a helmet, its almost as though once you're climbing above about E2 its not necessary to wear one when on the country I think it is more so.
Dave Garnett - on 07 Feb 2012
In reply to Quarryboy:

Yeah, but you need to try harder for the E points with a helmet. Chalkstorm is only E1 if you wear a helmet.
Quarryboy - on 07 Feb 2012
In reply to Dave Garnett:

Personally I've done a pumpy E3 and a couple of E2's where it would have been easier to not wear a helmet but I still wear it anyway.
In reply to Quarryboy:

I climbed loads of hard trad routes in the 1990s, especially in Pembroke, and I didn't even own a helmet.

In 2005 I went back for a week to Pembroke to visit old haunts and was lucky enough to meet up with a strong team of young guns from Beta Climbing Designs who were all as keen as I had been ten years previously, and ticking the same big routes. Without exception everyone of them wore a helmet at all times and it wasn't even a topic for discussion.

It was a real wake up call for me. The young trad generation has moved on and wearing a helmet in places like Pembroke is not cool, de-riguer, trendy or anything like that; it is just part of your kit in the same way as a chalk bag is.

Nowadays I have a lightweight helmet which I barely notice.

Alan
Mr Powly - on 07 Feb 2012
In reply to Tony the Blade:

"I'm up for any form of climbing... Do not be a climbing snob!!!"
rallymania - on 07 Feb 2012
In reply to Mr Powly:
> (In reply to Tony the Blade)
>
> "I'm up for any form of banter... Do not be a humour snob!!!"

as you were saying?
Mr Powly - on 07 Feb 2012
In reply to rallymania:

haha, banter
Tony the Blade on 07 Feb 2012
In reply to Mr Powly:
> (In reply to Tony the Blade)
>
> "I'm up for any form of climbing... Do not be a climbing snob!!!"

Yes, my quote, and your point is?


I'm only messing. some of my best friends are boulderers, hell, I've even been known to partake... although I kept my shirt on! :-)
wilkie14c - on 07 Feb 2012
In reply to Mick Ryan - Senior Editor - UKC:
I've recently replaced my aging elios with a camp armour. Its a 'hard' helmet but it feels like I'm wearing a beanie <god forbid>
Helmets tend to be owned for years by us 'older'* trad climbers but I urge anyone who's lid is 3 or 4 years old to try on one of the new generation of lids and you may be very surprised.
I wear a lid 80% of the time but always on multipitch, winter routes and crags with a reputaion of a loose top i.e. millstone. If the 20% of times end up killing me it'll be my own stupid fault.

*not a dig at older climbers at all, just that I've noticed younger climbers have to buy their gear from scratch and have tried on and choosen their helmets from the new generation to begin with. This is my first new lid for 8 years and even 8 years ago there wasn't that much choice compared to what we have today.
Paul F - on 07 Feb 2012
In reply to Quarryboy:

Wearing a helmet reduces 3 pebble slab to HVS.
birdie num num - on 07 Feb 2012
In reply to UKC News:
I normally wear a helmet but despite repeatedly telling her to, my baby daughter never bothers.
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ericinbristol - on 07 Feb 2012
In reply to UKC News:

I wear a helmet 100% of the time for trad. For sport, I don't wear it while leading but often wear it for belaying at the bottom (most of my sport climbing is in Cheddar!).
JoshOvki on 07 Feb 2012
In reply to Paul F:
> (In reply to Quarryboy)
>
> Wearing a helmet reduces 3 pebble slab to HVS.

A boldering mat reduces it to VS.
George Fisher - on 07 Feb 2012
In reply to Paul F:

How can TPS be reduced to HVS from HVS?
Orgsm on 07 Feb 2012
In reply to JoshOvki:
> (In reply to Paul F)
> [...]
>
> A boldering mat reduces it to VS.

Chalk reduces it to S

Orgsm on 07 Feb 2012
In reply to UKC News:

I always wear a helmet and have an aging Petzl Elios!

I saw a friend 14 years ago fall when leading, twist upside down as the gear ripped, and bang his head on a ledge, and blood poor out onto me. He was somewhat concussed and asked em what happened for some time afterwards. Getting him off the multi pitch was no picnic either. But I'd hate to think what state he would have beeen without his helmet. The cradle had collapsed as it absorbed the impact.
JoshOvki on 07 Feb 2012
In reply to PaleMan:

Half ropes make it a Diff.
loose overhang - on 07 Feb 2012
In reply to UKC News: I find a lightweight helmet to be physically cooler than a cotton sun hat when summer mountaineering.

A couple of weeks ago I skied at Whistler near Vancouver and felt like an outsider not wearing a helmet. My guess would be that less than 20% were helmetless.

When rock climbing, if I didn't wear one, I'd be banging my head on every bit of jutting rock. I feel my way up the cliff with my head.
Justaname - on 07 Feb 2012
In reply to UKC News:

I've been away from the climbing scene for about 10 years and took it up again in the autumn, the most noticeable thing was how common helmets are nowadays. I was thinking of updating to a lighter helmet (the hardshell with polysterene look good) but was surprised about the lack of back / side protection. The majority of helmets appear to be designed with falls from above in mind. If you fall off and swing you're likely to bang the side / back of your head and alot of helmets don't cover this area very well.
Neil Williams - on 08 Feb 2012
In reply to loose overhang:

"When rock climbing, if I didn't wear one, I'd be banging my head on every bit of jutting rock. I feel my way up the cliff with my head."

Being quite tall I get well used to how much vertical clearance I have more or less anywhere. If I wear a helmet, as it adds an inch or two to my height, I find I bang my head more.

Of course, this isn't an issue because I've got a helmet on, I suppose... :)

Neil
Fraser on 08 Feb 2012
In reply to Justaname:
> (In reply to UKC News)
>
> If you fall off and swing you're likely to bang the side / back of your head....

Can I ask what this statement is based on? Also, how likely would you say 'likely' is?

ice.solo - on 08 Feb 2012
In reply to UKC News:

i fcuken hate wearing helmets. they are bulky to carry, dont mix with any other hat, mess with a hood, move about, you cant scratch your head and they heat up.

but i still do because all that combined is still better than a fractured skull.

(plus it gives me somewhere to display my cool stickers:)
simoninger - on 08 Feb 2012
A Pembrokeshire paramedic, with many years of experience picking up battered climbers, once found out I was a climber, and said: "If you ever come down here, promise me you'll wear a helmet. It's not the fall that does the damage, it's what they hit on the way down." Side impact protection has been a major part of my thinking since then.
paulcrampin - on 08 Feb 2012
In reply to ice.solo: Truth be told!
pasbury on 08 Feb 2012
In reply to ice.solo:
One episode changed my mind about helmets.
Red Edge on Esk Buttress, I'd led off up the first pitch and at 20 ft needed to get my first bit of gear in, I was trying to fiddle a wire in and the loose wires dangling from the krab dislodged a wallet sized stone from a ledge. I shout "rock" just in time for my mate to look up and take it square on his helmetless forehead. He swayed about and swore profusely in increasingly slurred tones. He didn't lose consciousness. If he had done and slumped onto the belay I might habve been pulled off to enjoy a factor 2 fall down onto the steep slope below the belay at the mercy of an unconscious belayer.
The next time we climbed together he asks "shall we wear hats"; me "yes I think so".
ice.solo - on 08 Feb 2012
In reply to pasbury:

thats grim.

i used to work at a place where we took kids climbing on a natural outdoor boulder (im sure ive told this here before, anyway...).
wed take along a mid-sized watermelon, which would get the kids excited.

then wed strap a helmet on it and let the kids throw rocks at it, after which wed take the helmet off and drop a brick-sized rock on it from a few meters.

the kids all wore their helmets needless to say.
pasbury on 08 Feb 2012
In reply to ice.solo:

Aye, though we thought it was OK at the time it had cut down to his skull, he has a scar shaped like an upside down Y to this day. Looks like a walking advert for CND.
Dave Foster - on 08 Feb 2012
In reply to snoop6060:
> (In reply to Mick Ryan - Senior Editor - UKC)
>
> They are so light in fact, that if you take them off and put them down, they blow away in the wind and into the sea.


Heh. Fishermen will still be pulling up to it to empty their lobster pots.
fire_munki on 08 Feb 2012
In reply to UKC News:
I pretty much always have my helmet on, even if its baking. I always wear one on my bikes so why not why I'm climbing?
It doesn't look too stupid, (Grivel Salamander) doesn't perch high on my head and I'm not a fan of concussion!
Dave Foster - on 08 Feb 2012
In reply to pasbury:
> (In reply to ice.solo)
>
> Aye, though we thought it was OK at the time it had cut down to his skull, he has a scar shaped like an upside down Y to this day.


Barry Spotter and the Belay of Bazcoban.
oscaig - on 08 Feb 2012
In reply to UKC News:
As most of my clibing is sea cliff and/or multi pitch mountain stuff I pretty much always wear one. Even when starting out 20 years ago it was one of the first things I bought (nice clunky white shell Cassin number with webbing cradle in a building-site stylee). These days they're so light and comfortable that there's no particular reason not to stick one on. On days when it's hot out and I'm heading to short, solid outcrops I'll sometimes not take one but then I feel a bit vulnerable climbing bare-headed (like driving at speed without a seat-belt these days kind of thing). Last year got a WC Alpine Shield which is great - solid and confidence inspiring with the shell on in winter and feather light and comfy in summer without. Put it down at the bottom of the Baywatch crags on a windy day at Neist last year and a gust picked it up and sent it tumbling down the hillside. Oh how my partner laughed to see me scampering downhill after it - barsteward!
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Dave Garnett - on 08 Feb 2012
In reply to UKC News:

Well, they're not going to sell many new helmets based on the current self-selecting group, are they?
aln - on 08 Feb 2012
In reply to Neil Williams:
> (In reply to hexcentric)
> Actually, I just don't like things on my head in general.

Like rocks landing on your head?
Gentleman - on 08 Feb 2012
In reply to UKC News:

Practically always.. I think my friend forgot a helmet once when we went climbing (short easy top-rope rock). Climber wore helmet and belay stance was well away from cliff.

When I started climbing I was not too happy to pour money into equipment as I was still uncertain how much climbing I would do. I used my old ice-hockey helmet instead. Heavier, less ventilation, bit eccentric looking. Did the job well enough.
Hidden Logbook 7 on 08 Feb 2012
In reply to Gentleman: I always carry a helmet but for short solo's I dont always wear it. It may be a silly thing to do sometimes but at the end of the day the only person going to get injured is me. If Im tied onto a partner when climbing (especially multipitch) I think it would be irresponsible toward your partner not to wear a helmet, especially for the belayer, as knocking a rock onto the head of your belayer could put you in a very sticky situation.
Neil Williams - on 09 Feb 2012
In reply to aln:

"Like rocks landing on your head?"

Indeed. That's why I do wear one when I feel that there is much of a risk of that happening, and why I wear one if not to do so would put someone else's safety at risk (e.g. when belaying).

Neil
Dave Garnett - on 09 Feb 2012
In reply to Neil Williams:

Yes, but that sounds dangerously like you exercising your own judgement and that will always be a problem for the helmet taliban.
BruceM - on 09 Feb 2012
Climbers donít like wearing helmets because they think they look really cool and a helmet detracts from that image.

But actually, to almost all other people on the planet climbers look like a bunch of egocentric dickheads -- with or without a helmet.
Neil Williams - on 09 Feb 2012
In reply to Dave Garnett:

"Yes, but that sounds dangerously like you exercising your own judgement and that will always be a problem for the helmet taliban."

Particularly true when it refers to cycle helmets. I don't generally wear one when cycling as a mode of transport, but if I went mountain biking I would.

One big reason I'm not interested in motorcycling is the discomfort from a full-face helmet, FWIW. But even if it were not legally required I would not be interested in motorcycling without one - it is certainly too dangerous.

Sensible personal risk assessment (and, where it affects your partner, e.g. belaying, theirs as well, with the more cautious view winning) is the way it should be - which is why I like the measured nature of the BMC's campaign here.

Neil
BikeClimbWalk - on 09 Feb 2012
In reply to UKC News:
I have always worn a helmet when climbing, purely because the people I learnt from wore helmets.
And after having a friend deck out, seeing that the helmet almost certainly saved his life (see picture below), there is no way anyone could convince me not to wear a helmet.
But whether to where a helmet or not is down to the individual.

http://www.ukclimbing.com/images/dbpage.html?id=155326
kevin stephens - on 09 Feb 2012
In reply to ericinbristol:
> (In reply to UKC News)
>
> I wear a helmet 100% of the time for trad. For sport, I don't wear it while leading .....

I do (now!)

http://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/t.php?t=467447&v=1#x6479629
pudgy - on 09 Feb 2012
In reply to UKC News: I was there when a friend fell onto his head from about 30' and died. At the time I didn't think a helmet would make a difference, and continued not to wear a helmet. I've since talked to a couple of friends who had virtually identical accidents, but wearing helmets, one from a short innocuous gritstone climb. They were both knocked out cold, but made full recoveries.

Obviously it's up to the individual to make their own judgements, but experience certainly changed my view.
Gentleman - on 09 Feb 2012
In reply to martin_whitton:
as said, this was once in 7 years case.

cliff ~8m (I live in Finland which is kinda flat country).
belayer 10m away from cliff (yes with bottom anchor to control the direction of possible pull)
solid granite cliff - no lose rocks on cliff face or on top (we knew the crag well)

>>
Risk of something hitting the belayer (in that situation) was equal to same thing happening in indoor climbing.

One key point was that something unexpected happened (friend forgot to pack helmet). we analyzed the situation together as a team and found a way to proceed that both assessed as safe as the walk to the cliff.

Should the same happen in ice-climbing (short top rope) we would go for same setup but belaystation 15 m away from wall (well clear of possible debris)

Forgetting helmet on multipich route would (to us) mean that helmet is a) in camp >> return or b) at home - 1500+ km away which in turn means visit to local climbing store to buy one.

Climbing highlights risk assessment skills. Helmet is very high value on this. Specially while soloing. As said while soloing the direct damage is limited to climber.









In reply to Gentleman:

> solid granite cliff - no lose rocks on cliff face or on top (we knew the crag well)

I don't know why, perhaps the two preceding hard winters, but last year I heard of more rockfall incidents at Finnish crags than I ever have before. Big bits seemed to be falling off Luhti with alarming regularity! So I know what you mean, the cliffs are a lot more stable than some British crappy rock, but even here it can still happen!
Flashy - on 09 Feb 2012
In reply to UKC News:

I always wear a helmet while climbing regardless of whether I need one or not; it's become a habit and I figure that I'm unlikely to hurt myself as a consequence of ritual helmet-wearing. Anyone else can do whatever they want.

I'm very much in favour of people not wearing one if they don't like it, but then again perhaps we should consider the taxpayer before exposing ourselves to the potential of a lifetime of round-the-clock nursing care. That is to say, it's not just you and your family being affected by your decision -- the consequences of living in a society!
snoop6060 - on 09 Feb 2012
In reply to Mick Ryan - Senior Editor - UKC:

Yes, it was a Meteor III which blew off the top of Mother Careys last summer. I had worn it twice, and only took it off so I could remove my wet clothes having been hit by a big wave belaying my mate on Straight Gate (more exciting at high tide for sure).
Neil Williams - on 10 Feb 2012
In reply to Flashy:

"I'm very much in favour of people not wearing one if they don't like it, but then again perhaps we should consider the taxpayer before exposing ourselves to the potential of a lifetime of round-the-clock nursing care. That is to say, it's not just you and your family being affected by your decision -- the consequences of living in a society!"

I think we shouldn't even go near that issue, because exactly the same argument could be used to say you shouldn't climb at all. Or ride a motorcycle or pushbike. Or drive a car. Or indeed any risky pursuit.

Neil
Trangia - on 10 Feb 2012
In reply to Neil Williams:
> (In reply to Flashy)
>
> >
> I think we shouldn't even go near that issue, because exactly the same argument could be used to say you shouldn't climb at all. Or ride a motorcycle or pushbike. Or drive a car. Or indeed any risky pursuit.
>
> Neil

Not entirely logical. Isn't the nub of it risk management? I agree that the safest course is not to do anything.

All puruits are dangerous to a degree, some a lot more than others. Much of the risk management depends on your own skills. You have control over these, but no-one has control over objective dangers eg stone fall, and for that reason it makes sense to minimise the risk of injury from objective causes in whatever you do.
Neil Williams - on 10 Feb 2012
In reply to Trangia:

"I agree that the safest course is not to do anything."

Not to climb (other than possibly indoors) most probably. But sitting on the sofa watching TV eating cake has its own health risks.

"All puruits are dangerous to a degree, some a lot more than others. Much of the risk management depends on your own skills. You have control over these, but no-one has control over objective dangers eg stone fall, and for that reason it makes sense to minimise the risk of injury from objective causes in whatever you do."

Unless you find you dislike the mitigating measure for whatever reason, and think the chance of injury is low enough not to need to take it.

Neil
John_Hat - on 10 Feb 2012
In reply to UKC News:

I kind of work on the basis that accidents do happen, and whilst every other part of my body will eventually heal, my head won't, and I'm really enjoying life at the moment, and don't want it to stop!

Hence helmet is worn always outside, I'll admit I don't bother inside..
Hay - on 10 Feb 2012
In reply to Neil Williams:
Neil,
It just feels like bygone era fetishism to me. A bit like Rapha jeans, fixie, no helmet.
All a bit wannabe maverick for my liking.
Bruce
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Flashy - on 10 Feb 2012
In reply to Neil Williams:
> (In reply to Flashy)
> I think we shouldn't even go near that issue, because exactly the same argument could be used to say you shouldn't climb at all. Or ride a motorcycle or pushbike. Or drive a car. Or indeed any risky pursuit.

It could, but if you follow arguments to absurd conclusions then you can't make any conclusions or come to any decisions about anything ever. As a counterpoint it's a total waste of time.

As it turns out we live in the real world, where we eat unhealthy food, drink too much and choose to take risks in the mountains, and as a society we are willing to pay when people make the wrong choice. I was just pointing out it's worth allowing our synapses to fire once in a while and recognise the way things really are.
mux - on 10 Feb 2012
In reply to UKC News: over the past 12 months two of my Partners have been hit by rock fall that would have killed them had they not had a lid on.

I normaly only wear one in the winter but looking at my little girl now I often think I might invest in a super light lid for the summer.





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