/ Why don't boulderers wear helmets? Irresponsible?

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McBirdy - on 19 Apr 2012
These days, all responsible cyclists wear helmets. The risk of brain damage or even death from a single blow to the head is all too real.

Most trad climbers wear helmets. A ground fall, or falling with the ropes behind your legs, makes head injuries worth worrying about. Not to mention the pikeys throwing beer bottles down the crag, or the Frenchies who just overtook you knocking off some loose rock.

So, why do boulderers never seem to wear helmets? Hard boulders involving tenuous heel hooks etc often mean that a horizontal or even head-first fall is likely. Dodgy landings are all too common.

Is it just that it's not cool? Or are beanies and roll-ups sufficient protection?

B
winhill - on 19 Apr 2012
In reply to McBendy:
> These days, all responsible cyclists wear helmets.

I think you mean some muppets view the only responsible cyclists to be those that wear helmets.
Johnny_Grunwald on 19 Apr 2012
In reply to McBendy:

Because they are rad dudes; some of them don't even wear a teeshirt when they are 'sending' it!

;-)
Cthulhu on 19 Apr 2012
In reply to McBendy:

Because, being boulderers, there's nothing worth protecting in their heads? ;oP
McBirdy - on 19 Apr 2012
In reply to winhill:
> (In reply to McBendy)
> [...]
>
> I think you mean some muppets view the only responsible cyclists to be those that wear helmets.

As I understand it, there are some muppets who still cycle without a helmet. Many of them have impaired judgement due to a previous head injury.
Trangia - on 19 Apr 2012
In reply to Cthulhu:
> (In reply to McBendy)
>
> Because, being boulderers, there's nothing worth protecting in their heads? ;oP

Like it! :)
Scarab9 - on 19 Apr 2012
In reply to McBendy:
> (In reply to winhill)
> [...]
>
> As I understand it, there are some muppets who still cycle without a helmet. Many of them have impaired judgement due to a previous head injury.

no head injury here and I don't cycle with a helment. Considering these crazy risks I take isn't it amazing how I've never had to go to hospital, only injured myself three times ever beyond scrapes and bruises (fell out of a tree as a kid and cracked a rib, got my hand trapped in a car boot with broken supports, twisted an ankle fairly badly on the descent from a crag).

tell you whay, why don't you go look at the risks you take before judging others.
Trangia - on 19 Apr 2012
In reply to McBendy:

Like your profile pic.....

Has your helmet just fallen off........?
poeticshambles - on 19 Apr 2012
In reply to Scarab9: To be honest, wearing a helmet whilst on my bike has never really occurred to me. When I go hme to London i do, but not up here as I only ride to uni and the wall on quiet little roads.
McBirdy - on 19 Apr 2012
In reply to Trangia:

My helmet did once fall off, funnily enough. I was belaying someone on a multi-pitch in Glencoe. They were going slowly and I was getting cold. So I attempted the one-handed-helmet-off-hood-up-helmet-back-on maneuver. It didn't go well.

My profile pic is of me sport climbing.

Back to my OP - why do boulderers not wear helmets?

B
jhw - on 19 Apr 2012
What is the justification for distinguishing between sport climbing and other forms of rock climbing, in terms of the utility of helmets?
fried - on 19 Apr 2012
In reply to McBendy:

I used to smoke roll-ups while climbing and nothing ever hit me. QED.
Dangerous Dave - on 19 Apr 2012
In reply to McBendy: You sound like you have been hit on the head!
marsbar - on 19 Apr 2012
In reply to jhw: less likelihood of a ground fall?
Trangia - on 19 Apr 2012
In reply to McBendy:

What is the logic behind advocating not wearing a helmet for sport climbing, but wearing one for bouldering? Please explain
metal arms on 19 Apr 2012
In reply to McBendy:
> A ground fall, or falling with the ropes behind your legs, makes head injuries worth worrying about.
>
> My profile pic is of me sport climbing.

Can you not get the rope behind your legs sport climbing?

>
> So, why do boulderers never seem to wear helmets? Hard boulders involving tenuous heel hooks etc often mean that a horizontal or even head-first fall is likely. Dodgy landings are all too common.

Pads. Spotters.
Mike Stretford - on 19 Apr 2012
In reply to McBendy: When bouldering, I think most climbers rely on padding and spotters to right them, in potentially dangerous situations. If I had a helmet and the landing was bad, I would wear it.
tom290483 - on 19 Apr 2012
In reply to McBendy:

your a helmet.
Anonymous on 19 Apr 2012 - host-78-145-45-192.as13285.net
In reply to McBendy:

How many bouldering related head injuries have there been in the last, say, 20 years? I can think of none. Maybe that's why.
Bulls Crack - on 19 Apr 2012
In reply to McBendy:

I've never worn one bouldering but wear one for trad and sport.Whilst it may be sensible I feel that I'm more at risk whilst doing either of the climbing activities.
tony on 19 Apr 2012
In reply to McBendy:

> Many of them have impaired judgement due to a previous head injury.

When you say 'many', would you care to quantify that?

Similarly, can you quantify the number of boulderers who have suffered head injuries which would have been prevented if they'd been wearng helmets?
McBirdy - on 19 Apr 2012
In reply to Trangia:
> (In reply to McBendy)
>
> What is the logic behind advocating not wearing a helmet for sport climbing, but wearing one for bouldering? Please explain

I usually do wear a helmet when sport climbing. My decision depends on the frequency of the bolts and the nature of the terrain. That route (at Gandia, in Spain) was well bolted and v steep.

This thread was supposed to be about bouldering. I had no idea that there were so many idiotic non-helmet-wearing cyclists on UKC.
antdav - on 19 Apr 2012
Why is it assumed that 'most' trad climbers wear a helmet. I'd say its less than 50% when on grit and other rock with limited likelihood of loose rock.

I have noticed that it seems to go in trends depending on what club you're from. At easter one club seemed to be full of those protected while a uni group and my club had hardly any on show.

The same trend seemed to be with what gear people had, the helmet wearing club was teeming with slings (one guy geared up with at least 10) and all were using half ropes with belayers and climbers not having much idea of how to use them.

I think helmet and gear choice seems to follow what your mates are doing and it hasnt filtered through to boulderers (yet?).
Trangia - on 19 Apr 2012
In reply to McBendy:
> (In reply to Trangia)
> [...]
>
> That route (at Gandia, in Spain) was well bolted and v steep.
>
If ever I climb there again I'd be inclined to wear a bee keepers helmet!

But that's another story involving encountering a wild bees nest on the route, so I'll let you get back to your OP and boulderers.
Scarab9 - on 19 Apr 2012
In reply to McBendy:
> (In reply to Trangia)
> [...]
>
> I usually do wear a helmet when sport climbing. My decision depends on the frequency of the bolts and the nature of the terrain. That route (at Gandia, in Spain) was well bolted and v steep.
>
> This thread was supposed to be about bouldering. I had no idea that there were so many idiotic non-helmet-wearing cyclists on UKC.

no, what the thread was about was you spouting made up figures to ask question with a fairly obvious answer. Go back under your bridge
Sean Bell - on 19 Apr 2012
In reply to McBendy: Mats and spotters are sufficient.

Why do traddies feel the need to have a go at boulderers and their beanies? Stop feeling threatened and berating your stronger cousins and get back to your hex jangling and your Elvis leg.
Somerset swede basher - on 19 Apr 2012
In reply to McBendy: Because they break spotters fingers or any other part of them that it hits. With a good spot unless the problem is excessively highball in which case its probably soloing a route above pads (I won't get into that debate!) then a descent spotter should be able to keep your head out of danger.
The Norris - on 19 Apr 2012
In reply to McBendy:

Whenever I go climbing, the first thing i think is 'What would Bear Grylls do?'

That's why i don't wear a helmet when bouldering.
keeno - on 20 Apr 2012
In reply to snaresman:

i think its about identity. We all want to belong to something we identify with. Its one of th most fundamental aspects of life. For many that is sport and its related culture. When we find that we hold onto it and use it to shape who we are as individuals. Boulderers want to seperate themselves from the geeky trad world of jangly hexes and elvis legs. You can kind of see why they would want this.

bouldering has its place almost certainly but how may boulders can tranfer their skills on the crux move of a hard multi pitch route. 50 / 50 i would say as bouldering has become a fashion with the same kind of cool image as surfing. In other words not all boulders are hard climbers looking to hone skills for hard trad routes

i take a situational approach to wearing a lid because i understand the risks in various environments. This clearly isnt the case with all boulders and climbers especially those just starting out. Did i just write an essay? been on the stellas tonight so please forgive my rant. Would be interested to hear other opinions. if i havnt sent you to sleep
Wide_Mouth_Frog - on 20 Apr 2012
In reply to Somerset swede basher:
> (In reply to McBendy) Because they break spotters fingers or any other part of them that it hits. With a good spot unless the problem is excessively highball in which case its probably soloing a route above pads (I won't get into that debate!) then a descent spotter should be able to keep your head out of danger.

I've never used a descent spotter, I normally use them on the way up
Chris Sansum - on 20 Apr 2012
In reply to McBendy:

Most boulderers have quite fat heads which give them a higher level of protection than proper climbers. If you look at them down the climbing centre you can clearly identify that their evolutionary path is different to those who choose the more intelligent forms of climbing.
grady - on 20 Apr 2012
In reply to McBendy:
Not just helmets, why don't these guys wear neck braces?
A helmet might save you from from impact, but not from rolling over and snapping your neck. Also some sort of spinal board to protect against back slapper type falls.
Knee/elbow pads and wrist/ankle supports should obviously be worn at all times and as for not wearing a top, well an all in one suit made from a rugged fabric would be the best protection against carpet burn from the pads, I would suggest a neoprene wetsuit which would then also protect you in the event of sliding off your mat into a puddle.(of course if you're bouldering with standing water near by, you'd be a fool not to be equipped with a life jacket and arm bands)

Shockingly enough, a recent study showed that almost 1,000,000% of boulderers do not even own a pair of arm bands, let alone take them to the crag!!!!!
Dave Garnett - on 20 Apr 2012
In reply to McBendy:

Promising opening but you unfortunately spoil it by replying to your own thread. Has no one explained the rules of trolling to you?
RobertHepburn - on 20 Apr 2012
I agree this is probably a troll, but ...

I think climbing helmets are designed to protect again things hitting your head from above, rather than you falling and hitting your head on the ground?

I wear a helmet when there is a chance of something falling in my head from distance e.g. a disturbed rock, a falling bit of gear etc. This means it is probably more important that the belayer wears one than the person leading, as they are the one in more danger!

When bouldering there is nothing really above you to fall and hit your head, so no helmet. We just have to think about where to put the pad and on how nice our hair looks.

I always think of bouldering as higher risk of injury, lower risk of death :-).

Robert
Fishmate - on 20 Apr 2012
In reply to McBendy:
> (In reply to Trangia)
> [...]

>
> I had no idea that there were so many idiotic non-helmet-wearing cyclists on UKC.

Tongue in cheek or a teensy bit nazi? You decide ;)

Madden - on 20 Apr 2012
In reply to McBendy: There's no need for a helmet when bouldering. If a head-first fall is an issue, a spotter will usually be asked to watch the climber. And even then, being a boulderer myself, I've never fell head first. If I've got my foot wedged somewhere, and my hands are about to come off, I usually have the presence of mind to remove my foot first.

So helmets are neither 'cool' nor necessary.

Also, I think trad climbers ought to let up a bit on the relentless piss-taking of boulderers. Yeah, it's light hearted, but I climb trad myself and the two disciplines are so completely different, it's almost not worth comparing them. Come try some boulder problems and find out how hard they are before laying into us boulderers ;)
Dave Garnett - on 20 Apr 2012
In reply to Madden:
> I usually have the presence of mind to remove my foot first.

That is impressive. I find mine are quite firmly attached.
StuartCJones - on 20 Apr 2012
In reply to McBendy:
Truth be told it's partially about appearance, and partially it's about freedom.

That is all.
Goucho on 20 Apr 2012
In reply to McBendy: During the 60's, 70's and 80's I think most people did all their climbing without helmets - I know everyone I knew and saw did.

Somehow, even though they are obviously sensible, they just don't look cool or sexy - so when it comes to bouldering, well, they are a complete fashion fau paux!

I mean how can you look effortlessly cool and edgy sending a V11 wearing a helmet - I mean come on, how uncool is that?

McBirdy - on 21 Apr 2012
In reply to Goucho:

As I understand it (although I do not speak their language), snowboarders are these days inclined to wear back braces and wrist guards. I'm not sure to what extent this is about safety and to what extent it is about warmth. 99% of the snowboarders I have seen have been lying on their backs/sitting on their arses, sliding down the piste in one or other position. The extra layer of insulation between back/wrist and snow is presumably welcome. Boulderers are similarly inclined to sit around being 'cool', smoking roll-ups and wire-brushing the small holds until they are big enough to pull on.

There must be some correlation between lack of education/brain, poor diction, use of words like 'man', 'cool', 'rad' etc and lack of interest in protecting said brain. Most boulderers and snowboarders, like most sandwich fillings, are in bread.

Just sayin, man.
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Fishmate - on 21 Apr 2012
In reply to McBendy:
> (In reply to Goucho)
>
>
>
> use of words like 'man', 'cool', 'rad' etc >

So if I understand you correctly, you clearly spend, at least some of your time watching American bouldering vids? I ask this because I have never heard a UK boulderer use the term, 'rad'. All of which begs the question, do you like bouldering or not? I suspect you admire from afar but know your limits. True? ;)

McBirdy - on 21 Apr 2012
In reply to Fishmate:

Admire from afar is generally a good plan - we all know about the dangers of passive smoking.
Arms Cliff - on 21 Apr 2012
In reply to McBendy: Have you ever heard of someone getting a serious head injury from bouldering?
peaches69 - on 21 Apr 2012
In reply to McBendy: douche
Madden - on 21 Apr 2012
In reply to McBendy: I have only met perhaps 3 boulderers that smoke... I did however meet 60+ year old guy soloing trad routes up to E2, who would sit and have a smoke between every couple of routes.
ducko - on 22 Apr 2012
In reply to McBendy: You sir are a poorly educated moron, I think everyone understands how much you dislike bouldering but many people enjoy it, get over it grow up and quit your childish stereotyping and moronic questioning.

Can I just ask if you wear a flame retardant suite whilst sitting in front of an open fire? Or perhaps wear a harness whilst descending a flight of stairs?
ste53 on 22 Apr 2012 - 5acbaf5b.bb.sky.com
In reply to Cthulhu:
> (In reply to McBendy)
>
> Because, being boulderers, there's nothing worth protecting in their heads? ;oP

Wow your brave saying that on the net , bet you never say it to anyones face !
If you had half a brain you would know bouldering is essential too progressing in climbing ! i suppose Ben moon , ste Muclure , Dave Mcloud , Shauna coxy , Adam Ondra e,c,t and ALL the other top climbers in the world have nothing worth protecting in their heads ? ? ?
Sound's like your the one with the small brain ! Big mouth,small brain always the way !
Elrond - on 22 Apr 2012
In reply to ste53:

Yeah I get what you're saying - however I'm pretty sure that he said that as a joke....
ste53 on 22 Apr 2012 - 5acbaf5b.bb.sky.com
In reply to scelestus: well not very funny one , sound's more like starting a fight due to opinion to me !
Sean Bell - on 22 Apr 2012
In reply to scelestus: Guys, this is a troll.A not very clever one, but a troll nonetheless so go easy now, calm the beans.
Im guessing he is goading the boulderers because he is weak and has some insecurities going on due to his lack of guns and slap power.I could be wrong though.. :-)

Elrond - on 22 Apr 2012
In reply to SeanB:

Yeah that sounds about right...
no_more_scotch_eggs - on 22 Apr 2012
In reply to all:

i'd say that given the number of people biting on what is a blatant troll, the OP may inadvertently be onto something...

;-)

cheers

gregor
biscuit - on 22 Apr 2012
In reply to SeanB:
> (In reply to scelestus) Guys, this is a troll.A not very clever one, but a troll nonetheless so go easy now, calm the beans.
> Im guessing he is goading the boulderers because he is weak and has some insecurities going on due to his lack of guns and slap power.I could be wrong though.. :-)

I have been watching this for a few days now and can't believe it's taken this long to get spotted.

I'd say 8.5 out of 10. You only lost marks due to the fact that you had to step back in a couple of times after the original post.

Well done.
Offwidth - on 22 Apr 2012
In reply to no_more_scotch_eggs:

I think the OP is a troll but there are a few rare folk who wear helmets when bouldering and I think its worth consideration at certain times. I always take mine on my many guidebook checking trips on my own... I wear it when the area around the landing is bad or if the consequences of an uncontrolled fall are hard to cover with one mat. I never wear it bouldering at my limits as it gets in the way; nor when I have a good spotter.
no_more_scotch_eggs - on 22 Apr 2012
In reply to Offwidth:

yes, i dont think i've ever worn one bouldering, but generally due to being too timid to try anything where i would be at risk of a nasty landing as described. i certainly would consider it if i was in the circumstances you describe

interesting you're comment about not wearing it when you're at your limits due to getting in the way, i've never pushed that hard when bouldering, so can't really comment, i wouldnt have thought it would make that much of a difference, do you feel it would hold you back...?

maybe now ive got a local bouldering venue again i might get to find out!

cheers
gregor
Offwidth - on 22 Apr 2012
In reply to no_more_scotch_eggs:

Yes I often find it does, maybe it restricts my gurning muscles or more seriously my balance moving semi-dynamically under roofs. Mostly though its an irrelevance: firstly I wont push that hard on my own unless its short uncomplicated and above a good landing; secondly there is simply no point with good spotters.

Part of the problem with these threads is they descend into hysteria when really its a matter of individual risk assessment (ie personal choice).
no_more_scotch_eggs - on 22 Apr 2012
In reply to Offwidth:
> (In reply to no_more_scotch_eggs)

> Part of the problem with these threads is they descend into hysteria when really its a matter of individual risk assessment (ie personal choice).

yup, agreed. and yet there always seems to be an appetite for an argument among some people no matter how often it comes up!


cheers

gregor

Cthulhu on 22 Apr 2012
In reply to ste53:
> (In reply to Cthulhu)
> [...]
>
> Wow your brave saying that on the net , bet you never say it to anyones face !
> If you had half a brain you would know bouldering is essential too progressing in climbing ! i suppose Ben moon , ste Muclure , Dave Mcloud , Shauna coxy , Adam Ondra e,c,t and ALL the other top climbers in the world have nothing worth protecting in their heads ? ? ?
> Sound's like your the one with the small brain ! Big mouth,small brain always the way !

Aww bless! Someone explain tongue-poking-out-winking smiley to the poor boy...

andybenham - on 23 Apr 2012
In reply to McBendy: John Sherman has been known to wear one .....

http://www.dpmclimbing.com/blogs/entries/blog-1-1
McBirdy - on 23 Apr 2012
In reply to andybenham:

At last, a voice of reason:

"Yes I'm the guy who wears a helmet bouldering. And it only took me seven concussions (that I can remember) to figure that one out. ...what really hooked me and made helmet use second nature is the ability to put the serious consequences of a skull bongo to rest and get aggro. At least I won't be taking meals from a sippy straw the rest of my life.

These days, if I can't find a legitimate reason not to wear a helmet, I wear one. Which is 98% of the time.

Vanity is a weakness, not an excuse. I'd rather be known as the Jacque Plante of Bouldering than the Muhummad Ali of Bouldering.

Has the helmet prevented any head injuries yet? You bet. Just a week before the the HP40 Triple Crown event in '07 I waxed off one of those car fender slopers and landed right between my friend's feet. The would-be spotter hadn't gotten there quick enough and my head was the first thing to hit. I bounced right back up and kept bouldering. "
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Mike Stretford - on 23 Apr 2012
In reply to McBendy: If nothing else comes of this thread at least I now know who Jaques Plante is.
mutt - on 23 Apr 2012
In reply to Scarab9:
> (In reply to McBendy)
> [...]
>
> no head injury here and I don't cycle with a helment. Considering these crazy risks I take isn't it amazing how I've never had to go to hospital, only injured myself three times ever beyond scrapes and bruises (fell out of a tree as a kid and cracked a rib, got my hand trapped in a car boot with broken supports, twisted an ankle fairly badly on the descent from a crag).
>
> tell you whay, why don't you go look at the risks you take before judging others.

brilliant argument there - I guess thats why nobody who hasn't yet had a head injury will never get one.
the best news is that I have never died .... I'm going to live forever HURRAH.
McBirdy - on 23 Apr 2012
In reply to mutt:

I have never failed a 9a onsight attempt. Does that mean I never will? In which case, can anyone recommend a good 9a in Scotland?
Madden - on 23 Apr 2012
In reply to McBendy: This entire thread has dissolved into completely irrational arguments that I'd sooner expect to see spouted between devout religious believers and atheists arguing the existence of god.

Jus' sayin'.
Madden - on 23 Apr 2012
In reply to Madden: And it wouldn't hurt to add that most of them originate from the pro-helmet corner.
kuju - on 24 Apr 2012
In reply to McBendy:

Fascinating thread......hmmm. I don't wear one because frankly - what is the point? Unless i'm highballing I'm unlikely to fall head first, and the chances of someone above me dislodging stuff on to my head is fairly slim..if only because the chances of me climbing a problem someone is already on is ..well...non-existent.

But hey what do I know - i'm relatively new to this game and from what I can gather being primarily a boulderer means I'm apparently bottom of the pecking order anyway.





Which - like the whole grade debate...is plainly nonsense....but some people have to have something to whine about don't they :)
jkarran - on 24 Apr 2012
In reply to McBendy:

> My profile pic is of me sport climbing.
> Back to my OP - why do boulderers not wear helmets?

What type of helmet do you use for bouldering and why don't you wear it for sport climbing? Troll.

jk
michael00693 - on 25 Apr 2012
In reply to McBendy: After reading a few of the replies, the thread seems to have gone off topic.

So in answer to your original question:

1) Boulders are not huge rock faces, therefore no loose rock to come tumbling down onto your head

2) Good spotters will never allow you to land on your head, neck or spine

3) As a boulderer you should know better than to climb all out and land on something delicate. You always leave that little bit left to land safely.

4) Crash mats are designed to absorb the force of a fall, so should you by chance land badly the risk of injury os reduced. However if you land badly it is because you have rubbish spotters and because you were stupid enough to not come down safely
Offwidth - on 25 Apr 2012
In reply to andybenham:

Thanks for the link but to be fair some of the things that Verm can regard as a boulder problem would make 99% of UK boulderers cry for their mom. At some point though there is a grey area and considering a lid as you enter that is something I think boulderers operating there should consider. Still this would be rare on a day out in the UK with several mats and spotters.

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