/ Helmet use in the climbing community

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nikkihinton - on 27 Mar 2013
Hi Everyone, I am writing my dissertation on the design of rock climbing helmets, and the potential for changes to encourage more frequent use. It would be really helpful for me if you could fill out the following survey:
http://freeonlinesurveys.com/s.asp?sid=xxitx2wgt8a11r2232042

I know many of you may also enjoy a bit of skiing or snowboarding... so here is the survey for that part of the study.
http://freeonlinesurveys.com/app/rendersurvey.asp?sid=mnzl329aidyssnb231297&refer=www%2Efacebook...

Feel free to re-post to your clubs forum, the more responses I get the more useful the data will be!

If you have any more questions or want to get in contact about it please let me know!
andyathome - on 27 Mar 2013
In reply to nikkihinton:

Ooooh. Nikki! Have you researched the reaction of the average UKC poster to online surveys?

Good luck. I mean that!
martinph78 on 27 Mar 2013
In reply to nikkihinton:

Struggling with this one:

"What influenced you to start wearing one"

No option for "safety" or similar.
toad - on 27 Mar 2013
In reply to Martin1978:
> (In reply to nikkihinton)
>
> Struggling with this one:
>
> "What influenced you to start wearing one"
>
> No option for "safety" or similar.

There is a huge gap in this survey concerning this. I think there may be an age/ climbing culture gap here - it obviously never occured to you, but a groundtruthing exercise with a safe audience really should have picked this up before you let it out into the wild.
tlm - on 27 Mar 2013
In reply to nikkihinton:

It's started off promisingly... Good to actually see an information sheet at the start!

But then it came to level of climbing - I've climbed for years, but I'm mediocre - so I put medium (or whatever the choice was).

Now I have the question about why I started to wear a helmet - I started after going to Jordan, where the rock is very fragile, and I realised that I hadn't even taken my helmet with me - so after that I wore it all the time. Erm.... the nearest choice is 'after a head injury'. But I have never had a head injury? Ah well - I put that in so that I could finish the survey.
winhill - on 27 Mar 2013
In reply to nikkihinton:

"You have not yet created any questions!"
In reply to nikkihinton: Agree with the others, if you answer "yes" to question 7, the q 8 doesn't make a lot of sense. Most of the q8 alternatives seem to be for why someone might start wearing one having not done so before, but I got a helmet basically as soon as I started climbing because it just seemed the safe choice. You need an option "because I believed it to be the sensible course of action" or something like that in there.
In reply to nikkihinton: I did the skiing one as well which makes a bit more sense for me, although you can't spell skier in q4!
David Barratt - on 27 Mar 2013
In reply to nikkihinton: I started wearing my helmet for safety, that was not an option so I put to set a good example... Couple flaws but I'm sure after this initial feedback, you can amend and re-release. good luck with the dissertation.
David Barratt - on 27 Mar 2013
In reply to nikkihinton: Ski survey was much shorter (maybe because I said I don't always wear a one...) but also much better. the 'other' option was welcome.
cuppatea on 27 Mar 2013
In reply to nikkihinton:
> Hi Everyone, I am writing my dissertation on the design of rock climbing helmets, and the potential for changes to encourage more frequent use.

I've not yet done the survey but my impression is that you presume it's the design of the helmets that precludes their use?

I'd guess your degree is art/design rather than sports psychology?

Sorry about the above! I'm off to do your survey now.
cuppatea on 27 Mar 2013
In reply to nikkihinton:

Question 8 has a missing answer.
To prevent an injury to my head.

"An injury to the head" came after, and wasn't climbing related
BPT@work on 27 Mar 2013
In reply to Martin1978:
> (In reply to nikkihinton)
>
> Struggling with this one:
>
> "What influenced you to start wearing one"
>
> No option for "safety" or similar.

+1

jonintights - on 27 Mar 2013
+2 for the No option for "safety" or similar.
The Ex-Engineer - on 27 Mar 2013
In reply to TobyA:
> I got a helmet basically as soon as I started climbing because it just seemed the safe choice.

Ditto.

The survey need options to differentiate between those of us who automatically started wearing a helmet when we started climbing and those who later started using one.

In the 1990s I wore a helmet occasionally where as I now wear one far more often, however the survey completely fails to capture any meaningful information about the reasons for that change.
itsThere on 27 Mar 2013
In reply to nikkihinton: Question 6, not when i am inside. Wont this skew the results since most people climb inside and out. If i climb outside 50% of the time then its a yes. Did anyone else read it that way.
nniff - on 27 Mar 2013
In reply to nikkihinton:

Sort of done it - got the the end with a few cop out answers. Main one Q.8 - to which my answer should have been 'common sense, coupled with recognition that head injuries really spoil your day and that I am not immune'

Then I found that I hadn't created any questions.
Dave Garnett - on 27 Mar 2013
In reply to nikkihinton:

What about people who ski and board? OK, there's 'other', which I used, but why make people choose only one? As it happens I almost never wear a helmet skiing, always when boarding. I suspect this may not be all that unusual.
Howardw1968 - on 27 Mar 2013
In reply to nikkihinton:
:(
a bit disapointed with this survey as it didn't let me say that I always wear a helmet outdoors partly as a good example to my daughter who always wears one indoors or out.
Epic Ebdon - on 27 Mar 2013
In reply to nikkihinton:

I fille din your survey, and agree with the points above. In addition, I would have liked an option for "to protect my head from rockfall/falling ice/butterfingers partner with a karabiner".

The question as to what type of helmet I would prefer was also a bit too simplistic. If I'm ice climbing, I wear a hard shell, as I reckon the greatest danger is getting walloped by falling ice. If I'm sport /trad climbing I wear a polystyrene meteor III as I think there's more chance f me falling off and banging my head. Essentially it's dependant on the type of climbing I'm doing.
flaneur - on 27 Mar 2013
You can tell she's twenty one, there is no answer for increasing age and responsibilities!

In reply to toad:
> (In reply to Martin1978)
> [...]
>
> There is a huge gap in this survey concerning this. I think there may be an age/ climbing culture gap here - it obviously never occured to you, but a groundtruthing exercise with a safe audience really should have picked this up before you let it out into the wild.

The supervisor Paul Chamberlain does not appear to be doing his job. Did he read this before allowing you to post it here?


In reply to cuppatea:

> I'd guess your degree is art/design rather than sports psychology?

Loughborough Design School
winhill - on 27 Mar 2013
In reply to flaneur:
>
> The supervisor Paul Chamberlain does not appear to be doing his job. Did he read this before allowing you to post it here?

Unless he told her not to agonise too much about the questions, it's a waste of time as the geek elements in your focus group will soon point you in the right direction and you'll end up with qualitative to add to the quantitative.

cuppatea on 27 Mar 2013
In reply to flaneur:

> In reply to cuppatea:
> Loughborough Design School

I knew it! I just need a tash like Poirot ;)


I often think that the comments posted on the thread below the survey provide as much data as the survey itself.



In reply to nikkihinton:

Will you please let us know the results and your findings?
I like climbing - on 27 Mar 2013
In reply to nikkihinton:
You are not a climber. This ain't happening.
Ffion Blethyn - on 27 Mar 2013
In reply to nikkihinton:

I Think It Is A Great Survey. It Has Given Me A Few Ideas For My Next One. Ffion x
victim of mathematics - on 27 Mar 2013
In reply to nikkihinton:

What they said.

Can't UKC introduce some kind of mandatory piloting before people post up surveys with glaring flaws in them?
tlm - on 28 Mar 2013
In reply to victim of mathematics:

> Can't UKC introduce some kind of mandatory piloting before people post up surveys with glaring flaws in them?

but... but... that would ruin all the fun! Anyhoo - people learn by doing. I bet you wouldn't have produced any better stuff at that age?

AlanLittle - on 28 Mar 2013
In reply to nikkihinton:

Things like this are always too simplistic. Where do you fill in

"I wore a helmet most of the time when I started climbing circa 1980 but helmets in those days were heavy clumsy fibreglass jobs and I didn't like it (and it wasn't seen as cool in those days) so I mostly stopped wearing one for a long time except when climbing in places where I expected a significant danger of stonefall. Nowadays helmets are much lighter and more comfortable (and wearing them is no longer seen as uncool) so I wear one again a lot of the time, but not when I'm sport climbing in places where I think the risk of stonefall is negligible."

There's yr longitudinal/attitudinal right there. I suspect you'll find among the older climbers here that that is a fairly typical story.
Neil Williams - on 28 Mar 2013
In reply to nikkihinton:

Missing option here for indoor leading...


Traditional (placing gear as you go)



Sport (on bolted routes)



Soloing (without roped protection)



Alpine/ice (using winter climbing tools)



Top-roping (outdoor)



Bouldering (outdoor)



Top-rope (indoor)


Neil
Neil Williams - on 28 Mar 2013
In reply to Neil Williams:

...and indeed indoor bouldering. There's plenty of people now who mostly do that, particularly at the newer dedicated bouldering centres.

Neil
LTS - on 28 Mar 2013
In reply to nikkihinton: i've answered your survey to the best of my ability - but like others, did not feel that the correct option was there is many cases: it would be wise to put a 'none of the above' option as well which would then indicate to you that something is out of kilter with the questions.

You probably did this - but it's good to have a group discussion with a mix of people first to get the various threads of your question areas identified first. Or you could stand in an outdoor shop and do a few one to one interviews with kindly shoppers to get the basis of your questioning sorted out. Also - interview a few outdoor shop assistants to get their views ( ones that have some knowledge of climbing).

I'd count this as a pilot questionnaire - I am sure all the feedback will help you re-draft an improved version. Good luck.
zebidee - on 28 Mar 2013
In reply to nikkihinton:

Couldn't get past question 4 - what type of climbing do you do most frequently?

No option for "Bouldering (indoors)" only "Bouldering (outdoors)" - it then got worse from there so I didn't finish filling it in.

Oh ... and I was on a training course once which talked about surveys - "only anoraks and maniacs fill in surveys" was one of the points made on it.
Neil Williams - on 28 Mar 2013
In reply to zebidee:

Also, "do you wear a helmet" seemed quite binary as others have said. I never wear one indoors, though in case of an awkward fall I would recommend that a beginner, particularly a child, does. I sometimes wear one outdoors depending on risk (top roping with little or no chance of rockfall = no, chance of rockfall = yes, trad leading almost certainly yes, though if there was only one helmet available in the group I would rather the belayer had it, as me kicking down a rock on their head would cause rather big problems for both of us.

Neil
Neil Williams - on 28 Mar 2013
In reply to Neil Williams:

(along similar lines, I know people who don't mind if the climber wears one or not, but will insist that anyone belaying them does).

Neil
Milesy - on 28 Mar 2013
In reply to nikkihinton:
> questions or want to get in contact about it please let me know!

Ability level:

I have seen low grade climbers with 20 years experience, placing gear well and good rope managing skills, and I have seen high grade climbers, who are climbing E grades within a short period of time, but have crap gear and rope skills. Who is the expert and who is the intermediate?

What influenced you to start wearing one:

Safety. Because I dont want hit by rocks, or hit my head, not because I have already had any happen. I cant answer question 8.
nikkihinton - on 28 Mar 2013
H All,
I appreciate the constructive critisim as it does help me improve any furthur questionairres I do. In response to general comments:

I understand this is greatly simplified and could be frustrating, however, the need to have data responses as opposed to worded responses has forced me to do this. I do agree there are a couple of questions where I have missed something out- we all make mistakes.

I'm 22, female, a climber, doing a BA in industrial design and technology at Loughborough University. My supervisor is also a climber, and went through my questions with me, however I am not spoon fed so he is not to blame in anyway if you think this isn't "up to standard"

The dissertation is not only based on climbers- it's main purpose is to see if the increase in snow sports helmet wear that has happened over the past few years can be transferred over to climbing- this I do not know, hence the research.

I am also conducting in person interviews with a few experienced climbers and skiiers to gauge there ideas and opinions on the subject.

Thanks to all who filled it out, it's very helpful and the feedback is good.
I will post a link to the finished dissertation when it is done and you can all slate that too ;)
Bulls Crack - on 28 Mar 2013
In reply to toad:

Agreed - need to satrt again with Q8 - I didn't continue Tricky things surveys!
bpmclimb - on 28 Mar 2013
In reply to nikkihinton:
> H All,
I do agree there are a couple of questions where I have missed something out- we all make mistakes.
>

There's a couple of pretty huge mistakes, though. Reasons for starting to wear a helmet don't include fear of injury. Reasons for wearing a helmet don't include protection against falling objects. Pretty fundamental stuff!

As a matter of interest, on what basis did you select your age bands? 46+ is very wide, yet I would imagine older climbers have as much need of helmets as younger ones.
The Pylon King on 28 Mar 2013
In reply to nikkihinton:

oh god,not another dissertation/survey.
nikkihinton - on 28 Mar 2013
In reply to bpmclimb: I did not include fear of injury as other selections were in place such as "to protect your head from falls" and "to protect your head from other bumps and knocks" the second statement is to include falling objects, however to make it link to the snow sports survey would be difficult if I said "falling objects".
I should have made this clearer in the survey however.

The age bands were selected as in snow sports the main increase in helmet wear was recognised in younger age groups, but I still wanted to cover the whole range.

Hope this answers your questions
toad - on 28 Mar 2013
In reply to nikkihinton:
> (In reply to bpmclimb) I did not include fear of injury as other selections were in place such as "to protect your head from falls" and "to protect your head from other bumps and knocks">

What influenced you to start wearing one?

Price decrease

Increase in choice

Varying styles (e.g. shape, graphics, materials and textures)

Increased comfort (e.g. weight and fit)

Increase in availability

More people were wearing them

Encouraged to by others (friends/ family)

Influenced by professionals in media/film

Regulations in the area

An injury to the head

An injury to a friend or family members head

To set a good example to others


Nope, this question is definitely flawed as it deals with actual injury in the past rather than the potential for, or fear of injury in the future. I think this effectively excludes many people who wear helmets. I appreciate you are focussing on design, but if your data collection doesn't properly address the reasons for helmet wearing, the solutions you provide will be incomplete.
Milesy - on 28 Mar 2013
In reply to toad:

^^ what he said :) Cant continue without answering question 8.
nikkihinton - on 28 Mar 2013
In reply to toad:
I understand the confusion- the influences question is only answered if you replied "no" to "have you always worn a helemt?"
If you were not wearing one at a previous point there would have been another reason aside from your safety- otherwise you would have worn one.
I should have added "I started to feel more concern for my safety"- but that in itself leads to more questions, i.e. why did you suddenly feel more safety concious? Although very interesting, it's a bit off topic, and not my area of knowledge!

It then goes on to the question "why do you wear a helmet?" which includes some options from the previous question, but also -to protect your head from bumps etc etc...
toad - on 28 Mar 2013
In reply to nikkihinton:
> (In reply to toad)
> I understand the confusion- the influences question is only answered if you replied "no" to "have you always worn a helemt?"
> If you were not wearing one at a previous point there would have been another reason aside from your safety- otherwise you would have worn one.

Not true. I think my earlier comment about age is telling. I am possibly more aware of my own mortality in my mid 40s than I was at 21

> I should have added "I started to feel more concern for my safety"- but that in itself leads to more questions, i.e. why did you suddenly feel more safety concious? Although very interesting, it's a bit off topic, and not my area of knowledge!
>
I suspect you'll have to trust me on this, but it isn't neccessarily sudden, or a single pivotal event, stuff changes over time

> It then goes on to the question "why do you wear a helmet?" which includes some options from the previous question, but also -to protect your head from bumps etc etc...

Perhaps, but I still think there's a fundemental element missing from your experimental design. I appreciate it's too late to change now, but at least you've got something to talk about in your discussion ;)

ericinbristol - on 28 Mar 2013
In reply to nikkihinton:

Hi Nikki (same name as my lovely wife)

You might be interested to see the results of my survey (done for fun only) on reasons people give about why they do or do not wear a helmt for sport climbing (including belaying).

Results and analysis:
http://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/t.php?t=498264&v=1#x6797898

Details of the survey:
http://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/t.php?t=497467&v=1#x6791423


nikkihinton - on 28 Mar 2013
In reply to toad: What is interesting though is that helmet use was increasing in younger skiiers/ boarders which goes against the idea that people were feeling more safety concious as they got older and then decided to wear one- I am trying to find links, and discard other ones, we shall see what happens!

If it was just down to safety everyone would wear a helmet all the time- but there are all the other factors, like comfort, a persons personality, the experience of wearing it, influences from other people- which I believe mostly effects younger climbers before the safety aspect overcomes it with age or other factors.(big generalisation...) If this is the same case with snow sports- why are there more younger people wearing them than older?
This is a simplified but interesting question that I am looking at answering from different angles (asking climbers and skiiers etc)

and yes there will be a lot of evaluating. If I did it perfectly there would be nothing to say I would do better next time! :)
nikkihinton - on 28 Mar 2013
In reply to ericinbristol: Thanks very much that will be good to read through.
Milesy - on 28 Mar 2013
In reply to nikkihinton:
> I understand the confusion- the influences question is only answered if you replied "no" to "have you always worn a helemt?"

It does not specify that? The influences are asked regardless of what option you choose?

> If you were not wearing one at a previous point there would have been another reason aside from your safety- otherwise you would have worn one.

Can you not decide that you quite like your head, without having seen or been involved in an incident or being pressured / influenced by others?
sianabanana - on 28 Mar 2013
In reply to nikkihinton:
I would say that some of your questions at least need an "other" option
Many of the questions I was forced to answer with something that was not entirely true as there was no correct option but they were mandatory questions.
bpmclimb - on 28 Mar 2013
In reply to nikkihinton:
> (In reply to toad)

> If you were not wearing one at a previous point there would have been another reason aside from your safety- otherwise you would have worn one.

This is a careless assumption, and in many cases (including mine) untrue.

> I should have added "I started to feel more concern for my safety"- but that in itself leads to more questions, i.e. why did you suddenly feel more safety concious? Although very interesting, it's a bit off topic, and not my area of knowledge!

You may feel it's off topic, but as this describes the motivations of a very large number of climbers as they get older (again, myself included), to disregard it undermines the validity of your results.
>
> It then goes on to the question "why do you wear a helmet?" which includes some options from the previous question, but also -to protect your head from bumps etc etc...

A primary reason for the use of helmets among climbers is to protect from falling objects. There are crags/conditions where I will wear a helmet to belay, and remove it to climb. "To protect your head from bumps, etc ... " doesn't do the importance of this justice. Not even close.
cuppatea on 28 Mar 2013
In reply to nikkihinton:
> H All,
> I appreciate the constructive critisim as it does help me improve any furthur questionairres I do. In response to general comments:
>
> we all make mistakes.
> I am not spoon fed so he is not to blame in anyway if you think this isn't "up to standard"
> I am also conducting in person interviews with a few experienced climbers and skiiers to gauge there ideas and opinions on the subject.
> I will post a link to the finished dissertation when it is done and you can all slate that too ;)

Don't be too hard on yourself, this is UKC and any criticism is merely honest, if frank, feedback. People do want to help which is why they offer opinion. Better that than to be ignored, eh?



Sorry! I just remembered that this is UKC and feel compelled to add that it should have been "their ideas" and not "there ideas".

All the best with the survey and dissertation :-)

jkarran - on 28 Mar 2013
In reply to nikkihinton:

I know it's easy to over complicate these things but if you want to break down your results by climbing type (sport, bouldering, winter etc) then you need to ask the helmet questions specifically about helmet use when participating in each of those fields. Many people do a bit of it all and have radically different thoughts on helmet use depending upon the game they're playing.

Anyway, hope you get some data you can make sense of.
jk
nikkihinton - on 28 Mar 2013
In reply to Milesy:
>It does not specify that? The influences are asked regardless of what option you choose?

I will check this as it was a logic I added when creating it that should be there...
nikkihinton - on 28 Mar 2013
In reply to nikkihinton:
I have checked and it says it is in there, if it is not skipping the influences question properly that is very annoying.
AlanLittle - on 28 Mar 2013
In reply to jkarran:
>
> I know it's easy to over complicate these things but if you want to break down your results by climbing type (sport, bouldering, winter etc) then you need to ask the helmet questions specifically about helmet use when participating in each of those fields. Many people do a bit of it all and have radically different thoughts on helmet use depending upon the game they're playing.
>

Quite. I've never seen anybody wearing a helmet bouldering, and I'd be very surprised to see somebody alpine climbing without a helmet. Yet lots of people do both. So are they "helmet wearers" or not?

cuppatea on 28 Mar 2013
In reply to AlanLittle:
> (In reply to jkarran)
> [...]
>
> Quite. I've never seen anybody wearing a helmet bouldering,

For me this almost proves the "helmets aren't cool so I don't wear one" argument.

Aren't boulderers more likely to fall off than any other type of climber?

andyathome - on 28 Mar 2013
In reply to nikkihinton:


> I will post a link to the finished dissertation when it is done and you can all slate that too ;)

Good on yer! Like the style.

Why do people want surveys that correspond EXACTLY to their life experience?
bpmclimb - on 28 Mar 2013
In reply to andyathome:
> (In reply to nikkihinton)
>
> Why do people want surveys that correspond EXACTLY to their life experience?

Do they? I think it's more usually a case of not wanting ones where the correspondence is particularly poor.
Orgsm on 28 Mar 2013
In reply to nikkihinton:
> (In reply to toad) What is interesting though is that helmet use was increasing in younger skiiers/ boarders

That's because it's the law that under 14's have to wear them in European ski resorts, and so it became norm, and as they grew up, and continued skiing / boarding , the number of helmer wearers increased, and so it became more if a norm....

cuppatea on 29 Mar 2013
In reply to Beat me to it!:

Think this will happen in climbing? It seems to me that kids at walls have to wear helmets and also that many many more people climb at walls these days..

Remember when people didn't wear seatbelts?

ads.ukclimbing.com
In reply to Beat me to it!:

> That's because it's the law that under 14's have to wear them in European ski resorts,

I'm pretty certain it's not a law in Finland, so it can only be the law in some European countries. Where do you know it is law?
nikkihinton - on 29 Mar 2013
In reply to nikkihinton:
It was introduced as a regulation at a few ski resorts, not all, and in some cases it actually lead to a reduction in helmet wear by some age groups. (Not sure how that works but hey, it's what the paper said!)
cuppatea on 29 Mar 2013
In reply to nikkihinton:

Presumably because it meant that people thought that helmets had to be worn by children.
AlanLittle - on 29 Mar 2013
In reply to cuppatea:
> (In reply to AlanLittle)
> [...]
>
> For me this almost proves the "helmets aren't cool so I don't wear one" argument.
>
> Aren't boulderers more likely to fall off than any other type of climber?

I think I see where yo're going with that, but:

(a) boulderers (proper boulderers, not punters on 6Bs like me) are almost by definition climbing the closest to their physical limit of all climbers, where a couple of hundred grammes or a fraction of a percent shift in the c of g might make a difference. I recall a blog entry by Dan Varian saying if you can afford to carry a chalkbag, it can't be properly hard, and I don't think he was being completely tongue in cheek.

(b) proper boulderers are also *very* careful about arranging pads & spotters on anything at all hard with any kind of iffy landing.

Hard trad climbers as far as I can see *all* wear helmets these days, which they certainly didn't in the 80s & 90s, and I think it has more to do with the fact that helmets were crap then and aren't now.

To take a canonical example of somebody who knows what he's doing and doesn't appear to be obsessed about looking cool: Dave Mac is always wearing a helmet in pictures I've seen of him winter and trad climbing, and never when bouldering. Let's assume that Dave Mac knows more than most of us about taking sensible measures for assessing and controlling risk while climbing at one's limit.

Tom F Harding on 29 Mar 2013
In reply to nikkihinton: Poor quiz... does nobody check these before sending them out!
edinburgh_man on 29 Mar 2013
In reply to AlanLittle:
> .....Let's assume that Dave Mac knows more than most of us about taking sensible measures for assessing and controlling risk while climbing at one's limit.

Apart from on his hardest and most dangerous trad route Echo Wall....

Milesy - on 29 Mar 2013
He didnt wear one when he climbed The Long Hope route, but had it on for pictures at the top. There are probably lots of situations where Dave has assessed that a helmet would make absolutely no difference in a fall (Echo Wall perhaps) where he is more likely to not fall off by not having it on.

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