/ Guidebook cover photo's and helmets.
There was an accident at Malham last week in which a climber was hit on the head by a dropped clip stick (a very modern accident!) and suffered a nasty scalp injury as the stick hit them across the head, not end on...which could have been pretty serious. They were not wearing a helmet, I climbed there yesterday and nobody other than me....by far the least able climber there...wore a helmet. Is it mostly vanity and fashion supported by guidebook photo's that maintains this I wonder, and is helmet use still associated with being a punter, as reinforced by me yesterday?
This is something I also picked up on recently. So decided to contact the BMC about it (not necessarily just about guidebook photos, but photos in general). I seem to remember they ran a campaign recently to encourage us to wear helmets. However a browse through Summit magazines will show many without helmets on.
The BMC have not bothered to answer. Should any of their representatives read this please do feel free to answer this time.
I'm not advocating not wearing a helmet but found this an interesting read the other day - http://www.howiechong.com/journal/2014/2/bike-helmets
In the first part they argue that other activities are just as, if not statistically more, dangerous than riding a bike with regard to head injuries.
That's a crap reason not to wear a helmet on a bike.
In the second part he says that wearing a helmet can encourage drivers to be more careless. A driver driving 3 1/2 inches (how the hell did they measure that?) closer when you're wearing a helmet doesn't mean that you're going to have an accident, of course. I also don't think most drivers look for, or see, helmets, as it seems that most accidents probably happen when drivers don't see the cyclist at all, let alone whether or not they are wearing a helmet.
He also says that wearing a helmet can increase neck injuries, and that "There's some evidence that having an enlarged piece of plastic and foam on your head increases the probability of hitting an object that you'd be able to avoid in the first place, or that otherwise glancing contact with a surface becomes a full-on blow when the head is helmeted."
A glancing contact? With your head? With the road? From a bike travelling anywhere up to 25mph? Glancing? Sounds great, don't know why I ever wanted to put a lump of polystyrene on my head when my skull will just harmlessly bounce off the tarmac. OF course!
Perhaps he's right on the neck injuries, but I feel like if you're barrelling into the earth with enough force to snap your neck when your helmet hits the ground, you probably wouldn't want all that force to be met on your soft noggin by hard concrete, either. Crashes like that seem to me to likely be a lose lose situation with regards to wearing helmets.
And, the false sense of security helmets create. Funnily enough, when I'm lycrad up and clipped into my road bike, that light blob of polystyrene on my head doesn't exactly make me feel secure, since a fall on the road is far more likely to end in road rash and broken wrists/collar bones than a serious head injury, and I don't exactly feel protected from those - I'm still bricking it nearly all the time because I don't trust anyone on the roads.
Cobblers article in my view.
Re: helmets climbing, If people are thick enough to partake in an activity where one of the main attractions is being completely responsible for your own actions, and controlling and mitigating danger through your skill and judgement, not wearing a helmet because some pro chose not to when gurning to the top of that absurdly hard route in the picture on your guide book is their responsibility and choice alone.
Short answer is that it's difficult enough to get good quality climbing photos, without also worrying about whether or not to turn the things into 'public information notices.'
There seems to be some rather dodgy use of stat's in that article, particularly in that it does not correct for miles travelled by transport type (which he acknowledges at the end), which if it did would, I would expect, show cycling to be more risky regarding potential head injury, than driving a car. I think none use of helmet in climbing is fashion and vanity lead, it certainly was, largely, for me for the many years I didn't wear one!
But perhaps a "good quality climbing photo" unconsciously includes the photographer or guide book editors bias about what this may look like, which usually doesn't seem to include a climber in a helmet.
Moff and I strongly preferred a helmet cover shot for Froggatt and got it. Yet despite supporting the BMC message on helmets I still think its an issue of personal choice for most climbers and as Summit articles and volunteer guidebooks often record the climbing of our membership, and we have to choose from what we get, we can only select towards rather than forcing this.
My fave BMC pic showing helmets won't help everywhere is p.19 in OTM.
Just had a look at the 2 latest Lakes FRCC guides (Scafell & Langdale). Both cases the climbers are wearing helmets.
Maybe. If I myself were to judge what was a better or worse climbing photo, the presence or absence of helmets would be a complete irrelevance. You might take a different view, and that's fair enough.
Good god, no. People will wear helmets if/when they see fit, others will not. As is blatantly evidenced by the cycling and snowsports communities who have regular debate on the topic, no amount of passive-aggressive bitching on internet forums will change this.
So please, can we all just shut the hell up and go climbing? Cheers.
"People will wear helmets if/when they see fit, others will not."
I completely agree; just thought it an interesting observation!
"no amount of passive-aggressive bitching on internet forums will change this.
So please, can we all just shut the hell up and go climbing? Cheers."
This is not "passive-aggressive bitching", people are, and should be, free to make their own choices....however your comment is just plain aggressive.
That would at least go some way to countering the influence of gear manufacturers with a vested interest. Of course sometimes wearing a helmet is a good idea, but don't think that commercial interests don't have preferences in this too.
The choice of whether to wear a helmet or not is personal, and should be left to the individual 'team'.
I wear a helmet when climbing and belaying. I won't lead unless my belayer is wearing a helmet (hit hit too many seconds with crap to run the risk of pulling a hold off, falling and redering my second unconcious, all in one go!)
I am on my sixth helmet, one broken when I fell out backwards and put a huge dent in it (sore head, neck and shoulders., one when I slid down a slab, couldn't get to paddle so put front of helmet on rock (better than chin, although by end of slide front of helmet was tatty, and had scratches on my specs.) one when I dropped a peg hammer on a seconds head (he was wearing my helmet because he had forgotten his. He had headaches for a week, but hat better than alternative!), and dropped a lump of route on a second. (big enough to split helmet and leave him with some neck/shoulder damage! Again, my helmet because it was a loose top-out and I tend to fall of grass top-outs!) The fifth was funny. Stood under Brixton Road waiting to take someone up it. Party in front were very slow. Took helmet off and put it on floor where I had been standing and went for a sitdown in the sun! The second pulled a huge lump of rock off just below the top. All there was to be seen of my hat was a few shards of plastic around the block. Even if I had been wearing it, it would have done me no good, apart from making me into a compact package for the ambulance to pick up!
To those who wear a helmet, great choice. To those who don't, your choice, but I hope you don't have a clumsy leader!
My two pennorth!
The only times I have ever been hit on the head by a falling rock was on the rare times I was wearing a helmet, we used to call them 'rock magnets'.
I was only ever hit once without a helmet. It was a tiny stone off the top of Millstone and it hurt like hell. Made a decision that I didn't like pain and have worn a helmet ever since.
I hate wearing anything on my head. Can't be a boulderer because even beenies iritate me. I Utah I had to wear a cap to avoid what few brain cells there are from being cooked.
A helmet, in my case is a neccessary evil.
You also had the advantage of leaders who had excellent footwork and didn't kick bricks on your head. I saw you and them climbing frequently!
Brilliant....made me chuckle!
Elsewhere on the site
The Women's Mountain Equipment Cho Oyu Jacket is the perfect choice for female mountaineers an explorers who... Read more
Skiing Baffin’s couloirs has been on my to do list ever since I saw Andrew McLean and Brad Barlage’s inspirational... Read more
Backpackers want an extremely liveable and lightweight tent at good price. MSR answers the call with the Elixir 2 tent and... Read more
The Kendal Mountain Festival 2014 proved once again to be a busy and inspiring four days of films, photos, music, art... Read more
2012 saw the release of the beautiful first volume of definitive Yorkshire Gritstone climbing, produced by the YMC with Robin... Read more