/ Foam helmets in the mountains

Please Register as a New User in order to reply to this topic.
Roberttaylor - on 22 Sep 2016
I've noticed more and more people wearing expanded foam type helmets (Petzl Sirocco etc) in situations here rockfall is more likely than a swinging fall. What are folks thoughts on this? I saw a rock bounce off an old school plastic only helmet a few weeks ago and it didn't make a dent but foam and hybrid (thin plastic with foam inside) helmets seem to be becoming the norm; I can't see how these offer the same protection against missiles.

I wear a grivel salamander but if I could find something more robust I'd get that.
HeMa on 22 Sep 2016
In reply to Roberttaylor:

Foam helmets a'la the sirocco (so, not thin shell & styrofoam, a'la Meteor) are actually a lot better than hard shell helmets. Sure, a Sirocco will take a beating from fallin' rocks. But then again is also (partly) returns to shape and is not really single use. Where as a hard shell helmet, well if the rock is big enough, it's done for from a single impact.

Meteor and similar hybrid helmets are however the worst... when it comes to durability.
purplemonkeyelephant - on 22 Sep 2016
In reply to Roberttaylor:

Yup, for it's weight the Scirroco is incredibly durable. I've bashed my head really hard with it a few times and it's not even scratched. The EPP is a great idea, you can actually feel it bounce off the rock. If a falling rock cracks your Scirrocco I think you've got bigger problems than a repeat impact.
Pinch'a'salt on 22 Sep 2016
In reply to Roberttaylor:

Taking Petzl's sport range as an example the Sirocco (EPP 'foam') and the Elios (ABS shell & EPS 'foam' combo) both conform to the test requirements of EN 12492 (shock transmission, penetration resistance etc etc) - hence both offer a similar base level of protection...
tjoliver - on 22 Sep 2016
In reply to Pinch'a'salt:

I've spent quite literally hundreds of days in the mountains with a Sirocco, the original and only one I've brought. It's fortunately never taken a hit from a mega block of rock, but it's been hit by plenty of smaller rocks and pieces of ice. It's still going strong, although admittedly starting to look a little worse for wear.
ebdon - on 22 Sep 2016
In reply to Roberttaylor:

Ive had an petzl ecrin roc smashed by rockfall rendering effectively useless whilst climbing so hard shell helmets are not always good for multiple impacts! Forunatly i have not repeated the expereance with a meteor which i now use so cant directly compare.
Roberttaylor - on 22 Sep 2016
In reply to Roberttaylor:

I may need to look into buying a Sirocco...
CurlyStevo - on 22 Sep 2016
In reply to Roberttaylor:
I'd be happy taking my petzl meteor in the mountains on 1-2 day trips where I was particularly weight challenged but rockfall was a risk. Anymore I'd take something more robust.

Of course its not just a swinging fall that is dangerous for hitting your head, its inverting in a fall above your gear and hitting your head against the wall which is the larger risk IMO.
Post edited at 16:32
rogerwebb - on 23:03 Thu
In reply to Roberttaylor:
Recently retired my salamander and got a
wild country 360. Same comfort level more protection and cheaper.

I use a scirocco in summer and the 360 in winter as the 360 has fewer holes, is tougher in the rucksack and certainly copes with multiple impacts, has a lower profile so fits better under hoods and takes side impacts.

The scirocco suffers from a fiddly buckle, too many holes for winter comfort and doesn't like being sat on.

Great for rockclimbing though.
Ken Applegate - on 07:52 Fri
In reply to Roberttaylor:
Why not get the best of both worlds? Mammut's Wall Rider Helmet is made of the same EPP foam as the Petzl Sirocco, but with the addition of a hard polycarbonate shell on top. I've just bought one for year round use, and from first impressions, I'm impressed.

http://www.alpinist.com/doc/web16c/ms-mammut-wall-rider-helmet
Post edited at 08:10
rogerwebb - on 08:41 Fri
In reply to Ken Applegate:

Looks like a good call. Maybe give an update after you have bashed it a bit?
Ken Applegate - on 09:54 Fri
In reply to rogerwebb:

Will do, it should get a thorough bashing this winter.
Bwox - on 15:03 Mon
In reply to rogerwebb:

> The scirocco suffers from a fiddly buckle...and doesn't like being sat on.

Curiously, I almost entirely disagree with this - I think the magnetic buckle is great, and I seem to remember videos doing the rounds when it was first released showing people happily squeezing it and standing on it.

It does sit quite high and mushroom-like on the head, mind you, but that doesn't feel so ridiculous in winter, somehow.
olddirtydoggy - on 15:21 Mon
In reply to Roberttaylor:
I've used the Sirocco for nearly a year now and it's been fantastic. I took a big hit on the head from a chunk of Limestone in the Spring and it remains undamaged. The look isn't great, I'm just thankful it's not a purple colour or I'd look a right 'end'. Also love the clip.
Post edited at 15:22
rogerwebb - on 21:54 Mon
In reply to Bwox:

Might be me, but mine has detached twice while climbing.
And it, or rather it's predecessor definitely didn't like being sat on. Of course that was in a rucksack and a side on sit. Might be ok if sat on top though.
pec on 23:43 Mon
In reply to Roberttaylor:

I recall seeing some test data many years ago, before polystyrene helmets came along, when helmets were either "plastic" or composite (fibreglass or carbon fibre).
In terms of absorbing multiple impacts without transferring too much energy to the head/neck of the wearer composites were a clear winner. They also sat lower on the head and were less prone to bounce off the head (by excessive deformation) than plastic helmets. Plastics were cheaper and lighter however.

My first helmet was a fibreglass Phoenix Winter helmet which I retired when the rim became cracked which I thought must have weakened it. Years later (20 or so) I was having a clearout and came accross it. Before throwing it out I thought I'd test it to destruction. I dropped bricks on it several times from about 6 feet which barely scratched it so I took to whacking it it multiple times with end of a weightlifting barbell, it took 20 or so blows to break through the hard shell but the fibreglass matt was still holding it together. It then took multiple blows with a lump hammer to finally break it.

Totally unscientific and obviously I couldn't measure the impact force on the theoretical wearer's neck but pretty impressive nonetheless.

I somehow can't image a polystyrene helmet standing up to a fraction of that, but they a lot lighter!
HeMa on 06:30 Tue
In reply to rogerwebb:

> Might be me, but mine has detached twice while climbing.

If you're climbing on rock that has a lot of magnetic ore in it... well it tends to stick to the magnets and thus it won't close properly... Cleaning the sand/pebbles once a while solves to problem...

And what ever you do, do not try to force close it (let the magnet do it's thing)... as you'll end up breakin' the buckle. Wife has done that a few times now, luckily we have enough helmets and the Petzl importer has always sent a new buckle...
rogerwebb - on 09:15 Tue
In reply to HeMa:
Thanks for the very helpful reply.
I will give the buckle a good clean.
Post edited at 09:17
HeMa on 11:43 Tue
In reply to rogerwebb:

The specs of sand should be clearly visible.
Toerag - on 14:54 Tue
In reply to pec:
> In terms of absorbing multiple impacts without transferring too much energy to the head/neck of the wearer composites were a clear winner. They also sat lower on the head and were less prone to bounce off the head (by excessive deformation) than plastic helmets. Plastics were cheaper and lighter however.

.....and much cheaper to produce, which is why you can't buy composite ones anymore - they simply can't compete on price. I guard my Carbon-Kevlar Troll lid carefully these days, it's such a sexy lid!
ads.ukclimbing.com
Nath93 - on 18:10 Tue
In reply to Roberttaylor:

I like my Sirocco, and have worn it for all my climbing over the past year. No excuse not to wear one with it being so light. Mines has lots of little bumps and scratches from lots of rocks and bangs to the head standing up on ledges etc. but still seems to be running fine.

One word of warning with it however, I wore it winter climbing last season (maybe for 8 hours or so) and when I took it off I squeezed it together slightly for whatever reasons and it ended up with a crack forming where the visor holes are. I sent it back to Petzl and they were thoroughly unhelpful about it (even though they show it getting squeezed together in a vice in the promotional video) but eventually conceded and sent me a new one.

Not had anymore problems with my new one thus far, just be careful with Petzl and their lack of customer aftercare.

Please Register as a New User in order to reply to this topic.