Helmets are not just for trad-climbers and belayers

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Ansie
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Helmets are not just for trad-climbers and belayers

Postby Ansie » Wed Jul 18, 2012 12:14 am

Most of never think of serious head injuries when we go for a day of sport climbing, and that is why we will only use our helmets to sit on (if we remember to pack them). Sometimes I will belay with a helmet on just to keep the annoying sun out of my eyes and maybe to avoid little pebbles and twigs hitting me on the head. Today a friend of mine had an unexpected fall right at the top of a sport route, for some reason he hit his head and was hanging upside down. So he had to be lowered in this awkward position with blood streaming from his skull. He was airlifted to a hospital where he underwent emergency surgery and is still in a coma (prognosis uncertain). He is the second person that I know who got a fractured skull from falling on a bolted route. The other person was lucky to survive and now has a metal plate in the skull. Helmets are uncomfortable and they look silly and you may think that you only need them when you do multi-pitches or trad-climbing, but that is wrong. You need them on sport routes too, even on the warm-up ones!

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Neil
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Re: Helmets are not just for trad-climbers and belayers

Postby Neil » Wed Jul 18, 2012 8:05 am

Wow, this sounds serious, who and where?

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Faffy001
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Re: Helmets are not just for trad-climbers and belayers

Postby Faffy001 » Wed Jul 18, 2012 8:51 am

Holy cracker..that's terrible! I will be buying a helmet and looking goofy on sport routes like geoffrey ffrom now on!

Warren G
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Re: Helmets are not just for trad-climbers and belayers

Postby Warren G » Wed Jul 18, 2012 11:32 am

Coincidentally there are two types of climbing helmets (and sorry to over simplify here):

1. This helmet is simply designed to deflect stones, branches etc from hitting your head, in the same way that a workers helmet on a construction site would.

2. These helmets are designed to absorb the impact of falling, like a bicycle helmet would. these helmets break, and it is this breaking that absorbs the impact. they are more expensive and are less durable.

Clearly wearing any helmet is better than not, however my guess is very very few climbers in RSA have the second type of helmets due to ignorance of the difference and not understanding the price. injuries from the fall above and Rory lowther's fall would have been greatly reduced from wearing the second type of helmet.
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brianweaver
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Re: Helmets are not just for trad-climbers and belayers

Postby brianweaver » Wed Jul 18, 2012 12:58 pm

Ansie, was this in Belgium?
I hate this real world place... I'd be more than happy to live out there rather...

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Re: Helmets are not just for trad-climbers and belayers

Postby smityb » Wed Jul 18, 2012 1:00 pm

How do we tell the difference between the different helmets?

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Re: Helmets are not just for trad-climbers and belayers

Postby Warren G » Wed Jul 18, 2012 1:04 pm

@ Brendon: the first type is typically made of hard plastic, such as the Black Diamond Half Dome, and the later is typically made of a foam of some kind, so helmets like the Petzl Meteor.
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Ansie
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Re: Helmets are not just for trad-climbers and belayers

Postby Ansie » Wed Jul 18, 2012 1:11 pm

The accident was in the French Alps. The victim is a friend that we met here. It is very interesting what you say about helmets Warren, I did not know that, thanks for sharing. This is really a shitty situation. I dont even know where they were camping or where the accident happend, so another word of advice is to always tell someone where you are going and where you will be staying, and find out what the number of the local rescue service is. And give your climbing buddy your next of kin details...

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Re: Helmets are not just for trad-climbers and belayers

Postby Nic Le Maitre » Wed Jul 18, 2012 1:54 pm

FYI: All Climbing helmets have to pass the same set of tests. Some of the ones intended for rope access have to pass some additional tests to ensure they can safely be used while welding or cutting for example, hence the range of helmets without ventilation holes.

Warren is (mostly) correct. The helmets with a hard shell (Petzl Ecrin Rock/Elios/Vertex, Black Diamond Half Dome etc) are designed more for trad climbing and caving where they will take a lot of abuse from scraping and bumping. They are usually a lot heavier and more bulky than the non-hard shell ones. Some of the hard shell helmets have a foam insert to help absorb shock. Under severe impact the helmets are designed to fracture and the suspension systems tear away absorbing most of the force. Below is a photo of Marianne's helmet after her accident and I have seen several Ecrins which have been cracked by falls.

The second type, which provide as much protection but are not as durable, resemble bicycle helmets (but are NOT bicycle helmets) e.g. the Petzl Meteor helmet. They are very light weight and are designed for sport climbing.

The difference is in the durability rather than in the level of protection provided or the method of shock absorption.
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Geoffrey
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Re: Helmets are not just for trad-climbers and belayers

Postby Geoffrey » Wed Jul 18, 2012 3:02 pm

Faffy001 wrote:Holy cracker..that's terrible! I will be buying a helmet and looking goofy on sport routes like geoffrey ffrom now on!


:lol:

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Re: Helmets are not just for trad-climbers and belayers

Postby Franz » Wed Jul 18, 2012 3:51 pm

In the early 60's competitive cycling was done with 'trendy' cycling caps.
Some head trauma later the federations decided that although the helmets that resemble a bunch of leather straps are very uncool, they are a lot cooler than a nasty head injury, and made their use mandatory. Fortunately the trendy cycling caps could still be worn under them.
Not too long ago the cycling federations banned the leather strappy thingie excuse-of-a-helmet and the modern helmet we see today became mandatory, not only for competitive cycling, but for all organised cycling events.

When last havee you heard a cyclist complain about how uncool his helmet is?

Time for us to wake up. Fashion and trends are cool. Nasty head trauma is not.
So we can either stop climbing and continue to follow fashion trends, or take the risk of really inconveniencing mountain rescue where it could have been prevented, or we (and our industrious counterparts who we so love to hate) could consider a way to make helmets cool....

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Geoffrey
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Re: Helmets are not just for trad-climbers and belayers

Postby Geoffrey » Wed Jul 18, 2012 8:13 pm

I think the Petzl Meteor III is very cool!

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Justin
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Re: Helmets are not just for trad-climbers and belayers

Postby Justin » Thu Jul 19, 2012 6:54 am

Geoffrey wrote:I think the Petzl Meteor III is very cool!

I'll second that. The Meteor III is the most comfortable helmet that I have used. The design is such that you don't bump your head (because you can see past the rim) and I tend to forget that I am wearing it most of the time.
I wear my helmet mostly when guiding or tradding - I should probably start wearing as much as Geoffrey does!?

If you want uncool and uncomfortable then try an old Joe Brown fibreglass helmet (see image below). I was told to wear one on my first ever climb... I tried it on and thought no way (it felt like a huge hindrance, the helmet went on to later save the owners life after a big fall in the Berg (the fall produced a small hairline crack in the helmet!)
Image

I reckon helmets are probably a bit like shoes, keep trying them on until you find one that fits. Franz makes a good point about what is and isn't cool :shock:

Ansie - I hope your friend makes a speedy recovery. Thanks for raising the subject
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Warren G
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Re: Helmets are not just for trad-climbers and belayers

Postby Warren G » Thu Jul 19, 2012 8:46 am

It seems my over simplification was just that: helmets have only one test to pass. correct Nic!
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d0nK3y
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Re: Helmets are not just for trad-climbers and belayers

Postby d0nK3y » Thu Jul 19, 2012 8:57 am

@ Nic,

If thats what the helmet looks like after being run over by a train... I want one of those!! What did the train look like afterwards?? :jocolor:

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Re: Helmets are not just for trad-climbers and belayers

Postby Nic Le Maitre » Thu Jul 19, 2012 10:56 am

Silly Donkey Marianne rapped off the end of her rope, she wasn't hit by a train :)
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Justin
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Re: Helmets are not just for trad-climbers and belayers

Postby Justin » Thu Jul 19, 2012 12:53 pm

Nic Le Maitre wrote:Silly Donkey Marianne rapped off the end of her rope, she wasn't hit by a train :)

Story I heard: She did not go off the end of her rope, she and partner were simul abseiling and her partner went off the end of his side of the rope (it was too short). This resulted in Marianne taking a fall.
So whilst wearing your helmet, be sure to tie a knot in the end of your rope.
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Nic Le Maitre
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Re: Helmets are not just for trad-climbers and belayers

Postby Nic Le Maitre » Thu Jul 19, 2012 1:04 pm

I stand corrected, Justin has it correct
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Re: Helmets are not just for trad-climbers and belayers

Postby CapeTiger » Thu Jul 19, 2012 4:33 pm

A Climbing Helmet Made Entirely Of Foam

Petzl Sirocco climbing helmet

The new Petzl Sirocco climbing helmet weighs just 165 grams, compared to 186 grams for the Vapor. The Sirocco is 50% lighter than the current Petzl Elios helmet (300-330 grams) or the Black Diamond Half Dome helmet (310-340 grams).

A typical climbing helmet is generally constructed out of some form of expanded polystyrene (EPS) foam, better known as Styrofoam, with some sort of Kevlar reinforcements. In order to create a helmet made entirely from foam, Petzl instead turned to expanded polypropylene (EPP), as it is more durable, flexible, and less brittle than EPS foam.

EPP foam is created by combining polypropylene resin with magic dust, then applying heat, pressure, and CO2 in an autoclave or pressure vessel, where the material is formed into small plastic beads. These small, closed-cell foam beads are injected into a steam chest to create parts custom molded into complex shapes using steam heat and pressure.

Products molded from EPP foam are remarkably durable, lightweight, and completely recyclable. EPP has excellent energy absorption and high strength properties that can resist multiple impacts, perfect properties for a climbing helmet. The foam does not support microbial growth so will also help keep your helmet stink free in summer.

To help with ventilation, the Sirocco helmet features numerous openings that are evenly distributed across the sides and back of the helmet while still protecting the top and front of your head. The climbing helmet comes with a new magnetic buckle, which allows the chinstrap to be attached using one hand.
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Chris F
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Re: Helmets are not just for trad-climbers and belayers

Postby Chris F » Fri Jul 20, 2012 4:35 pm

magic dust eh? :?

Old Smelly
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Re: Helmets are not just for trad-climbers and belayers

Postby Old Smelly » Mon Jul 23, 2012 7:05 am

The stuff you get from fairies...you know :wink:
Really, its not that bad...I think it's my shoes...

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Re: Helmets are not just for trad-climbers and belayers

Postby deSouzaFrank » Tue Jul 24, 2012 9:32 pm

Is the Sirocco helmet available in South-Africa?

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Justin
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Re: Helmets are not just for trad-climbers and belayers

Postby Justin » Wed Jul 25, 2012 8:11 am

The Sirocco should be available early next year. I got to have a closer look at one yesterday.

Awesome helmet, lightweight, durable, strong as any other helmet (remember all climbing helmets are tested with an 80kg 'pointed load" dropped onto them) and very comfortable due to its weight. The next great feature is the buckle - you can close it with one hand due to the magnet (similar to the power cable of an Macbook) - you'll never fumble with a buckle again!

Pictures below:
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wesleywt
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Re: Helmets are not just for trad-climbers and belayers

Postby wesleywt » Wed Jul 25, 2012 8:56 am

Ugly orange colour 2/10. Would not buy.

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Re: Helmets are not just for trad-climbers and belayers

Postby BruceT » Wed Jul 25, 2012 10:13 am

wesleywt wrote:Ugly orange colour 2/10. Would not buy.

Yup - trying to persuade my daughter to wear a helmet which she hates, doubt this colour would go down too well with her...
Do you know if there will be any other colour options?
And while we are busy enquiring - any idea of a projected price?
Thanks for info - looks lekker (but then I wear cheapo "crocs"!)
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proze
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Re: Helmets are not just for trad-climbers and belayers

Postby proze » Wed Jul 25, 2012 10:19 am

I like the orange! Would happily buy one. But it would have to be very cheap to make me change from my perfectly-good-as-is Elios.

smityb
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Re: Helmets are not just for trad-climbers and belayers

Postby smityb » Wed Jul 25, 2012 1:06 pm

thing is.. you wouldn't even be able to spraypaint it because it would deteriate the foam. :?

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Re: Helmets are not just for trad-climbers and belayers

Postby Warren G » Wed Jul 25, 2012 3:12 pm

My guess is you wouldn't be able to sticker it either as that would make it unsafe. Beyond this I will hold my tongue
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Chris F
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Re: Helmets are not just for trad-climbers and belayers

Postby Chris F » Fri Jul 27, 2012 11:38 am

proze wrote:I like the orange!


Me too.makes sense as the default colour for being seen. However if you really weren't keen on it you could always get a cover for it.

Image

would be quite a look!

plent of others to choose from!

:lol:

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Re: Helmets are not just for trad-climbers and belayers

Postby Catherine » Fri Jul 27, 2012 3:52 pm

Ah well, seeing that we are talking helmets here..... and 40 minutes till hometime before a rare, rain free, Cape Town weekend!

Check out the Wild Country 360,
CE standard drop test - 50cm
Wild Country drop test 2.5m
Protection from all sides (because I don't straighten up when someone yells "ROCK!!!!,) and lightweight.
There is even a lilac one, for all you boys and girls who want a bit of extra colour in their lives.

http://www.wildcountry.co.uk/products/h ... 60-helmet/


:thumright


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