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UpToTheOzone


Jul 3, 2013, 11:09 PM
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What does a climbing helmet actually protect you from?
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Falling rocks? A straight downwards impact to the top of the head if you are not looking up? I don't mean to be sarcastic, but if I'm leading, does wearing a helmet protect me from anything? I wear a BD something or other that is a thin plastic shell. Maybe there is some protection if I were to invert on a fall and hit the back of my head? Someone help me here. I'm just thinking that a side impact would not be protected in any way shape or form


meanandugly


Jul 4, 2013, 3:33 AM
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Re: [UpToTheOzone] What does a climbing helmet actually protect you from? [In reply to]
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I have survived rock fall, large chunks of ice, my head making impacts.....5 helmets broken and able to walk away every time. I am sold on using the product. Sure its a thin layer of plastic and won't save you from everything that might be thrown your way, but getting a brain injury that puts you in diapers from a rock the size of your thumb doesn't seem worth not wearing it. It like a seatbelt, you're more likely to survive an incident with it.
Oh, and those who will state the 'one off' incidents that it caused more harm that good are the idiots who are just looking for a reason not to wear it. If you don't want to than don't, but don't make shit up about why you don't. My two rule are 1)I wear it and 2)if you don't I don't climb with you.


acorneau


Jul 4, 2013, 5:09 AM
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Re: [UpToTheOzone] What does a climbing helmet actually protect you from? [In reply to]
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Yes, a helmet is designed to protect your head. Either something hits your head (falling rock, etc.) or your head hits something (bash your head on the wall).

I've heard many folks say that a helmet is only good for falling rocks, however in my experience I've seen many more people hit their head against the wall than get hit by a falling objects. Luckily all those folks were wearing helmets and ended up fine.

I used to be like a lot of people and not want to wear my helmet, but when I witnessed a good friend bash the back of his head against the wall in a relatively short penduluming lead fall I knew I needed to make it a standard part of my climbing gear.

[edit for spelling]


(This post was edited by acorneau on Jul 4, 2013, 3:19 PM)


Gmburns2000


Jul 4, 2013, 6:28 AM
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Re: [UpToTheOzone] What does a climbing helmet actually protect you from? [In reply to]
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UpToTheOzone wrote:
Falling rocks? A straight downwards impact to the top of the head if you are not looking up? I don't mean to be sarcastic, but if I'm leading, does wearing a helmet protect me from anything? I wear a BD something or other that is a thin plastic shell. Maybe there is some protection if I were to invert on a fall and hit the back of my head? Someone help me here. I'm just thinking that a side impact would not be protected in any way shape or form

Depends on the helmet. Helmets with harnesses in them are designed to protect against objects from above. The design deflects objects as opposed to absorbs impact. These helmets tend to last after impact as a result of this (i.e. - they can handle multiple impacts). The down side is that, as far as I know, most, if not all, of these helmets are poor for side impact or protecting the back of the neck in the case of an upside down / backward fall.

Foam helmets are designed absorb the impact and don't deflect object very well. They are better at side or upside down falls because the design allows for the helmet to wrap around these areas of the head. They are poor for multiple impacts, however. After a good impact, it's a good idea to get a new helmet.

Choosing which helmet is appropriate for you depends on the style of climbing and the location.


granite_grrl


Jul 4, 2013, 6:32 AM
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Re: [UpToTheOzone] What does a climbing helmet actually protect you from? [In reply to]
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I couldn't find it in my brief search, but if you look hopefully there's a study out there that does a comparison of helmets, including side impact.

I did find this which is interesting, but it just tells you about the basic types of helmets out there:
https://www.thebmc.co.uk/...lmet%20Guidebook.pdf

I think if you choose to wear a helmet of not you should be aware that they have limitations. I personally have been in a bad fall where I hit my head.....I'm pretty sure the helmet did nothing. But this was the front my my head, where a helmet is probably the least effective. Side and back impact should be better protected with most helmets out there.


Kartessa


Jul 4, 2013, 7:24 AM
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Re: [UpToTheOzone] What does a climbing helmet actually protect you from? [In reply to]
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What you should be asking: "have you ever come away from a day of climbing, regretting that you wore a helmet?"


walkonyourhands


Jul 4, 2013, 8:02 AM
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Re: [UpToTheOzone] What does a climbing helmet actually protect you from? [In reply to]
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UpToTheOzone wrote:
Falling rocks? A straight downwards impact to the top of the head if you are not looking up? I don't mean to be sarcastic, but if I'm leading, does wearing a helmet protect me from anything? I wear a BD something or other that is a thin plastic shell. Maybe there is some protection if I were to invert on a fall and hit the back of my head? Someone help me here. I'm just thinking that a side impact would not be protected in any way shape or form

UIAA 106:
http://www.theuiaa.org/...106_helmets_2009.pdf

EN 12492
http://www.satrappeguide.com/EN12492.php

Surely, Jim Titt is the man you're waiting for to reply to this thread but meanwhile you can check the requirements in these docs.

That said, I've always wondered when manufacturers start advertising potential advantages of foam helmets for fall protection.


Partner robdotcalm


Jul 4, 2013, 9:12 AM
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Re: [Kartessa] What does a climbing helmet actually protect you from? [In reply to]
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Kartessa wrote:
What you should be asking: "have you ever come away from a day of climbing, regretting that you wore a helmet?"

Good comment, but there are times when I've been sorry I've worn a helmet. Two days ago I was climbing a chimney in Boulder Canyon and I could not make the exit move with my helmet on. I took it off. When my second came up, I lowered a sling and hauled up her helmet and mine. When I started the route, I looked at the exit, which appeared wide enough that the helmet would not be an issue. I was wrong.

r.c


(This post was edited by robdotcalm on Jul 4, 2013, 10:15 AM)


billl7


Jul 4, 2013, 9:41 AM
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Re: [UpToTheOzone] What does a climbing helmet actually protect you from? [In reply to]
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Helped in this accident - impact is noticable if watch slow mo:

Rap accident in Rubio Canyon; 60' fall

(Granted, mistakes were made that led to the accident.)

Once things are in motion, it's too late to put it on.

Bill L


Gmburns2000


Jul 4, 2013, 10:04 AM
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Re: [robdotcalm] What does a climbing helmet actually protect you from? [In reply to]
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robdotcalm wrote:
Kartessa wrote:
What you should be asking: "have you ever come away from a day of climbing, regretting that you wore a helmet?"

Good comment, but there times when I've been sorry I've worn a helmet. Two days ago I was climbing a chimney in Boulder Canyon and I could not make the exit move with my helmet on. I took it off. When my second came up, I lowered a sling and hauled up her helmet and mine. When I started the route, I looked at the exit, which appeared wide enough that the helmet would not be an issue. I was wrong.

r.c

Yes, and it is possible to hang yourself with a helmet. A chimney would be a good place to do it, too.


potreroed


Jul 4, 2013, 10:26 AM
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Re: [UpToTheOzone] What does a climbing helmet actually protect you from? [In reply to]
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I've taken a few short falls where I hit my head hard enuff to see stars. Glad I was wearing a helmet.

I've also used the lip of my helmet to hold me in place while I rested my arms and was then able to finish the pitch without falling.


JimTitt


Jul 4, 2013, 11:33 AM
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Re: [walkonyourhands] What does a climbing helmet actually protect you from? [In reply to]
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walkonyourhands wrote:
UpToTheOzone wrote:
Falling rocks? A straight downwards impact to the top of the head if you are not looking up? I don't mean to be sarcastic, but if I'm leading, does wearing a helmet protect me from anything? I wear a BD something or other that is a thin plastic shell. Maybe there is some protection if I were to invert on a fall and hit the back of my head? Someone help me here. I'm just thinking that a side impact would not be protected in any way shape or form

UIAA 106:
http://www.theuiaa.org/...106_helmets_2009.pdf

EN 12492
http://www.satrappeguide.com/EN12492.php

Surely, Jim Titt is the man you're waiting for to reply to this thread but meanwhile you can check the requirements in these docs.

That said, I've always wondered when manufacturers start advertising potential advantages of foam helmets for fall protection.

Me? I worn a helmet once in the last 15 years. The protection they offer from impacts is so pathetic compared with the normal race helmets Iīm used to I canīt be bothered (and I donīt fall of much anyway) and the impact protection from falling objects doesnīt seem much related to the size of the rocks I play around on.
There are other ways to protect oneself such as donīt stand around chatting at the bottom of the cliff when bumblies are going off route, donīt follow incompetent parties on long routes, belay under nice overhangs and so on.
Wear a hat or not, Iīve no real opinion but one should have no illusions it will keep you alive when you ab off the end of the rope or when a fridge-block comes down the mountain.


lkeegan


Jul 4, 2013, 1:22 PM
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Re: [JimTitt] What does a climbing helmet actually protect you from? [In reply to]
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I climb in an area with a lot of lose rock. I have personally knocked a block the size of a cooler on my belayer (it hit her knees) and I know someone (personally, though he doesn't remember it) who got hit by a basketball sized rock by a girl climbing above him and he got hit smack on the helmet and lost 2 inches of height (crushed vertebra) and survived with only a few stitches to the head from the plastic of his helmet cutting him when it broke (and lots of rehab).

Those are 2 reasons why I always wear my helmet. Oh, and I've seen someone flip upside down because he got his leg caught on the rope and hit his head on the rock, but was able to sit up and finish leading the route with no problems.

So 3 reasons why I wear a helmet.

Also, I drew pretty pictures on mine, so I wear it as a fashion accessory (okay, thats maybe a lie, but I did draw pictures on it)


walkonyourhands


Jul 4, 2013, 2:06 PM
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Re: [JimTitt] What does a climbing helmet actually protect you from? [In reply to]
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JimTitt wrote:
walkonyourhands wrote:
UpToTheOzone wrote:
Falling rocks? A straight downwards impact to the top of the head if you are not looking up? I don't mean to be sarcastic, but if I'm leading, does wearing a helmet protect me from anything? I wear a BD something or other that is a thin plastic shell. Maybe there is some protection if I were to invert on a fall and hit the back of my head? Someone help me here. I'm just thinking that a side impact would not be protected in any way shape or form

UIAA 106:
http://www.theuiaa.org/...106_helmets_2009.pdf

EN 12492
http://www.satrappeguide.com/EN12492.php

Surely, Jim Titt is the man you're waiting for to reply to this thread but meanwhile you can check the requirements in these docs.

That said, I've always wondered when manufacturers start advertising potential advantages of foam helmets for fall protection.

Me? I worn a helmet once in the last 15 years. The protection they offer from impacts is so pathetic compared with the normal race helmets Iīm used to I canīt be bothered (and I donīt fall of much anyway) and the impact protection from falling objects doesnīt seem much related to the size of the rocks I play around on.
There are other ways to protect oneself such as donīt stand around chatting at the bottom of the cliff when bumblies are going off route, donīt follow incompetent parties on long routes, belay under nice overhangs and so on.
Wear a hat or not, Iīve no real opinion but one should have no illusions it will keep you alive when you ab off the end of the rope or when a fridge-block comes down the mountain.

I was thinking about your knowledge of standards and the like, but you delivered anyway!


maldaly


Jul 4, 2013, 5:29 PM
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Re: [UpToTheOzone] What does a climbing helmet actually protect you from? [In reply to]
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For a helmet to get the CE or UIAA certifications they have to pass three basic tests, one for top impact and penetration, one for side impact and one for strap configuration and strength.

Suspended test with plastic helmets usually fare well in the top impact and penetration tests but barely pass the side impact test. Foam helmets flip it around and pass the side impact tests with flying colors and barely pass the top penetration tests.

Most injuries from falling rock are from the top and most that occur during a fall are side and back blows.

So you decide; are you more likely to be in a falling rock situation or a falling situation? As fas as I know, there are no suspended helmets with a significant foam "ring" surrounding the head. Im not sure why, other than the geek factor.

Climb safe,
Mal


kf8mo


Jul 4, 2013, 9:51 PM
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Re: [Gmburns2000] What does a climbing helmet actually protect you from? [In reply to]
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In reply to:
Depends on the helmet. Helmets with harnesses in them are designed to protect against objects from above. The design deflects objects as opposed to absorbs impact...

Foam helmets are designed absorb the impact and don't deflect object very well...

That neatly captures the difference between my climbing and kayaking helmets, and my bike helmet. The risks are different so the designs are different.

I'm surprised no on this thread has mentioned the best reason to wear one: because you're belaying. A rock no bigger than half your fist, dislodged from above, can KO the belayer.The climber is then up the proverbial S*** Creek, sans paddle. Yes, the rock could hit you somewhere else and injure you, but "ow, my clavicle is broken" does not leave the climber in the position that "uh oh, I seem to be unconscious here..." does.


(This post was edited by kf8mo on Jul 4, 2013, 9:53 PM)


rsmillbern


Jul 4, 2013, 10:07 PM
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For me iit depends on what and where I am climbing. Frankenjura clipping bolts on solid stone... probably not. In the Alps on longer climbs, or ice climbing, with out a doubt.

I have caught rocks on the helmet belaying a few times, and once a softball sized rock fell about 3 meters clipping me on the helmet (knock off by some kind of goat!). I have been very happy to have one a few times. Never had one and wished I didn't.


Syd


Jul 5, 2013, 3:35 AM
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lkeegan wrote:
I climb in an area with a lot of lose rock. I have personally knocked a block the size of a cooler on my belayer (it hit her knees) ...

As Jim says, there are other ways to protect yourself. In an area such as you describe, if you are climbing single pitch routes, it would make a lot of sense to use an indirect belay, with a ground anchor some distance form the base of the route, safe from rock fall. A direct belay would increase the load on the belayer in a fall. Most commonly, belayers think that standing underneath the climber is a good thing to do, often with claims of dynamic belaying to help the climber in falls. Dynamic belaying is a myth IMHO. Testing here http://user.xmission.com/~tmoyer/testing/Simulation_of_Climbing_and_Rescue_Belays.pdf shows: "Only a small amount of belayer lifting is helpful (~20 cm). More lifting increases fall distance and does not decrease peak force. " Importantly, this is a passive movement rather than an active dynamic belay in response to a fall. It is impossible to time a dynamic belay sufficiently accurately, and to jump sufficiently high (rather than being pulled upwards), to have any useful effect. For this reason it makes sense, to belay away from the base of the cliff when possible.


meanandugly


Jul 5, 2013, 3:48 AM
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Syd wrote:
lkeegan wrote:
I climb in an area with a lot of lose rock. I have personally knocked a block the size of a cooler on my belayer (it hit her knees) ...

As Jim says, there are other ways to protect yourself. In an area such as you describe, if you are climbing single pitch routes, it would make a lot of sense to use an indirect belay, with a ground anchor some distance form the base of the route, safe from rock fall. A direct belay would increase the load on the belayer in a fall. Most commonly, belayers think that standing underneath the climber is a good thing to do, often with claims of dynamic belaying to help the climber in falls. Dynamic belaying is a myth IMHO. Testing here http://user.xmission.com/~tmoyer/testing/Simulation_of_Climbing_and_Rescue_Belays.pdf shows: "Only a small amount of belayer lifting is helpful (~20 cm). More lifting increases fall distance and does not decrease peak force. " Importantly, this is a passive movement rather than an active dynamic belay in response to a fall. It is impossible to time a dynamic belay sufficiently accurately, and to jump sufficiently high (rather than being pulled upwards), to have any useful effect. For this reason it makes sense, to belay away from the base of the cliff when possible.

Agreed about taking a proactive approch to avoid rock fall, but this is also what a helmet is for. There is still no reasons not to wear one.


acorneau


Jul 5, 2013, 4:22 AM
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Syd wrote:
As Jim says, there are other ways to protect yourself. In an area such as you describe, if you are climbing single pitch routes, it would make a lot of sense to use an indirect belay, with a ground anchor some distance form the base of the route, safe from rock fall. A direct belay would increase the load on the belayer in a fall. Most commonly, belayers think that standing underneath the climber is a good thing to do, often with claims of dynamic belaying to help the climber in falls. Dynamic belaying is a myth IMHO. Testing here http://user.xmission.com/~tmoyer/testing/Simulation_of_Climbing_and_Rescue_Belays.pdf shows: "Only a small amount of belayer lifting is helpful (~20 cm). More lifting increases fall distance and does not decrease peak force. " Importantly, this is a passive movement rather than an active dynamic belay in response to a fall. It is impossible to time a dynamic belay sufficiently accurately, and to jump sufficiently high (rather than being pulled upwards), to have any useful effect. For this reason it makes sense, to belay away from the base of the cliff when possible.


No, the reason to belay from below the first piece/bolt is because the farther away from the wall you are the easier it is to be pulled off your stance and be dragged across the ground.

I demonstrate this all the time when teaching lead lessons in the gym. I can drag someone closer to me by pulling hand over hand on their rope but I can't lift them off the ground.

Of course, as the climber gets farther up the climb you have more leeway to come away from the wall due to increased friction of the system.

But don't take my word for it...




JimTitt


Jul 5, 2013, 9:46 AM
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Re: [maldaly] What does a climbing helmet actually protect you from? [In reply to]
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maldaly wrote:
For a helmet to get the CE or UIAA certifications they have to pass three basic tests, one for top impact and penetration, one for side impact and one for strap configuration and strength.

Suspended test with plastic helmets usually fare well in the top impact and penetration tests but barely pass the side impact test. Foam helmets flip it around and pass the side impact tests with flying colors and barely pass the top penetration tests.

Most injuries from falling rock are from the top and most that occur during a fall are side and back blows.

So you decide; are you more likely to be in a falling rock situation or a falling situation? As fas as I know, there are no suspended helmets with a significant foam "ring" surrounding the head. Im not sure why, other than the geek factor.

Climb safe,
Mal

Certainly a curiosity and another example of where modern standards arenīt "better" than the old ones. When I started climbing the helmets available in the UK used the same standard as motorcyle helmets and offered vastly more protection than any modern polystyrene take-away box. For sure they were heavy but so was everything else those days so who cared, one just got stronger and I canīt remember failing on a route because of the weight of my helmet.
My brother still drags out his Joe Brown/Snowdon Mouldings hat when the going gets tough and whoīs to blame him?
It is of course far better to avoid needing a helmet altogether by taking note of ones surroundings and keeping out of the line of fire at all times.


maldaly


Jul 5, 2013, 10:03 AM
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JimTitt, it was conversations with Hugh Banner in the last years of his life that opened my eyes to the helmet/certification conflict. HB Climbing had just bought Snowdon Mouldings and he was trying to figure out a way to modernize or improve the state of the art in climbing helmet design. The basic concept would be a helmet like the Petzl Ecrin Roc with a foam donut around the rim to protect from side blows. If I remember correctly the old MSR helmet utilized that concept and, yes, it was heavy and made you look like a super-dork, but I'm pretty sure it was the best around. Mostly rescue guys wore it.

Sadly, Hugh passed away before he was able to prototype anything but the idea is still out there.

Mal


bearbreeder


Jul 5, 2013, 11:59 AM
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Re: [Syd] What does a climbing helmet actually protect you from? [In reply to]
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Syd wrote:

As Jim says, there are other ways to protect yourself. In an area such as you describe, if you are climbing single pitch routes, it would make a lot of sense to use an indirect belay, with a ground anchor some distance form the base of the route, safe from rock fall. A direct belay would increase the load on the belayer in a fall. Most commonly, belayers think that standing underneath the climber is a good thing to do, often with claims of dynamic belaying to help the climber in falls. Dynamic belaying is a myth IMHO. Testing here http://user.xmission.com/~tmoyer/testing/Simulation_of_Climbing_and_Rescue_Belays.pdf shows: "Only a small amount of belayer lifting is helpful (~20 cm). More lifting increases fall distance and does not decrease peak force. " Importantly, this is a passive movement rather than an active dynamic belay in response to a fall. It is impossible to time a dynamic belay sufficiently accurately, and to jump sufficiently high (rather than being pulled upwards), to have any useful effect. For this reason it makes sense, to belay away from the base of the cliff when possible.

how many whippers do you take ...

anyone who climbs on lead at their limit, and whips 5-10+ times per session wont think dynamic belaying is a myth ...

and NO you dont want to belay away from the base of the wall on many instances ... if you belayed climbers who constantly whipped on lead or did so yourself you would know this ...

belay away from the wall down low can mean you can get pulled in and slammed if your climber falls at the start of the route, and can cause a decked climber ... especially if you are a lighter belayer

it can also pop gear out on trad leads

go out and take whippers ... if you dont know or because of some "RC" expertise refuse to give me a dynamic belay where appropriate ... youll break someones ankle

do you whip over and over again on whippers like these, if you didnt youd screw him up ... and yes ive seen people get hurt on this exact climb because their belayer didnt give em a dynamic belay



Tongue


(This post was edited by bearbreeder on Jul 5, 2013, 12:01 PM)


bearbreeder


Jul 5, 2013, 12:08 PM
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Re: [UpToTheOzone] What does a climbing helmet actually protect you from? [In reply to]
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climbing with a helmet is one of the most basic things you can do to reduce you risk ...

of course helmets dont guarantee that youre "safe" ... and theres tons of people who id climb with who dont wear a helmet generally over those who do ...

but boinking your head is not a uncommon injury in climbing ... and even if the protection isnt perfect its better than nothing

petzl has Tales from the Edge - Helmet Close Calls

go read it ....

http://www.petzl.com/.../helmet-stories-edge
dont let any RCer make the decision for you ...

just keep in mind that the decision is that of you AND your partner ... as youll be belaying him/her ... and if you get konked out by a rock he/she will be the one dealing with it ...

Wink


(This post was edited by bearbreeder on Jul 5, 2013, 12:09 PM)


Syd


Jul 5, 2013, 9:13 PM
Post #25 of 63 (5122 views)
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Registered: Oct 25, 2012
Posts: 300

Re: [bearbreeder] What does a climbing helmet actually protect you from? [In reply to]
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bearbreeder wrote:
and NO you dont want to belay away from the base of the wall on many instances ... if you belayed climbers who constantly whipped on lead or did so yourself you would know this ...

belay away from the wall down low can mean you can get pulled in and slammed if your climber falls at the start of the route, and can cause a decked climber ... especially if you are a lighter belayer

Read my post " ... use an indirect belay, with a ground anchor some distance form the base of the route ..."

If the belayer is anchored, it is impossible to "get pulled in and slammed". Unfortunately many belayers I have seen do stand well away from the base, without an anchor, rsiking being slammed into the wall. This is probably what you are reffering to Bearbreeder.

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