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What does a climbing helmet actually protect you from?
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Colinhoglund


Jul 18, 2013, 8:47 PM
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Re: [Rudmin] What does a climbing helmet actually protect you from? [In reply to]
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Rudmin wrote:
Gmburns2000 wrote:
JimTitt wrote:
lkeegan wrote:
This is what helmets can potentially protect you from:


In reply to:
“It was a fatal blow to the head, if he had more protection maybe we would not be here today to mourn him. After what happened, institutions should make helmets mandatory, at least for minors. Much like they have for the kids who practice skiing and snowboarding. "

http://gripped.com/...o-traversa-accident/

Thinking a helmet is going to help when you take a 25m groundfall is about as optimistic as thinking a rubber band is going to prevent the fall in the first place.

You obviously know a heck of a lot more about this than I do, but I can't imagine a helmet hurts in this situation, and I can't imagine the impact of a person's head on the ground without a helmet is the same or even less than the same fall with a hard(ish) protective covering.

Does the helmet help absolutely 0%? Does it help 1%? For me, with a helmet, the person's head doesn't hit the ground directly until the helmet is crushed or breaks apart. The way that I understand it there's a buffer there. OK, I can imagine if the helmet causes a person's head to hit at an awkward angle, or if the plastic cuts into the skin. I can see that happening, but I can't see it having zero affect on the overall impact.

There was an accident a few years ago with a popular Boston climber where her partner dislodged a rock that knocked her unconscious. She was belaying with a grigri, so that probably saved her partner's life (because it locked as opposed a tube-style device that would have cratered him). I honestly can't remember if she was wearing a helmet or not. But if she was / were, would the helmet have lessened her injuries?

If the answer is no, then why aren't we seeing an outcry of why helmets are a complete and utter scam?

It's an honest question. I'm not trying to be sarcastic. I'm also not a statistician an academic researcher, so a lay man's answer is preferred. Thanks...

Greg

I think his point was that if you die of arterial bleeding, a collapsed lung and a caved in skull or you just die of bleeding, a collapsed lung and brain hemorrhaging, you are still dead.

Beyond a certain impact, even if a helmet provides some protection, it still has no effect on the outcome.

A couple years ago I was climbing on Yam in the Canadian rockies. The rope knocked of a large flake. (think 5cm thick and 30cmx40cm length and width) My helmet deflected the blow away from my head, so my shoulder got the worst of it. Definitely be dead or severely maimed without my helmet. Been up the cliff many times since.

My helmet may not protect against all impacts, but Im sure glad my helmet did protect from that 'certain impact'.


JimTitt


Jul 18, 2013, 11:46 PM
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Re: [Rudmin] What does a climbing helmet actually protect you from? [In reply to]
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Rudmin wrote:
Gmburns2000 wrote:
JimTitt wrote:
lkeegan wrote:
This is what helmets can potentially protect you from:


In reply to:
“It was a fatal blow to the head, if he had more protection maybe we would not be here today to mourn him. After what happened, institutions should make helmets mandatory, at least for minors. Much like they have for the kids who practice skiing and snowboarding. "

http://gripped.com/...o-traversa-accident/

Thinking a helmet is going to help when you take a 25m groundfall is about as optimistic as thinking a rubber band is going to prevent the fall in the first place.

You obviously know a heck of a lot more about this than I do, but I can't imagine a helmet hurts in this situation, and I can't imagine the impact of a person's head on the ground without a helmet is the same or even less than the same fall with a hard(ish) protective covering.

Does the helmet help absolutely 0%? Does it help 1%? For me, with a helmet, the person's head doesn't hit the ground directly until the helmet is crushed or breaks apart. The way that I understand it there's a buffer there. OK, I can imagine if the helmet causes a person's head to hit at an awkward angle, or if the plastic cuts into the skin. I can see that happening, but I can't see it having zero affect on the overall impact.

There was an accident a few years ago with a popular Boston climber where her partner dislodged a rock that knocked her unconscious. She was belaying with a grigri, so that probably saved her partner's life (because it locked as opposed a tube-style device that would have cratered him). I honestly can't remember if she was wearing a helmet or not. But if she was / were, would the helmet have lessened her injuries?

If the answer is no, then why aren't we seeing an outcry of why helmets are a complete and utter scam?

It's an honest question. I'm not trying to be sarcastic. I'm also not a statistician an academic researcher, so a lay man's answer is preferred. Thanks...

Greg

I think his point was that if you die of arterial bleeding, a collapsed lung and a caved in skull or you just die of bleeding, a collapsed lung and brain hemorrhaging, you are still dead.

Beyond a certain impact, even if a helmet provides some protection, it still has no effect on the outcome.

Thatīs about it I guess, the test requires the force to the head is kept below a level which causes brain injury, once youīre over that then I guess you need to talk to a neurosurgeon about whether 1% (or whatever) less massive brain trauma is better.
If I fall 25m the helmet has to absorb 1,000 times the energy the test involves so it seems resonable to assume a bit of styrofoam isnīt going to help in any way whatsoever.


rocknice2


Jul 19, 2013, 4:51 AM
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Re: [JimTitt] What does a climbing helmet actually protect you from? [In reply to]
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Jim, I agree with the argument that you can't count on a helmet saving you in a 25m ground fall.
Do you agree that a helmet will lessen the impact of a fall? Any fall! There is no hope in the extreme cases but what about the marginal ones?
Could make a difference between, a headache and an ambulance ride, walking out of a crag and being carried out..... A lesser blow to the head may be enough to save some lives or at least a few brain cells.

All kinds of shit happens. There have been cases where climbers have decked from deadly heights and lived to tell about it. On the flip side people have died slipping in the bathtub.


Gmburns2000


Jul 19, 2013, 6:38 AM
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Re: [Rudmin] What does a climbing helmet actually protect you from? [In reply to]
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Rudmin wrote:
Gmburns2000 wrote:
JimTitt wrote:
lkeegan wrote:
This is what helmets can potentially protect you from:


In reply to:
“It was a fatal blow to the head, if he had more protection maybe we would not be here today to mourn him. After what happened, institutions should make helmets mandatory, at least for minors. Much like they have for the kids who practice skiing and snowboarding. "

http://gripped.com/...o-traversa-accident/

Thinking a helmet is going to help when you take a 25m groundfall is about as optimistic as thinking a rubber band is going to prevent the fall in the first place.

You obviously know a heck of a lot more about this than I do, but I can't imagine a helmet hurts in this situation, and I can't imagine the impact of a person's head on the ground without a helmet is the same or even less than the same fall with a hard(ish) protective covering.

Does the helmet help absolutely 0%? Does it help 1%? For me, with a helmet, the person's head doesn't hit the ground directly until the helmet is crushed or breaks apart. The way that I understand it there's a buffer there. OK, I can imagine if the helmet causes a person's head to hit at an awkward angle, or if the plastic cuts into the skin. I can see that happening, but I can't see it having zero affect on the overall impact.

There was an accident a few years ago with a popular Boston climber where her partner dislodged a rock that knocked her unconscious. She was belaying with a grigri, so that probably saved her partner's life (because it locked as opposed a tube-style device that would have cratered him). I honestly can't remember if she was wearing a helmet or not. But if she was / were, would the helmet have lessened her injuries?

If the answer is no, then why aren't we seeing an outcry of why helmets are a complete and utter scam?

It's an honest question. I'm not trying to be sarcastic. I'm also not a statistician an academic researcher, so a lay man's answer is preferred. Thanks...

Greg

I think his point was that if you die of arterial bleeding, a collapsed lung and a caved in skull or you just die of bleeding, a collapsed lung and brain hemorrhaging, you are still dead.

Beyond a certain impact, even if a helmet provides some protection, it still has no effect on the outcome.

I understand that completely. To me, however, the head houses the most important organ. It's easier to fix the others than it is the brain, long-term anyway, and it seems easier to protect the head than it is to protect the lungs, heart, etc.


Gmburns2000


Jul 19, 2013, 6:43 AM
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Re: [rocknice2] What does a climbing helmet actually protect you from? [In reply to]
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rocknice2 wrote:
Jim, I agree with the argument that you can't count on a helmet saving you in a 25m ground fall.
Do you agree that a helmet will lessen the impact of a fall? Any fall! There is no hope in the extreme cases but what about the marginal ones?
Could make a difference between, a headache and an ambulance ride, walking out of a crag and being carried out..... A lesser blow to the head may be enough to save some lives or at least a few brain cells.

I think this was my point. I've been careless on a mantle under a roof before and knocked my head. With the helmet it was a mere annoyance (though enough to stagger me for a second). I can imagine that without it I would have been off.

Of course, my example here goes back to Jim's thought that paying attention is more important. I don't disagree with that, but I do think that there can be a difference between a concussion and long-term brain trauma from falling rock, for example.


lena_chita
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Jul 19, 2013, 7:10 AM
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Re: [Gmburns2000] What does a climbing helmet actually protect you from? [In reply to]
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Gmburns2000 wrote:
rocknice2 wrote:
Jim, I agree with the argument that you can't count on a helmet saving you in a 25m ground fall.
Do you agree that a helmet will lessen the impact of a fall? Any fall! There is no hope in the extreme cases but what about the marginal ones?
Could make a difference between, a headache and an ambulance ride, walking out of a crag and being carried out..... A lesser blow to the head may be enough to save some lives or at least a few brain cells.

I think this was my point. I've been careless on a mantle under a roof before and knocked my head. With the helmet it was a mere annoyance (though enough to stagger me for a second). I can imagine that without it I would have been off.

Weirdly enough, I have ONLY knocked my head in cases like this when I was wearing a helmet. Never without a helmet. The helmet extends quite considerably beyond the top of your head, you are not used to your head being quite that big, so you duck, but don't duck low enough.

I am convinced that in those few cases when I hit my head on the roof, against the side of the chimney, etc., while wearing a helmet, even though the impact was definitely noticeable, I simply would not have hit my head at all, if i weren't wearing it.

Gmburns2000 wrote:
Of course, my example here goes back to Jim's thought that paying attention is more important. I don't disagree with that, but I do think that there can be a difference between a concussion and long-term brain trauma from falling rock, for example.

I wear a helmet in situations where i feel that things beyond my control (falling rocks, etc.) could be an issue. I can be very very careful, but if I am on the route, and the rock falls on me, I do not have an ability to anticipate, duck, move out of the way, etc.

I have never had a rock fall on me in this scenario. But then again, I rarely climb anything other that single-pitch overhanging sport climbs. So i rarely wear a helmet. but I do have one, and I have worn it when I felt it was warranted.

But I am not wearing a helmet to protect me against inverting during the fall, and I am not wearing a helmet to protect me against the ground fall, because those are the cases where I feel that my own actions and my belayer's actions would protect me better than a helmet.


Gmburns2000


Jul 19, 2013, 7:47 AM
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Re: [lena_chita] What does a climbing helmet actually protect you from? [In reply to]
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lena_chita wrote:
Gmburns2000 wrote:
rocknice2 wrote:
Jim, I agree with the argument that you can't count on a helmet saving you in a 25m ground fall.
Do you agree that a helmet will lessen the impact of a fall? Any fall! There is no hope in the extreme cases but what about the marginal ones?
Could make a difference between, a headache and an ambulance ride, walking out of a crag and being carried out..... A lesser blow to the head may be enough to save some lives or at least a few brain cells.

I think this was my point. I've been careless on a mantle under a roof before and knocked my head. With the helmet it was a mere annoyance (though enough to stagger me for a second). I can imagine that without it I would have been off.

Weirdly enough, I have ONLY knocked my head in cases like this when I was wearing a helmet. Never without a helmet. The helmet extends quite considerably beyond the top of your head, you are not used to your head being quite that big, so you duck, but don't duck low enough.

I am convinced that in those few cases when I hit my head on the roof, against the side of the chimney, etc., while wearing a helmet, even though the impact was definitely noticeable, I simply would not have hit my head at all, if i weren't wearing it.

Yeah, I think that's true, too. I once knocked myself off a slab when the brim of my helmet brushed and snagged just enough on a crystal. It was kind of funny, to be honest. Probably wouldn't have happened if I didn't have it on. I wore it because I wasn't confident in the overall quality of the rock above and / or people at the top.

In reply to:
Gmburns2000 wrote:
Of course, my example here goes back to Jim's thought that paying attention is more important. I don't disagree with that, but I do think that there can be a difference between a concussion and long-term brain trauma from falling rock, for example.

I wear a helmet in situations where i feel that things beyond my control (falling rocks, etc.) could be an issue. I can be very very careful, but if I am on the route, and the rock falls on me, I do not have an ability to anticipate, duck, move out of the way, etc.

I have never had a rock fall on me in this scenario. But then again, I rarely climb anything other that single-pitch overhanging sport climbs. So i rarely wear a helmet. but I do have one, and I have worn it when I felt it was warranted.

But I am not wearing a helmet to protect me against inverting during the fall, and I am not wearing a helmet to protect me against the ground fall, because those are the cases where I feel that my own actions and my belayer's actions would protect me better than a helmet.

I never wear one at Rumney even though I have seen a clearly-marked X block come flying off like an unscrewed hold at a gym. Still, it's not necessary there in my opinion. I also have a harness helmet, so for Rumney it wouldn't protect against side or backward falls anyway.

I almost always wear one in the 'Gunks or any other multi-pitch route unless it's a squeeze chimney, which is the type of climbing I prefer.


TradEddie


Jul 19, 2013, 9:38 AM
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What does a climbing helmet actually protect you from? [In reply to]
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Thanks everyone, since my seatbelt won't protect me from a head-on collision with an 18 wheeler at interstate speeds, I can now happily stop using it at all.

Can anyone point to a single serious climbing accident that was made worse by a helmet?

TE


lena_chita
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Jul 19, 2013, 10:06 AM
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Re: [TradEddie] What does a climbing helmet actually protect you from? [In reply to]
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TradEddie wrote:
Thanks everyone, since my seatbelt won't protect me from a head-on collision with an 18 wheeler at interstate speeds, I can now happily stop using it at all.

Can anyone point to a single serious climbing accident that was made worse by a helmet?

TE

No I can't.

Moreover, I know that several of my friends with young children have their young kids wear helmets while scrambling around the base of the cliff. I think it is a great idea, and we should expand it to adults and adopt wearing helmets at all times, because you never know when something might fall on you, or when you might fall. In fact, years ago, I was sitting in an armchair at home, nursing my then-2-months-old daughter, when the light fixture spontaneously detached itself from the ceiling and crashed not even a foot away from me (true story!)

O.K., joking aside, wearing a helmet comes under category of "it is the RIGHT THING to do". I will ever ever tell someone who is wearing a helmet to take the helmet off. The closest I would come to that is telling the person that their helmet is not properly adjusted and/or not fitting them right. Something I see with surprising frequency, btw.


JimTitt


Jul 19, 2013, 11:07 AM
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Re: [TradEddie] What does a climbing helmet actually protect you from? [In reply to]
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TradEddie wrote:
Thanks everyone, since my seatbelt won't protect me from a head-on collision with an 18 wheeler at interstate speeds, I can now happily stop using it at all.

Can anyone point to a single serious climbing accident that was made worse by a helmet?

TE

No, but in the reverse situation:- "Paul Pritchard (a fairly well known British climber) says in his book that his neurosurgeon commented that had he been wearing a helmet it would have likely made the damage to his brain worse, as through cushioning the impact of the rock it would have made it a widespread, traumatic injury rather than a localized, focal one."

Sure, wear a helmet, it might help. Just donīt be under any illusion that by wearing it you are invincible, the protection they offer is far less than many imagine and the things that might land on your head far heavier than you would like or the standard issuers catered for.


curt


Jul 19, 2013, 11:14 AM
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Re: [TradEddie] What does a climbing helmet actually protect you from? [In reply to]
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TradEddie wrote:
Thanks everyone, since my seatbelt won't protect me from a head-on collision with an 18 wheeler at interstate speeds, I can now happily stop using it at all...

I was wondering how long it would be before someone made an off-point attempt at an analogy like this. Based on previous helmet threads, I suppose it was inevitable.

Curt


Gmburns2000


Jul 19, 2013, 2:27 PM
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Re: [TradEddie] What does a climbing helmet actually protect you from? [In reply to]
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TradEddie wrote:
Thanks everyone, since my seatbelt won't protect me from a head-on collision with an 18 wheeler at interstate speeds, I can now happily stop using it at all.

Can anyone point to a single serious climbing accident that was made worse by a helmet?

TE

I can't, but just as someone died a couple of years ago by hanging from his/her gear sling, it can happen with a helmet, too.


healyje


Jul 20, 2013, 1:19 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:
What does a climbing helmet actually protect you from?

Yourself for the most part.

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