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Helmet suggestions

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Helmet suggestions

Postby nyker » Mon Sep 14, 2009 9:47 am

Any recommendations for any of the newer models out there? I've used older Petzl and BD models, but am in the market for a new one...
thanks!

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Re: Helmet suggestions

Postby alexhenes » Mon Sep 14, 2009 10:33 am

Check these out... there are a couple that happen to be on sale!

http://www.bentgate.com/helmets.html

Take a look at the description for each helmet and choose one that matches your needs :)

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Re: Helmet suggestions

Postby yosemite98 » Mon Sep 14, 2009 1:05 pm

Petzl Ecrin Roc, I've got the red one. It's very comfortable, adjustable to any head, and most importantly (for me) it has webbing that touches the top of your head, rather than foam. I get very hot when hiking and having a nice breeze on the head helps, the foam ones make me miserable. I also have a backpack that only has mesh touching my back so a breeze can get through. I used to get really hot with a normal pack, now I always feel good.

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Re: Helmet suggestions

Postby nyker » Tue Sep 15, 2009 10:40 am

ok thanks

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Re: Helmet suggestions

Postby BaronVonBergschrund » Tue Sep 15, 2009 8:22 pm

If you are in the market for a helmet, do not just look over the stats on a website and order online. You must try the helmet on, because every helmet fits different sized and shaped heads, even within the same brand. Example: I have a Petzl Ecrin Roc and a Petzl Meteor III, both that fit me well. The Petzl Elios does not fit me correctly and was quite uncomfortable when I tried it on. If the helmet is not comfortable you won't wear it. You should also try the helmet on with the hat you will typically use if the weather cools off. A tight fitting skullcap works well underneath most helmets with only a slight adjustment. Your helmet should be adjustable and comfortable enough to wear with and without a hat. Here are the factors you should consider when buying a helmet:

1. Fit. Make sure it fits you properly with and without a hat.
2. Weight. For all-day use a lighter helmet will be more comfortable to wear.
3. Ventilation. Do you want a lot of airflow or do you want a warmer helmet?
4. Color. Darker colors absorb more sunlight making the helmet warmer. This may be an advantage if you are winter climbing.

There are three major types of helmets. Shell, hybrid and foam. A shell helmet like the Petzl Ecrin Roc has webbing suspension and is similar to a construction hard hat. These are more durable, especially in your pack but you pay for the durability with a weight cost. Hybrid models like the Black Diamond Half Dome have a hard outer shell and a foam interior. Foam helmets like the Black Diamond Tracer or the Petzl Meteor III are slightly more fragile, but very light. The Meteor III is nearly half the weight of the Ecrin Roc (235g vs 445g). All of these helmets have to pass the same testing procedure and in my opinion they are equally protective.

One last thing to consider is how you will carry or attach your helmet to your pack. Clipping the helmet to the bottom of your pack and letting it dangle below isn't a good method of transporting the helmet to the danger zone, unless you are Lou Dawson. Some packs have stretch mesh panels that are designed to carry a helmet, but most any helmet could be strapped securely to any pack with some cord or webbing. Experiment with this before you get to the trailhead.
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Re: Helmet suggestions

Postby geoffirons » Wed Sep 16, 2009 5:47 am

EXCELLENT reply by the Baron... except "they are equally protective". This statement is unfortunately not true. The "softshell" styrofoam helmets (e.g., Meteor) are designed only for protecting your head from hitting the rock (i.e., taking a big fall); just like a bike helmet, after a hard fall in which your helment hits the rock (or ground, for a bike helmet), the helmet must be replaced. The "hardshell" helmets (e.g., Ecrin Roc) are designed to protect your head from hitting the rock, AND also to protect your head from rocks hitting the helmet (i.e., rockfall from above). For most circumstances in climbing 14ers, certainly a hardshell helmet is more appropriate. The danger of using a softshell in the mountains is that if caught in rockfall, the first rock to hit your helmet could crack it, and the second rock could go through it.
Geoff Irons

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Re: Helmet suggestions

Postby BaronVonBergschrund » Wed Sep 16, 2009 7:57 am

geoffirons wrote:EXCELLENT reply by the Baron... except "they are equally protective". This statement is unfortunately not true. The "softshell" styrofoam helmets (e.g., Meteor) are designed only for protecting your head from hitting the rock (i.e., taking a big fall); just like a bike helmet, after a hard fall in which your helment hits the rock (or ground, for a bike helmet), the helmet must be replaced.

This is incorrect. Foam helmets like the Petzl Meteor III and the Black Diamond Tracer are EN 12492 and UIAA 106 certified, the two tests that apply to climbing helmets. This certification includes two tests of dropped objects onto the helmet, not of the helmet striking an object. This is to simulate rockfall, the only type of protection that climbing helmets give to the user. Climbing helmets are not designed to protect your head during a fall. Some manufacturers such as Trango are trying to address this gap in climbing helmet technology, but there is no standards body that is independently testing the protection that a climbing helmet provides during a fall. Here is a diagram of the testing procedure for both the CE and UIAA tests:

en_12492.png
en_12492.png (192.67 KiB) Viewed 2267 times

From this diagram and the description of the tests, can we agree that foam helmets are also designed to take the impact of a falling rock?
Can we also agree that for a single hit a foam helmet is just as protective as a hardshell helmet?

geoffirons wrote:The "hardshell" helmets (e.g., Ecrin Roc) are designed to protect your head from hitting the rock, AND also to protect your head from rocks hitting the helmet (i.e., rockfall from above). For most circumstances in climbing 14ers, certainly a hardshell helmet is more appropriate. The danger of using a softshell in the mountains is that if caught in rockfall, the first rock to hit your helmet could crack it, and the second rock could go through it.

The tests above are not performed multiple times to simulate multiple hits, so we cannot say conclusively that a hardshell helmet will be more protective for multiple hits. Foam helmets are more fragile, but I do not think they will crack in half and fall off your head like an eggshell with the first impact. Likely they will crush slightly and deform, but certainly not provide a gap where another rock could penetrate easily. All manufacturers state that their helmets should be retired after the first impact, so again this is untested territory. What is interesting is that Black Diamond and Petzl both suggest that their foam helmets be used for alpinism, multi-pitch trad and ice climbing. These climbing disciplines are the most likely to see large amounts of rock and icefall.

One last point. A helmet doesn't replace what is beneath it. You are not invincible because you strapped on a helmet. Even more important that the discussion of foam vs. hardshell is using your brain to keep you out of situations where that helmet will become necessary. No helmet will protect you from a 50 kilo rock falling on your head. Climbing below other parties or in situations where rock or icefall is guaranteed is not a good idea.
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Re: Helmet suggestions

Postby Fiemus » Wed Sep 16, 2009 8:21 am

BaronVonBergschrund wrote:From this diagram and the description of the tests, can we agree that foam helmets are also designed to take the impact of a falling rock?Can we also agree that for a single hit a foam helmet is just as protective as a hardshell helmet?


No - just because they both meet the same standard does not mean they are equally protective. Broader testing has been done by other organizations that shows the energy transmitted at the neck during the standard impact test is significantly higher for most foam helmets than for the hardshell helmets. On the other hand for large off-center impacts some foam helmets can out-perform hardshells. Just because they both have the same standard rating does not imply they are equally protective. Check out the research of Mark Taylor at Leeds University if you want more details (http://www.leeds.ac.uk/textiles/CTT/mark_taylor.html).

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Re: Helmet suggestions

Postby BaronVonBergschrund » Wed Sep 16, 2009 8:44 am

Fiemus wrote:
BaronVonBergschrund wrote:From this diagram and the description of the tests, can we agree that foam helmets are also designed to take the impact of a falling rock?
Can we also agree that for a single hit a foam helmet is just as protective as a hardshell helmet?

No - just because they both meet the same standard does not mean they are equally protective.

You are correct, I didn't state that correctly. Can we agree that both hard and soft shell helmets meet the same standards as defined by the UIAA?

Fiemus wrote:Broader testing has been done by other organizations that shows the energy transmitted at the neck during the standard impact test is significantly higher for most foam helmets than for the hardshell helmets. On the other hand for large off-center impacts some foam helmets can out-perform hardshells. Just because they both have the same standard rating does not imply they are equally protective. Check out the research of Mark Taylor at Leeds University if you want more details (http://www.leeds.ac.uk/textiles/CTT/mark_taylor.html).

I've read a few articles that referenced his work, but I could not find specific details about forces transmitted to the neck. The UIAA could improve the testing procedures that it uses to certify climbing helmets to make them more like real world situations, but it could also update the # of falls test on ropes, also. They provide a simple baseline that we can use to determine if a helmet is suitable for a use or not. It is not possible to simulate every type of impact a helmet will take, and some will perform better than others, even on different tests.

To conclude, a foam helmet is lighter, IN MY OPINION more comfortable and IN MY OPINION provides sufficient protection for climbing a 14er.
Baron Von Bergschrund
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Re: Helmet suggestions

Postby Fiemus » Wed Sep 16, 2009 9:06 am

BaronVonBergschrund wrote:To conclude, a foam helmet is lighter, IN MY OPINION more comfortable and IN MY OPINION provides sufficient protection for climbing a 14er.


I'd buy that. I choose an Ecrin Roc - but to each their own.

Interestingly Mark Taylor (who has tested all types to destruction) uses both: an original Petzl Meteor for single pitches and an Ecrin Roc whilst ice-climbing. He justifies this on the basis that for single pitch routes the higher risk is from a fall rather than rock-fall - and so he prefers the off-center impact resistance. For ice-climbing and multi-pitch routes he's worried about a large crown impact breaking the foam helmet and leaving him without protection for the rest of the route.

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Re: Helmet suggestions

Postby CO Native » Wed Sep 16, 2009 9:14 am

The biggest downfall I know of a softshell helmet is it is a one time use sort of thing. One impact and the helmet is now worthless. They absorb impact by taking the damage themselves (similar idea to the crush zones of your car). Though I agree they protect very similarly in each incident, should your helmet be subject to impact the softshell will protect you but you then have no protection left. A hardshell can withstand repeated impacts (to a certain extent of course). If you fall and take a tumble the first time your head hits a rock the protection is the same, but if you continue to tumble the advantages of a hardshell would soon become clear. With the softshell you'd quickly be without a helmet, with a hardshell you'd be protected the whole time. Odds of needing the ability to sustain multiple impacts are low, however it's a clear advantage in my mind that since they are similar cost and weight I always go with a hardshell.
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Re: Helmet suggestions

Postby George James » Wed Sep 16, 2009 9:17 am

Whaaaaat are you guys going on about? Clearly, this is the superior helmet:

Image

And OBVIOUSLY, the less foam the better.
- A mountain is not a checkbox to be ticked
- Alpinism and mountaineering are not restricted to 14,000 foot mountains
- Judgment and experience are the two most important pieces of gear you own
- Being honest to yourself and others about your abilities is a characteristic of experienced climbers
- Courage cannot be bought at REI or carried with you in your rucksack
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