"Safety Soapbox" Archive - July 1997
Wear them! A few recent readings and observations prompt
On rec.climbing there was a note by someone whose group had started
out with helmets for a day of casual rock climbing. After a while they
became complacent, especially around the belay at the base of the rock.
While climbing, one of them knocked a large rock down towards the belay
area. They were lucky - but among his conclusions were that it is smart
to wear a helmet anytime (even for casual rock climbing on 'sound' rock)
and that it is best to keep the helmet on at the base of a climb as
well as while you are on the rock. A trip to Smith Rock this spring
could have been very similar. I was climbing (with helmet) up above
a popular area with many people below me (without helmets). At least
one section of rock sounded pretty hollow. Had it broken off, well ...
I could go on with other examples, but I think this makes the point.
There was an article on using helmets in the last AMGA guiding bulletin.
And I still remember a pounding on the head from a rock I got hit by in Colorado a long time
ago as well. So - wear your helmet! And if you are new to climbing
make a helmet one of your first purchases. They're cheap, especially
when you think of the possible alternatives.
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