To helmet or not to helmet? That is the question.
We all know what the obvious answer is, yet why do most of us, when we go sport climbing not wear a helmet. Is it just one more thing to carry? Maybe it is not cool, or are we just like sheep and just follow what everyone else is doing?
For me personally, I admit, it’s something else to carry on a climb. Although my helmet is very lightweight. It is made of foam and a polycarbonate shell. When I wear it on a climb, I do bang my head against the wall more. And realise how close my head actually moves past the wall. It seems like a nuisance at these times.
I also feel like to odd one out, when very few decide to wear a helmet. I would like to fit in. Having been through all of the insecurity of fitting in or not in my pubescent years, I don’t want to deal with this in my adult life. But still I feel different. I finish an attempt on a climb, come down and have a chat with a friend.
Then it happens, a few rocks the size of fists come tumbling down. “Rock, rock”…. It misses everyone, a sigh of relief. Must have been one of those tough I-can-climb-6a+-multi-pitch goats showing off its skills at the top of the crag, somewhere in Kalymnos. Whilst us mere mortals are struggling.
To wear one or not… Some of us do, some of us don’t. It can be a hinderance, but it can also save your life. I would suggest always to wear a helmet, as the head is very vulnerable.
But let’s try and narrow it down, for you who sit on the fence with the subject. Always wear a helmet on multipitch climbs, on climbs with stepped overhangs, or climbs which require one to keep the head close to the wall for balance on some of the moves. If you are in a cave, or area where you are going to be under someone climbing on tufas. Or areas where there are likely be goats on top of the cliff knocking down rocks.
What about the belayer? Well, the climber may knock off a rock, or fall near us. As we are tied to the rope, we are not able to run far. Or the climber may fall and we may get pulled into the rock. So, for everyone’s safety, it may be a good idea to wear a helmet.
Would we ride a motorbike without a helmet? We all say it will never happen to us. But it does happen.
Please climb safe.