Heads-up on BMC helmet campaign

Posted by Dan Middleton on 03/05/2013
Helmets: what's your opinion?

As part of our safety and good practice work, the BMC is running a campaign to raise awareness about climbing helmets.

The aim of the campaign is to challenge  views on helmets, and to encourage you to re-examine your reasons for wearing one or not.

Deciding on which risks are personally acceptable is at the fundamental core of climbing and mountaineering. Whether to wear a helmet or not is one of those choices only the individual can make.

The BMC aims to make that choice an informed one, by giving the latest advice and information on how helmets work and what risks they can help protect against.

We encourage you to think carefully, weigh up the risks, and make your own decisions.

We’ve published a free download which includes everything you’d ever need to know about climbing helmets. This will also appear in an online edition in the future.

Download the Helmets guide here

In our campaign video, we interview climbers at England's most popular crag Stanage Edge, and ask them about their attitudes and thoughts about wearing helmets.

We discuss modern climbing helmets, and we ask climber Neil Bentley why he chose to wear a helmet for the first ascent of the UK's first E10, Equilibrium.

Watch the campaign video here:

Other articles which may be of interest which have previously appeared in Summit magazine include one on head injury and one about weighing up the risks.


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1) Anonymous User
09/02/2012
A good friend of mine died after falling 5m, stripping his gear, and hitting his head a rock. He'd brought his helmet to the crag, but hadn't bothered to put it on. If he had, he'd probably still be here today.
2) Anonymous User
22/03/2012
A colleague was descending from a route when a football-sized rock slid out from under him. The took a 50-foot tumble, followed by the rock which hit his head. It was coming on to rain so he had kept his helmet on for the descent. But for the deterioration in the weather he would have taken it off, and would probably not have survived. As it was he eventually made a full recovery.
3) Anonymous User
22/03/2012
My Dad was wearing his helmet during a rock fall: it saved his life.
4) Anonymous User
26/03/2012
I'm a cool dude, so when I wear my helmet I know I'll be back home to see my wife and kids and carry on being a cool dude. x
From Daymo. Love-Rock.co.uk
5) Anonymous User
24/04/2012
Seconding a route n Chedder gorge, in the late 80's. leader knocked off large lump, which hit my helmeted head square on. This hurt my neck but not my head. when we inspected the helmet at the top of the route. found it had a huge split..never climbed without one since
6) Anonymous User
28/04/2012
I put on my helmet at the end of the walk in.
Watching a helicopter rescue from below in the gorge, a decent-sized tree was blown down on me. A branch as thick as my wrist hit me on the head, knocking me down. All I got was a bashed ear and a small cut on the forehead. My helmet still has a big green and brown stripe on it.
7) Anonymous User
28/05/2012
You do seem to see more and more folks at the crags wearing helmets and it does appear to be younger people adopting them. Is this to do with the stricter protocols surrounding safety on the taster session at walls and centres? Just to be completely clear, I'm not at all against more people choosing helmets but I do think it should be a choice. rob-houghton.com
8) Anonymous User
19/06/2012
Personal choice whether you wear a helmet or not however even a minor blow to the head could prove serious/fatal. For the sake of putting a lid on (which are mostly light and comfortable these days) I would like to improve my chances should any accidents happen.
9) Anonymous User
19/06/2012
I fell 40' when my abseil anchors failed, hitting my head twice on the way down and again on landing. My BD lid is in pieces but my head is not. Now I just need to wait 6-8 weeks for my leg to heal up! I bet you can guess what my next climbing-related purchase will be!
10) Anonymous User
01/07/2012
I just don't understand the arguments for not, put a lid on it and save your life, same for cycling, skiing or other sport it could save your life
11) Anonymous User
06/07/2012
Not wearing a helmet is stupid and irresponsible. Plain and simple.
12) Anonymous User
02/08/2012
"Not wearing a helmet is stupid and irresponsible. Plain and simple."

Really? Do you wear a helmet when travelling in a car, then? Why not?
13) Anonymous User
13/08/2012
I find it very frustrating, I know I should wear a helmet, I want to get one, but I have yet to find one that fits. I am blessed with a big head (no pun intended) and every lid I have tried has come short. It's almost a joke now, I walk into a store and ask for a helmet, jokingly warning the clerk I have a 'big head', "not a problem" I'm told, a few minutes later they admit defeat.. I'm about 64cm - the largest anything I've found is 63cm, doesn't sound much but that extra centimeter or so makes all the difference.. Come on manufactures, size in this case is everything, it could mean my life!
14) Anonymous User
14/08/2012
Having experienced landing on my helmet from a 10 meter fall and still being here to offer the exact details of a ‘totally unpredictable slip’ you might think I’ll be joining the majority and declare that helmets must be worn when climbing ‘at all times’.

But I’m not going to!

It wasn’t just the helmet that saved me, rope + number 7 nut + judgment.

I believe, with experience it is a matter of personal choice. ‘If in doubt wear it out’, you might say if you’re really cheesy.

For me it comes down to the 6th sense, as soon as I put a helmet on I’ll be hitting it on rocks (not by choice) and my climbing will not be as fluid.

Talking of fluid, I would like to praise the designers and companies who have brought the foam helmets to the climbing market, lighter, cooler, I could have drowned in my old BD Dome.

Anyone who knows me will know I don’t take the decision lightly. Helmet? Or no helmet? Many of the people mentioned in this article made the right choice on the day. Others have not been correct on their day and paid a price.

‘One issue I haven’t seen mentioned is one of my greatest fears’!

You’re pushing your way up a route starting to pump, look down, NO FUNCTIONING BELAYER!! Need I say more?? (Yes that was ‘Functioning’ not .....)

Bandoliers! One other point, whilst I’ve got your attention.

Anything above your waist will make you top heavy and can pull you backwards. The reason I ended up on my head was due to a Bandolier and the only injury sustained was a cut through my t-shirt and into my back from the bandolier. I don’t were one anymore, funny enough.

It could also be advisable for seconds carrying packs to wear a chest harness if they don’t want to test their helmet?

All the very best, Paul www.on-up.co.uk
15) Anonymous User
28/11/2012
yer helmets are super duper cool and fun
16) Anonymous User
15/01/2013
I fell about 30 feet while [failing to] lead a climb, my gear fell out, I inverted and landed on my head. I'd lent my climbing helmet to a new climber who had come along to our club meet. Luckily I was wearing my cycling helmet, the pieces of which I've kept as a souvenir. I had 2 months off work, and I'm very grateful for it saving my life. I'm still climbing, but I've given up falling.
17) Anonymous User
15/03/2013
I took a ground fall on an E1 5b just yesterday, And wasn't wearing a helmet. I was fine, but it made me think 'what if' that fall didn't just end in me landing on my arse on a soft pile of rope... I don't think I'll be heading to a crag again without my helmet on.

RELATED ARTICLES

Climbing helmets
0

Helmets help protect the most important and perhaps vulnerable part of the body - the head. Find out more about how they work, how to choose one, and how to make an informed decision about whether to wear one or not.
Read more »

What gear do you need to climb outdoors?
1

If you’ve never climbed before or have only climbed indoors, the equipment used for tackling real rock can seem mysterious, exciting and expensive. You don’t need to melt your credit card just yet, though.
Read more »

Tech skills: why wear a helmet
2

Head hurting wondering whether to wear a helmet? Stay ahead of the game and make the decision based on the risks to you.
Read more »

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