Helmets and photos - does it matter?

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PeterHS
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Helmets and photos - does it matter?

Post by PeterHS » Tue Apr 04, 2017 11:01 pm

I note today - as on most days - another photo of a climber without a helmet. This time it is the headline gallery photo on the forum.

I recall a time when cycling magazines did the same but then pressure for safety came along. Helmets became compulsory wear for cycle racing. I don't think it is yet law to wear helmets when cycling on the road in many countries. Meanwhile, cycling magazines and articles were deemed irresponsible to include photos of cyclists who were not wearing helmets. You will rarely, if ever, see a cyclist without a helmet in any of the major cycling magazines these days.

Is climbing any different? I always wear a helmet and am sure I would not be alive today had I not worn one during a major fall due to equipment cstastrophic failure (also, as it happens, after being taken out by a car whilst on my bike). More often than not, the climbing press shows climbers without helmets.

Is it time to change this? Is this nanny state or good example to all, including aspiring and young climbers who look up to their icons and know no difference? Should the climbing media, on and offline, show only climbers wearing helmets? What do you think? Perhaps the editors of this forum - Justin? - could comment too. What is your policy?

Ciao,

Peter
Last edited by PeterHS on Wed Apr 05, 2017 9:02 am, edited 3 times in total.

RyanKarate
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Re: Helmets and photos - does it matter?

Post by RyanKarate » Wed Apr 05, 2017 6:51 am

Helmets above and below always... even when posing

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Nic Le Maitre
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Re: Helmets and photos - does it matter?

Post by Nic Le Maitre » Wed Apr 05, 2017 8:42 am

When I first started climbing I didn't have a helmet so I didn't wear one. When I could afford it I bought one and never climb without it now. I know of at least two climbers who wouldn't be alive today if they weren't wearing helmets.

It's time the climbing community caught up with the cycling world's attitude to helmets.
Happy climbing
Nic

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Overide
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Re: Helmets and photos - does it matter?

Post by Overide » Wed Apr 05, 2017 8:50 am

Helmets are the next thing on my list to purchase. They are so expensive though :/ One cannot put a price on your head though, so will have to do it

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Gustav
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Re: Helmets and photos - does it matter?

Post by Gustav » Wed Apr 05, 2017 9:08 am

Less than R1000. Should last you 5 years or so if you don't climb every weekend (R200/year = >R20/month).

I can give you the numbers of climbers that had a weekend spoilt by a small rock falling on the head whilst belaying (I am also on that list) or were rushed to hospital ($$$$$!!!!!! :( ) after falling upside down ... clipping bolts.

I can also tell you about the time when I was belaying and got pulled into a super sharp corner leaving a "healthy" dent in the helmet when the climber took a big unexpected winger...

Your choice.
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PeterHS
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Re: Helmets and photos - does it matter?

Post by PeterHS » Wed Apr 05, 2017 9:24 am

Thanks all for the comments so far. It seems that we at least are persuaded that wearing a helmet for climbing (belaying too) is essential.

I think it near impossible to police or enforce any legal requirement but I do believe the climbing media, equipment suppliers and providers should take a more responsible position. Those who publish articles, write books, have online sites (climbing.co.za), produce sales brochures and websites etc should, I believe, do so by showing photos of climbers only who are wearing helmets.

What do the indoor gyms think too? City Rock? Hang Time? Wonderwall? Others? I'd be interested to know what your policy is on wearing helmets in the gym too.

Ciao,

Peter

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Re: Helmets and photos - does it matter?

Post by Jacobus » Wed Apr 05, 2017 9:26 am

Peter, I strongly disagree with this sentiment. This whole international helmet fad is fkn childish.

Helmets are really awesome, they are great protection (some even look comfy) and its a good idea to climb with one for all the reasons we all already know. Depending on what I do, I also wear one.

However, forcing people to have to wear one is ridiculous. We all enjoy the adventure of the outdoors and most of the fun is the fact that there is no safety rules. You decide something yourself and you carry the consequences. As far as I'm concerned outside of common sense, regulation has no place in the mountains. As for the whole "setting example" argument as a reason to enforce something like this, how does one set and example when the alternative is not allowed? Removing choice does not set an example, it forces one to do something. No thinking involved. No following of a good example, just do what you're told.

We all should have the freedom to get in trouble in the outdoors, whatever your method of choice, whatever your preferred environment (Caves, Mountains, Ocean etc.). Perhaps you'll get in trouble, then get yourself out of trouble. Perhaps you'll learn something. If we want to be safe all the time go play golf or become a cyclist. Our daily lives have enough safety rules and regulations as it is.

Jacobus

PeterHS
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Re: Helmets and photos - does it matter?

Post by PeterHS » Wed Apr 05, 2017 9:52 am

[quote="Jacobus"]

"However, forcing people to have to wear one is ridiculous. ..."

Thanks, Jacobus. I think you misread. I am not advocating forcing anyone to wear. I actually pointed out that legal enforcement is practically impossible - other than, perhaps, the indoor climbing gyms or in private, fee-paying locations.

My point concerns the image and example of climbing presented by advertisers, suppliers, media and so on. Should not these agencies voluntarily adopt a responsible approach and show only climbers (belayers too) wearing helmets. The cycling community has and I notice progressively fewer road cyclists without helmets.

I am not in favour of regulation and the nanny state - but I do advocate safety where measures can sensibly be taken. Ultimately, as you say, it is individual attitude, decision and responsibility. Of course, when we 'get in trouble' if often affects others too - family, friends, rescue services, belayers etc. Sadly, but fortunately rarely, those who 'get in trouble' do not live to get themselves out of it. More sadly even, some of those situations were avoidable.

I trust this clarifies.

P

vinceB
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Re: Helmets and photos - does it matter?

Post by vinceB » Wed Apr 05, 2017 10:22 am

Hi there,

Interesting post. So far, the only sport you can mention is cycling. We could also mention skiing. Wearing a helmet is a must-do for these two because of the traumatology of accidents in skiing and cycling. You know that if you are to collide with a tree while skiing, you'll end up with a head concussion. You know that if you were to fall while riding your bicycle, chances of hitting your head are high. Moreover, any average joe can ride a bike without prior knowledge and training. So, wearing a helmet seems like a reasonable idea.

In climbing, things are different. The risk of hitting your head (or your head being hit) is very small but, the consequences are high. Sprains, torn pullies and tendons are far more frequent. First, dangers 99% come from above: rockfall, rock breaks, dropping of biner etc. So, better have a belayer wearing a helmet. They are very often below the climber...

Then, we have this freedom to adapt to different situations:
- bouldering: can't imagine wearing a helmet.
- in a gym: wearing a helmet is neither necessary nor wishful (as long as no air con is installed). Nothing should fall on you or your belayer.
- in a neat sport crag (e.g. Paarl Rocks): so many people have climbed these routes that everything that could break has broken off, with the clear exception of new routes.
- in a neat trad single pitch crag: better take the helmet and see how is the terrain (clean, loose rocks).
- any other situations including multi-pitch: better take and wear the helmet. If you don't know the environment and the quality of the rock, you shouldn't gamble too much.

This is how I see it and I don't think the media should advertise what we "should" do. We, as climbers, know about the risks of our activity. We take decisions and face the consequences.

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Re: Helmets and photos - does it matter?

Post by DeanVDM » Wed Apr 05, 2017 1:42 pm

This debate comes up regularly on this forum (see viewtopic.php?f=17&t=14201) and the short answer is that there is no debate - helmets saves lives. Similar to wearing seat belts in a car in just about all cases you will not be able to know when you need it an even "safe" environments resulted in serious injuries.

The pic below (have posted it before) is from a sport climbing accident and even with it the climber sustained scull fractures. Without the helmet it would have been fatal (the link above has more stories).
Helmet.jpg
Helmet.jpg (48.64 KiB) Viewed 3038 times

mokganjetsi
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Re: Helmets and photos - does it matter?

Post by mokganjetsi » Wed Apr 05, 2017 1:55 pm

we should definitely not post pictures and videos of people soloing! or climbing run-out / badly protected routes. or being out at peer's cave. or eating sugary foods...... i think you get my drift :wink:

DieGesteweldeKat
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Re: Helmets and photos - does it matter?

Post by DieGesteweldeKat » Wed Apr 05, 2017 2:38 pm

@Mok clearly you seem to be on the right path. I think we should petition TMNP to only allow climbing on arrow final and only in single file :puker:

PeterHS
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Re: Helmets and photos - does it matter?

Post by PeterHS » Fri Apr 14, 2017 5:56 pm

Some good differences and balances of opinion here - and much as I expected. Thanks for commenting. I note too (Jason?) that the new site photo has a climber wearing a helmet and a remark to say so. Thanks! Ciao. P

Chris F
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Re: Helmets and photos - does it matter?

Post by Chris F » Tue Apr 18, 2017 11:11 am

vinceB wrote:
We could also mention skiing. Wearing a helmet is a must-do for these two because of the traumatology of accidents in skiing and cycling. You know that if you are to collide with a tree while skiing, you'll end up with a head concussion. You know that if you were to fall while riding your bicycle, chances of hitting your head are high. Moreover, any average joe can ride a bike without prior knowledge and training. So, wearing a helmet seems like a reasonable idea.
Interested to know how many casual skiers / snowboarders on this forum wear one?

I won't go on the snow without mine, and by far the majority of people I know use one, but there is a surprisingly high percentage of people on the slopes in the Alps without them, predominantly in the 40 plus age category. In the US it's a different story, almost everyone uses one now, and it's compulsory in a lot of ski schools.

rasmus
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Re: Helmets and photos - does it matter?

Post by rasmus » Tue Apr 18, 2017 1:54 pm

Of course it makes sense to wear helmets always. I do that myself. I even use a helmet for kneading dough for my campfire roosterkoek. Helmets are great! But from that to start policing pictures on websites and magazines is quite a leap. I don't think you can regulate risk out of climbing (or life for that matter). In fact calculated risk is very much part of the fabric and soul of the sport. Should we stop posting pictures or talking about John Bachar, Alex Honnold or Matt Bush?

I vote no.

DavidWade
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Re: Helmets and photos - does it matter?

Post by DavidWade » Wed Apr 19, 2017 9:18 am

Yes climbing with a helmet is safer than no helmet.
Same as sport is safer than trad, and trad is safer than soloing.

Maybe we should ban lead climbing and only top rope - that is really the safest option. Or only top rope in gyms and not climb outdoors :thumleft:

PeterHS
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Re: Helmets and photos - does it matter?

Post by PeterHS » Wed Apr 19, 2017 9:27 am

DavidWade wrote:Yes climbing with a helmet is safer than no helmet.
Same as sport is safer than trad, and trad is safer than soloing.

Maybe we should ban lead climbing and only top rope - that is really the safest option. Or only top rope in gyms and not climb outdoors :thumleft:

It seems many have not read or understood my OP. My point was merely about photos of climbers used by responsible advertisers and promoters. The exemplar side has been changed for cyclists - you'll rarely see a road cyclist in a cycling magazine photo not wearing a helmet - and I was asking for opinions for the parallel of climbing.

Meanwhile, back to the OP.......

Ciao,

P

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Justin
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Re: Helmets and photos - does it matter?

Post by Justin » Wed Apr 19, 2017 10:15 am

Thanks PeterHS for bringing up this subject. As the editor of this website, I will not be insisting that all gallery photos/pictures on the site have the climber wearing a helmet.

That said, if more pictures of climbers with helmets get posted, perhaps this will help change public perception?

It is my opinion that climbers should wear helmets (there are exceptions). Climbing with a helmet is statistically safer. However it should still be a choice.
My kid wears a helmet when he is at the crag and (most of the time) I do too.

To compare: I am of the opinion that cycling is a more dangerous activity (than climbing).
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SNORT
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Re: Helmets and photos - does it matter?

Post by SNORT » Fri Apr 21, 2017 8:36 am

Climbing is inherently a risky activity and within it there is just so much redundancy you can include to make it as safe as possible. But a helmet is really cheap insurance to mitigate the risk of injury.

I see there is a mention of sugary foods and the consequences on others of injuries in 2 different posts. I strongly agree with both sentiments. Sugar is the most dangerous substance in the developed and developing world today and there are now moves afoot to regulate it. When considering any safety measure or regulation the choice of the individual to mitigate his or her risk must be balanced against the burden on friends, family and broader society. So do not text while you drive, do not drink and drive, wear a seat belt and cycle and climb with a helmet and so on. Wearing a helmet is hardly a hardship. I mean really! I have lost count of the near misses I experienced not from falling off a route while climbing but rather from rocks and the like falling from above.

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Re: Helmets and photos - does it matter?

Post by mokganjetsi » Sun Apr 30, 2017 9:17 am

here's a good example of why wearing a helmet is a good idea......
http://www.rockandice.com/weekend-whipp ... -north-u-k

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Re: Helmets and photos - does it matter?

Post by Chris F » Mon May 08, 2017 3:32 pm


ColinCrab
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Re: Helmets and photos - does it matter?

Post by ColinCrab » Mon May 08, 2017 3:54 pm

I have been climbing for 45 + years without a helmet. My choice, my risk.

I believe it is the responsibility of this site to say it like it is. Place pictures as they are. It's not the job of this site to decide what level of risk is acceptable or not. That the responsibility of each individual.

We don't need to concede to the molly coddling generation that seem to be emerging WRT to what is PC, what is safe to show, who are we going ot offend..... blah blah fish paste.

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Re: Helmets and photos - does it matter?

Post by Chris F » Mon May 08, 2017 3:59 pm

ColinCrab wrote:... blah blah crab paste.
Hope you are well Colin, glad to see you are still climbing hard.

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