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Petzl Helmet Giveaway: Comment to Win!

I never used to wear a helmet rock climbing. I usually climb at the Red River Gorge, and many people that climb there don’t. My thought was if there was if there was a lot of overhang on the route, or when I start leading trad, then I would. But then something happened that changed my mind.

I took a trip out to Lander WY to climb at Wild Iris and The Sinks Canyon. It was my first time climbing out there and the varieties of rock amazed me. We were at Wild Iris, warming up on a 5.7. Warming up, I may not be the most skilled climber, but I have onsited, on lead, 5.9s and flashed 5.10s on top-rope outside. This was supposed to get my blood flowing.

Well, it certainly did that.

I took an unexpected fall at the second bolt. It scared the hell out of me, my belayer, and my kids, who were watching. Luckily I was fine, scraped my arms and legs up a bit (and it doesn’t appear that my kids are scarred for life.) Yet, it could’ve been much worse. After that, I picked up a helmet I had with me all along (for my kids) and proceeded to send, on lead, the 5.8 route next to the 5.7 just fine.

The moral?

You just don’t know.  I mean seriously, I displaced my ankle in 5 places coming off of a V1 bouldering problem in the gym. I didn’t slip, or fall. I jumped down, landed just fine, but my ankle buckled from underneath me. Things happen, why take the risk?

  • Neall

    So a Patagonia hat doesn’t count as a helmet??

  • http://alpineurbanist.blogspot.com Jenny

    I only wear a helmet on trad climbs, but I also don’t sport climb very often anyways.

  • Katie Darling

    I do wear a helmet, but I’ve only used rental ones. I’ve been in graduate school for way too long to risk losing any brain cells!

  • camupod

    I’ve never really used a helmet, but I always thought it was a good idea…

  • http://tendersandtrails.wordpress.com tendersandtrails

    I learnt the value of wearing a helmet while doing climbs during caving. I don’t think I would have made it out of there conscious otherwise!!!

  • http://none Andrew Peltcs

    I recently used a Petzl Elios and was incredibly pleased with the quality of the product all around – it doesn’t obstruct vision, it adds almost no weight, and in my case, it deadens the impact from loose falling rock. I’m currently on the fence about whether the damage is enough to warrant throwing the helmet away and getting a new one, but I can certainly say I’m glad I was wearing one.

  • http://bradleysadventures.wordpress.com bradleysadventures

    I always wear a helmet when I’m scrambling on class 3+, lead climbing or following trad and sometimes while belaying sport. I’ve had more than a few occasions were other climbers or the person I’m belaying has kicked a rock down at me, even when it’s a popular crag.

  • Hillary Nitschke

    I always (and I REALLY mean ALWAYS) wear a helmet. I joke that I’m the only geek at the sport crag wearing one, but I do it proudly. I do not understand why anyone would want to risk head injury. Even what may seem a “small” head trauma can significantly change your life. I do realize the helmet won’t eliminate the possibility of head trauma, but it definitely makes a difference in the potential for it. Even on a top rope, it is possible to either swing into rock or fall to the ground. I’ve seen it happen. I’ve also experienced rock fall in unlikely places where the rock is known to be solid, well cleaned, frequently climbed… As a belayer, it is my job to remain aware (that would imply conscious, too…), and rock fall hitting my face or head can also often be avoided or minimized by wearing a helmet.

    I’d lighten this post up; make a joke; anything… but there is nothing funny about head injury.

  • http://privon.com George Privon

    I always wear a helmet too. It recently saved me from serious injury when I took a 25′ fall and whacked my head on the way down.

  • Michael Beaveridge

    Having climbed mostly granite and quartzite I never wore a helmet. Crossing over into limestone territory at the end of winter in an area that still had snow on the ground I came to the realization that those stone ‘islands’ on top of the snow that we were using for stepping stones had to come from someplace.

  • Lee

    I always wear a helmet! Last week we had a climber on an adjacent route have a gear loop blow out which caused a shower of hexes coming down a rock face from ~75 feet up.

  • http://www.the24hourchallenges.com Josh

    “Don’t just pack it, wear your jacket…” I remember seeing some cartoon whale poster that said that in elementary school during swimming. Does anyone know one for wearing a helmet? Pick me, pick me, PICK ME! :)

  • http://Rockiesgirl.wordpress.com Sarah

    I always wear a helmet no matter what type of climbing I’m doing. Then again I also climb in super chossy areas so there’s rockfall potential in a lot of areas.

  • http://twitter.com/katmeow katmeow (@katmeow)

    I am really new to climbing so I always wear a helmet.

  • http://www.facebook.com/LilMarySunshine Mary Lynn Summers

    I wear a helmet, but I do not own my own. I finally summitted this fall with my baby girl who turned 18 and wanted mom to summit her favorite climbing spot. I borrowed a helmet and I’m glad I did. I bonked the rim of it several time keeping my scared head close to the wall. I’d be tickled to have my very own helmet, and I’d definitely use it, because that climb made me hungry for more!!!

  • http://FB C

    A helmet is on my Christmas list!!

  • Blake Tracy

    I wear a winter hat. Does that count?

  • http://gravatar.com/idally idally

    I choose to wear a helmet usually when I belay. You never know when people might fling rocks down at you!

  • Erikson Nguyen

    always wear one

  • http://twitter.com/pastdue Justin Lukasavige (@pastdue)

    I’m wearing one more and more (and probably need a new one). I’ve been doing big routes lately with a lot of rockfall, so they’ve become a necessity.

    Unexpectedly, it came in really handy on the descent from the Ellingwood Arete on Crestone Needle a few weeks ago when I got caught in an ice storm. That stuff would have hurt had I not had a helmet with me.

  • Anne Hughes

    I always wear a helmet (and it is a Petzl one!) when climbing. Yup, I even wear it top roping, belaying and setting anchors up top. In other words, I wear it all the time at the crag, any crag, no matter what I’m doing. Why not? — stuff comes down from above and whether you are climbing, belaying or sitting around waiting for your turn, you are a potential target. Tying in at the top of a cliff while setting anchors would seem to imply there is a chance of falling there too, and probably a wild fall on a non-stretchy bit of webbing or slings so hitting one’s head is definitely possible if you go off the edge setting up your top rope.

    My helmet is lighter than a bike helmet, comfy, ventilated, good looking and keeps my hair out of my eyes too! If I win this helmet, I’ll have a spare to lend to the many new climbers I take out to Devil’s Lake!

  • http://gravatar.com/curtislu curtisluCurtis

    Safety First!

  • Will

    I always wear one. I cracked mine this summer in a fall. The other weekend at Devil’s Lake, some guy was rapping down a face next to where we were climbing and he caught a rack of hexes on the face and it tore his gear loop, showering biners down 10′ from us and leaving his hexes dangling from the wall. We were with a friend new to climbing, so it was a great “and this is why we wear helmets” moment.

  • Bill

    Wear one so I don’t take an icicle through the top of the skull.

  • http://climbrunliftmom.blogspot.com Haley @ Climb Run Lift Mom

    I just got a helmet so don’t enter me in this giveaway. But I’ve only worn a helmet while ice climbing :/ Now that I actually have one, I hope to wear one more often. I always, always make my kiddos wear one whenever they climb though.

  • Lana Fox

    I tend to wear a helmet while belaying, but not so much while climbing because I only have one helmet.

  • Fresh

    When it comes down to it everyone at the crag should be wearing helmets AT ALL TIMES!!! There was a time at Last Chance Canyon, NM (before the recent fire) that I was toproping 5.11 and burning up it. Lost in my focus I reached for the next hold and it came flying off and towards my three buddies who were chatting with my belayer. Luckily, the razor sharp chip the size of a large fist barely missed by friends. Each one of them wore their helmets from then on or had one the next time we were out climbing. Moral of the story is that the ones climbing are not the only ones in danger of being killed by rocks.

  • http://www.facebook.com/Rob.Blazoff Rob Blazoff

    If you get a good fitting helmet, you forget that it is on. Until it does its job.

  • Sophia Chiron Stevens

    I bought 2 Petzl helmets for my myself and my son in 1999 before going to El Potrero Chico (they are still in great condition, though mine was stolen at Golden Peaks, CO in May, 2011). Initially that was the only time I wore it. The more I climb and see accidents, the more I wear my helmet.

  • rob

    Until recently, I only wore a helmet for ice and trad climbing. But, having had numerous (more than one) pieces of gear and pro whizz (literally) past my ear on a trip earlier this year and a particularly chossy time in WV, I feel much more comfortable wearing a helmet when climbing, belaying and even just sitting at the crag watching.

  • LarsBrn

    When I grab my pack out of the trunk at the parking lot, I throw on my Petzl Ecrin Rock helmet. It makes me more visible in lower light situations, and could save me from a bump anywhere up the approach to climb, as well as while setting anchors and belaying. I don’t take it off until I’m back at the car.

  • http://www.mdclimb.com/testing/(currentlyunderconstruction,laterremovetesting) Marko Duksi

    I have an Ecrin Rock helmet 9 years now and I haven’t used it since the Meteor III came out. When I bought the Meteor III at first I thought I will only use it on ice routes. I didn’t think it would withstand the falling rocks all that good. To my suprise, it got some good hits through the first winter and I started to feel confident enough in the new lightweight product that I never used the Ecrin Rock again. :) Shows just how missleading first impressions can be. On the bad side, the new helmet got me looking pretty geeky a couple of times when after a climb I drove to the pub forgetting I was still wearing a helmet, damn, that wasn’t cool, but at least it’s that comfortable!

  • http://www.thegearcaster.com Amy Jurries

    I am with Anne on this one- I wear a helmet all the time when climbing. You never know what is going to happen.

  • Jess

    Brain buckets are awesome!

  • http://twitter.com/cupcakemafia Tali (@cupcakemafia)

    Every time I think I won’t need one outdoors some small piece of rock falls or I bump my head on something silly. The universe’s way of reminding me put that thing on. My current helmet is bulky thus the hesistation.

  • Michelle

    After hearing many scary stories and nags from friends (cough cough: Bryan), I WISH I wore my helmet more than just for ice. It’s a habit I need to get into..

  • Scott

    Good blog Krysia!

  • kristy

    thanks for this story…i always think about how i should wear a helmet but never do. a climbing helmet is at the top of my list for my next purchase!

  • Meghan

    I do not wear a helmet and truthfully, I haven’t ever thought about wearing one…your blog does make me pause and think about wearing one though!

  • Phil

    I dont wear one, hence wanting to win the free one.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=193304728 Chelsea Wood Rollins

    Want to wear a helmet more often! Really important.

  • Ariel Kent

    I need a helmet. heard about the guy who died rock climbing in Rumney, NH. well i climbed the route where they found him without a helmet… definitely a eye opener

  • http://alittleteteatete.wordpress.com a little tête-à-tête

    Always :)

  • http://gravatar.com/japanaid Juliana

    funny how the easiest and most traveled routes and rappel routes at the Gunks have the most gravel on top. A pebble to the noggin is not my idea of a good day out!

  • Jeremy Leonard

    I’ve never actually used a helmet … I haven’t climbed outside of a climbing gym yet. Probably would get a helmet before climbing outside though.

  • http://www.angellawohio.com Robert Angell

    The standard formula for acceleration of a falling object is reason enough to wear a helmet. In a contest between your head and physics, physics will win.

  • http://twitter.com/WishIwasSkiing0 Sarah Morrison (@WishIwasSkiing0)

    Its funny the most important thing you have is often unprotected. Your brain. I wear one when i’m out. Its not worth the risk to me. Anything can happen

  • http://www.mdclimb.com/testing/(currentlyunderconstruction,laterremovetesting/) Marko

    Actually, the scull is protecting your brain but it still helps to protect the scull. :) I am still waiting for something that will protect my helmet, which protects my scull, which protects my brain… :) Sorry, couldn’t help myself. :) Anyway, the bottom line and my reasoning for wearing the helmet is very simple:

    If you wear a helmet, you are right to worry about your brain. If you are NOT wearing a helmet, there’s nothing to worry about! :) :)

    Nice blog Krysia!

  • http://verticalviagro.wordpress.com vanizzle

    I always wear a helmet for ice. and 90% of the time on trad… and, er 40% on sport routes? and always free soloing in caves… if you give me a new one with a pony tail slot, i might be more inclined to rock it out everywhere i go. and just wear one more often.

  • Bryon

    Trad, sport, bouldering — I’ve never heard a good reason not to wear a helmet.

    I was pretty good about wearing mine before my friend’s accident. But since then — and seeing her with 1/3 of her skull removed — I’ve become an ideologue about wearing a brain bucket.

    By the way — my friend was BELAYING a TOPROPED climber when she was hit. So, as Krysia says, you never know.

    (For the record: friend is doing well; her taste buds don’t work like they used to, and her sense of color is jacked, but she’s still climbing.)

  • Valentina

    I started climbing without, now I’m wearing it and making sure everyone in my group does the same. Rocks can fall, climbers can take a fall..you never know!
    Be Safe ;)

  • http://kolbilackey.blogspot.com/ kolbi lackey

    I climbing outside as much as i can but i dont have my own helmet. i always have to borrow someones whenever i go out

  • Lisa

    You simply never know what can happen out there. Safety first. Brain injuries are NO joke.
    Happy Climbing:-)

  • John M

    Yea, it seems like a pretty small price to pay for not having something heavy smack you on the head !

  • Angela Alpaugh

    It is the utmost importance for me and my loved ones to wear a helmet when climbing for the safety benefit it gives.

  • Matt

    Helmets are a must. Even while on belay. There are just too many things that can go wrong to chance it.

  • http://gravatar.com/benroot Ben Root

    Don’t get crater your cranium, Wear A Helmet!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000822338245 Kara Upperstrom

    Totally Agree, I’ve always wanted to try rock climbing, but I would totally say ANYTHING can happen so I agree Put on a LID and strap it up tight! a bone breaks it can heal but there is no coming back from a seriouse head injury

  • Lou

    If I damage my brain, someone’s going to have to take care of me. I think I had better wear a helmet!

  • Julie Thomas

    Everyone should buy the right helmet.

  • http://www.facebook.com/hartray Frederick Hartray

    No one ever goes climbing expecting a rock or a piece of equipment to fall from above. Look at the Grand Canyon it all was once solid rock but little by little rock eroded and fragments fell. Even a small pebble falling from high above can do considerable damage to ones cranium.


  • Karissa

    I know someone who was wearing a helmet when struck by falling rock and, even with the helmet on, was knocked unconscious from the blow. With helmet- was unconscious, without helment- would have died. Thanks for another good reminder!

  • http://www.facebook.com/kevin.heist Kevin Heist

    I always always always wear a helmet. It’s just stupid not to. It’s not an inconvenience. Once you have it on you forget it’s there. Many times I will wear a helmet even belaying on a sport route. You never know what type of rockfall may occur, or the climber may drop some gear on accident. I don’t think being hit in head by a quickdraw falling from 80 feet would feel too great. The moral of the story is, you aren’t any cooler or any dirtbaggier for not wearing a helmet. Put one on!

  • Jessie

    Wear a helmet to protect your noggin! :)

  • Melissa

    I’ve worn Petzl helmets outside, mountaineering and on vertical rock and ice, to protect my brain. I’ve only heard of the Elia, but would be excited to try this “women’s” helmet to see how the comfort and design of it would compare!

  • Ashley McIntire

    Wow, that sounds frightening! I would have been scared too. I never wear a helmet sport climbing, but I might just start. Better safe than sorry, right?

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jason-Prescher/1344604613 Jason Prescher

    “With age get a cage!” now that I’m climbing up in years that has been my motto!

  • Jason Bramlette

    My Petzl has saved my melon more than a few times.