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David_Parker

BD halfdome helmet cracked!

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So I was toproping this steep line and was about 12-15 feet up when a tool popped and down I came. The 8.4 mil 1/2 rope was tight and did not slip through belayers device but since about a total of 55 meters was out it stretched enough for me to hit the ground, but not at all hard. My forehead smacked gently, but it did not hurt at all and I popped right back up and got back on. Today I noticed a small crack about 3/4 inch long starting at the edge in the front of my helemt! This seems WAY to minor an impact for the helmet to crack, especially since it was above freezing out. Makes me wonder about the helmet now and I'm thinking BD should know. Hope it isn't another BD product in need of recall. Anyone heard of cracked helemt or comments?

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Do you think that when the tool popped it hit your helmet? I've beat the hell out of my Halfdome for a couple years and don't have any cracks. But, I must admit, no grounders have been performed. How far did you fall?

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There are no visible scratches or marks of any kind on the helmet and it is brand new so I don't think the tool hit the helmet. About 15 feet, but the rope was stretching and was at its limit about the same time I hit so it was very minimal impact.

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...Makes me wonder about the helmet now and I'm thinking BD should know. Hope it isn't another BD product in need of recall. Anyone heard of cracked helemt or comments?

 

You might give this article a read.

 

From the article...

 

...In order to finally lay the issue to rest and to reassure customers, the BMC has recommended to Black Diamond that the helmet be retested and hopefully recertified at a third test house with appropriate experience in testing of mountaineering helmets. The BMC is also recommending that BD improve the quality control procedure to limit the variation in crown/cradle distance.

 

I was going to buy one recently, but when I read this about a two months ago, I rethought that decision. Note that the date of the article is from November 2000. I'm sure BD is already aware of this.

 

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summary: climber makes supposition based on limited data set then moves to public forum to discredit manufacturer.

 

 

you fukin rule davidparker!

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summary: climber makes supposition based on limited data set then moves to public forum to discredit manufacturer.

 

confused.gif Nowhere did I see where I discredited BD in my post. I merely posted an article, freely available on the internet for public consumption, describing some concerns with the Halfdome helmet.

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Lummox, not sure if I follow your post, but I am in no way discrediting BD as I own and like much of their gear. I was looking for feedback before I contacted them. This is the third helmet I have owned (first BD) and have never had a problem before. This was NOT a serious impact and it's not a styrofoam bike helmet either! Do you have anything constructive to add?

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Do you have anything constructive to add?

survey says: . . . NO!

 

all rise for judge mental! moon.gifwave.gif

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how big was the crack.

 

was it this big 2045_helmet.jpg or smaller?

 

helmets crack. its how they absorb and dissipate energy. time for a new one and dont forget TR falls on skinny ropes can often be groundfalls!

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The full BMC helmet report (part 1) includes feedback from BD on the issue:

 

"The Leeds results indicated a top impact force some 20% above

that allowed by the CEN standard, whilst the notified body CRITT

had measured a top impact force of less than 2kN during certification

testing. When notified of this anomaly BD commented as follows:

Thank you for notifying Black Diamond of discrepancies in test

results discovered at the LEEDS laboratory. Black Diamond is concerned

by the findings suggesting that our Halfdome helmet does not

meet the CEN standard for mountaineering helmets. The Halfdome

helmet has been tested and certified by the Notified Body, C.R.I.T.T.

The wide variation in data between two reputable organizations is

a serious concern to us.If our helmet is truly found to not meet the

requirements of the CEN standard we will take all actions necessary

to achieve conformance and, more importantly, to ensure the safety

of all our customers worldwide. Our preliminary recommendation,

which we have begun, is to establish communications between BMC/

LEEDS and CRITT to determine the root cause of the discrepancy

and to correct it. Once this is complete all organizations should

collectively evaluate if further action is required. We look forward to

working with BMC/LEEDS to resolve these issues.

The Technical Committee is in discussion with Black Diamond

and will undertake further tests."

 

Further tests, reported in part 2 have yet to 100% clear up this issue.

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Thank you, Ade. That's good beta. I downloaded, and will read for my own edification. thumbs_up.gifwave.gif

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I'm assuming in all this testing they are talking about an object falling and impacting the helmet. That is not the issue in my case. In reading the BD response to the tests, I find it professional and genuinely concerned. I will ascertain if they are concerned about my case and get back to you. Head protection is a serious enough issue that I intend to explore it for my benefit as well as for others. Lummox, go to spray if you wish to be involved.

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...Head protection is a serious enough issue that I intend to explore it for my benefit as well as for others...

 

We should all be concerned with protecting the head that we get. Glad to see that you're taking the lead on this, for all our sakes! grin.gifsmileysex5.gifthumbs_up.gifthumbs_up.gif

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Met a guy in lillooet two weeks ago who had a brand new halfdome (4 days old) and it cracked in the same spot with about the same dimensions you described. He hadn't taken any falls or tools to the head either.. It was about 0F out, but that's really no excuse for a brand new helmet to crack.

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My BD Halfdome took a seroius hit from a falling chunck of ice in Lillooet. Hardest impact I have sustained...ever...saw stars. But the helmet didn't crack and I was otherwise impressed. I am glad I wasn't wearing a foam helmet, people say they can absorb just as much if not more impact, but I'm just not so sure.

 

Anyway, I agree with Dru, hlemets crack, they should be considered disposable.

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No flame intended, pure curiosity of how many helmet-wearing ice climbers do not wear helmets at Smith?

 

Uhhhh, that would be me! I need to rethink that... wave.gif

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I am glad I wasn't wearing a foam helmet, people say they can absorb just as much if not more impact, but I'm just not so sure.

Foam helmets can absorb just as much impact - ask a road bicyclist whose used one. The problem with foam helmets is they are disposable. Once it's absorbed an impact it's pretty much done - suck to have to bring a spare helmet on a climb.

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I have one of the earliest models of hd helmet and have trashed the thing on numberous big walls, ice climbs, and it has saved my ass twice from my leashed skis. I think its a good helmet but then again that's just my opinion.

 

And, yes I sometimes wear a helmet on trad climbs at Smith but that's a rare sometimes.

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girlclimber, your post is a bit out of context confused.gif.

 

I wear a helmet all the time, rock whatever...ok, maybe not bouldering...but I hardly do any of that.

 

One of my buddies hit his head bad once while belaying a biginer up Cathedral Peak (Toulumne), he was a 5.13, A5 climber and Paramedic. If it could happen to him, it could happen to me. He recently died do to head trauma from a wakeboarding crash. Helmets or bust bigdrink.gif

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One of my buddies hit his head bad once while belaying a biginer up Cathedral Peak (Toulumne), he was a 5.13, A5 climber and Paramedic. If it could happen to him, it could happen to me. He recently died do to head trauma from a wakeboarding crash. Helmets or bust bigdrink.gif

 

Unfortunately stats show that previous traumatic brain injury has one of the strongest correlations with future traumatic brain injury. Looks like your buddy might have fit that mold. Sorry to hear about that.

 

What do you all think about the hard shell helmets that are lined with foam? I would figure that might afford more protection for a side impact than a typical hard shell/strap helmet and it might still hold together for a second bounce. Or is a foam helmet shot in one impact no matter what?

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I got kertwanged pretty good by a grapefruit sized hunk of rock that must have fallen off the wall quite a ways above the approach gulley that leads to Salmon Stakes a couple of weeks ago. I think we were about 50 meters below the base of the climb when I got hit.

 

Anyhow - I heard a click that sounded like it was about 10-15 meters away and I glanced up expecting to see a small rock tumbling down the side of the gulley. Instead what I saw was a dark mass rocketing towards my face - just a few feet away. I guess reflexes took over because before I had time to analyze what I was seeing I lowered my head and felt the impact just above my forehead. It felt like someone cracked me over the head with a bat. The impact knocked me off of my feet, had me seeing stars, and left me with a headache that persisted for 3-4 days.

 

Beyond the normal thoughts about how messed-up/dead I would have been if I hadn't been wearing my helmet - I also thought about what the impact would have been like if I had been wearing another style of helmet. It seemed to me that the impact would have been much more severe if the helmet hadn't deflected much of the blow (I have a Petzl Ecrin Roc). I can hardly be certain of this, but I suspect that If I would have been wearing one of those foam deals with a thin plastic skin over the top the rock would have pierced the skin and penetrated into the foam - likely transferring much more momentum to my head in the process. In the end the outcome may have been the same - but I came away from the impact glad to have been wearing a helmet designed to deflect blows from falling rocks rather than absorbing them.

 

Side Note: If you are approaching Salmon Stakes my hunch is that it would be get it over with before the light starts hitting the wall above the approach gulley. It was cold (-10/20C) for the entire day when we were out there - but even the weak winter's sun was enough to let loose a fair amount of rock fall on us. I would hate to be in that thing when it warms up, rains, etc...

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Beyond the normal thoughts about how messed-up/dead I would have been if I hadn't been wearing my helmet - I also thought about what the impact would have been like if I had been wearing another style of helmet. It seemed to me that the impact would have been much more severe if the helmet hadn't deflected much of the blow (I have a Petzl Ecrin Roc). I can hardly be certain of this, but I suspect that If I would have been wearing one of those foam deals with a thin plastic skin over the top the rock would have pierced the skin and penetrated into the foam - likely transferring much more momentum to my head in the process. In the end the outcome may have been the same - but I came away from the impact glad to have been wearing a helmet designed to deflect blows from falling rocks rather than absorbing them.

 

You are right. I recently read a BMC helmet study where they measured the impact force levied upon your head between different types of helmets. Those with a good suspension system like the Ecrin Roc or Eldrid ones transfered something like 1/4th the force as compared to Petzel meteor type foamies. Just another reason not to wear a glorified bike helmet!

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You are right. I recently read a BMC helmet study where they measured the impact force levied upon your head between different types of helmets. Those with a good suspension system like the Ecrin Roc or Eldrid ones transfered something like 1/4th the force as compared to Petzel meteor type foamies. Just another reason not to wear a glorified bike helmet!

 

OK, so my Elerid helmet is going to be the best for taking a hit from falling debris. The thing that sketches me out about those kind of helmets is that they appear to offer minimal protection for a side impact. I figure if you have some sort of catastrophic fall, you are much more likely to hit your head on the side. If I landed in the direction the hard shell helmets are intended to take hits (straight from the top) I am going to snap my neck anyway.

 

So if I am climbing in an area were I feel there is low risk from rockfall above me, I feel safer with styrofoam helmet when I'm the climber. If I am the belayer, I'll wear the edelrid. Granted, this situation only applies to 1 pitch rock climbs.

 

Anyway, does that seem logical to others? Anyone have stats that breakdown types and mechanisms of head injuries while climbing?

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