Jump to content
  • Announcements

    • olyclimber

      WELCOME TO THE CASCADECLIMBERS.COM FORUMS   02/03/18

      We have upgraded to new forum software as of late last year, and it makes everything here so much better!  It is now much easier to do pretty much anything, including write Trip Reports, sell gear, schedule climbing related events, and more. There is a new reputation system that allows for positive contributors to be recognized,  it is possible to tag content with identifiers, drag and drop in images, and it is much easier to embed multimedia content from Youtube, Vimeo, and more.  In all, the site is much more user friendly, bug free, and feature rich!   Whether you're a new user or a grizzled cascadeclimbers.com veteran, we think you'll love the new forums. Enjoy!
Sign in to follow this  
Elife

Choosing a mountaineering helmet

Recommended Posts

Some would debate whether or not my brain is worth protecting, but I was hoping for advice nonetheless. If my plans are for mountaineering exclusively (no rock, hot weather), could I use a snowboarding/snowsports helmet like those from ProTec, etc.? Other than insulation and ventilation, what are the differences?

 

Thanks much!

Eric in Portland

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This is an interesting question. Helmets are designed based on idealizations of a given activity, and then tested to standards for that activity.

 

Here's a brochure by the gov't on this topic:

 

http://www.cpsc.gov/CPSCPUB/PUBS/349.pdf

 

Note that cycling and rock climbing are tested to the same standard (Snell N-94), but skiing is different (Snell S-98).

 

http://www.smf.org/standards/n94/n94.html

 

http://www.smf.org/s98.html

 

I don't know enough about the standards to guess if a ski helmet would pass the mountaineering standard, but my personal opinion is that it would be better than going bare headed.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Tom Tom has covered the safety standards well. Your noggin should be worth protecting and worth the nominal expense of a good mountaineering helmet. I don't know much about snowboard/ski helmets, but I wouldn't imagine they have holders for headlamps.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks gentlemen. My friends and coworkers be damned, I'm getting something to protect this addled brain. Good point on the headlamp situation, I'll choose wisely.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This is something I have wondered about as I have both a snowboard and a rock helmet.

 

I was under the impression that the gap left between my skull and the plastic of the mountaineering helmet protected mostly from rock/ice fall bouncing along. A protective inch or so that could prevent it from cracking my skull.

 

Whereas my solid snowboarding helmet protects mostly from a concussion. Spreading the force from a fall out through the membrane of the plastic and the solid styrofoam of the helmet core.

 

I don't know the proper terms to use for these but the difference being, the force contacting in a small area vs. An equal force but a much larger footprint. Think, falling backwards, tumbling etc.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

One more note to consider.

 

Reputable climbing helmets are tested by UIAA and CE standards. Note that I say reputable; as any company can design and make a helmet, sell it on the market and reap the rewards, without sending the product in for testing. Testing costs money. When shopping for a helmet, I would highly encourage you to look for a helmet with at least the CE certifaction and it's all the better if you get the UIAA certifaction. Why, you may ask? I'll explain.

 

Climbing helmets are designed to lower the amount of force transferred from a falling object through the helmet and thus onto our weak flimsy neck. One test is the blunt impact test (helmet-top impact test). This test is performed in a controlled lab setting where testers drop a 5kg weight with a 50mm-radius from the height of 2m. The force that is transferred to the neck can not exceed 8kN for the UIAA and 10kN for the CE certifaction; thus making the UIAA test more strict.

 

The 2nd main test performed on climbing helmets is a penetration test. For this test, a 3kg weight (shaped in a conical form) with a .5mm tip (very very small) is dropped from a height of 2m onto the top of the helmet. The striker (weight) is allowed to penetrate the shell of the helmet, but it can not touch the head form. The result from this test is simply either pass or fail.

 

There's a couple other tests that are performed as well, but I would consider the two above tests the most important to consider.

 

When it comes to skiing, boarding, cycling or any other sport, the helmets in these sports are NOT tested the same way that a climbing helmet is tested. There may be some overlap in the testing methods, but climbing helmets tests are strict.

 

When it's all said and done, you should spend the $50-90 bucks on a climbing helmet that fits you comfortably. Save this helmet solely for climbing. If you sustain an impact enough to dent the helmet, replace it and thank your keen wits for buying the helmet in the first place. $70 bones for an elios is a small price to pay for not having a huge crater in yer' dome.

 

Cheers! and happy climbing! :brew:

Nick

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

Sign in to follow this  

×