This past month we invited a few rock climbing friends of ours to help spread the word about wearing helmets while climbing. Each of these climbers has a unique story about how they came to realize that wearing a helmet was important to them, their friends and their families. Reading the over 200 comments on these posts we hope that their followers; and you, decide to wear a helmet too.
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. // Continue Reading…
Ever since Cragbaby came along however, I’ve discovered a new reason to show my hard hat some love – and that is setting a good example for my son. When he’s ready to start climbing, I’m going to require him to wear a helmet. I can’t very well expect him to be happy about wearing one if he’s never seen me or my husband wear one. The funny thing is that at this point C thinks helmets are uber cool – at least once per climbing trip I turn around to find him wearing my helmet – usually accompanied by hysterical toddler giggles. // Continue Reading…
As Tracy and I spent more time climbing together, I started using my helmet more often, and now it’s a rare day you’ll see me without it. Often it feels like we are the only two people in Rifle wearing them, but a friend almost got killed there when a loose rock fell on his head as he walked under a popular cliff, so we don’t let the odd stares bother us. // Continue Reading…
So what about you?
Why do you, or don’t you, wear a helmet?
Need a helmet? Buy a PETZL Helmet online now
or visit your local PETZL retailer to check them out.
Chicago area climber Justin Berry being littered out after a block of quartzite dislodged, smashing into his forehead and knee
I’ve written 3 different versions of a post for Pemba Serves about helmets and the outdoors. Each one prior was full of stories that I had of how a helmet saved my life, or that of someone else that I know – like the time my long-time climbing partner Jay knocked loose a fist-sized chunk of granite from 70’ that knocked me flat, or Justin’s aid-climbing accident that had him littered out, or tales of my various bike wrecks that had me in stitches – not the funny kind of stitches.
But really, pictures and videos speak more than words. Let’s face it, if you participate in sports that carry an inherent risk – like biking, skiing, climbing…not wearing a helmet is playing Russian Roulette. The riskier the sport, the more bullets in the gun. I was going to put the end scene from The Deer Hunter in here, but you get the idea without Christopher Walken explaining it to you.
Photo - Patrick Gensel
I stepped off the paved trail, my boot plunged into the sun ripened snow of the Muir Snowfield. Standing majestically, miles above me the glaciated slopes of Mount Rainier called to me. After months of training, fundraising, and traveling to smaller mountains to test my mettle, I had arrived, It all came down to this climb.
If I said I wasn’t a bit nervous, maybe even reluctant, I’d be lying, but climbing a mountain of this magnitude is not anything to be taken lightly. After all, many use Rainier as their training grounds for far off peaks in the Himalaya and Alaska Range. “Was I ready?”, “Did I train hard enough”, “Would we be caught in a bad rock or icefall?” These were the thoughts that filled my head in the weeks leading up to my Arrival in Ashford, Washington.
Photo: David Morlock Photography | OWL Trip 2010
I came across The Three F’s when I first started working in the Outdoor Industry about 20 years ago. I had only been on the job for a short time and like any new staffer hungry for knowledge I was browsing through old catalogs in the break room.
In the front of an old backpack catalog some guy named “Wayne” used the concept of Fit, Fabrics and Features to walk through his product line. It was a concept that not only clarified the differences between the products in the line but also between other companies.
The Three F’s have been a great tool me. They’re a yardstick that help me decide whether or not I’m going to buy a piece of equipment or apparel and they’re a great method for comparing and understanding outdoor products.
PETZL ANGE S Quickdraws
I’ve been getting a lot of odd looks recently. It could be due to dressing in drag, or climbing on a fatter rope than normal, but I think these glances are directed at the fancy (and funky?) looking new quickdraws on my harness. “What are those?” seems to be a common question when people first spy the Petzl Ange Finesse draws. It’s not that I blame them, I’m just starting to get self conscious with all the attention.
When wiregate biners came out, they were a game changer. It opened the door to the incredibly light clips we have today, but there was always a piece of the puzzle that was missing. How to give them the no snag functionality of a key lock. A few other companies have put forth some idea, but arguably none are as cutting edge as what Petzl has achieved with the Ange.
Recalled Devices: serial number between 10326 and 11136
Recently Petzl had to recall the GriGri2 not long after it hit the market. The new Petzl GriGri2, which was released earlier this year, is a new and improved version of the GriGri. The new belay device is more compact and lighter than its predecessor, easily fitting into the palm of a hand. Petzl also changed the design a little to allow for greater controlled descent, especially when a smaller person lowers someone who weighs much more than they do. Petzl, women everywhere thank you.
A long-time fan of the original GriGri, I was excited when Petzl released this new device, and of course, had grand plans of putting it to the test over the summer. I had already taken it out once to a local crag and was impressed with how well it handled slim ropes, big weight differentials between climber and belayer and how light and compact it was. When I received the news of this recall, I went and checked my GriGri2. My heart sunk. It held the digits listed in the recall. That meant the days of playing with my fabulous new belay device were numbered until the replacement arrived. It was the start of summer and I had many great climbs on the books and fun cragging days coming up in which I had been looking forward to using the new slimmer, lighter GriGri2. But, it would not be, at least not until the new GriGri2 arrived and I wasn’t sure how long that would take.
PETZL XION testing at City of Rocks
“Hey, how skinny is this rope?”
“How skinny is this rope, it’s flying through this GRIGRI.”
“Ha, that’s a 10.1! It’s the fattest rope I own!”
You can imagine my friend’s surprise, as he thought I had sandbagged him with a tiny 9.2 or something similar. In reality, we were out using the new Petzl Xion, which clocks in at a beefy-by-today’s-standards 10.1. I usually shy away from anything bigger than 9.8, but Petzl was touting this as being a beefier cord that offered “excellent hand and suppleness similar to that of thinner ropes,” so I decided to check it out.
Majka Burhardt moving toward the moment of the click in Ethiopia. Photo By Gabe Rogel
Five days ago I drove out of Eldorado Canyon after seven pitches of climbing with two professional women who live in Boulder. We’d spent the day climbing sandstone cracks freshly crisped by the proceeding evening storms. The river roared beneath us for the full day making communication difficult and creating isolation of judgment and choices for each of us while climbing. It was a day where climbing was climbing – the complete pairing of mental and physical connection dialed together by focus. As we drove away from the perfect day Tracy and Amy planned future objectives and talk circled to fall climbing plans. Tracy and Amy talked about Colorado; I brought up Ethiopia.
This fall I’m co-leading the second annual Imagine Ethiopia expedition. During the trip we will rock climb, mountain bike, do yoga, and further the path and possibility of Ethiopia’s education. And is if that was not enough we will also explore Ethiopia’s coffee heritage and help celebrate one of its greatest economic drivers. I’d like to say it will just be a standard 14 days in Ethiopia, but I’d be lying.
Following the "trail" in Willow Canyon
It’s that time of year in the shop. Customers with backpacking equipment lists bound for adventure start their journey in your store. We know the drill. Start with the boot fit. Next the pack fit. Then with the boots on and the pack loaded help them with all the other essentials. One item that’s usually found on the “optional” part of that list is trekking poles.
It can be easy to dismiss that “optional” item. Trekking poles can seem gimmicky, only for wussies or backpacker nerds. Plus it can be a $100+ “optional” item on that list. But after a great clinic as a shop employee and some “Trekking Pole Trails” of my own I’ve changed my mind.
“On our recent trip to City of Rocks, it was nice having a beefy cord that could stand up to the abuse of top roping over the abrasive granite. I’m still going to take the skinnier cords out most of the time, but when I want something stout that still feels nimble, the Xion is the ticket. Stay tuned for more on this one in the coming weeks.”
Splitter Choss: What’s in Your Rope Quiver?