Joined: Sun Jan 13, 2008 1:06 pm Posts: 241 Location: Orange County, California
Ok, since there were a couple comments on our Mt.Irvine TR about not wearing a helmet, but an Ice Axe in hand, I would like to know how many of you guys bring your helmet touring?
I'm personally not used to bringing a helmet in the backcountry, although I always wear a helmet when I ride the resort or off piste (which is a big thing back home in europe and I believe slightly different from what you call Slackcountry here), since I tend to ride closer to my limits there than in the backcountry.
Basically I think there are many good reasons (and rockfall is one very good one) to always bring and wear a helmet where neccessary when you hike and always when you ride and pretty much no reason to not bring it other than that I don't want to carry it.
But sometimes in the alps when the old ski touring guy twice my age with his white beard passes by me on his light feet, with his tiny backpack with an Icepick on it, wearing a flanel shirt and a visor cap and you know he probably is doing this for longer than I live, I couldn't help but think that we have become such wimps with all our safety equipment and High Tech gear!
So let's see what you think and do!
_________________ I'm a german transplant. That's why I sound weird
Joined: Sat Nov 24, 2007 1:12 am Posts: 829 Location: PNW Hood Canal
Every time I have ridden since a nasty crash when an out of control two planker rookie plowed me, rode me and broke my board. I'm pretty sure I had a concussion. That was 1997-1998 winter, probably FEB 98 in Spain. I ordered a helmet the next week and have used one for every day boarding since. Finding it HOT on the skin and I try just to keep it on and regulate my temp so as not to have one more piece of stuff to fiddle with at transition time. 50-50 on success in that attempt this year. Always when in ride mode though. Maybe I'm a puss, but Mumbles has been talking to himself since about FEB 98, coincidentally when that crazy chick steamrolled me and broke my board. (Airwalk Force 162 if I remember correctly...second outing on that darn board). An ice axe in ride mode it totally new and experimental with me this year. I think it would be a benefit to arrest a slide, but shortening the shaft makes me feel like i'm less risk to myself.
_________________ Mumbles...addicted thanks to sb.com
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Joined: Fri Nov 19, 2004 8:41 pm Posts: 1619 Location: Santa Cruz, CA
Always bring it, always wear it on the descent. Sometimes wear it on the ascent if there is rockfall danger, or I'm climbing in a spot where a fall could result in pinballing. I didn't used to wear one, but then I compared what I was doing to what I do mountain biking, where I always wear a helmet, and realized there wasn't much difference. Just seems like a very reasonable safety item to me, like avy gear.
They probably didn't have helmets when that old guy you referred to started touring. That is probably an example of natural selection in action - the guys who weren't as strong, smart in route selection, or just plain lucky got killed off. Maybe avy gear and helmets are stifling natural selection. Hmm...
I only wear a helmet when I am in rock fall areas... And it's a climbing helmet (Petzl Elios), other than that, I do not partake in the helmet craze when it's concerned in snowboarding...I don't even own a "ski" helmet.
Now, on my motorcycle, thats another story. (My full face helmet saved my jaw on a highside crash many years ago...)
_________________ "Auto racing, bull fighting, and mountain climbing are the only real sports ... all others are games."
Joined: Sat Feb 04, 2006 8:59 am Posts: 550 Location: Stowe, VT
I've got an in-bounds helmet I use right now, but I've got my eye on a lighter helmet (camp pulse) for touring. I put it on as part of my transition routine, but having a lighter one would make me more likely to wear it on the up as well in sketchy conditions (moderate avi danger or below potential rockfall)
Joined: Wed Nov 17, 2004 11:42 am Posts: 2392 Location: California
I don't think there is really any sense to debate this. It's so obvious what the smart thing to do is.
I used to work in labs. The old coots always thought us young bucks were to concerned about safety. They'd taste chemicals to see what they were, warm there lunch in contaminated incubators, etc. Yes, they were alive but is their legacy something I'd want to pass on?
I always sport the helmet. Too much stuff under the snow that you can't see. Just a few weeks ago I took a tumble off a small cliff into what turned out to be a rock pile under the snow. I got a few scratches on my helmet that would have equaled stitches at the very least.
While it's a choice up to everyone, it never hurts to sport a helmet.
Its a good question. If I did wear a helmet it for sure would not be on the up, unless of course rock fall potential. It is definetly best practice, even though I don't practice it. I make my son (2 yr old) wear one for everything, I tell my students there stupid for not wearing one when the bomb hills on their long boards. On the flip side an interesting study was done on motorcylclist, comparing those who wore helmets and those that did not. Results showed that individual who wore helmets where more likely to speed and take unnecessary risk, than those who did not wear helmets. This could probably be generalized to resort/backcountry riders.
^^^I've heard that theory over and over again. Same thing said for those who wear beacons, avalungs, etc. I am sure some people might, but I can say right now that I am doing the exact same shit wearing a helmet that I was doing when I didn't use one. I really think that is a flawed "study". I bet most of those people would still do the same crap.
I definitely do not wear a helmet skinning when it is warm out. Just for the downs. If the weather is cold, I'll happily wear it all do.
Joined: Wed Dec 14, 2005 11:09 pm Posts: 673 Location: white room
Interesting to see the different thoughts on this. I started wearing a helmet when I was entering competitions and they were required. I then figured that it would be kinda stupid to hit my head and get hurt while the helmet was sitting in my closet, so I started wearing it pretty much all the time at the ski area. In about ten years of wearing the helmet, it has basically only saved my head from people slamming the safety bar on the chairlift down without warning, or ski tails on someones shoulder while they are wandering the base area totally clueless, and once when I caught my back edge on an icy kicker landing. I've hit trees face-first, with my goggles absorbing the blow, and broke my hand hitting a tree, and my only concussion happened from a knee-to-chin incident, where my helmet was useless. But at the ski area, I think the helmet (with vents and a thin liner I can stuff in my pocket) is comfortable in a wider temp. range.
In the backcountry, I generally leave the helmet at home, unless I'm on a thin snowpack or planning on sketchy lines. I've got enough stuff in my pack without cramming the helmet in. The rockfall argument makes sense, though. As for always wearing the helmet, you can argue that you should always wear one driving, but I would only if I were on a NASCAR track or demolition derby. I suppose there is a bit of a risk to not wearing one, but sometimes convenience wins out. I get hot and sweaty just looking at pics of Tex hiking in his helmet.
If you will ride faster wearing a helmet then... at least you got to ride faster!!
But actually from my Wilderness First Responder class this season we learned about the joys of increasing ICP as a result of TBI. If you don't speak acronym that means increasing intracranial pressure as a result of traumatic brain injury. It's brain swelling due to injury and it's one of those cases where you can do basically NOTHING for the patient in a wilderness setting. You race the clock to get a helicopter as the patient loses more and more mental function.
Joined: Thu Oct 12, 2006 3:53 pm Posts: 202 Location: Los Angeles
Brain injuries suck! Allways wear your helmet and try to influence other that you care about to do the same. I've had some close calls with natural selection and having the helmet on in those situations is piece of mind. Remember that saying about an "ounce of prevention".