"To Helmet, or not to helmet"

FAQ and threads for those just starting to hike the Colorado 14ers.
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"To Helmet, or not to helmet"

Postby cpboz » Mon Jul 09, 2007 7:45 pm

This is just a general question: when do you wear a helmet? My wife and I are going to hike up 3 to 4 peaks in a couple of weeks (Bierstadt, Belford, Quandry, and Challenger Point). Would you advise wearing a helmet? Also, what class would you wear it on, in general? 8)
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Postby JimR » Mon Jul 09, 2007 8:04 pm

Of those, the only one you'd even consider a helmet for might be Challenger, & that would be a stretch. The standard guideline is that if there could be rocks falling on you from above, you want a helmet; but how do you know whether there might be rocks from above? My personal guideline is that I use a helmet for class 3 or up, but that's subject to exceptions. For example, I thought Lindsey (2 or 2+) could have justified a helmet.
It's worth mentioning that I am unaware of any recorded instances of serious injuries sustained due to wearing a helmet when it wasn't needed.
I have more age than experience, more experience than knowledge, and more knowledge than wisdom.
Yet somehow I usually make it back to the car safely; and oftentimes, so do the people that I'm with.
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Postby ajkagy » Mon Jul 09, 2007 9:05 pm

it can never hurt to wear a helmet, anywhere you think there is going to be rock from above...the worst thing is it can add minimal weight to your pack. When it doubt, wear it.
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Postby guitmo223 » Mon Jul 09, 2007 9:55 pm

I've only worn a helmet on Crestone Needle, but I plan to wear it on the sketchy parts of Little Bear and Capitol later this year.

As was mentioned above, you really don't need a helmet on most of the 14ers. I ALWAYS wear it when I'm doing class 5 in Eleven Mile canyon.
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Postby coloradokevin » Tue Jul 10, 2007 12:55 am

No need for it on Quandary or Bierstad via standard routes... Haven't climbed the other two peaks, so no personal advice from there.

I usually don't bring my helmet unless I'm going into class 3 or above terrain (not to say there aren't notable exceptions, but that's my general guideline). Rockfall from above isn't a hazard on the standard Bierstad or Quandary routes.
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Postby cpboz » Tue Jul 10, 2007 4:22 am

Thanks for the info--makes sense. I have a love/hate relationship with my bike helmet. Most of the time I bitch about it, but when I need it, I'm glad its there. 8)
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Postby stevevets689 » Tue Jul 10, 2007 7:33 am

(Though I didn't when I climbed it...) I would wear a helmet on Challenger Point. There is PLENTY of loose rock in that gully, and if you're below it then you're in the line of fire. I've seen rockfall in that gully, and I've only been up there once. It happens. I would wear a helmet (if you have one) on any terrain you think that might be steep enough for a rock to gain momentum and tumble towards you.
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Blanca and Ellingwood

Postby tators_tots » Tue Jul 10, 2007 8:00 am

Would a helment be recommend for climbing Blanca, and taking the ridge to Ellingwood?

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