3 pictures to make you love your helmet on a sport climb

Sport climbing in Todra Gorge, Morocco

Sunny November day in beautiful Todra Gorge, my partner is climbing a route and I’m belaying. She takes a fall and next thing I know I’m knocked out, lying on the ground.

It turned out a broken hold caused the fall and landed on my head. It left me with 2 small holes (a few stitches each and a bad haircut for the next 12 months). The interesting part though is that I was wearing a helmet, so it’s easy to imagine the outcome without it.

I shared the story with a few friends and moved on — after all the takeaway is obvious: always wear a helmet.

Google images for “Berdorf climbing” — I counted one helmet

But this year when I started climbing after the lockdown ease, I noticed it’s not obvious at all. In sport climbing, not wearing a helmet is still somehow an option — go to a sport crag and count how many people are wearing helmets (well I can’t right now but Google can)

So here’s why in 3 pictures wearing a helmet is not optional

  1. How did my helmet look
Petzl helmet with 2 dents after the rock fell
Petzl helmet with 2 dents after the rock fell
My helmet after the rock fell, not that bad

2. How did my head look

Impact on my head — if not for helmet outcome would have been quite dramatic
Impact on my head — if not for helmet outcome would have been quite dramatic
My head after the rock fell. Not that bad either given the circumstances, but if not for the helmet I wouldn’t be writing anything on Medium

All things considered, the outcome is quite alright, but try removing the helmet from the equation.

By the way, don’t think that rocks are the only things that can fall — I’ve witnessed someone dropping their phone from the top of a route (luckily on the ground)

3. Someone else’s helmet after a lead fall

Even if you climb in a well-climbed slab area where no rocks can possibly fall, you still can. Taking a lead fall and hitting your head against the wall is not fun either. Here’s from my friend’s lead fall in Frankenjura:

To sum it up, the cons of wearing a helmet:

  • It’s hot
  • It doesn’t look good on my pictures
  • It’s heavy

Pros of wearing a helmet:

  • It might save your life
  • It might save your brain function (being alive but not knowing what empathy is not that easy)

Easy to do the math and make a choice.

P.S. Climbing and people in Todra Gorge are absolutely amazing and I would definitely recommend going there

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