Friday, November 19, 2010

A Valuable Lesson On Helmets

This is from Beth Rodden’s blog:

Beth Rodden in her Petzl ELIA helmet

“One of the first cracks I climbed on my Yosemite quest was Central Pillar of Frenzy on Middle Cathedral. It was a Saturday, so my partner and I were rushing to beat the crowds. Surprisingly, when we arrived at 9 a.m., we were the first party. I took the first lead and found incredible climbing on polished granite, but just below the first anchors, my foot unexpectedly popped and I fell, flipping upside down in the corner and hitting my head. It was without a doubt the worst lead fall I’ve ever taken. At first all I wanted to do was flip right side up. I didn’t really notice anything in particular that was hurt right off the bat, but I lowered to the ground only to find a bloody shoulder and elbow…

A few days later I noticed that I couldn't concentrate on things properly and I felt a bit dizzy and nauseous. I started researching and thought I might have a concussion. I didn't think I hit my head that hard, but I don't really remember the fall, just that I had a lump on the front and back of my head. I called up my friend and ER doctor Noah Kauffman, and he thought the same thing. And so, 16 years after I started climbing, I learned a very valuable lesson on helmets.. I never wore a helmet before, except when jugging on El Cap or climbing in the mountains, where I thought there was a danger of rock fall. But now I know I should wear one all the time. I don’t see many top climbers wearing them during everyday cragging; I know I never did, and neither did my ex-husband, Tommy Caldwell. I can understand not wearing one when attempting a redpoint, but now it seems so obvious to wear one most other times. I put stereotypes aside and that next day I got one of the new ELIA helmets and have been wearing it ever since.”

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