“Protect Your Head!” is the message that Dr. Jess, who is back with us today with a gear evaluation, has for all of us, including CXC.
I prefer to think of myself as a climber who is conscientious of safety and accountable for their actions. I give my gear meticulous maintenance, I get rid of old gear on a regular basis, and before every climb, my belayer and I inspect the harness and any knots we have tied. Despite the fact that I place a high priority on safety, I am ashamed to admit that it took me five years of rock climbing before I finally bought a helmet.
It’s possible that the fact that I learned to climb in the relatively risk-free environment of a climbing gym. The fact that I never saw my friends or the pros climb while wearing a helmet, or the fear that it would be hot and uncomfortable were the reasons why I never gave much thought to the idea of not wearing a helmet while sport climbing outside. After I started rock climbing in Safe Harbor and Birdsboro, Pennsylvania, everything changed.
Both locations provide well-bolted routes on man-made crags (a road cut and an old quarry) that have a significant amount of free rock to climb on. After making the investment in the Petzl Elia women’s climbing helmet (This item is already sold out – we highly recommend a better item), I have resolved that I would never again engage in climbing activities without wearing one. This is why:
The fit of a climbing helmet is critical to ensuring that it performs as intended, and I have to say that this particular helmet does an excellent job of accommodating my head. When you put on a helmet, it should not slide or flop around on your head, and the chinstrap should not be so tight that it cuts into your neck when you look up. The helmet should fit your head like a glove. It is possible to acquire an exact and comfortable alignment of Petzl’s OMEGA system by adjusting the Elia headband, which has a range of 52-58 cm and may be adjusted.
The OMEGA system is the inside support band that has been created particularly to be suitable with ponytails as well as changeable hairstyles (my favorite part of the helmet, although you will have to slightly adjust the fit if you switch from a ponytail to a braid). The OMEGA system features an adjustable mechanism for the Y-shaped webbing straps that go over the wearer’s ears, and the buckle for the chinstrap has been moved to the side so that it is not in direct contact with the user’s chin.
Believe me when I say that the instructions are simple to comprehend and make it possible to get a highly customized fit. I know all of this seems difficult, but trust me when I say it. My experience has been that the helmet fits securely on my head, does not shift even when I perspire or glance in different directions, and the chinstrap is so at ease that I sometimes forget I’m even wearing it.
The Elia has a hard exterior shell made of acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS), a polystyrene internal liner (which is what really absorbs impact forces), and straps made of tight polyester webbing. The material acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) is used for Elia’s robust outer shell. After working up a sweat, you’ll appreciate the fact that the interior is lined with foam padding that can be removed and washed.
The mechanism for adjusting the headband tucks away neatly inside the shell for convenient storage. The Elia is offered in a white or purple color option; however, Petzl does not advise painting or putting stickers on the shell since doing so may affect the ABS material’s structural integrity. There are four clips for attaching the headlight, in addition to the small side apertures that provide ventilation. Although I find it to be rather lightweight, I am aware that there are helmets available that are even lighter.
It is essential that I am aware that the Elia satisfies the requirements set out by the European Committee for Standardization and the Union Internationale de Associations d’Alpinisem, despite the fact that I fervently hope I will never have to put my helmet’s safety features to the test. This indicates that the helmet is capable of absorbing the force of 5 kilograms falling from a height of 2 meters at an angle of 60 degrees. Additionally, the helmet passes the penetration test by preventing a sharp item that weighs three kilograms and falls one meter from making contact with the polystyrene liner.
When pulled upward from the rear, in the area of the ponytail, the helmet does not slide off the head even if the chinstrap can sustain a force of 500 N in the opposite direction. The helmet comes with a three-year warranty from Petzl, and the company claims that its maximum lifetime is 10 years; however, if it is subjected to a significant impact and thereby faces the possibility of being damaged, it should be retired earlier than expected. In addition to this, make sure that you do not expose your helmet to extreme temperatures, sit on it, drop it, or otherwise abuse it in any way, and that you always check it for damage before climbing.
In general, I really like that the helmet is not only light but also robust, comfy, and tailored to fit women’s smaller heads and the hairstyles that they often wear. Elia’s ventilation system is the one and only feature of its functionality that I think might be enhanced. Despite the fact that there are ventilation holes in it, my head still tends to become rather sweaty. The helmet is able to accept the sticky Lululemon headband that I use to tame my wild hair, but I really wish it was as breathable as the Petzl Meteor III Plus that my partner has.
Financially speaking, a trip to the urgent care center is a lot more affordable! At REI, I purchased mine for $65.95; however, you should be on the lookout for any deals that may be available.
Current Crush Status
The Present Stand of My Crush: I’m Committed to Someone Else Elia is now my preferred model; but, after a few years, if a newer version that features improved ventilation is out, I may think about trading Elia in for her younger sister instead.
Jess has a degree in physiology and is currently working as a researcher in the biomedical field in the Baltimore area. Her research focuses on the physiology of the digestive system and the metabolism of the body. She has been climbing for the last five years, and she is overjoyed to be able to aid female climbers in better understanding their physiology and anatomy so that they are able to climb more challenging routes. She has been climbing for the past five years. Jess is the person you should contact with any inquiries regarding future blogs related to physiology.