When climbing in remote areas beyond the reach of immediate help you learn to understand the importance of having a healthy margin of safety. On Grade VI rock climbs in the Cirque of the Unclimbables and Grade III ice routes outside of Silverton I have found the trick is striking a balance between a helmet that is light enough not to slow me down and still durable enough to take some abuse.
Reviewed by: David Fay
The Mammut Rock Rider is a foam helmet designed for a wide spectrum of applications. My testing areas included remote alpine rock objectives in Canada to warm, sunny days rock climbing in Indian Creek to cold, windy days ice/mixed climbing outside Ouray. The helmet performed equally well in each of these areas–I did not overheat in direct sun or get a brain freeze in fierce winds.
Fit: I have a larger head (for example the Petzl Meteor comes in only one size and doesn’t fit me). With the Rock Rider sized large I found I could still fit a hat under my helmet when I was climbing multi pitch ice routes outside of Silverton. In a moment when I took my hat off on lead, I was not able to re-buckle my helmet with one hand (which happens to be a feature on the Petzl Meteor with the help of a magnetic clip). To prevent this scenario I would recommend not taking your helmet off on lead or getting to a no hands rest before de-layering.
Weight: The Rock Rider sized medium (8.8 oz) is a bit heavier than the Petzl Meteor (7.6 oz) or the Black Diamond Vector (8.4 oz). All of these foam helmets are significantly lighter than hardshell plastic helmets, which weigh between 11 oz and 14 oz. Another advantage to the foam design is more back of the head coverage. Protecting the back of the head can be indispensable in a scenario involving an unexpected or upside-down fall.
Durability: After 8 months of consistent use I have not noticed any major wear. The overall structural integrity appears fully intact. Some of the stickers have faded and there are many scuffs on the top where small pieces of ice have fallen on me. Yet all the buckles, webbing and headlamp clips remain unfazed. I expect to get a lot more use out of this helmet.
Bottom Line: Though the Mammut Rock Rider is neither the lightest nor the most durable helmet, its thick foam construction enables it to excel at combining durability with a light weight throughout a variety of terrain.
The Mammut Rock Rider (on backcountry.com)
The Mammut Rock Rider (on Amazon)
David Fay is a contributor to The Climbing Zine and holder of at least one naked speed record. You can read more of his work at his blog.
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