I’ve been rock climbing long enough to know the importance of wearing a helmet, even when I’m only cragging. One of my best friends had a rock hurled at him from the top of the second pitch of Bonnie’s Roof in the Gunks and smacked his helmet at full force. He wasn’t even climbing yet, and the fact that he had the foresight to keep his helmet on during a busy weekend may very well have saved his life.
It doesn’t even necessarily matter the difficulty of the rock climb. A former roommate was climbing something 5.easy in Eldorado Canyon and slipped, taking an unfortunate fall that later would affect her sense of smell.
Gipfel Climbing Equipment is India’s first manufacturer of CE and UIAA certified climbing, mountaineering, and outdoor equipment. This start-up company was founded in May of 2016 out of the necessity for local gear, and thus, great gear such as the Alpine helmet was created.
Their Alpine helmet is an all around season helmet, meaning it’s perfect for ice climbing, rock climbing, and mountaineering. When I first tried it on, it was oddly comfortable, due to its inner foam lining that extends throughout the entire helmet, including the sides. The comfort of this feature was great but what was even more comforting was the extra protection in case of off-center impact (which we know happens all too often). While many helmets will only offer adequate protection during top impact, this feature is what provides cranial support in case of side impacts.
The interior foam is made of American expanded polystyrene (EPS), typically used as a lightweight, rigid insulation and more commonly known for being used as insulation in walls, foundations, and roofing. In addition, this closed-cell foam provides minimal water absorption.
Its outer is a polycarbonate shell that is fairly rigid. There are ten spots for ventilation total (six on the side and four on the back of the helmet), which is great for warmer weather conditions. Often, helmets make us sweat uncomfortably, are heavy, and chafe—which is one of the main reasons so many climbers won’t wear them. You won’t have this problem with good ventilation!
It comes with four universal attachments that work with most headlamps. The back of the helmet you will find an adjuster, which is quick and easy to use. The chin pads and nylon straps are comfortable while wearing and in motion.
People often moan and groan at helmet prices, but at the end of the day, you have to look at wearing a helmet like having health insurance. Ideally, you won’t have to use it but when you do need it, it’s there for your protection. Retailing at $75.90, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better helmet for the price. You can purchase the Alpine helmet here or contact their New York rep here (if you are located within the United States).
Disclosure: Gipfel provided product and compensation for this review. As always, all opinions are honest and my own.
All photographs courtesy of Gipfel except where otherwise noted.