Expeditions, Navigation, Guided Walks and Trekking
In my recent blog on the equipment needed for Via Ferrata -ing I covered harnesses and the lanyard and karabiners designed specially to clip into the protection on the routes.
It is also important that helmets are worn, on the approach and on route. This is mainly to protect one from falling stones and boulders knocked down by people above you on the route. On our last trip to the Dolomites we had a couple of near misses that had they hit us would have been fatal. This was from members of our own group, never mind others higher up. Added protection from falling on route is also welcome of course, but the risk of being hit by rocks is very high.
The BMC have just produced an excellent free report on helmets, available here –
In the three types of helmet described in the report, its the hardshell type that is essential in the Dolomites when out on a via ferrata.
You can see me in my Petzl Altios part way up the ladder close to the top of the Brigata Tridentina above Corvara. This is a great helmet, although perhaps looking too much like a storm trooper. It is light weight; has a comfortable fit, thanks to a climate Control System providing ventilation between the inner shell and the top of the head, ideal for Italy in the summer.
Anyway, if you are taking your gear to the Dolomite’s this summer, do take a helmet. A lightweight, hard shell is essential to protect from the occasional stone fall.