Wednesday, 11 July 2007

Helmet's Story

Helmet and his Shiny Blue Coat

This is the sad story of the Petzl Meteor II no. 13,456 Helmet . Helmet was created in the Petzl factory in 2003 and given a wonderful metallic blue coating. It was here that Helmet learned of the privilege of his purpose: he was to protect his owner’s life and ensure his owner could climb with increased safety. Helmet was shown many gruesome images of what could happen to peoples’ heads if a helmet was not worn; Helmet now felt suffused with purpose and meaning, even vowing to make the Ultimate Sacrifice himself, if it meant that his owner would live on.



In the shop, many people tried on Helmet and commented on his nice colouring, but Helmet ignored them. He wasn’t there to make people look nice. Finally a young lad tried him on and Helmet just knew this was going to be his owner. Helmet’s heart lifted when he heard his new owner chatting to the shop assistant “Aye, I am going up to the North West this weekend, and thought it was time to get one of these lightweight jobs. Should be good for the winter stuff too”. A proper climber then! Helmet looked forward to a long and fruitful relationship with his owner. Helmet got worn a few times in the wind and sunshine and even acquired a few dents-the mark of a real climber’s helmet!

Helmet and me, Expecting To Fly E4 6a, Stac Pollaidh

And then the long dark waits in the back of the cupboard started. At first Helmet reassured himself, that not everyone could climb all the time not even this super keen lad. But from time to time, Helmet noticed that the other gear would go missing for days at a time. So, the Lad was climbing without him then! And with the nuts and cams too! Helmet felt betrayed, hadn’t the Lad brought Helmet to protect himself just like all the other gear? Surely not to be stuck on a shelf collecting dust, sinking deeper and deeper into a purposeless depression.


A rare outing for Helmet on Angel, Etive Slabs. Helmet came in very useful on this pitch as I fell off twice getting to this point and slamming into the lower slab... (S.Richardson)


One magical day, Helmet got taken winter climbing and he really showed the Lad what he was made of then as he deflected all the snow and ice that came tumbling down and even once, an axe that popped out of a placement. Helmet was ready to forgive the Lad if it meant more days like this but sadly, he never got taken out onto the white stuff again. One time, Helmet was put in the bag and taken off to a crag where he simply sat on the grass and didn't get worn at all. He even heard the Lad saying to his partner that because the crag was steep and the rock solid, he didn't need to wear a helmet!


Hadn't the Lad learnt that rock is unpredictable stuff and anything could happen like a foot slipping and taking a swinger into a jaggy corner? Or when a flake decides to detach itself onto a belayer? Or what about a backward fall onto spiky boulders?


Helmet got angry at being left on the shelf for longer and longer periods while the other gear went out and had all the fun. Occasionally some of gear didn’t come back, having made the Ultimate Sacrifice for the Lad. Helmet now hates the Lad and wishes that someone who did not climb such "steep and solid rock" had chosen him. Resigned to his fate, Helmet collects dust and dreams of days of feeling the sunshine and wind...


Sad and angry, Helmet sits and waits and collects dust

8 comments:

Niall said...

Bit of a random post, but not been getting out much since Pabbay/Mingulay due to rain and lack of dosh...

Anonymous said...

That's so sad!! I thought there was going to be a happy ending, but alas...

Helmut Schoen said...

Aren't you notorious for displaying your helmet at the most inappropriate moments?

Niall said...

Hello Tweedly, I wondered when you were going to make an appearance...

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Anonymous said...

Hey Niall,

A weird but amusing article. One note of particular interest is the picture and comment on Angel - the E7 at the Etive Slabs.
I was there earlier this year and cruised The Pause and Long Reach. Both times I had my eye on Angel, particularly for the mantel move! (As shown in the picture).

In an attempt to do some recon, is there anything of interest that someone as bold... (or stupid) as myself should know the third pitch of Angel before tackling it? I hear the third pitch is the crux pitch (I believe it climbs as 5b, 5b, 6a, 5b,5b) and above the mantel move, the slab is a smooth as glass... :s

So any knowledge is better than no knowledge. Thanks

Liam