Helmetless Caving Poll

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Helmet Habits

I would NEVER consider caving without a helmet under any circumstances
53
40%
I wear a helmet in the grocery
5
4%
I would NEVER allow Jonah to cave with me since he shows such disregard for safety
8
6%
I like to have my helmet, but would go caving without it if the opportunity arose
6
5%
I can imagine caving situations that shouldn't require the use of a helmet
40
30%
Jonah has big ears
5
4%
I wear my helmet mostly because it's expected and would prefer to go without
2
2%
I don't regularly wear a helmet
1
1%
If Marion Smith wore a helmet made with kielbasa, I would too.
13
10%
 
Total votes : 133

Re: Helmetless Caving Poll

Postby Jeff Bartlett » Jan 29, 2013 8:20 pm

wyandottecaver wrote:Second is the larger issue of "dont have complex discussions because idiots wont understand them" really? Using that logic we could simply put up a single locked post that says "caving is fun, we won't tell you where they are, seek experianced help" and that would be the forum.


This is such a gross misunderstanding of my post, I had to read your response three times. Have you been caving without a helmet?

No one said we shouldn't talk about this stuff; I said that when someone gives terrible advice, we should call them on it being terrible advice. "Caving without a helmet is okay" is, in my honest opinion, terrible advice. As such, I felt compelled to say it was terrible advice, and did. That way, people who read this thread know that, while some cavers are OK with it, others think it's terrible advice. The point is that, in threads like these, our implicit agreement by not saying so is conceivably dangerous.

I also did not say that either of my two examples -- "young cavers who have been in a cave or three" & "rock climbers who want to explore caves" to quote myself, verbatim -- were idiots. Of course, it's easier to attack someone else's position if you ignore the arguments they make and, instead, paraphrase them badly and attack the paraphrases instead. Well-played.
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Re: Helmetless Caving Poll

Postby GroundquestMSA » Jan 30, 2013 12:20 am

Jeff Bartlett wrote:
wyandottecaver wrote:Second is the larger issue of "dont have complex discussions because idiots wont understand them" really? Using that logic we could simply put up a single locked post that says "caving is fun, we won't tell you where they are, seek experianced help" and that would be the forum.


This is such a gross misunderstanding of my post, I had to read your response three times. Have you been caving without a helmet?


He's caving without a helmet in his profile picture isn't he? :big grin:
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Re: Helmetless Caving Poll

Postby Chads93GT » Jan 30, 2013 1:30 am

No matter how tight. Or how horrible the crawling cave. My helmet will always be on my head or pushed In front of me because my head won't fit with it on. It's always with me. Never left on the surface. And I agree Jeff. Bad advice should be called bad advice. Those who get butt hurt from it need to grow thicker skin.
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Re: Helmetless Caving Poll

Postby wyandottecaver » Jan 31, 2013 7:02 pm

Jeff,

No one is saying that offering an opinion on what consitutes bad advice is bad. I did indeed paraphrase your argument but did so out of brevity rather than an attempt to mis-represent it. I will be careful to use your exact arguments in my reply.

No one said we shouldn't talk about this stuff; I said that when someone gives terrible advice, we should call them on it being terrible advice. "Caving without a helmet is okay" is, in my honest opinion, terrible advice. As such, I felt compelled to say it was terrible advice, and did. That way, people who read this thread know that, while some cavers are OK with it, others think it's terrible advice. The point is that, in threads like these, our implicit agreement by not saying so is conceivably dangerous.

As long as we represent it as our opinion I agree. I don't think this is what your previous post said...at least to me, for the following reasons.

One of my primary concerns about the very existence of cavechat is that the conversations we have here just sit on the internet. Everything we post, unregistered lurkers read.

Yep, that's essentially the purpose of the internet in the first place.

Some of those are new cavers who would like to learn about the sport. Some of those are impressionable young cavers who have been in a cave or three, spelunker-style, and suspect there may be some safety measures they're lacking. Some of them are rock climbers who want to explore caves but don't know the appropriate vertical techniques for caving, and are looking for info.

No, you didn't say they were idiots. You did imply in the context of your post that they lacked information and due to their background they might not be able to read a thread of opposing viewpoints and make their own decisions.

You further implied in the context of your full post that there was in fact only 1 correct viewpoint and without the "right" people labeling the posts of the "wrong" people as bad advice the lurkers wouldn't be able to pick the "right" advice.

Where it crosses a line, however, is when we post on the internet that it's sometimes OK to not wear a helmet. It goes from "personal decision" to "at least some members of the caving community are OK with this."

I think that is exactly what we are saying.

You seem to be saying we shouldn't even post, thus discuss the idea that helmetless caving is ever OK... because of the lurkers you described above and their (implied) inability to read the opposing viewpoints and decide themselves.

Actually, several experianced cavers have made posts giving reasons why caving without a helmet in *some* cases and under *some* circumstances is OK in their opinion. I don't think anyone has said it is OK in *all* cases. Others feel it is never OK. Posting BOTH of those views to the internet crosses no line except an exchange of information, and should be encouraged not discouraged.

ultimately, caving without a helmet is always a "personal decision" that carries variable benefits and risks depending on the circumstances no different from going caving in the first place. posting various opinions on what constitutes acceptable risk is dangerous only to those who are intolerant of other viewpoints.
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Re: Helmetless Caving Poll

Postby eyecave » Jan 31, 2013 9:15 pm

i sometimes remove my helmet before entering a crawl......i wear it most all of the other time and if i caved in a land where caves were always horizontal... and usually tight crawls i would probably go helmetless.........or do something i don't think anyone has suggested so far...wear an "unsafe" helmet.....my first helmet was a plastic and "leather" early early bicycle helmet.....it protected me from scrapping my head on a ceiling or wall; but it would be "unsafe" because it provided no protection from, other than a thin plastic, from impact rock fall.....its long wide bill kept the raging water from my eyes and gave me a good field of view in a really wet rappel or climb...so, if you want to.. go get a smaller lighter "unsafe" helmet and see if a comprimise between no and full-sized is for you! :woohoo:

i am also thinking about how many times has the helmet kept me from a head whallop caused from a rock or "rock" impact.....i am recalling two significant events where my neck shoulder area took both hits...my helmet has had a lot of stuff hit it; but nothing big......the worst helmetless impact was a hundred foot fall of a large walking cane freshly shaped, which struck my brachial plexus, right side, blunt larger end down......the other end was sharpened.....the blow put me on the ground and it took a week before my arm stopped tingling......point being my helmet was no protection though i had it on at the time. :doh: .

would i ever do a vertical action without a helmet?...only doing something vertical outside a cave...another thought......my helmet has kept me from countless head and rock meetings over the years.....if i didn't wear a helmet during that time i would have been able to see a bit better and i am certain my style of caving would change where i would minimize head-rock meetings as much as possible; but i wonder whether there wouldn't be some scalp damage if i were helmetless.. :argue: .
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Re: Helmetless Caving Poll

Postby Dev » Mar 4, 2013 1:20 am

Hey, well, it looks like your fears came true! The lurker who was thinking of caving without a helmet has finially risen his head to ask a few questions if I may.

Im looking to do some neat things in Knox during my spring break with my gf, and I was hoping to go caving (NOT hard core, medium core, or even soft core caving, Im talking
first time in a cave that isnt lighted and have concrete paths in it) without helmets because I live in memphis, where caves like snow are merely fantasies. Assuming to get anyone to be willing to cave with us I will need a helmet, but would a construction one work at least for the easy stuff?

Also I read that someone said that caving with people he didnt know was akin to a darwin award.... soooo what would I need to do to maybe not be that evil oppressive dead weight (Or are you cavers just cannibals in disguise?)

*Edit* That joke made SO much more sense in my head, but now re-reading it, it is just creepy lmao. I just dont want to be that guy who rushes off to try something he saw on the net
and does something horrifically stupid, so I would like to join some people who know what they are doing. At this point, I just dont know enough to know what I dont know (beyond 'everything').
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Re: Helmetless Caving Poll

Postby Shane S » Mar 11, 2013 9:18 pm

I always cave with one. I have hiked and found a hole and crawled into it and if it looks like it goes anywhere ill return with the proper gear. I was at the cave springs cave in cave springs a ga year ago. If anyone is familiar with this place its about 50 feet of cave with lights rigged up. For something like 1 dollar you can walk around in it. Most people had kids and no one had a helmet. Sure enough in what little time I was there some guy bent over and when he raised his head and bashed it into a sharp formation. In my humble opinion it just goes to show that any cave is a dangerous for the unprotected head.
Last edited by Shane S on Apr 1, 2013 6:26 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Helmetless Caving Poll

Postby GroundquestMSA » Mar 16, 2013 2:01 pm

Dev - I somehow missed this post back when you made it. While you should look over threads like this one to get a well rounded education on caver viewpoints on helmets, I feel that the answer to this question:
Dev wrote:but would a construction one work at least for the easy stuff?

is yes.

Dev wrote:Also I read that someone said that caving with people he didnt know was akin to a darwin award


If you read long enough you'll come across some nonsense like that. Though I don't know what quote you are referencing or what the context was, the fact is that there are many cavers who would happily take you along.



Also - Those who feel that insinuating ones body into any cave without a helmet is immoral should add yet another fine young man to the Horrible Bad Sinner list. Berhane meskel Michael has proved, through his reckless, unprotected exploration of the Mighty caves of the Danakil Depression that he is unworthy of our recognition or cooperation, despite his apparent eagerness to continue caving. See the March NEWS.
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Re: Helmetless Caving Poll

Postby Shane S » Mar 16, 2013 8:18 pm

There have been passages I've found it necessary to remove mine and push it ahead to keep my face out of standing water.
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Re: Helmetless Caving Poll

Postby Cheryl Jones » Mar 27, 2013 12:43 am

From the 1953 Congress of Grottos minutes:

The Philadelphia Grotto proposed the following resloution:
<snip>
Now, therefore, be it resolved , that the Grottoes Congress
petition the Board of Governors of the National Speleological
Society to urge in every possible way that, in addition to
other reasonable and proper safety measures used by members
of the Society on any cave trip, it specifically urge that
the individual member never explore a cave without wearing a
hard hat."

After discussion the resolution was voted on and rejected. The main objection
to the resolution was that it tended toward regimentation in prescribing specific
equipment for the individual.
Read full minutes here

They proposed this again in 1954, enhancing their "whereas" reasons for the rule, including that "failure to take reasonable protective measures constitutes moral negligence." This time the resolution passed.

(Read all kinds of great NSS history in past Congress of Grottos minutes here)
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Re: Helmetless Caving Poll

Postby wyandottecaver » Mar 27, 2013 6:48 pm

moral negligence....too bad they werent successful in stamping that out of the society :rofl:
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Re: Helmetless Caving Poll

Postby GroundquestMSA » Mar 27, 2013 7:07 pm

I'd love to read those resolutions, but my connection can't handle the .pdf. I'll have to check them out at a library.

I certainly agree with both
'53 COG wrote:The main objection to the resolution was that it tended toward regimentation in prescribing specific equipment for the individual.
and
'54 COG wrote:failure to take reasonable protective measures constitutes moral negligence.
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Re: Helmetless Caving Poll

Postby WVCaver2011 » Mar 28, 2013 2:40 am

I'll admit that in my early stages of caving, I would not wear a helmet at all. Mainly because I didnt know the conditions in which a true wild cave would inspire such a thing. However, upon my introduction to caving, I soon realized that a helmet was absolutely needed in MOST circumstances. I was the first of my crew to start wearing a helmet. It was a bike helmet, but still a helmet (times were tight money wise). My friends thought It was stupid. I told them they should start wearing one as well otherwise a loose rock could kill them via brain injury. It wasnt long after I told them that not one but two of the crew decided to smack their heads off of an overhang that they did not see. I just simply responded "How's your headache?" There was a little vulgar language but nothing out of the ordinary. Those two mainly quit caving. I dont know if they thought the helmet idea was just too stupid or what. I still cave til this day when I have the opportunity. The gear has obviously been upgraded and it's kind of nuts to look back at the time when you were wearing a t-shirt and blue jeans to now when you're wearing $1000 plus of gear on any given caving trip.

In my own opinion I think one should always wear a helmet when traveling through a cave when it is possible to do so. I have taken my helmet off to go through tight spots, when im taking a break beneath solid bedrock, etc.
There's nothing that makes me more excited than finding a place underground that no one has ever seen or been in!

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Re: Helmetless Caving Poll

Postby GroundquestMSA » Mar 28, 2013 1:35 pm

WVCaver2011 wrote:The gear has obviously been upgraded and it's kind of nuts to look back at the time when you were wearing a t-shirt and blue jeans to now when you're wearing $1000 plus of gear on any given caving trip.


It's nice that you can afford to wear that many dollars underground. However, people fall into the same nonsense with cave gear that they do with everything else. There is always something better, and it's too hard for some people to see the difference between what is really needed, and what is available, or what they saw a forum post about, or what their buddies have. You mention jeans. Did you know that smart cavers wear Levi's jeans? Why? Because for cave exploring, Levi's are tops! Their snug trim fit means solid comfort, prevents snagging on projections. Their tough, super heavy denim gives added protection from cave clay and water. I know this because I read it in the NSS NEWS...of Nov. 1948, just a few years before the society was resolving to "urge individual member never explore a cave without wearing a hard hat."

Are jeans always the best choice? No. Are jeans always a bad choice? No. Are you automatically safer, better, or happier than a poor man because you're draped in hundreds of dollars of equipment? No.

The same argument applies to the helmet issue.
Is a man in this cave over here with a helmet automatically safer than a man over there in that cave with no helmet? Nope, Helmet Man may be a clumsy, careless ignoramus in a dangerous cave. Helmetless Boy may be a careful, aware caver in a cave that he knows poses little risk. If we could kindly educate one another, including new cavers, as well as possible and then trust one another to make good choices based on that education tempered with personal preference and circumstances, and then relax and let other people do things differently than us, wouldn't everybody be happier?

I looked at the Online Cavers site for the first time yesterday; add the editor of the NEWS to the blacklist. :big grin:
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Re: Helmetless Caving Poll

Postby Anonymous_Coward » Mar 28, 2013 5:11 pm

Dude, just DROP it. You are never going to win over experienced cavers to your side on this one. We all wear helmets. Get over it. If you don't want to, then fine. But you are beating a grease spot on the ground where the horse long ago decomposed.

P.S. I have caved with Dave Bunnell on several occasions. I can assure you that he wears a helmet.
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