By: randosteve|Posted on: May 20, 2009|Posted in: International | 43 comments

Just a quick aside from our Mount Moran extravaganza.  In case you missed it…there has been all kinds of stoke on the web lately (TGR, EpicSki and Barrades) about the multiple descents of the impressive North Face of the Aiguille du Midi in the past few weeks.  A sick line by anyone’s standards to say the least and to have it located directly below the tram…makes it even more insane.

Aiguille du Midi North Face-Eugster Couloir. Photo Phil Ingle.

First off, props to all the crews who sent this line. Ballsy indeed and a rad accomplishment. But after reading the trip reports and checking out the videos, the one thing stands out in my mind is that fact that on most of these descents…no one is wearing helmet. I understand the argument that if you fell on the route, a helmet wouldn’t do squat and you’d most likely end up a big pile of busted bones and body parts anyway. So what’s the point?

I’ve heard that argument before and I’ve left the avy gear at home on occasions to save weight on lines where an avalanche would be the end of it all…like on the Grand Teton, but I’ve never left the helmet at home. Seems to me that a rock, or a piece of ice, could come down at any moment and hit you in the head. At the very least, a helmet would protect you from that.  And in the event of a fall, a helmet (not to mention a whippet) could be your only chance at surviving such a fall…depending on where you fell of course.  Throw in the fact that you ride a lift to access this line…and it seems like a no-brainer to wear a helmet to me.

Maybe there is more pride in not wearing a helmet in a town like Chamonix, where nearly everyone walks around town wearing a harness with ice screws hanging off of it.  Maybe I’m just being a wus and need to learn how to look death in the eye better.  Or maybe I’m just so unfamiliar with the route that I have no idea what kind of conditions to expect.  Either way, maybe you can help me understand this one.  Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments section below.