Gear Review: Black Diamond Half Dome Helmet


A pitch up and already dehydrated, I cinched the chinstrap of the Black Diamond Half Dome firmly to my chin with my left hand, while ratcheting the adjustment dial with my right. I made another feeble attempt at following Dave up a thin corner seam on a dirty, under-loved multipitch in Marshfield, Vermont. As a new comer to the world of climbs longer than 40 feet, I was beginning to understand the inherent importance of climbing with a helmet. My right foot blew from its twisted jam in the seam, sending my body and head scraping down the facing wall.

Helmets are important. Not only do they protect your dome from the occasional errant falling rock, they also cushion the melon from your own climbing ineptitude. This became glaringly apparent as I dangled from the end of Dave’s 9.8, dejectedly picking at my battered fingertips.

But helmets aren’t just for the neophyte. In fact, it’s a wonder that people don’t wear helmets while climbing all the time. If I could wear a helmet bouldering and not get kicked, I probably would. I like my brain to be non-swollen, thank you very much. Herein, therefore, the Black Diamond Half Dome: a price-point friendly climbing helmet that’s light and versatile enough to handle a myriad of roped adventures.

In a climbing market awash with entry-level helmets, it can be tough choosing the perfect fit. Gimmicky helmets come and go, and new technologies often muddy the true purpose of the climbing helmet: protecting your brain from falling objects. If you’re tired of the helmet run-around, look no further than the Black Diamond Half Dome. Available in five colors and two comprehensive sizes,  (S/M, M/L) the Half Dome has seen a reinvention with the addition of EPS foam and a healthy dose of ventilation ports. Add a “highly adjustable suspension system” plus a fine-tuning adjuster wheel and you get  “the most durable helmet Black Diamond makes.”

About the Author: Newly graduated and painfully jobless, Taylor VanRoekel often refers to himself as a native Vermonter, despite only having lived in the Green Mountain State for a mere couple months. A Midwestern boy at heart, Taylor cut his teeth on the slick quartzite of Devil’s Lake, Wisconsin, where the cams slip and the climbs are short. Taylor enjoys poorly fly-fishing, moderate trad climbs and eating Chinese food.

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