Imagine you are sitting around ready to begin; you have your gear spread out, and your helmets are off.

How should you place your helmet so that it doesn't wander off?

2 Answers 2


Basically, there are happy turtles and there are dead turtles and helmets should always be placed in the happy position.

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Happy helmets stick around, while dead helmets have a tendency to slide down the rock.

Of course you could always clip the helmet to something, but it can be much easier to just place it in the happy position.

Finally, you should never sit on a helmet as that can damage it.

  • 4
    Or you could start by putting it on your head first. I've been to more than one crag that likes to spit rocks when the sun hits it, especially if it got cold enough to freeze the night before. If you're sitting at the bottom of the crag getting ready to begin, it'd be advisable to put your helmet on your head first instead of on the ground while you put everything else on.
    – ShemSeger
    Mar 28, 2017 at 19:22
  • 3
    I had a 'Happy helmet', it turned out was not as happy as I thought - it rolled down a glacier and over a 300meter ice cliff. It obviously had plans for us to both go out together- it did it at a slowish walking speed, slow enough to make me think I might catch it, fortunately its plans were thwarted by my climbing partners 'enthusiastic desire' to remind me I was off belay. Lesson learned the only truly happy helmet is on your head. If you must take it off (e.g to shed lay of clothing like I was), clip it, as it will try to escape.
    – user5330
    Mar 29, 2017 at 1:26

In the army we used "dead turtle" - mainly to make it harder for bugs/scorpions/spiders/other friends to get in. So there's no right/wrong, just pros/cons.

And of course, the best way to keep it from falling/rolling is to clip it to something.

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