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Climbing Helmets

Grivel Stealth Helmet

The right helmet makes the difference between wearing and not.

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MSRP: $99.95

Excuses for not wearing helmets have gotten thin. The argument that a helmet is heavy, restricts your fluidity, or makes you look like you have an unnaturally large brain no longer hold up when viewed through the spectacles of reality.

The right helmet makes the difference between wearing and not. For me, since last fall the deciding factor has been the Grivel Stealth. This low-volume lid rides as unnoticeably as a stocking cap—if, of course, that cap is caution yellow (the Stealth also comes in a conservative gray).

Co-molded with a polycarbonate shell and a dense Styrofoam-like liner, the Stealth is of the crop that uses advanced technology and materials to be feather light (7.4 ounces) yet protective enough to get the nod from the CE and UIAA. At $100 the helmet is almost twice as much per ounce as Kobe steak, but in the world of lightweight helmets it is reasonably priced. And durable. I treated it badly, dropping it among rocks and throwing it in my pack, where crampons, ice tools, cams and screws buddied up to it like prison mates, and it still looks nearly new.

Perhaps most notable is the Stealth’s unusual look. It isn’t a smooth bucket; rather, the shell is a geodome of angles. These reportedly act as buttresses, adding rigidity without weight. Whether the design increases protection I can’t say, but you can sit on the helmet, and, despite being Swiss-cheesed with ventilation slots, the Stealth has impressive side-to-side and front-to-back rigidity.

Available in just one size, the Stealth uses a widely adjustable nylon web harness. Getting the suspension so it fits your head is easy, and two quick pull tabs on the back of the harness let you adjust from a bare to stocking-capped head or vice versa in just a couple of seconds.

——Duane Raleigh


The Grivel Stealth Helmet is currently $74.95 (!) on Backcountry.com

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This review appeared in Rock and Ice issue 251 (July 2018).

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