With the Sirocco, Petzl has taken the trend of lightweight gear almost to absurdity. After eliminating as much as possible, what is left is brilliant.
I began climbing in earnest in my thirties. Yes, I had spent time in an ROTC program in the Mountain West, where we abseiled from towers (using a figure-eight backed up with a fireman’s belay!) and practiced moving across class III terrain. But it wasn’t until years later that I bought my first shoes, chalk bag and harness. One of the decidedly few advantages to beginning a sport like climbing in middle age was that I never thought twice about wearing a helmet for sport or trad routes. Long past the need to “look cool” (now a woefully unattainable goal in any case–just ask my kids), and conscious enough of my own mortality to want as safe a climb as possible, a helmet proved–forgive me–a no brainer.
I didn’t play contact sports in school, and I grew up long enough ago that nobody wore helmets when riding their bicycle, so between ROTC and a few other brushes I’ve had with the military, my idea of a good helmet was something heavy and, well, heavy. Think one of the old Joe Brown helmets. But as I began researching helmets, and as I handled them in the local outdoor equipment store, I realized that my days of heavy headgear were behind me. And with the Sirocco, French climbing gear manufacturer Petzl has taken the trend of lightweight gear almost to absurdity. After eliminating as much as possible, what is left is brilliant.