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moss wrote: Most tree industry rules and guidelines throughout the world (where they exist) require professional work tree climbers to wear a helmet at all times at work sites whether on the ground or up in a tree. As Patty mentioned TCI instructors recommend and certainly require at facilitated climbs that every climber and/or person under the dripline of a tree wear a helmet.
In rec group climbs it is very common (it has happened to me multiple times) for climbers above to either accidentally knock dead wood loose or for them to drop objects, climbing gear, water bottles, wedding rings, you name it, it's fallen off of a climber. These are experienced climbers I'm talking about.
Obviously if a falling object is large or heavy enough a helmet is not enough to save a climber from injury. It's much like motorcycle helmets, there's a sweet spot where in relatively minor incidents a rider is saved from a life changing injury or worse.
To analyze the chance of a tree climber helmet causing a situation where a climber gets hung up and breaks their neck it is helpful to have a basic understanding of core rope and harness tree climbing practices. For example in rope and harness tree climbing the climber is constantly taking slack out of the rope as they climb. As we often say "we don't fall", that means if a climber does slip off of a limb they're not going anywhere because there's no or very little slack in the line. Just that practice alone practically eliminates the possibility of a helmet hang accident.
This can be discussed in more detail to cover other scenarios but by following the simple "take out the slack" rule "helmet hang" becomes a non-issue.
For my own climbing experience in a variety of tree species, weather conditions and locations I've never had any tree part that can hold my weight entangle my helmet, if it did happen the worst outcome would be momentary inconvenience. I'm guessing the person who told you helmets are unsafe is not familiar with mainstream basic tree climbing practices.