Rappelling at New York's 260ft Kaaterskill Falls. The two tier fall is one of the Catskills hardest pure ice climbs in winter; in summer the 0.4 mile trail to the base is one of the states most popular tourist attractions.
Colvin and I were practicing rappelling for caving and canyoneering, desensitizing him to the rushing water, spray, and long rappel.
Ultimately the plan was to rappel directly into the lower pool of water and have Colvin quick release into the water for a swim exit, but the day's plans were interrupted by initially offering assistance and eventually being cleared from the scene of a injured hiker evacuation.
The day totaled out with two dogs doing 3 rappels, lots of scrambling, and a little excitement in seeing how long it can take to evac an injured person over a half mile of extremely dangerous terrain. A good reminder to double check your setups and be careful when tramping around the mountains, because even a half mile is a long way from help.
Kaaterskill Falls: K-9 on Rappel from Mountain Visions on Vimeo.
Tuesday, August 13, 2013
Thursday, August 2, 2012
- Uses AA batteries which are still the most common for multiple devices. Two way radios, GPS, camera strobes, DSLR battery grips, and the few remaining non rechargeable point and shoot cameras all take AA batteries. This means I only need to carry AA batteries and not multiple sizes (usually AAA is second most common). A second factor for AA batteries is the availability of AA Lithiums. These are not cheap, but they are easily found at any big box store and they work in extreme cold. they also negate the weight advantage of AAA vs AA (based on 3 AAA alkalines vs 4 AA lithiums).
- Has a seperate battery compartment and lamp housing for balance and comfort. True, while front mounted lamp/battery combos are usually smaller and lighter and you can lay down with them on, they aren’t as good for active pursuits. They tend to bounce and sway and usually lack a 3rd over the head top strap for security and stability.
- Rugged and waterproof. My Petzl Duo was fully submersible down to several dozen feet, and while I never went snorkeling or diving or underwater caving with it, having piece of mind that a little rain or snow or even the unintended flipping of a canoe wouldn’t be the death of my light source is very important.
- DEDICATED POWER SWITCH AND MODE SWITCH. With all the good options for the first 3, this was and still is perhaps the hardest option to find and thus it’s in bold. One of the things I liked about my Petzl Duo was it’s simple two switch lever setup. Up/Down/Middle. Up and down were for either lamp (halogen or LED module), middle was for power off. In the middle setting the switch locked out so the headlamp couldn’t be accidentally turned on, and this was a feature that made the Duo a favorite of mine. The Duo lever switch worked extremely well with gloves and mittens. Unfortunately, most LED headlamp makers like to have just a single switch that controls all the various settings. So with many headlamps you have to cycle through 6 modes (or more) to get from power off back to power off. Ideally, in a dual switch setup, one switch controls power on/off and one controls output adjustment.
- Power output. At least 100 lumens on high with a lower setting of 10-20 lumens.
- Battery life. Something that would last 3-4 days of intensive use at low to medium power.
- Beam quality. Lumens are one factor in quality of light output, but the type of LED bulb and it’s color balance, the reflector (collimator in LED tech), and the throw of the beam all make for better and worse beams.
- Cost. Under $100.
Thursday, July 19, 2012
There is no doubt that for most people a $1000 SLR is expensive. However, in the grand scheme of camera prices, $1000 is relatively middle tier and the thought of losing one to the forces of nature or in pursuit of adventure is somewhat bearable. But should your camera be at the mercy of nature?
I've been using Pentax gear for almost 20 years. I've owned and shot top end Nikon SLR cameras and glass, as well as owned a handful of various brand high end digital compacts in that time, but never have I felt like my money was better spent then when I was using Pentax gear.
Pentax SLR cameras consistently offer top notch image quality. They also offer rugged build and sealing to go with a solid lens lineup, including sealed zooms and pancake primes.
Because Pentax doesn't battle for dominance in the professional photo journalism market, it isn't forced to hold back technology for top end cameras, and it is able to concentrate on system size and ergonomics that professional outfits might not care about. This simplified technology structure allows consumers to get professional level equipment at relatively bargain prices.
Below is a great example why Pentax gear is ideally designed for outdoor adventure in a mountain environment:
Posted by Justin Serpico at Thursday, July 19, 2012