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Headlamps for alpine climbing 2019


Original Post
Nick Sweeney · · Spokane, WA · Joined Jun 2013 · Points: 662

What are the best headlamps available right now for alpine climbing? For my uses, it needs to fit on a helmet and go to 200 lumens or brighter. I tried to search for similar topics, but there was nothing very recent.

Edit: also need a lamp that has sufficient battery run time for many hours of traveling in the dark.

Rexford Nesakwatch · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2018 · Points: 0

Petzl Bindi, 200 lumens for a scant 35 grams

jdejace · · New England · Joined Sep 2013 · Points: 5

What do you have now? I've had the last couple models of the good ol' BD Spot and never really wanted for more. Reasonably light, reasonably bright, reasonable battery life.

Personally I don't want USB rechargeable for climbing unless it also accepts AAA's. I do run rechargeable AAA's in an effort to reduce waste, but always have a spare set of alkalines in my emergency kit. 

Jake wander · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2014 · Points: 185

I’ve had great experience with the Bd icon. A bit heavier but the distance and size of the beam makes it worth it. You have to consider more than just lumens. It’s not the best measurement.

I haven’t found a better light for route finding in the pitch black when every chimney, gulley or arete looks the same. 

Jaren Watson · · Idaho · Joined May 2010 · Points: 2,395

The new Spot is the best balance of brightness, lightweight, and low cost, in my opinion.
325 lumens, 3 oz, and $40.

You can find lighter and brighter, but you’ll pay for it.

rgold · · Poughkeepsie, NY · Joined Feb 2008 · Points: 526

If you are serious about "alpine," then you won't want something like the bindi that runs for 2 hours at 200 lumens.  Have a look at

https://www.outdoorgearlab.com/topics/camping-and-hiking/best-headlamp

Alex Fletcher · · Anaheim, CA · Joined May 2016 · Points: 249

I climb in red rock and have done some alpine in the sierras and the cascades and the buggaboos. I used the Spot for a long time and liked it. I’ve downgraded to the BD Cosmo for a while without complaint. Granted, I actually enjoy trail finding in the dark.

Recently I acquired a spot once again. I would not go into the mountains with less than that.
If I was doing the sorts of mountains where I’ve been before my emergency backup (maybe one for the team) would be the cosmo or something lighter even. 

If I was going somewhere more alpine such as Denali I would surely bring an Icon as the main and a spot as a backup for each person. At least to camp if not on route. 

akafaultline · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Nov 2007 · Points: 225

Fenix headlamps all the way.  Blow away bd and petzl for the $$$.  

Jakob Melchior · · Z├╝rich, CH · Joined Oct 2018 · Points: 0

compared to the Bindi the Nitecore NU25 is way better. brigther, longer runtime, cheeper and very similar weight/size

If more light is needed for routefinding the Nitecore HC65 is awesome.

Matt S. · · Milwaukee, WI · Joined May 2018 · Points: 0

I have the Petzl Actik and its worked well.  I'd recommend finding one that takes both AAA's and a rechargeable pack, as most of the rechargeable packs actually do much better than batteries in cold weather.  It's also nice if you have a powerbank along to be able to charge it up if you needed to.  

Here's an example of the rechargeable packs:
Petzl Core

Caleb Schwarz · · Colorado Springs, CO · Joined Mar 2016 · Points: 125
Matt S. wrote: I have the Petzl Actik and its worked well.  I'd recommend finding one that takes both AAA's and a rechargeable pack, as most of the rechargeable packs actually do much better than batteries in cold weather.  It's also nice if you have a powerbank along to be able to charge it up if you needed to.  

Here's an example of the rechargeable packs:
Petzl Core

+1 for the core packs in the actik for if you know you'll be climbing in the dark. USB rechargable is awesome.

My ultralight headlamp is ​This Mod​​​. Got the original headlamp in store at Sierra trading Post for only $15.
Limited climbing use, great for having having in the pack just in case.

I used to have the icon and absolutely loved the performance, but it was so heavy and bulky, I never wanted to take it with me.
M Jarmland · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2012 · Points: 0

I second the petzl bindi. It’s lighter than a spare set of three triple a’s!

One of them was bright enough for a friend (who forgot his headlamp) and I to get off a mountain after dark in Norway this January, which wasn’t that straightforward.

But, obviously, it’s an emergency/bivy light and not the best option for night time climbing/route finding.

Briggs Lazalde · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Sep 2017 · Points: 0

Hey nick, REI has an exclusive early release of the BD headlamps. The new storm 375 is amazing. I also have an actik but it starts to dim after 2 hrs. Its also light plastic and if u step on it its done. My favorite headlamp I still use 8 years later is my 300lumen icon. The new icons are terrible. The old icon takes 4 AA batteries and won't dim until about 15hrs of high setting. I don't notice the weight because it balances out with the battery in back and light in front. Overall the bds are stronger, light lasts longer and they won't break the bank

Jaren Watson · · Idaho · Joined May 2010 · Points: 2,395
akafaultline wrote: Fenix headlamps all the way.  Blow away bd and petzl for the $$$.  

Which model would you recommend?

Nick Sweeney · · Spokane, WA · Joined Jun 2013 · Points: 662

Thanks for all of the recommendations. Ultralight lamps like the Bindi aren't going to work for me - I need to be able to navigate an untracked glacier for hours on end.  The Icon looks good, but too bulky.  I'd like to find something a little lighter.

The BD Storm 375 looks really good! I also found the Petzl Myo RXP 2 headlamp. Does Fenix have a comparable model? Any Fenix lamps that people recommend?

BD Storm 375: $50
-4 AAA batteries
-Max Lumens: 375
-4.2oz
-75 hour run time on "high"

Petzl Myo RXP 2: $110
-3 AA batteries
-Max Lumens: 370
-5.9oz
-50 hour run time on "maximum"

C J · · Sac Valley, CA · Joined Jun 2017 · Points: 0

Another vote for the BD Storm, I grabbed the 350 model for $30.  

Chad N · · Central California · Joined Jan 2010 · Points: 1,872

I’ve seen bike helmets with built in lights. Would this be st00pid for a climbing helmet? BD has gotta be on this already huh? 

Charles Proctor · · Somerville, MA · Joined Apr 2016 · Points: 75

The Zebralight H600W or the Olight H2R are both amazing options. 18650 based headlamps blow everything else out of the water for doing actually climbing or skiing in fully dark conditions and it's easy to carry spare batteries and switch them out as needed.

Nick Sweeney · · Spokane, WA · Joined Jun 2013 · Points: 662
Chad N wrote: I’ve seen bike helmets with built in lights. Would this be st00pid for a climbing helmet? BD has gotta be on this already huh? 

I don't think that would be popular... I don't want to wear my helmet while doing the approach in the early morning hours, or the death slog to the car at midnight.  

Jaren Watson · · Idaho · Joined May 2010 · Points: 2,395
Charles Proctor wrote: The Zebralight H600W or the Olight H2R are both amazing options. 18650 based headlamps blow everything else out of the water for doing actually climbing or skiing in fully dark conditions and it's easy to carry spare batteries and switch them out as needed.

What features do you find better? At around 300 lumens, the battery life is slightly less than bd or Petzl, and it weighs 2x as much. Am I reading the specs wrong?

Charles Proctor · · Somerville, MA · Joined Apr 2016 · Points: 75
Jaren Watson wrote:

What features do you find better? At around 300 lumens, the battery life is slightly less than bd or Petzl, and it weighs 2x as much. Am I reading the specs wrong?

You must be reading the specs wrong. The outdoor gear lab review has a good overview chart of weights and it's only slightly heavier than standard options. I like that it's totally waterproof, has a physical lockout (uscrewing the tailcap slightly), and it's REALLY bright. You can ski woods in the dark at the same speed you would during the day. Also, it's very convenient having a headlamp that uses a standard rechargeable battery as the nicest new batteries are only six bucks. It's super easy to keep a few around.

https://www.outdoorgearlab.com/reviews/camping-and-hiking/headlamp/zebralight-h600w-mk-iv
Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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