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Headlamps for alpine climbing 2019


gumbie gene · · NJ · Joined Sep 2016 · Points: 0
Stever wrote:

Why is it overkill? 

I've never found the need for 950 lumens and pretty heavy compared to the HM60R. And since I've been able to get away with the BD spot at 300 lumens till now, I doubt I'd end up with the need for 950 lumens. Plus the lighter the headlamp is, the more likely I'll be using it. 


I use it mainly for rappelling down not too commiting routes and for walking out of trails.
Briggs Lazalde · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Sep 2017 · Points: 0
gumbie gene wrote:

I've never found the need for 950 lumens and pretty heavy compared to the HM60R. And since I've been able to get away with the BD spot at 300 lumens till now, I doubt I'd end up with the need for 950 lumens. Plus the lighter the headlamp is, the more likely I'll be using it. 


I use it mainly for rappelling down not too commiting routes and for walking out of trails.

We do most of our cragging at night during the summer. I'd be good to keep a bright,small, lightweight headlamp for the climber and have a spotlight of a headlamp on the belayer 

Jaren Watson · · Idaho · Joined May 2010 · Points: 2,506
Briggs Lazalde wrote:

We do most of our cragging at night during the summer. I'd be good to keep a bright,small, lightweight headlamp for the climber and have a spotlight of a headlamp on the belayer 

This is the context I’m most looking forward to.

Mel on · · NJ · Joined Sep 2018 · Points: 0
Briggs Lazalde wrote:

Mel do you by chance have an idea on the generation of the 2 storms? Was it within the last 2 model releases?  Suppose it doesnt matter since I'm switching from BD headlamps anyway but I'm wondering if that problem occured in just recent or older models.

They were both purchased near the end of 2015 if that helps. I'm also curious to know if they actually fixed the problem as they claimed to.

Stever · · Squamish, BC · Joined Nov 2009 · Points: 20

Fenix has the HL60R for $60 after free shipping and the new member coupon code...but only applies to US residence with US credit card... bummer!! 

Jaren Watson · · Idaho · Joined May 2010 · Points: 2,506

Field report, Fenix hl60r.

At 3:00 a.m., my wife received a text from a friend *B saying her boyfriend *N was missing.

He had gone hiking, and at 9:00 p.m., he texted her saying he was twenty minutes from the car. She didn’t hear from him after that.

Around midnight, after dozens of unanswered texts and calls, B called the police, but of course, it was too early to warrant an organized search. Still, that didn’t stop her from worrying.

She drove to the trailhead, found his car, and started looking. After three hours with no luck, she headed back to the trailhead and contacted my wife.

I arrived at the trailhead at 3:45 a.m. and started hiking. I set my headlamp to 400 lumens, figuring I’d need at least 90 minutes of runtime before it got light enough to search without the headlamp. Fenix’s specs indicate the beam’s distance on this setting to be 249’. 

Given the time elapsed, it didn’t make sense that N was on the trail, because even if he’d sprained or broken something, you’d imagine he could have covered the distance in the six hours after last contact. So I swept the light beam from side to side as I walked, scanning the ridge lines above me, yelling periodically for N. It was nice to be able to illuminate huge swaths of ground.

After only 16 minutes looking, I heard a faint “Help!”

Sure enough, he was off trail, way the hell up a steep side hill. He’d tried to beat the dark by taking what he imagined to be a straight shot to his car, but he got turned around in the complexity of the ridge system. So even though he was fewer than two miles from the road, he no longer knew where it was. He tried to get back to the trail, but he couldn’t find it either.

He hiked up and down several ridges and draws until he was too tired. He tried sleeping for a while, but got too cold. He estimated he’d been moving again for about an hour when I found him.

Let’s not get too sidetracked here, but we can agree it’s unwise to go hiking near dusk on a rainy 45 degree night with no jacket, hat or gloves, no headlamp, wearing just shorts and a cotton t-shirt. 
Furthermore, upon realizing it’s getting dark, heading cross country in unfamiliar terrain is not recommended. Stick to the trail.

N was tired, cold, and wet. If the nighttime temps had 7-10 degrees lower, I suspect he would have been hypothermic.

After I got him warmed, dry, and back to the car, I asked him how he knew I was there. Did he hear me yelling or see my light?

He said he saw a bright glow moving through the trees and thought it was a car driving up the road (he was confused—no road there).

Nicely done, Fenix.

Briggs Lazalde · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Sep 2017 · Points: 0
Jaren Watson wrote: Field report, Fenix hl60r.

At 3:00 a.m., my wife received a text from a friend *B saying her boyfriend *N was missing.

He had gone hiking, and at 9:00 p.m., he texted her saying he was twenty minutes from the car. She didn’t hear from him after that.

Around midnight, after dozens of unanswered texts and calls, B called the police, but of course, it was too early to warrant an organized search. Still, that didn’t stop her from worrying.

She drove to the trailhead, found his car, and started looking. After three hours with no luck, she headed back to the trailhead and contacted my wife.

I arrived at the trailhead at 3:45 a.m. and started hiking. I set my headlamp to 400 lumens, figuring I’d need at least 90 minutes of runtime before it got light enough to search without the headlamp. Fenix’s specs indicate the beam’s distance on this setting to be 249’.

Given the time elapsed, it didn’t make sense that N was on the trail, because even if he’d sprained or broken something, you’d imagine he could have covered the distance in the six hours after last contact. So I swept the light beam from side to side as I walked, scanning the ridge lines above me, yelling periodically for N. It was nice to be able to illuminate huge swaths of ground.

After only 16 minutes looking, I heard a faint “Help!”

Sure enough, he was off trail, way the hell up a steep side hill. He’d tried to beat the dark by taking what he imagined to be a straight shot to his car, but he got turned around in the complexity of the ridge system. So even though he was fewer than two miles from the road, he no longer knew where it was. He tried to get back to the trail, but he couldn’t find it either.

He hiked up and down several ridges and draws until he was too tired. He tried sleeping for a while, but got too cold. He estimated he’d been moving again for about an hour when I found him.

Let’s not get too sidetracked here, but we can agree it’s unwise to go hiking near dusk on a rainy 45 degree night with no jacket, hat or gloves, no headlamp, wearing just shorts and a cotton t-shirt. 
Furthermore, upon realizing it’s getting dark, heading cross country in unfamiliar terrain is not recommended. Stick to the trail.

N was tired, cold, and wet. If the nighttime temps had 7-10 degrees lower, I suspect he would have been hypothermic.
After I got him warmed, dry, and back to the car, I asked him how he knew I was there. Did he hear me yelling or see my light?

He said he saw a bright glow moving through the trees and thought it was a car driving up the road (he was confused—no road there).

Nicely done, Fenix.

Dude bad judgment call on his part but amazing friends to back him up when he falls short. Good work Jaren

FrankPS · · Atascadero, CA · Joined Nov 2009 · Points: 275

Good job, Jaren. How old is your unprepared friend? A good headlamp and a satellite messenger are life-savers.

Jaren Watson · · Idaho · Joined May 2010 · Points: 2,506

Thanks, Briggs and Frank. He’s somewhere around 28, I think. Old enough to know better. Light and fast is awesome, until it isn’t.

He’s not my friend, incidentally. I’ve never met him before. My wife and his girlfriend are friends, and we’ve hiked with her a few times.

Ryan Pfleger · · North Lake Tahoe, CA · Joined Sep 2014 · Points: 20

Saw your FB post and was wondering which headlamp you were referring to. Nice! 

Dan Gozdz · · Louisville, CO · Joined Jun 2015 · Points: 0

I've been using this Petzl for a while and have been quite happy with it. https://m.petzl.com/US/en/Tactical/Versatile-headlamps/TACTIKKA-CORE

Small, rechargeable, accepts AAAs as backups, fairly bright, and most importantly - it's reliable. It may just be me,  but I've found just being comfortable in the dark is more important than the light used. I haven't used this one for finding raps in the dark yet but a less powerful older version that I broke the rechargeable battery's clip on did the job just fine. The core version of this lamp has a higher lumen output than the non-core version for some reason. 

Stever · · Squamish, BC · Joined Nov 2009 · Points: 20

Bought and tested the Felix HL60R on a recent trip, found it a bit heavy on the helmet (mammut wallrider) and had to tighten the straps of my helmet so my helmet wouldn’t slide forward on my head from the weight.

Thinking about looking at the HP25r or HM50R as alternatives 

David Spittle · · Brisbane, Queensland, AU · Joined Jun 2019 · Points: 0

This has been a good read. And I stumbled across the page whilst researching the Zebralight 600w mk IV

It seems like a good headlamp with great reviews.

Can anyone comment as to why they’re so much more expensive and more popular than some of the cheaper Chinese companies? I mean some cheaper alternatives  feel pretty solid and are they’re also very bright. I borrowed one of my friend’s who swears by sub-$20 lamps, I used one to navigate an overgrown rainforest on the weekend. I’m not sure the brand but it used a XM-L2 led which is dimmer than the Zebralight but it had a telescopic end to broaden and narrow the beam depending on whether we needed to get a general feel or look further ahead. 
I’m planning a 7 day hike in China in a few months so am reaserching what to buy as my main lamp.

Long Ranger · · Boulder, CO · Joined Jan 2014 · Points: 316

I bought the Zebralight because I wanted to get away from crappy plastic headtorches that break on me when I just change the battery. If that's not a priority to you, buy the cheap knockoff Chinese crap. Some people buy headlamps like they buy sunglasses - they know they're going to break them/lose them, so they just buy cheap ones. Other people want to get off that treadmill and invest in something good and take care of it.

For a backpack trip, I think the thing to consider is how much hiking at night you're going to do? If it's a lot, get a bright light. If it's minimal/none, then you just need a camp light - the Zebralight would be a poor fit. You want something light, low strength, and has a red LED. If you're only using it an hour or two/night, even max battery life isn't real important. Nothing is more annoying than the dude who has his light on "high" and being oblivious he is to the rest of the group around a circle. This is sort of why crap plastic headtorches are what you find at places like REI - it's what people do with them.

If instead you need to navigate all night on a ridgeline - get a good light.

David Spittle · · Brisbane, Queensland, AU · Joined Jun 2019 · Points: 0

The reason for my post wasn’t to discredit the Zebralights. I’m very much am into buying decent gear and they look awesome (and I may even buy one). It’s just that my friend and I had tried what seem to be very good (hand)torches at a much lower cost.

Ive not seen the internal electronics but torches aren’t the most complex of devices and we wondered whether marketing may play a big part in the higher cost as Zebralights are also made in China?

So I guess I’m wondering if there are any other hidden gems out there.

To answer your questions. Its use will tend to be if I don’t make it to where I need to be by night time. So on the weekend we used for two hours. But I wouldn’t mind doing some more night walks and the terrains are variable.

And the idea would be that I’d use a dimmer setting for all but when I need to look further.

I have crappy headlamp for camp.

al ex · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2016 · Points: 20

With the Zebralights you can have a pretty wide pick of beam pattern and tint, depending on your needs and preferences. Not so much with the knock offs. They do tend to have a nicer beam if you’re picky about that sort of thing. 

Long Ranger · · Boulder, CO · Joined Jan 2014 · Points: 316
David Spittle wrote: Ive not seen the internal electronics but torches aren’t the most complex of devices and we wondered whether marketing may play a big part in the higher cost as Zebralights are also made in China?
I'm not sure what marketing Zebralights has - their website looks like it was made by me, in the 90's, their product line is a complicated mess of heavily overlapping offerings, and they've decided to go with the, "what would Rambo use for a headlamp" couture. It does one thing, well, that's about it.
Will Haden · · KC, MO · Joined Oct 2015 · Points: 90
Long Ranger wrote: their product line is a complicated mess of heavily overlapping offerings

This is why I ended up with a Fenix instead of Zebra. They make it really difficult to understand what you're looking at and the difference between the lights. 

Austin Wainwright · · Arico, Tenerife · Joined Feb 2019 · Points: 40

I work in a gear shop and am testing the new BD Spot 325 and so far im very impressed. Small, lightweight, can be locked in off mode when not in use and super bright. It's waterproof too adhering to IPX8 standards. Only downside is it`s not rechargable (takes 3 AAA) but....... rechargable headlights don't last as long burn wise, some models less than half for the same lumen output (in the BD. However, this isn't the most eco friendly option but very practical. 

Briggs Lazalde · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Sep 2017 · Points: 0
Austin Wainwright wrote: I work in a gear shop and am testing the new BD Spot 325 and so far im very impressed. Small, lightweight, can be locked in off mode when not in use and super bright. It's waterproof too adhering to IPX8 standards. Only downside is it`s not rechargable (takes 3 AAA) but....... rechargable headlights don't last as long burn wise, some models less than half for the same lumen output (in the BD. However, this isn't the most eco friendly option but very practical. 

I used to be impressed by BD headlamps too but after this thread a lot has been brought to light for me and I realise there are much stronger, more powerful headlamps, albeit heavier,  on the market that are better suited for different purposes. Try some of the lights mentioned in this thread and you'll be impressed. Still consider this thread one of the best given how it changed so many people's minds on headlamps. Having a reliable headlamp that is both powerful and not prone to failure can really make the difference  between a situation being safe or dangerous.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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