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altimeter watches

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I recall a long drawn out discussion about these watches (even someone calling them small because they are "girly"). Do a search on the gear review section.

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I got it, I like it.

Casio....meh

Suunto...meh

Highgear...meh

Nike....meh, but I like it a little better than the others

They all work as long as you calibrate them often. I would look at things like how often in refreshes the alt, temp, etc. And in what increments it measures. Some do 20ft, some do 1ft increments. If you don't care about that stuff buy what is on sale. If you really want to use things like temp, buy the highgear altitech clip style. Keep the watch band in mind too. Do you want it on the inside or outside of your jacket? good luck.

K

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So how high does the altimeter go on the Nike? What are the scale for the altimeter? Since you have one. I looked and could not find any info.

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I have the Nike watch and I've been up to 14K with it. Needless to say it did not work in a pressurized air cabin (duh!) so I can't really tell you how high it goes. However I do not recommend this watch because of the rubber/plastic wrist band. It broke due to normal (not heavy wear) and the only way to replace it is to send it to Nike and pay prob $50 and wait six weeks, blah blah blah. Right now it serves as my alarm (it has six alarms which is pretty cool). Oh the scale is 10' increments.

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I have not had any problems with mine strapwise. My brother lost a casio triple sensor cuz the strap broke. Suuntos seem to be pretty beefy. Can't remember what broke on mine but I returned 2 suuntos before I gave up on them. The alarms on the Nike are pretty nice to have. Mine has 4 time alarms, 2 altitude alarms, and 1 temperature alarm. But if the temp on your wrist hits 32 degrees...well, you have been dead for a while. If you are not looking for it to be a wearable fashion piece I would seriously consider the HighGear Altimax. That is what I take climbing. I dont like having crap on my wrist with gloves, leashes, etc. Besides then the temp reading is accurate. The watch is for hikes, skiing (Nike has a ski function), and for waking my ass up in the AM.

bigdrink.gif

 

edit

Oh yeah..the Nike battery is a pain in the ass to change. It can be done, but you have to make sure you ground it when done, and you have to be careful of the rubber gasket. Requires a staple or needle to remove the watch straps and a very small screw driver to remove the backing. The suunto and altimax require a battery and a quarter.

Edited by K_Y_L_E

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I had the exact same band problem with my Nike altimeter watch. Sent it off and got it fixed for $75, took about 3 months, and within another 2 months had broken again. The housing is made of some kind of brittle plastic, the watchband pin holes break. I used it as an alarm until the battery wouldn't light it in the dark any more. Altimeter still works, but pretty difficult for practical use without a band.

I'm pretty disgusted at the overpricing of the Casio and Suunto altiwatches. I've been waiting for the price to drop. But $49 for a Timex is low enough to make me suspect it'll be crummy. I may get one of those big bulky carabiner altimeters instead-- except that they have also gone to over $100. For now I'll stick to reading the topo extra carefully, plus memorizing compass headings and landmarks on McClure to Muir while the weather is good.

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I've been happy with the Nike, but don't find it comfortable, so it's usually strapped to my pack or whatever.

 

Problem with the Helixes is that they freak out when they are near sea level. They don't register below sea level, so if you are near sea level and the barometric pressure changes, it gives you a weird error message.

 

I can't remember what you have to do to undo this, as the one I bought went right back to Crapmor once I discovered the problem.

 

Last year they had the Nike altis at the North Bend Nike outlet store for $50 without the digi compass and $100 with. I didn't get out as much as usual last season due to a little bit o' surgery, but had it up to about 9500 or so I think.

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A partners 1 month old Nike crapped out in the cold of a July Rainier summit.

 

I have an old school Avocet I like, the newer Suunto's are smaller than the Vector.

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I have an old school Avocet I like...

 

sniff, sniff... wimper, wimper cry.gif

 

I miss my old Avocet. Died on me several years ago and I've just never gotten over it. Seems like at the time, you couldn't get the old, and their "new" version wasn't available either. Does anyone know where you could find a new Avocet... or have they given up making them?

 

I ended up with a piece of shnit Suunto. They should stick to dive watches. Their algorithm for determining ascent/descent rate uses too short of a sampling rate or something - it's constantly changing on me, even as I'm plodding uphill at my one-speed, slower than molasses rate. The old Avocet was really good at this feature.

 

Granted, the Suunto I've got has a compass... which is handy - assuming IT'S ON MY WRIST. But 99% of the time, it's not, for the same reasons mentioned above.

 

The only drawback with the Avocet was that it didn't have a backlight. Dumb... really dumb. But after buying the Suunto, I'd switch back in a heartbeat.

 

-kurt

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Kurt,

 

I just got a flyer from Avocet offering the new Vertch II. You can buy them from avocet.com. They have broken the climbing version and the ski version apart, but I think that they both have both functions. I am not sure what the real difference is. My old Vertch is still hanging on after 11 years. I also have a Suunto and I like them both. They have remarkably similar accuracy.

 

Robert

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the vertech looks like a great watch. It does not say it is backlit. I am going to check it out more. Thanks for all the info.

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It does not say it is backlit. I am going to check it out more.

 

Let us know what you find out. Looking at the website, I don't see any difference between the old Avocet and the "new" one. I'm guessing still no backlight. mad.gif

 

Another thing I just remembered about the Suunto... if you DO happen to wear it on your wrist, the position/design of the buttons make them easy to push with normal movements of your wrist. More times than just a few, I've started a "log" and kept the thing in altimeter mode. Half way up to wherever I'm going, I look down and see that the flashing "log" icon is not flashing anymore. Grrrrr. At some point, I did something to turn it off. To keep this from happening, you can just switch it into some other mode, as you can only turn the log on/off from the altimeter mode. But that's kind of a pain if you want the altimeter mode to kinda be your "default".

 

It's not just me that has this problem. I've been out with others that have bitched about the same thing.

 

Thought I'd pass that along...

 

-kurt

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Still no backlight on the Avocet, and need to send it off to change battery. Otherwise a great watch according to friends who own one.

 

I'd personally check the combos alti + HRM.

 

drC

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I guess I'm the only one around here who likes the Nike watch confused.gif. After having gone through an Avocet and a Casio, my Nike is by far the easiest to use, see and the most comfortable to wear - in fact I wear it a lot when I'm going on training runs. It's ben up Rainier a few times and survived a trip to Alaska. I've changed the battery in it once, taking it to one of those places at the mall where they sell watch batteries. The best part of my watch is that I got it at the outlet store for less than $150 bucks. I've never tried a Suunto watch - they're so big they just look silly on my wrist. My .02 cents at least.

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I've got a Highgear that seems to be working out nicely. I saw some on clearance for $100. battery is easy to change, straps seem durable, not too bulky (but it is pretty big). supposedly the altimeter is good to 29k pitty.gif

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No, I have been happy with my Nike (made by Citizen) too. The only thing I don't like is the strap, but not being a regular watch-wearer, I'm guessing no band is going to feel all that good.

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I've been using the Nike for about 3 years and love it. I got the titanium version for like $125 at an outlet and have only 2 small complaints about it: Changing the battery is either mega complicated or time consuming if you ship it out. The link-style band on the titanium version confused the hell out of every jeweler that saw it when I was trying to get it sized. It's stupidly complicated. I wouldn't dream of trying to do it on my own. Once dialed in, it's bomber and one of my favorite pieces of gear.

Been to the top of Adams, to Muir, etc. with no problems.

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I don't use altimeters. Take that back. I used to use altimeters and thought they all sucked. Plus, I hated calibrating them and starring at the map. More things to fiddle with means the slower you go. In the Cascades except for maybe the Emmons glacier in a white out, you don't really need one, of which you use wands anyways. Most routes around here have many land marks. If altitude is that important to you, then memorize the map and know when your at point B, your about half way to point C, etc...

I was on Ruth mountain with a friend and he wanted to turn around because the barameter was dropping. Screw that! You can run up and down that glacier in half an hour. So it doesn't matter. You could have a gadget that tells you when you need to drink water, when to breathe or waterever. The fact is, you can get up most mountains around here with slacks, jacket, a bottle of water and a stick. When i climb with people that have altimeters I usually hear , "oh, we have (while stopping) 500 feet to go before hitting the col."

Well no shit! I see it right up there!

Sure I've been in situations where one would be ideal, but guess what? I made it through the white out just fine.

PLus weather changes can throw them off.

Looking at those things is like looking at the clock every five minutes two hours before getting off work.

You could spend the money on gas for a road trip or lighter gear.

 

Now that I said that,:) If your going to get one, get a sturdy one. Don't worry about the increments too much.

Even increments of 100 feet is ok becuase you can't be too sure of the accuracy to begin with. Also, get one that has a strap long enough to go over your jacket.

And I reccommend keeping it in your pack and not on your wrist unless you feel you need it. You may enjoy yourself more. wave.gif

(opinions may vary)

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As an owner of an altimeter, I have to agree with Bill somewhat. But then, it all depends on how you use it.

 

I could care less how many feet it is until the col, or camp, or when my timer says I should eat Gu, or when my thermometer says I should put on my windshirt, or how many feet/minute I'm climbing, or...

 

But I DO like to know where I'm at, +/- 100 ft or so.

 

I've been in more than one situation where there's the "where the heck are we" debate going on, and the altitude has been the deciding factor. You're right Bill... it wasn't life or death... but knowing our altitude cleared up the normal "... we're here. NO... we're HERE. No you dumbshit, we're HERE... " debate that goes on longer than it takes to look at your altimeter watch. And THAT gets you going again in minimal time.

 

My peeve though is those darned GPSs and the time THEY waste. But that's another thread, me thinks.

 

And I couldn't agree more - leave it on or in your pack and just enjoy the day.

 

-kurt

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I could care less when to drink water or when to put clothes on. Just want to have it when a white out rolles in and there are no land marks. I have been on hood several times in white outs and thought if I were on a mountain I did not know so well it would be really nice to have one. I have a GPS and I never use the damn thing. If I do take it (very rare, once last season) 99.9% of the time it stays in my pack never used. However if I am going to get gear I want the best that I can get/afford.

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Still wear my old Avocet. I was initially bugged about the lack of a back light, but it seems I’m usually wearing a head lamp when I’d need a light on the watch anyway. Got to send in for battery changes, sure. But they’ll take care of repairs etc. The last time they actually replaced my bezel and band with no extra charge. Watch looks and acts brand new... must be over 10 years old now...

Knelson, I’m betting you can send your broken one in with a $20 and they’ll fix and return with no or minimal additional charges.

$0.02

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