Avalanche Pocket Guide — Bruce Tremper

AvalanchePocketGuideMass

The ‘Avalanche Pocket Guide’ is perhaps most appropriate as an in-field reference to introductory avalanche texts for skiers in their first 50-100 days or 1-3 years (whichever comes last) travelling in avalanche terrain. Long-time backcountry travelers may like it for completeness, or when teaching, but won’t consult it at every decision point during the day. Check one out in person (or in the photos), to decide it’s useful for you.

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Garmin Tempe Temperature Sensor

Well, I bought a Garmin Fenix watch, to be reviewed soon; but I was just as excited about the little wireless temperature sensor Garmin introduced at the same time.

GarminTempeWBatteryForScale

It’s an ANT+ temperature sensor built into the tiny Garmin footpod form factor. I’m looking forward to using this in winter, when temperature can be of avalanche interest in the field and back at home.

Read on for mass and temperature measurements…

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Voile Drifter 192 cm

After a fun demo of a pair of lightweight 120 mm skis at Vertfest, I’d kept an eye out for a sweet deal on a pair of truly fat skis.  The Drifter, at 153/128/141 mm, fits that bill.

These skis are used, but in stellar shape. The previous owner posted a review here. These skis are almost  certainly from Voile’s “zero-camber” sale of 09/10 skis.  Durability-wise, the previous owner claimed 70+ days; the bases are in stellar condition given that much use.

DrifterOverviewSmall

Weights: From the Wayback Machine in April 2010, the 192 claimed weight/ski was 2.11 kg/ski.  The skis weighed in at 2231 and 2217 g, yielding 2224±12 grams. That’s 5% high, even with binding holes drilled and some wear; perhaps pre-production weights were overoptimistic.

The ski dimensions are internally consistent at better than 100 microns, comparable to the amount of material removed by sharpening an edge. I haven’t yet made a major effort toward quantifying ski dimensions, but this is the best I’ve seen. Very nice work, Voile. Repeatability at that level hints at quality in other contexts. The ski topsheets claim 153/128/141 mm. My measurements give 155.1/127.3/141.3 mm, with uncertainties < 0.1 mm.  The ski shovel is so huge, it’s only barely measureable with a 6″ shop caliper!

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Black Diamond Drift 166 cm 2011/2012

A great deal on a pair of Drifts appeared on our local gear swap today, and I couldn’t pass it up. A friend’s pair of 165 cm Kilowatts is nearing the end of its service life, and the Drifts may be a partial replacement.

BlackDiamondDriftKilowattComparisonBy hand flex, the Drifts are far softer than the Kilowatts; we’ll have to see how they ski in a month or two. The tails are stiffer than the shovels, but they’re softer everywhere than the Kilowatts.

Weight-wise, the skis aren’t mint. The previous owner has drilled them once for Dynafits, and added tip/tail rescue holes. That said, these skis weighed exactly the same on my scale; we’ll call them 1464±1 grams.

I can’t find an official BD spec from the 11/12 season, Backcountry.com (archive.org) claimed 1561 g/ski, which matches a blem spec at GearX. For the 12/13 model year (different graphics), the claim was 1432 g/ski.  These skis are very consistent in weight, and 6% lighter than the original spec, far more than can be explained by the drilled holes.

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Dynafit Broad Peak Carbon Ski Pole 2013

broadPeakPoleOverview

I’ve been toying with the idea of carbon poles for a while. With a gift card generously donated by Evo to the NSAS raffle burning a hole in my desk drawer, I finally gave in.

My original preference would’ve been the BD poles, on reputation alone, but they weren’t in stock for the season.  A friend uses the Dynafit poles with gusto, adding a plus to the Dynafit column. This thread, however,  makes me more than a little concerned for durability.

On to the real thing. With the usual concerns about extracting uncertainties from two measurements, the poles themselves weigh 180.9±2.4 g. The baskets are 13.5±0.4 g. In combination, they’re 194.4±2.4 grams. Dynafit’s claimed weight is 190 grams.

broadPeakPoleLatchView

The Dynafit pole lowers aren’t round, they’re D-shaped, with notches cut in them to physically block the pole from slipping. The engineering and build quality feels very fine; time will tell if the complicated linkage will hold up to years of use. I’m rather partial to the BD flicklock system (why did BD move to something with more moving parts?!), but this system seems reasonable. Dynafit has a two-year warranty on the poles.

Review/more photos below the bump.

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