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altimeter

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altimeter

Postby Booth » Wed Oct 10, 2007 4:56 pm

Hey I'm knew to the 14er scene, and after my first 14er and only so far I realized one thing I would really like was to be able to tell what altitude I was at. Does anyone have any recommendations on one that is affordable and has some cool features like weather reports and such. I would like to keep it under $100.00 but any advice is appreciated. Also are there any other gadgets like that, that are handy to have. I know somethings can get pretty expensive and I'm not looking to spend a ton. Thanks in advance

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Postby Layne Bracy » Wed Oct 10, 2007 5:16 pm

I own the basic Garmin GPS, which cost about $100. It lets me put in waypoints and routes, and along the way I can see how far to the next peak in altitude and distance.

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Postby MtnHermit » Wed Oct 10, 2007 5:33 pm

Don't waste your money. I've had maybe a dozen altimeters over the years and in hindsight they were all a waste of money. I've had simple barometric altimeters to complex watches. The watches just ate expensive non-rechargeable batteries.

Again, using 20-20 hindsight, I used an altimeter to infer position. Get a GPS, absolute position and a better altimeter besides. While a calibrated barometric altimeter can be more accurate for instantaneous altitude readings, a GPS will always win if allow to average a few hundred readings. GPS units which have dual mode altimeters, barometric/satellite are the best of both worlds at a considerable cost penalty.

Now that you can have 40-foot contour maps inside your GPS, their is absolutely no reason to own/carry an altimeter.

Sorry I busted your $100 budget, but maybe Santa can lay something on you. :)

Hermit

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Postby gsliva » Wed Oct 10, 2007 5:38 pm

I agree with MtnHermit, don't wast your money. GPS gives altitude to a much higher accuracy and doubles as a never lost device. Besides, when you look at the false summit and atain the false summit you still have to go to the real summit anyway. It is what it is.

Navigation is more important. Don't get me wrong, I have had three and now still carry mine and don't look at it. I carry it as a backup but frequently it's knocked off the daily barometric pressure anyway and wrong.

I hope this helps. I still remember the days where I would shoot berings and at the intersection of the crossing lines was my location but of course that dates me.
Live for the Climb and the search for commitment.

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Postby upndown » Wed Oct 10, 2007 6:08 pm

x3 the above statements. I got a Sunnto altimeter last Christmas. Turns out, it is a very expensive watch because the altimeter is inaccurate (we also had a GPS), the barometer never moves and the compass, well, I have an old fashioned compass that works great, lasts a long time. I never hit the mountains without it. The watch works great though! If you're a gadget guy, the GPS would be the gadget to buy.

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Postby GravityPilot » Wed Oct 10, 2007 7:17 pm

Buy neither a GPS or a Suunto style watch. Buy a military issue lensatic compass and maps. You never run out of batteries that way, also there is only user error, not device. So learn to use it, and practice all the time. Go find letter boxes. There is a small percentage of people that really "need" an altimeter. Chances are you are not one, I know I'm not. That's money I could spend on skins, skis, cams, rope, gas, food, beer and whiskey. Don't fall into the trap, GPS is full of crap.

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Postby Gossnath » Wed Oct 10, 2007 7:19 pm

x4
Got to the top of Elbert once and my Suunto said it was 13,600. (more than 800ft off) Another guy at the top had the same watch and his had the same exact altitude.
GPS works much better, but I now go it the old way. Learn how to read a map and observe suroundings, vegitation... Not as accurate but more enjoyable.

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Postby mtnduck9 » Wed Oct 10, 2007 8:09 pm

My Garmin GPS constantly floats: while standing in the same spot, it will say 10,000 ft, then gradually drift down to 9915 or so, then drift back up to 10,050 ft, all in the space of 5-6 min. It never does stop at one particular altitude.

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Postby MtnHermit » Wed Oct 10, 2007 8:35 pm

mtnduck9 wrote:My Garmin GPS constantly floats: while standing in the same spot, it will say 10,000 ft, then gradually drift down to 9915 or so, then drift back up to 10,050 ft, all in the space of 5-6 min. It never does stop at one particular altitude.
That's because it needs a satellite overhead, not off to the side which is used for x-y position. The odds of a satellite being overhead, within a small cone are small. Since the satellites are always moving, they drift in and out of the "cone" causing the "float" you experience. To get a "correct" altitude using only satellites, not barometic, you must take an average reading. I've found 200 samples is sufficient.

If you take an average reading, the GPS will display a position (x-y) error value, as a rule of thumb, the altitude error is 50% greater than the x-y error. By example, if your x-y error is 12 feet, then your altitude error is 18 feet. Some units show the position error as a circle around the position pointer. Smaller circle, smaller error.

HTH
Hermit

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Postby giarcd » Thu Oct 11, 2007 3:06 am

I own a High Gear Alterra watch (under $100) and set altitude at TH and it is reasonably accurate throughout the day.
Having altitude on the hike is rather cool. I check with others to confirm my reading and a whole lot of people have some form of altimeter with them. Enjoy

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Postby upndown » Thu Oct 11, 2007 7:31 am

robinmtns wrote:... or it was a day where the weather changed a bunch.
Exactly. That would make it inaccurate in Colorado 90% of the time. You don't need an altimeter or GPS, but at the same time, there are a lot of trip reports that say stuff like 'head east up the couloir at 13,800' or give a waypoint marking a geographic spot of significance and I like to have a GPS to confirm I am where I think I am. For most of the time, not necessary, but for more obscure routes, nice to have.

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Postby alsrun » Thu Oct 11, 2007 7:48 am

Look into the Garmin Foretrex 201.

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