Fenix HM61R Headlamp review

Posted by on August 29th, 2021  •  0 Comments  •  Full Article

I’ve been rock climbing, backpacking and back country skiing since 1976. I’ve seen a lot of headlamps come and go over the decades. My latest was a $100 Black Diamond Icon with 500 lumens. It is still working, but like many of these new chip embedded plastic lights, it has so many functions that it will refuse to turn on occasionally, and my only recourse is a reboot by removing the battery. It’s also heavy with 4 double AA cells. This new Fenix HM61R weighs much less at 5 ounces, has over twice the lumens and is built much better. The engineering on this light is remarkable. Even down to how the threads are milled. Top notch manufacturing.
(1.) It has a lockout safety feature…you just unscrew the cap three quarters of a turn;
(2.) It has 7 different lighting modes including the red;
(3.) It has a magnet for attaching to a car hood;
(4.) The battery lasts forever in low light mode;
(5.) It will also run on disposable CR123 cells;
(6.) Press the button and it tells you the charge level;
(7.) It rotates smoothly and securely to a much wider range of angles than any BD or Petzl headlamp.
(8.) Crazy stupid bright on the highest setting. Who needs that much light?
(9.) Only weighs 5 ounces…lighter without the top head strap
(10.) Lens seems hardened…likely to resist scratching
(11.) Really pretty to look at…beautiful machining
(12.) Has a cool magnetic charger. Like a Macbook magsafe plug. So much better than a mini usb!
(A.) The rubber strap that keeps it snapped in seems weak. As a rock climber descending a cliff at night, my life may depend on the headlamp. Easily solved with a zip tie, see photos.
(B.) It’s a tiny bit uncomfortable on the forehead if worn for hours. Easily solved with a glued on piece of foam.

On my last trip, I read for several hours a night for 5 days in a row on the lowest setting. It still had a full charge. That is one heck of a good battery, I bought a spare. Amazon does not sell just the battery, but Fenix does. My wife got the smaller Fenix headlamp…the one without the magnet and red function. It also seems great. I would buy these again in a heartbeat. If you are looking for the best headlamp, you found it.

August adventures

Posted by on August 27th, 2021  •  0 Comments  •  Full Article

Sue and I backpacked up to Van Trump for one night to paint. It was buggy, smokey and hot. I was unable to paint. It was one of those painting days where aliens steal my brain and I’m unable to see the train wrecks I’m creating. The sunset views were super pretty due to the smoke in the air. I took cell phone shots but wished I’d brought a real camera instead of my paints.

We hiked up a week later to Comet Falls. On the way up we passed a lovely old foot bridge upstream from Christine Falls. I could have painted both the foot bridge or the river chasm below and saved myself the hike to Comet. But we persevered up to Comet where I discovered the aliens had stolen my brain again. Next time the mountain isn’t out, I’ll just paint at the footbridge. Comet falls is way to hard to paint. I can paint the falls fine, but the cliffs on the side are just too hard.

We went car camping with Lisa and Dan at Rialto Beach by LaPush. They’ve changed it from a first come first served campground to a reservation system. This reduces covid exposure to the park staff but makes spontaneous camping harder for the general public. We were able to find a RV campground for $33 a night…but the darn aliens seem to have my painting brain on a long term library loan. I did two bad paintings in a row. The hiking was fun, and the views were great. I just couldn’t paint them.
I’m thinking I need to give up on gouache and go back to oils. Rather than changing mediums, I need to exert some discipline and do some practice work:

    • copy a master painter
    • use a limited palette
    • do a large studio palette knife painting of Rainier to practice mixing

What’s weird is I can draw great. My plein air pen work was very accurate. I fall to pieces  when I go to color. I also spent 5 days climbing at Index with James. Didn’t take a single picture and climbed mostly 5.8 and under with a few nines. I couldn’t seem to get inspired. We had fun, and gradually I warmed up. I really need to get up to Canada and shake off the rust properly.

Covid delta variant is making all the un-vaccinated people sick. It is true that due to the rushed delivery of the vaccine there could be problems out in the future for those of us who submitted to the rushed vaccine. But at a certain point you have to balance the very real risk of getting sick from covid with the slight chance that the vaccine could be dangerous. Those vaccine companies have no reason to make a bad product. And it’s not their first vaccine. It’s what they do. For me and everyone I climb with getting the vaccine was worth the risk. Those that choose to not get it are, in many cases, paying with their lives.

We did hear of one of our vaccinated nurse friends who got mild covid symptoms in a ‘break thru’ case. But she said it was more like a cold and she missed two weeks of work. No harm done.

As my buddy said: “We may find that 20 years down the road we will all be getting some weird cancer because we took a vaccine that hadn’t gone through the full rigorous testing procedure.” But at least we get 20 years. And they did test it on 60,000 people for at least short term reactions.