Irregular Injection of Opinion
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 Monday, 25 January 2016
Modding the Black Diamond Jetforce Airbag Pack for Fast On & Off

Thought I’d post this up as it might interest other folks. The Black Diamond Jetforce, like most of the avalanche airbag packs, comes with a fiddly metal-on-metal waist buckle and crotch strap. These are needed because an avalanche is going to be fighting to rip the pack off your bag as you tumble down the hill. The problem is they’re so fiddly to get on and off and for cat/heli skiing this is a problem because you’re taking the pack on and off 20-30 times a day.

So, I decided to try modding mine.

I replaced the two waist buckles with rappel rings; just cheap SMC ones…. there were nice annodized red ones available but the basic allow ones were bigger. Then I used a DMM Alpha Bent Gate carabiner (keylock and a big gate mouth) attached to the crotch strap using a rubber doo-hickey that I canabalized off a Petzl quickdraw. Net result is a waist/crotch strap combo that does up simply by swinging the crotch strap between your legs and clipping the two rappel rings. Yes, it’s not a locking biner and I guess you could replace it with a twist lock for a bit more safety. But, I think a good overall solution.

WP_20160124_19_57_04_Pro_LI (2)

Ski Touring|Monday, 25 January 2016 04:16:28 UTC|Comments [0]|    

 Saturday, 21 November 2015
YaeVX-7R Clone Not Working

I’ma gonna put this here in the hope it might help someone. As it’s just driven me battey for a while.

I was trying to read from my Yaesu VX-7R. I put it into CLONE mode but pressing BAND was doing nothing; just turning on the back light. Turned out that I had the key lock on the radio and had to take that off. So, turn the radio on normally, turn off the key-lock with a long press on the ‘Internet/TX PO/LK’ key in the bottom left, then power-off and retry clone mode.

|Saturday, 21 November 2015 21:52:56 UTC|Comments [0]|    

 Friday, 09 October 2015
Ski Touring, Running and Blisters

Just sticking this here. If you’re doing a heap of touring or running and getting blisters then this stuff is th trick. I carry a little stick in my touring pack, slap it all over my feet each morning and voila! No blisters all last season even with 15 days of touring on the trot. Well worth the money. Amazon default to the larger size… but for taking touring I just have the tiny little stick for weight weenie reasons.

|Friday, 09 October 2015 18:45:03 UTC|Comments [0]|    

 Tuesday, 11 August 2015
Ski Touring and Snow Camping Stoves Stoves Stoves: MSR? JetBoil? Pots and Pans?

In the same way that one needs to have a bike for every different sort of riding I’m coming to the conclusion that it’s worth having a stove for every different sort of camping.

I currently have a couple of JetBoil Flash stoves and an MSR Dragonfly.

Jetboil Flash Personal Cooking System  MSR DragonFly Stove

I love how compact the JetBoils are but I found that it wasn’t a great performer in the cold (-10c to –20c) and at moderate altitude (~1800m) on the Spearhead Traverse this year. Even running it on the MSR/JetBoil Isobutane mixes . I think it’s still a good option for quick and light backpacking or bikepacking trips but if I was getting something know I’d probably grab the MSR WindBurner instead or maybe the Reactor which is a bit heavier but is meant to be the ducks nuts in alpine conditions. A bit heavier than the JetBoil but looks to be much better in the wind.

MSR WindBurner Stove System  MSR Reactor Stove

The Dragonfly is, of course, an ever dependable liquid fuel stove. But, it’s a bit heavy, you’ve got to deal with whitegas and I really want a heat exchange of some sort on the pot.
So it’s new pot time then. The Primus ETA pot looks really interesting. Alloy with a heat exchanger.

Eta Pot

The results look outstanding. Looking at this thread comparing the ETA pot and a triangia (basic alloy) pot…

Here are some of my results from yesterday.
all tests with White Gas, air temp :0 Celcius, 1 liter water starting at 10 celsius
MSR dragonfly ETA pot 1.2 : 2 min 50 sec.
MSR dragonfly tragia pot : 3 min 50 sec.

The ETA Pot is available in 1.0, 1.8 and 3.0 litre variants. The 1.8 sounds like about the right option for space and fitting the Dragonfly inside. 1.8l will happily do a freezdried dinner to share with a friend, a bit of tea and a bit of washing up. I’m not a huge fan of built in handles so they may get the chop-chop… Off to REI to see if they play nicely together. If so then I’m going to try that as my go-to for ski touring this winter and will report back findings. Ski Touring|Tuesday, 11 August 2015 15:29:42 UTC|Comments [0]|    

 Monday, 23 March 2015
Best Gadget I’ve Bought In A While

So. it’s totally boring, but at the same time totally awesome!

It’s this.

Or, to be more specific these.


They are USB chargers. Boring as shit USB chargers. But, in this age of USB charged everything they are totally awesome.

On the far left is the Anker 6-Port USB Charger. 6 USB ports outputting up to 2.6 Amps. If you have lots of USB charging slates/tablets, big phones etc… then a high output charger is critical.A bunch are finicky about working with certain devices…These just work. $35
In the middle is the same sort of thing but for the car. 5 ports at 2.4 Amps. $20
On the right is the 5 port model; 5 ports, 8 Amps total…. it’s smaller and therefore a bit more portable in my travel bag. $25

$100 well spent.

Toy Box|Monday, 23 March 2015 22:43:19 UTC|Comments [0]|    

 Monday, 02 March 2015
Finding your Fitbit… practical application of avalanche search technique

I lost my Fitbit this morning. Well; I knew what time I lost it to within 10 minutes. Thus I knew it was in my office. But, if you know me you`ll know that my home office is a `creative space` full of cables, wires, climbing ropes, puffy jackets, avalanche airbags, protein bars, clothes (clean and dirty), LPs and other assorted paraphernalia….

How then to find my Fitbit. it was time to recourse to my avalanche training.

First, I needed a beacon to search with. This consisted of an old Android phone with the “Bluetooth Signal” app from the Play store. This gave me the Relative Signal Strength indication value off the Bluetooth stack.

The real trick though is to perform the search as per an avalanche burial pinpoint search. Specifically it is critical to move the `beacon` only in a 2 dimensional plane and then also ensure that the `beacon` orientation does not change.

This video will show you how. 

Success! Found!

Toy Box|Monday, 02 March 2015 23:37:07 UTC|Comments [0]|    

 Wednesday, 26 February 2014
A Really Good Business Travel Insurance Policy

UPDATE: I am advised by the insurer that their wording is actually a bait and switch... that they actually meant to exclude all of these activities but they just forgot to put that in the policy wording (or some dross like that)... and that they are relying on your common law duty of disclosure to tell them about all these activities that they don't explicitly exclude (even though they exclude other activities explicitly and in some detail) so that they may then decline to make an offer of insurance. Well %*&%* 'em... better go and use the NZ Alpine Club insurance instead. Details here.

So I’ve put a few people onto this over the years and we struck up a conversation about it over on Twitter today.

For probably 10 years now I’ve been using ACE Insurance and their business policy. It is very comprehensive and, if you can get over the minimum days requirement, it is pretty damn cheap too. I’m not sure exactly what our details are now at Intergen as we do thousands of days now, but, when it was Kognition we got 100 days for about $700 a year. Pretty damn good.

Key reasons I like it:

  1. Few exclusions and no terrorism exclusion
  2. Good upper limits for electronics and camera gear
  3. VERY (and I mean VERY) broad coverage for sports and adventure sports. It only excludes professional sports, motor racing and flying in an aircraft not licensed to carry passengers (sorry hang gliders!)
    While I don’t propose to provide legal advice here are some of the things that are typically excluded that I believe will be covered*
    1. Off piste skiing
    2. Heli skiing
    3. Kite surfing
    4. Mountain biking
    5. Scuba diving including diving outside PADI recreational limits
    6. Mountaineering including climbing above 8000m

What’s not to love!

Anyway. Talk to your insurance broker. 

All the above is caveated that it is based on my current policy wording which may or may not be what you get Smile YMMV

Travel|Wednesday, 26 February 2014 02:55:49 UTC|Comments [0]|    

 Wednesday, 12 February 2014
The Case for Shopping Cart Abandonment

Interesting how targeted marketing is getting in e-Commerce. I wonder to what extent one can ‘game’ the system.

So I spent a few minutes yesterday at TheClymb putting some stuff into my cart. But, I never checked out. This morning I get a unique code from them to go and knock 30% off everything, I guess to try and get me to complete the purchase. I did and bought a bit more stuff in the process. I hope that they have noticed my behaviour and continue to come running after me when I leave my cart in the virtual aisle in future. With their extra discounts at check-out I think they track a bit cheaper than Steep and Cheap for stuff. Well worth signing up, filling your cart and seeing if they'll lure you back with a big sweetener.

Adventure Sports|Wednesday, 12 February 2014 18:30:52 UTC|Comments [0]|