Phil's Hiking Resources

Suunto Altimax Altimeter Watch


Suunto Unisex Watch SS004787110

I heard somewhere that your compass is the most important piece of navigational equipment. – Well that’s complete rubbish: your map is the most important, closely followed by your watch, and then for me in 3rd place is a good altimeter. A compass is then probably my 4th.

The Suunto Altimax is both a great stop-watch for timings and a superb altimeter. I like their bog standard bottom of the range model (so much i have two!). i don’t want an electronic compass sapping my battery or a heart rate monitor or any other cack to confuse me.

A fab piece of kit – i wouldn’t be without one.

 


Author: Phil Newby

4 Responses to “Suunto Altimax Altimeter Watch”

  1. Gerald Davison

    Hear, hear! Fantastic item, but you do need to make sure you re-calibrate it every few hours at known spot heights.

  2. Phil Newby

    Yes dead right, all barometric altimeters need frequent re-calibration at known spot heights.

    Any diiference in altitude between calibration points, gives you more information on what the weather is doing. If you read low at your next known point then this indicates the presure is rising, if you read high then the pressure is going down which may just indicate stronger wind (e.g. on a ridge edge) or it might mean the weather is going to get worse.

  3. steve d

    The suggestion that a compass is 4th is ridiculous, that is not what mountaineering is about. Joint first is the compass and map, thats all you need. How can you navigate in clag with a watch and altimeter. The compass gives you the confidence of heading the right direction, used with pacing, is invaluable. An altimeter only tells you what height you are at, and to be honest, if you don’t know by your map and compass, then you need to learn these skills. Compass and map are designed to last a long time, modern watches give up after a day.

    How can you have fun when you use GPS, it’s like sticking a motor on a mountain bike.

  4. Phil Newby

    Hi Steve,
    You are right that when micro-navigating in poor visibility such as thick mist or night navigating then you can’t beat map, compass and pacing.

    However when day to day navigating in the hills when one can see more than a couple of hundred meters (unless on very featureless ground) i can match the ground to the map well enough and so then my compass falls to fourth place. And timing (with a watch) supersedes pacing.

    In a typical month of mountain leading i will tend to use my map lots on every walk, i’ll refer to my watch, and also its altimeter several times on any walk, and i might use my compass once or twice in the whole month.

    Also an altimeter does more than tell you what height you are at, it will also give you a indication of what the weather is doing. My altimeter is now more than 7 years old and still working fine. I’ve broken 3 compasses in the same period.

    And GPS can be lots of fun, have a look at geo-caching.
    cheers

    phil

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Author: Phil Newby