January 30, 2016

Suunto D4i Dive Computer and Wireless Tank Pressure Transmitter

Suunto D4i BlackIn August 2014 I obtained my PADI Open Water Diver Qualification. Since I’d already booked my Advanced Course and had plans to go further with my diving I decided to get my first Dive Computer. Having done a bit of research online I decided to go with the Suunto D4i Dive Computer which has proved to be a great entry level diving watch.

One of the reasons for going with this watch is I quite like the Suunto Brand and ecosystem. I previously wrote about the Suunto X6 which I purchased for my Kilimanjaro climbing expedition. A number of divers I spoke to also felt that Suunto was also better recognised and supported globally compared to other brands.

Key Features of this watch are: -

  • Full continuous decompression algorithm - Suunto RGBM
  • Four modes: air, nitrox, free and off
  • Innovative apnea timer, and a timer in air/nitrox modes
  • Updateable firmware
  • Optional wireless air integration – current cylinder pressure, remaining air time
  • Built-in dive planner
  • Detailed graphical logs and dive data on your PC/Mac using Suunto DM5 software

As mentioned the ecosystem surrounding this watch is great, in addition to the User Guide there’s an online learning tool and an iPhone app. Simply Scuba also has quite a good review: -


Suunto-Wireless-tank-pressure-transmitterA welcome accessory to the watch is the Suunto Wireless Tank Pressure Transmitter which enables you to monitor tank pressure and air consumption data wirelessly from your dive computer. According to the Suunto site: -

The Suunto Wireless tank pressure transmitter gives you current tank pressure and remaining air time with just a glance at your wrist. Before your dive, simply pair the transmitter with your dive computer and you’re good to go. The transmitter’s handy green LED light lets you know that it’s on.

Key Features:

  • Compatible with all Suunto air-integrated dive computers, including DX, D9tx, D6i, D4i, D9, Vyper Air, and HelO2
  • Monitor tank pressure and air consumption data wirelessly from dive computer
  • Green LED light indicates active data sending
  • Battery life approx. 2 years (100 dives/year)
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January 26, 2016

New heights for Reach Climbing Wall in London

My first proper indoor climbing experience was at the Reach, a climbing wall in South London. That was a year and a half ago and I’ve been climbing there quite regularly during this time progressing from top rope climbing, to lead and then traditional (trad) climbing outdoors.

Since I’ve taken up climbing I’ve tried out numerous indoor climbing and bouldering walls. In fact, I’ve pretty much tried out all of the walls in London looking for a place that I can frequent before or after work as well on weekends. I’ve always thought the Reach was a great all round wall in terms of what they had to offer, namely indoor bouldering, top rope and sport climbing as well as a training room and monkey/zoo room that caters for all age groups. Over the last few months some of the improvements they’ve made have, I believe, have established them as the top climbing wall in London. These are: -

New Overhanging Lead Climbing Wall

New Overhanging Lead Climbing Wall

This has climbs graded from around 6a+ to 8a. As much as I like this new feature I haven’t had a chance to jump on it yet but will certainly be doing so over the next couple of weeks and as my grades improve.

Additional Bouldering Wall – aka The Taco

There’s already plenty of good bouldering on offer at the Reach, this new wall just adds a few more options. Here’s a short clip of me warming up with some traversing

New Auto Belays

New Auto Belays at Reach Climbing

The was one feature I really missed when joining the Reach and that is lacking at a lot of climbing walls (due to cost) is Auto Belays. When I first started climbing I didn’t know a lot of people who could belay me so I ended up bouldering and using the auto belay a lot. However, the Reach only had 1 or 2 Auto Belays so the number of routes I could do was limited. I’m pleased to say I now know more people that can belay me but that aside there are now 12 Auto Belay’s at the Reach graded from 4+ to 6c. This is superb if you would like to do some endurance training and the clip below show’s me doing just that

That’s my plug for this great indoor climbing wall, hope you get to try it out some day

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January 26, 2016

Jerry Moffatt spends his 21st Birthday climbing Chimpanzodrome 7c+

A book that I’m presently reading is Revelations, it’s the biography of one of the top outdoor rock climbers in the 80’s, namely Jerry Moffatt. There are many interesting stories in the book but the one that I quite liked was the way he spent his 21st birthday climbing a 7C+ with Ben Moon at a well know roadside crag called Le Saussois in France.

Here’s an excerpt of the story: -

Sunday dawned. 18 March 1984

‘Happy birthday, Jerry. ’

It was my twenty-first. Most people, on their twenty-first birthday, think about having a big party, or getting presents. I was on a dusty crag in a deserted corner of France, drinking water with just one friend. But I wouldn’t have been anywhere else. I had decided to flash Chimpanzodrome on my birthday and was beside myself with excitement. If I could pull this off, it would be the ultimate birthday imaginable. At the same time, failure would be horrific. The pressure was on. We got up early, walked the hour for bread and back, and on our return, were stunned to see the crag heaving with climbers.

Revelations - A Book about rock climber Jerry MoffattSunday climbers had arrived from Paris and the normally deserted crag looked like a different place. The French were immaculate, with beautiful matching tops and bottoms, hair coiffured, perfect suntans and towelling headbands. Their karabiners all matched. They were also clean. We mingled with the Parisians like two dogs. Ben, with his pasty white skin, looked about fifteen. His long, black hair was starting to mat into dreadlocks. His clothes were filthy. I too had scruffr clothes, holes in my trousers, my hair dyed into black and red patches, punk style. We looked more like refugees than climbers.

We went over to our cave and got our gear on, and I warmed up by doing a 7b overhang, first go, which attracted some attention from the French. They watched us go over to Chimpanzodrome. At the time, I always climbed in my lucky swami-belt, a simple ribbon of webbing with no leg-loops, to keep myself light. I tied on to a single rope, 9mm in diameter, and fired the pitch off, first try. I ripped it to bits. Straight after, Ben too went up it once more, like a rat up a drainpipe. From there we went to L’Ange, a three pitch 7b+. I on-sighted that too. We came down. The French were stunned. We wandered to the sleeping cave, and as we had done everything that we wanted to do, packed our bags. We might as well head south. Au revoir.

As usual, hitching wasn’t easy. We made our way to the péage kiosk at the start of the Autoroute du Soleil. No one gave us a lift. The evening passed. It started getting cold and dark, and then, very quickly, a dense freezing fog descended. Within moments we were shivering, and with little chance of getting a lift, we unrolled our mats and sleeping bags and crawled in under the shelter of the péage. That was my twenty-first. In bed, sober at seven o’clock at night, with cars buzzing by at high speed fifty feet away, shivering in a freezing fog.

I was just so happy. It felt like the best climbing day I ever had, and, looking back on my career, if I were to pick one day that stood out above all others, then it would be this one.

I managed to find a YouTube clip of this particular climb which I found quite interesting since it seems the climber is wearing the same shoes that I am presently enjoying wearing, namely the Scarpa Instinct VS

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