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Brandon Riza

Brandon Riza

Cali and anywhere else...

Brandon Riza's Passions

Biking
Climbing

Brandon Riza's Bio

www.brandonriza.com

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Brandon Riza

Brandon Rizawrote a review of on September 12, 2015

Man, these these things are SWEET!
5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

I've been using them for about a week now, thanks to Backcountry and Outdoor Tech, who teamed up and graciously allowed me to use a pair so I could review them for the Backcountry.com community of like-minded dirtbags. Much appreciated!

I most likely would not have purchased a set, because I thought I liked my Bose headphones (well...I DO like them...)
My initial impressions are as follows:
They sound great. Bassier than my Bose AE2's, less "tinny" and more "full", despite the fact that the Bose AE2's are "over-ear" headphones and these are "on-ear" headphones. The Bluetooth pairing is super simple and has audible cues to let you know it's ready to pair, and when it IS paired. They fold up and stow in a little case (I'll post some photos). I've found them to be very comfortable while wearing them for long periods of time, and speaking of that, they seem to go for around 15-20ish hours (i haven't timed it yet) per charge. It takes about 3 hours to charge them to full capacity when they deplete all the way, which I've done twice now. The controls on the right ear piece are a little hard to get used to, but it only took me about a day to intuitively find them while wearing them. I dig the simple, no BS formfactor and I think they look super rad, so that's always a good thing. I haven't had a chance to test all the phone/voice stuff, but I will. Oh and one more thing...the writing style on the packaging is pretty damn hilarious. Kudos, writers.

More later!

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Brandon Riza

Brandon Rizaposted an image about on September 4, 2015

Smoked on the Summit of Lone Pine Peak.

Got there 6 pitches after the sun went down.
We shivered in our bivies until moving sounded better than freezing, then used the route following capability of the Ambit 3 Peak to follow tracks I'd created in Google Earth to descend the back of the route and get back to the trail. Awesome watch. It's becoming an extension of my body.

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Brandon Riza

Brandon Rizaposted a video about on September 4, 2015

Had an unexpected bivy on the summit of Lone Pine Peak in the California Sierra Nevada. You know that sense of dread that overtakes you when you realize you're going to have to climb 6 trad pitches in the dark by headlamp on terrain you've never been on? You know how that sense of dread turns into pure stoke after the first two pitches? Weird. Why is that? Anyway, I was wearing my Suunto Ambit 3 Peak the entire time and it recorded this. Pretty cool!
I'm still loving this watch.
On the way down we had to descend a chute, but there are multiple chutes, only one of which does not terminate in cliffs. Prior to heading up the mountain, I created tracks in Google Earth and loaded them into the watch so that I could follow them in the UNLIKELY event that we got...benighted.
I activated the route and followed it exactly. And it of course led us straight to the proper chute. Once down the chute, I activated my "ChuteBase2Trail" route and followed that meandering track that I had meticulously created to gain the least amount of elevation to get back to the trail. We followed it exactly, and arrived at the trail. The motto of the trip became "Always trust Google Earth". The Suunto Ambit is a very efficient tool that allows me to utilize GE in the BC. I love it.

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Brandon Riza

Brandon Rizawrote a review of on June 25, 2015

4 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

Thanks to Backcountry.com and Grayl for letting me test this piece of gear out for the backcountry.com community!

I posted a video below sort of showing how this filter works.
It's a hybrid of your typical field/trail filtration device and a french press. This is a novel concept with some drawbacks.
First the novelty...
The thing is cool. It looks cool, it's fun to use, it's hip, now and happening. You simply scoop up some water into the cup, then press the filtration cylinder down like you would when you're making your snobby morning coffee. (At least that's what my Starbuck's-swilling work associates call my single-source, free-trade, non-GMO just-roasted-yesterday-and ground-three-seconds-ago coffee bean habit...) Then you pop the top and chug. At this point it functions sort of like the expensive Bodum double-walled, insulated travel cup you pour your snobby morning coffee into. (and when I say "you" i mean "i"). You can lock it off so it won't spill (as much).
All of this is very fun, and i could see myself using it in some select situations, such as, i don't know...maybe a trek from Lukla to EBC. If it wasn't so heavy...
That's the drawback.
For trekking, hiking, climbing, etc...it's just too heavy to find its way into my pack or packs.
I should preface that statement by also stating that in the 10 years I've been hiking and climbing throughout the Sierra Nevada, Cascades, Andes, Tetons, Wasatch, Alps and Alaska Range, I've filtered water few enough times to count them on one hand that has lost the majority of its appendages to frostbite. (Not my hand, of course...)
The vast majority of the time in the Sierra, which are my local stomping grounds, I simply don't filter. Alpine water at or above the treeline has proven to be free of pathogens. Using myself as a test subject, I've never once been sick and i've consumed many hundreds of liters of unfiltered Sierra alpine water. Lower down, (4k to 9k or so), I'll either boil or use iodine. But those times are rare. If was going to be out for extended periods of time under 10K feet in the Sierra, traveling through areas infested with tons of people (Yosemite) or cattle (lots of places lower down where there is actually grass to graze on) I'd consider carrying a proper filter, as iodine just starts to taste gnarly after a few days and boiling gets burdensome. But in that situation, I wouldn't take the Grayl filter, i'd probably use a much smaller and lighter tool for that job.

All in all, I like this filter, but it just doesn't fit in with my particular mode of operation.

Will I use it in the mountains?
No.
Will I use it while traveling to areas with suspect water where weight and space are not at the top of the list of concerns?
Maybe. Probably.

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Brandon Riza

Brandon Rizaposted a video about on June 17, 2015

Gross...

Thanks to Grayl and Backcountry.com for letting me try this little contraption out! Hopefully a vid and a few photos will be beneficial to any of you out there curious about it.

Basically, it's a French Press, but instead of coffee, it brews up gunk-n-junk free water. Which is cool. It's very easy to use. If you can push down on stuff, you can use it! It's as simple as that. It's sort of a "one-hitter", in that it filters the water directly into a .6L cup, directly for drinking. At 480 grams, it's but heavy to carry way up into the mountains, but i don't filter water when I'm way up in the mountains, anyway. (Seriously, haven't done so in a decade...) I'd definitely consider taking this thing along as a travel item if I was headed to a suspect area, though. Overall, a pretty cool device.

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Brandon Riza

Brandon Rizaposted an image about on May 11, 2015

Inches of mercury?! Where's my club?...

Here's a shot of the Ambit3 Peak displaying atmospheric pressure in inches of mercury at 10k feet. I just now realized that you can mix and match system units on this watch, which is awesome! We all know that the kilopascal is the proper SI unit of atmospheric pressure and that "inches of mercury" is a throw back from caveman times that for some reason the United States of America is still using. Because the Pascal scale is metric, you just move a decimal, and barometers use hectopascals. Average Sea Level Pressure is 101.325 kPa, which barometers display as 1013.25 hPa (kilopascals vs. hectopascals...)

So, what I'm getting at, obviously, is that I've now set my Ambit3 peak to display barometric pressure in the globally-recognized and mathematically sound SI unit system of kPa (well, hPa...) which means I can sleep at night, again. (in my bed, not in my cave...)

If you're wondering why I still have it set to "feet" instead of "meters"...
I KNOW!! Thanks! I'm still trying to switch over.
Somebody who's smarter than me should write a Suunto app for this watch that displays elevations, distances and speeds in both imperical and metric units...would be a great learning tool.
However, as I mentioned earlier, you can cross-pollinate unit systems on the watch, so i'm showing feet and MPH (Imperial units of elevation and speed, respectively) while at the same time showing hPa. (metric unit of pressure)

So...why do barometers use hectopascals instead of kilopascals, you ask? Good question, and that's where the total hack that is the "millibar" comes into the story. Millibars are simply ridiculous! Hectopascals are a capitulation to stubborn early 20th century British meteorologists who invented the millibar out of thin air (pardon the pun) to be exactly analogous to the Pascal.

For some reason... :|

1 bar is exactly the same as 100,000 pascals.
So 1 millibar is exactly the same as 1 hectopascal.
Or rather, 1 hectopascal is exactly the same as 1 millibar...

Everything you never wanted to know about atmospheric pressure measurement.

Don't even get me started on PSI.
C'mon...

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Brandon Riza

Brandon Rizaposted a video about on May 6, 2015

Fuel canisters are pressurized. The only thing keeping fuel liquid in the canister is pressure. Isobutane and propane, but especially propane, want to be gases (on Earth, anyway) because, well, we all know the Universe always attempts to homogenize (2nd Law of Thermodynamics...). The device that cooks your July 4th steaks is an isolated pocket of man-made anomaly! (that's why they blow up sometimes...) Isobutane and propane want to be gasses because it's usually not cold enough for them to remain liquid. If you were hanging out in an environment that was -50F, you could have pools of freestanding liquid propane. How weird would that be?! Thus, as the temp decreases, the pressure differential between the inside and the outside of the canister decreases. If there is a large pressure differential, the liquid in the canister will boil (vaporize) when you open that canister, and you will hear the familiar hiss of a camp stove. If the pressure differential decreases enough (say...by lowering the temp enough), the gas will simply stay in that canister and you won't be able to USE it. (Imagine July 4th when it's -50F...no propane grill-outs...)
Usually, this is not a problem, who wants to grill out at -50F, or at 10F, for that matter?

Mountaineers do.
And by "grill out" i mean "melt water" so we don't die.

If you find yourself in an environment so cold that your isobutane stove is not working, you might be out of luck, unless you have an Optimus Vega...

Here's a little example. I need to flesh this experiment out a little more, but you get the idea.

And don't even get me started on Tetraoxygen.
WHAT?!? <slaps counter> WHAT?!?

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Brandon Riza

Brandon Rizaposted an image about on April 30, 2015

Lat/Long on the Ambit3 Peak...

Here's a photo of the Suunto Ambit3 Peak displaying GPS lat/long in the only way it can. <GASP!!>
I know! Bummer!
To get to this page, you have to jump out of whatever exercise profile you're in and query your location. The purpose of this feature is to save a waypoint of your current location. And that's cool and all, but...I just want to show the lat/long IN the profile. And for the life of me, I cannot figure out how to.

I like to do this kind of stuff:
www.brandonriza.com/Miscellaneous/Numbers.html

Maybe I'll try to figure out how to write my own Suunto apps.
Or maybe they'll release a firmware update.
Or maybe I just don't know what I'm doing and you can already do this...

Anybody? Anybody?...

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Brandon Riza

Brandon Rizaposted a video about on April 30, 2015

Here's a vid of our 17h51m traverse of Mount Russell in the California Sierra Nevada. The Suunto Ambit3 captures the data and when you sync it, you can generate a video like this of your activity. If your pain tolerance leans towards masochism like ours does, the video is super cool because...i mean...timelapse sunrise and all...hard to beat.

FUN WATCH! Fun app.

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Brandon Riza

Brandon Rizaposted an image about on April 28, 2015

No. YOU chill out!

The Suunto Ambit 3 Peak telling me I need to not climb mountains for 37 hours. The nerve of this thing...

Jokes aside, I'm sure the watch arrives at this number from a math equation that compares your biometrics to your recent activity, but I don't know what that math is. I'm going to research it, because I hate not knowing stuff. Every single training book or article i've ever read, from alpine training to ultra training, stresses the importance of rest periods in your training cycle. My wife recently ran a 50 mile ultra and during her training (she has this same watch) she said she was always tripping over the recovery time the watch was recommending, meaning, there were never enough hours in the day(s) to train, rest properly (or according to the watch maths recommendations) and then train again.
I do know this...when the clock runs down to zero, it really guilts you off the couch, that's for sure!

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