The RV Project

"There Are No Wrong Roads to Anywhere"

Archive for the month “February, 2013”

Bosavi: Changing the Headlamp Game

I currently have, in my possession, what just might be the world’s most intelligent headlamp.

The Bosavi Headlamp

I’m Bosavi, and I’m going to light up your night.

Lamps facing you

…and blow your mind

Several months ago my friend Evan sent out an email about his friend’s project on Kickstarter. This friend of his, Dan Freschl, had a design for a headlamp that would be USB rechargeable, ultra-bright, and full of all other kinds of smart features that most other headlamp designers either never thought of or never implemented. (Also, Dan climbs at Touchstone’s Berkeley Ironworks, so he’s a gym homie).

Like most people being solicited, I was skeptical, but for $65 I was able to not only support a friend-of-a-friend, but also guarantee delivery of the first edition of the product at a lower-than-MSRP price. Hell, I thought, if it’s all he says it is, then $65 is a steal. Months ticked by, and I was steadily reassured by the over four dozen update emails Dan wrote to his backers, detailing all aspects of the design and manufacturing process.

Finally, my Bosavi arrived. How do I love it? Let me count the ways…

It’s USB-rechargeable

Virtually everyone has a half-dozen micro-USB cables laying around. The Bosavi comes with one in case you don’t, and this means that you can charge it with a laptop, car charger, or your non-Apple-smart-phone charger. When I think of the price of batteries, which always seems higher than it should be (not to mention the stress of disposing of used batteries properly), I already think of my investment as a good one. The headlamp gets 60 hours on a charge, plenty for a couple of weekend trips, or a week in the backcountry.

Bosavi Headlamp Buttons

This is the top view, with the power button on the left and the charging receptable on the right.

It’s compact

Don’t you love those headlamps with a dorsal strap and a battery pack that digs into your occipital lobe? Me neither. This thing is the size of the crappy spare headlamp at the bottom of your Subaru’s glove box. And this headlamp ain’t crappy…read on.

Bosavi is compact

Did I mention it’s compact?

It’s bright

It has an output of up to 110 lumens, which I think is Latin for bright. You’ve got a high-efficiency LED for reading, a bright white LED for signaling UFOs, and a hyper-bright “boost mode” for blinding a welder through his face shield. Okay, it’s not quite like that, but the point is you’ll have plenty of light for any situation. I would comfortably take the Bosavi along as my only night-bouldering light.

Bosavi brightness

On the left, the Bosavi in Boost mode clearly shows even against the well-lit backdrop of the lamp. That’s 110 lumens, baby!

It’s smart

I appreciate when attention is given to the little details. Clearly, Mr. Freschl thought long and hard about the user experience, and as a result, the headlamp was designed very, very well. It has 5 modes (white/blinking white, bright white, and red/blinking red), but you can “delete” the modes you don’t use. The strap is detachable and the lighting unit can be put on an optional bike mount. The packaging turns into a lantern that fits onto the headlamp. The hinge is smooth, durable, and silent. The buttons are minimal. Oh, and it has a battery guage. Does your headlamp tell you when it’s about to die in the middle of setting up your tent? Didn’t think so.

The hinge operates smoothly. The third button is for programming/utility purposes.

The hinge operates smoothly. The third button is for programming/utility purposes.

It’s rugged

Just by holding this little guy in your hand, you can tell that there isn’t much that’s fragile. In Dan’s words:

I have dropped, drowned, smashed, and stabbed a bunch of headlamps. The worst I have been able to do is damage the hinge mechanism, but the light has never failed in all of my tests.

My headlamp is water-resistant, and the Bosavi team is working on a new model (Scu-Bosavi) that will be waterproof. They are also developing many new accessories, including a pull-cord generator.

Not only is the product smart, but Dan is doing a clever thing by donating headlamps to Outward Bound and similar organizations. He will likely earn many fans of his headlamp by doing this, but he’ll also help the overarching cause of conservation by helping people get outside and experience nature for themselves.

Perhaps Bosavi isn’t as bright as some of the other headlamps out there (like the Lupine, a 900 lumen output model), but for most purposes, I have a hard time imagining a better headlamp in the $70 range.

The online storefront has just opened. If all of the above sounds good, click here to pick one up.

Creating a Base

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A view of Mt. Tom from the Buttermilks.

We’ve been in Bishop on and off since Thanksgiving and I have sent ONE of my projects. I’ll also admit that the single project came very easily. I know I’m not supposed to care about sending specific problems, but I do. I’m also going to be honest about the fact that it totally sucks feeling like you’ve not progressed. I had big plans for Bishop. I thought I would be sending everything. Well, at least everything in the V5 to V7 range.

After our two week trip to the Bay Area, I was ready to come back with renewed vigor, but I arrived back in Bishop unenthusiastic and unmotivated. Then our visitors from Indiana arrived: Byron and Matt to the psych rescue, right? Wrong. Don’t get me wrong, Matt and Byron were not lacking in motivation. I was. Maybe I needed a new project to work on?

As I fell off the second move to Milk the Milks repeatedly while cursing the slick foot that I was unable to make proper use of, Max’s advice from our trip to Red Rocks in January burst into my mind. The advice that had made so much sense to me at the time, but that I had promptly forgotten about. I needed to create a base. How did I expect to be able to use a tiny glassy nubbin on a V6 move, when I was not comfortable using glassy feet on the V2s in the Buttermilks?

Suddenly, I felt quite silly. I had been desperately trying to cheat the system, but climbing is not a system I want to cheat. The point is not to find the hard problems that ‘fit my style’ just so I can send them. I want to be better at climbing. I have an incredible training ground right in my backyard that I have not been using to its full potential.

I decided to forget about my projects for the moment and sit down and write a Buttermilks circuit for myself. In December, I had sat down with Bishop Bouldering guide with completely different intentions- I wanted to write down all the problems at my peak that I wanted to try, or at least check out. This time, I was opening the guidebook with fresh eyes: to find all the V0-V3 problems in the Buttermilks that I needed to complete.

As I drove from The Black Sheep to meet Sarah and Josh for some “easy” bouldering this morning, I was really excited. The kind of excited you only get when blaring Rihanna’s “We Found Love” at full volume while fishtailing it back and forth down the washboard bumps of Buttermilk Road.

TODAY WAS SO FUN. Bouldering without any expectations. Exploring boulders that I’ve never looked twice at. Exploring the ‘other side’ of boulders that I’ve been on many times.

Amy showing that bouldering can be fun!

Amy showing that bouldering IS fun!

The circuit included a line of really great unnamed V0s on the Fit Homeless Boulder. Then a few spectacular V0-V1s on the Five and Dime Boulder behind the well-traveled Stained Glass Boulder. Another fantastic unnamed V-Easy climb ended up with me saying, “Shit, I forgot rule #1, where’s the downclimb?” as I topped out. Josh laughed as he informed me I was actually on top of the Fly Boy boulder…let’s just say, I know the downclimb from this boulder very well. I hadn’t even noticed we were climbing on the backside of it!

I saw the Buttermilks in a new light today. I’ve always been intimidated by the climbing there. Now I feel like I’ve seen a less harsh side to the boulders I thought I knew. I also feel like I have a lot more to learn. I’ve been missing out on a ton of fun, less-committing climbing (caution: bringing your friend or significant other climbing outside for the first time in the Buttermilks is still not recommended).

Matt cruising the Grandma Peabody Arete.

Matt cruising the Grandma Peabody Arete. An easy climb that is not on my circuit…yet. 🙂

With exactly a month left in Bishop, I’m still going to keep my projects in mind. I want to complete High Plains Drifter, Green Wall Center, Seven Spanish Angels, and Milk the Milks. Lofty aspirations, to say the least. Maybe I’ll end up sending a project (or two). Maybe I’ll at least hone my small-glassy-feet footwork. Or, maybe I’ll just know all the best warm-ups at the Buttermilks. No matter what, I feel better about my climbing in Buttermilk Country already, so that’s an improvement.

In other news, tonight Spenser and I move our lil’ green & white trailer to the (more-tame-than-the-name-implies) Zoo across from Manor Market. Paul and the gang have welcomed us into their home, which we are incredibly thankful for. This will be a vast improvement upon waking up in the Vons parking lot… Score. Also, we’re almost done with the ZAP video! That should be up in the next week or so, yippee!

Christina Pilo on High Plains Drifter.

Christina Pilo on High Plains Drifter.

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Byron works the Ruckus Traverse into Seven Spanish Angels.

Matt running laps on Milk the Milks.

Matt running laps on Milk the Milks.

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Mike on the finishing moves of Pope’s Prow.

Matt on a often overlooked highball, Professional Widow, in the Sads.

Matt on a often overlooked highball, Professional Widow, in the Sads.

Rest, Recovery, and the Return

It’s Saturday, February 2nd, and we have been here in Kensington for a bit over two weeks. This brief return trip was for the purposes of R&R, as well as celebrating my father’s 66th birthday, and sending off my little brother Eliot to Miami for his first big-boy job. Congratulations Eliot!

It’s been just over 6 weeks since I broke my heel. I think I went through the typical stages (Kübler-Ross) of:

Denial- “I think it’s just bruised…”

Anger- “Ah shit. I think it’s broken”

Bargaining- “It’s okay, I’ll just do lowballs”

Depression- When I realized that crutches were becoming a regular, accepted, and even familiar part of my life, I started to get really depressed.

Acceptance- This stage should’ve come sooner, but I think it only really came today.

I wish I could inspire you with this post. I wish I could tell you that my time off the rock was productive and instructive. I wish I could tell you I trained my weaknesses, learned a foreign language, edited ten videos and had time to campus train. I wish I could write a post about how to stay positive when the main purpose for your trip, indeed, your greatest passion in life is snatched from you in a freakishly mundane accident.

For the first few weeks, I weathered the storm pretty well. I drank what must be record volumes of coffee at the Black Sheep. I mastered my crutches. I won $50 playing Blackjack in Las Vegas, and another $50 at the Paiute Palace. I made some progress on the ZAP video. I even found the novelty of crutches to be fun, in a way.

Then, somewhere along the line, I lost my psyche.

When we came to Kensington back in mid-January, it was meant to be a short trip, and it was a flurry of activity. We extended our stay due to bad weather in Bishop, and that, I think, is when things went downhill for me. My elbow still hurt, which meant no training of any sort, cardio or otherwise. I ate food. I stalled on the video and lost motivation to do much else. I read a book. I drank whisky. I slept in. Vikki was wonderful support, as was my family, making it all the worse that I couldn’t pull back on the yoke and climb out of my funk. Many days were wasted. Depression sucks.

Perhaps a part of the reason I lapsed into depression was due to the fact that I’d been so upbeat before. It’s hard to maintain, and I guess I just broke. Not only could I not train, but I could barely help out around the house. Going out seemed like a chore, so I didn’t. That didn’t leave much for me. Days blended into each other, and I simultaneously looked for ways to kill time while hating myself for killing it.

Tomorrow we go back to Bishop. For the first time in a long time, I’m stoked. Byron is flying in, and will attempt to climb 290 boulder problems in a day for his 29th Birthday Challenge. Today I limped around the house without crutches for the first time, and while my foot is a little bit sore, it held up alright and I was able to be autonomous. I’ll be bringing my bike down to Bishop, which I’ve never had a chance to do. I’m going to start sport climbing at the Owens River Gorge in order to rehab the elbow and avoid groundfalls. I have an appointment to get my elbow looked at, and that means I might finally be able to rid myself of this chronic pain and crunchy noise (and thanks to everyone who gave advice on this topic!). And I’m really excited to return to the sport I love with a renewed enthusiasm.

This may not be the happiest of endings, but it’ll have to do. Again, I wish I could tell you about how I triumphed over adversity, found the silver lining, and slew the beast. What I can tell you instead is that I’m finally looking forward again, and while I can’t get those days of depression back, I can hope to learn from them.

Here are some links to things that are actually quite inspiring:

This video of a wounded veteran walking again made the Facebook rounds…

My friend Aaron sent me this post from Brendan Leonard at Semi-Rad…

…and finally, Dave Graham suggested I look up Hugh Herr. Here he is. Amazing.

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