Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Review: Black Diamond Momentum Harness

I recently bought the newest version of BD’s Momentum harness. The new harness has several upgrades and technical improvements that made it worth the buy. What I am most excited about is that they added an elastic Velcro band to prevent you from having to do yoga moves to keep your harness on your waste while strapping in. The material is also finer making it much more comfortable and allows it to glide through the buckles with more ease.

Overall the weight of the harness seems significantly less as well. The fabric seems to be much less rigid and the foam more comfortable. My biggest complaint about their previous version was that the plastic “stays” on the waste belt portion that hold the gear loops into place would dig into your waste if you were hang dogging or if you were belaying someone who was hang dogging. That was one of the most annoying things I had ever experienced about a harness. Luckily, this is not the case with the new version.

Although the new version is much more comfortable than the previous, my first day out I took two really big whippers and had bruises on my waste I had never experienced before that lasted about four days. I am not sure of the harness constricts more or if I am just gaining weight.

Black Diamonds description of the Momentum harness:

“The Momentum is functional across all disciplines. The waistbelt and leg loops are padded with seven millimeter closed-cell foam for comfort and lined with BD-Lux for breathability. The anatomically contoured, bullhorn-shaped waistbelt and Y-style leg loops allow unrestricted movement yet still provide support. An excellent, affordable all-around harness, it is equipped with four molded gear loops and a full-strength haul loop, so it’ll hold enough draws for a bolted endurance fest or enough pro for a gear-eating crack.”

I agree with everything except the last statement. That is actually my only complaint with this harness is that the gear loops are super small and really only hold about 5-6 draws each – not ideal for trad climbing or long multi-pitch routes requiring a lot of gear. Also, the main loops connected by the belay loop is smaller and a little harder to work with. It’s not restrictive, but will take a little getting used to.

Overall I would give it a 9 out of 10. Here’s the breakdown:

Waste belt: 10
Leg belts: 10
Belay loop and connected harness straps: 8
Gear loops: 7
Comfort: 10
Weight: 10
Ease of use: 10

Price: Low at $43


Friday, September 14, 2007

Rest days in La Bufadora

The area referred to as La Bufadora means blowhole in Spanish and is essentially a marine geyser that spouts every time a wave blasts through an area of underwater caves sending a spray of ocean water and a thunderous roar. According to WikiPedia, “folklore describes a baby whale entering the underwater cave over a century ago and becoming stuck. The spout of water is from the whale’s blowhole.”

La Bufadora is located on the Punta Banda Peninsula in Baja, Mexico. The peninsula is just south of Ensenada, Mexico, which is about an hours drive south of the border. Most American tourists don’t make it much further than Ensenada or Rosarito, making La Bufadora a bit of a retreat from the shot bars and pollution.

Jen and I headed from LA down to Ensenada, where we picked up fellow Austinites, Sean and Kristen, and cruised down to La Bufadora to Casa de Candaele(link below). The Casa was this solar-run, U-shaped house that rested on a mountain top overlooking the ocean. It was on several acres and had very few neighbors. We ultimately had the area to ourselves, which included crazy tide pools, lagoons, cliff-bands towering over the ocean, little private beaches and a Bocci court (of course we used it).

The crags were deceiving. They looked like perfect climbing spots, but would crumble in your hands as you applied any sort of pressure. The tide pools were amazing though. They were like little underwater gardens spread all along the beaches. Each pool had its own diverse set of sea life.

Although we only saw a few, in the distance we always heard the constant “barking” of sea lions off in the distance. It sounded like there must have been a beach full of them, but we never ventured far enough to find them. We did go fishing one of the days and caught a fish that I have yet to identify. Stay tuned for that.

The Sunsets were madness. Each night the sky would explode with color over the ocean and the mountains behind us with all the succulent plants would contrast against the brilliant colors. Some of the best sunsets I have ever witnessed.

On the way back, Jen and I stopped by Porto Nuevo to sample their famous lobster and margaritas. If it wasn’t for the heat we may not have ever left.