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altimeter watches question(8 posts)

altimeter watches questionScott G.
Oct 8, 2001 12:52 PM

if any of you all use an altimeter watch which one do you use and why?

i think it would be pretty darn neat to see how much you've climbed and blu blu blu...

are they worth the money?

re: altimeter watches questionmr_spin
Oct 8, 2001 1:05 PM
I've got one of those Suunto watches, but I've found the altimeter function doesn't work all that well. Frankly, you can do just as well or better making an educated guess. And since the altimeter isn't reliable, tracking altitude gained is a joke. I also have a Cateye computer with an altimeter, and it is even worse. The only time it has ever worked correctly is when I was up in the Sierras around Mammoth, California. I think the algorithms work best at high altitude (7000+), so unless you spend most of your time up there in thin air, you'll probably be disappointed.
Altimeter WatchesMiklos
Oct 8, 2001 2:26 PM
I use a Casio Altimeter watch. I have pretty good luck with it. All of the watches and the Cateye computer with an altimeter use atmospheric pressure to measure altitude. That means when barometric pressure changes, like during a wheather change, the accuracy of you altimeter to its referance point changes. You get your accuracy by setting your altimeter to a know altitude shortly before use. I usually get good accuracy all day long but have to reset the next day.

A good way to get referance altitudes for anywhere in the USA within 20 feet is

My inaccurate altimeter is my gps. Its always way off.

GPS altimetry is very tricky business....Chris Zeller
Oct 8, 2001 2:58 PM
You will get much more inaccuracy in your altitude measurement than in your position measurement. Some new models incorporate a barometric altimeter as well.
Casio Pathfinder Twin SensorChris Zeller
Oct 8, 2001 2:55 PM
I use this mainly for mountaineering. No reason you couldn't strap it to your pars as well to use as a cyclocomputer. It's has a nice plot that shows your altitude profile and an alarm set to any altitude you'd like. I like it because it's smaller than most altimeters and its range goes up to 20,000'. Some stop around 12,000 which doesn't work in Colorado with lots of peaks above 14,000'. It is fairly accurate +/-50' as long as you reset it frequently. Frequent resetting will be required of all barometric altimeters regaurdless of make or accuracy.
The Casio I got rid of ...Humma Hah
Oct 8, 2001 5:30 PM
I had an early Casio altimeter watch, with both digital and analog time displays.

It was a battery hog. Consequently, it measured altitude only every few minutes.

Resolution was poor, 20-ft increments.

The second hand fell off twice, requiring it to go back to the service center.

The battery could not be replaced by the owner -- again, it had to go back to the service center.

I like my altimeter cyclocomputer (a Cats Eye AT-100) much better.
Got a new Nike altimeterJohnG
Oct 8, 2001 7:31 PM sells em for a little over $100. It works VERY good. However, it will miss small quick bumps of 10-30' if you go over them quick. I'd buy another one in a heartbeat.

Polar S-710Duane Gran
Oct 9, 2001 5:04 AM
The new Polar model has an altimeter and it is very cool, especially if you ride in the mountains. I have found it to be fairly accurate, but I think its greatest value is to tell your total positive altitude change over the course of a ride. For example, if you think your average speed was a little low on a given ride it might explain things if it had 500 meters more change in altitude than your typical circuit.

I think the value of the unit is seen when you can look at a workout in summary, but to know your current altitude at any given time is simply trivia. For an example of what I mean, look at this:

This is a page I made detailing one of my favorite moutain climbs on the East coast. The pretty graphs are quite revealing and the Polar software lets you analyze and nitpick the details to your heart's content.

Now... is it worth it? The HRM costs around $300. It is a bit pricy, but I think it is well worth it provided that you use altitude in a training sense.