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Yukon Headlamp by Princeton Tec : Light Up Your Mountain

My first thrill with this headlamp came when I tried to purchase an extra backup bulb to bring on my upcoming climb up Mt. Rainier. "Nope," the helpful REI staff person assured me, "those bulbs will last forever – or certainly the 10,000 hours they're designed for."

I was also happy to learn that the Yukon's bulbs are so efficient that batteries will lat for 44 to100 hours, depending on which light mode I use. No need to pack those three extra sets of batteries suggested by the guide service.

When I started off from base camp on a windy and overcast night, along with ten other climbers and our guides, I was eager to see what my Yukon HL headlamp could do for me. First, I had to attach it to the outside of my helmet, which was easy to do because the Yukon has an extra strap/band that goes over the top of the head and attaches to the front and back of the headband. Both the headband and top band are adjustable for a secure fit.

Once I had all my head gear on straight I began getting lots of “your light is so bright ” comments. It was nice to get some extra attention at 10,000 feet; I thought since I was so visible, nobody would let me get lost.

The "HL" part of the headlamp's name is for Hybrid L.E.D., a dual lighting system for two distinct purposes. The one-watt L.E.D. produces a bright white incandescent light over a long range, while the three 5mm L.E.D. bulbs require less battery power to produce a short range, long-use light. This type of system is ideal for climbing mountains since I can have the bright light I need for climbing and the low light I need for close-up tasks.

The Yukon is so easy to operate. All I had to do to switch from one to the other was click the on-off button on the top of the lamp housing. As a beginning climber, I must confess that I sometimes had a hard time differentiating between the two brightness levels because both modes gave me all the light I could possibly need, especially on the bright snow.

As we moved away from base camp, and up into the rock of Cathedral Gap I switched to the bright beam to provide more distance brightness, and a bit more security. During the climb, depending on the need, I periodically adjusted the beam direction by simply pivoting the lamp on a hinge attached to its base plate. This feature was also extremely useful for turning the beam out of my fellow climbers eyes at those far too few rest stops.

I can also attest to the durability of the Yukon HL. It, and my head, took a bit of a bang against a rock as I tripped on our way down Disappointment Cleaver. The helmet kept my head safe; the Yukon HL took care of itself.

Bottom Line: The Yukon HL did just what I needed, and then some, during my first Rainier climb. Apparently, I liked the headlamp so much I never took it off my helmet the whole day, which, judging from what I saw on others’ heads when we got back to base camp, pretty much pegged me as a novice climber. But I figure, if you’ve got the gear – flaunt it.--S.M. (Sept. '05)

Price: $59.95 at REI.com (click on REI icon below)

Manufacturer's Site: www.princetontec.com

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