March 19, 2017

El Speleo Gnoma 1200 Caving Light, my new favorite light.

I've been using an El Speleo Gnoma 1200 for about a year now.   I bought it as a Christmas Present for myself in 2015.  A stressful week combined with a discount special price of $173 made me pull the trigger. Some women go shopping for clothes to deal with stress... I buy gear.  Ah well.
My previous light had been a Fenix HL55, and it's still a great light.   I use it as a backup now, along with a Zebra Floody.   But the Gnoma has been a game-changer for me.  It's the first light I've used designed for cavers by cavers, and it shows.

What makes the Gnoma so different you might ask?  Simply, the optics.  The Gnoma is designed to be a cave lantern, and the throw of the light is superior in this regard to my other lights.   In other words, I see better with this light than with my other lights.  I use 26650 batteries with the Gnoma, and can also use 18650,  3xAA, or AAA, rechargable or alkaline, with the adapter.   My other two lights use 18650 batteries, so I have spares of 26650 and 18650 batteries available in my cave pack.  I've had to swap batteries on the Zebra Floody a few times after using it on high beam to light up passages for photographs.  I have never had to swap a battery out on the Gnoma during a trip though, and I've been on some pretty long trips.  So I can't really say how long a charge I am getting on a single battery... plenty I suppose...
Another advantage to the Gnoma over some other caving specific lights on the market is the weight.  The Gnoma is light and compact.  The battery case being on the back of the helmet balances things out.  I don't end up with a headache or neckache from a heavy light setup.  To be fair, my previous two lights also are lightweight.
The Gnoma is built tough, as it should be as it is a light designed specifically for the harsh caving environment.   I've used it in dry and in wet caves, including the very wet Gross-Skeleton cave that involves a couple of swims.
Using lithium batteries adds a layer of safety precautions to follow.  I charge batteries with a Nitecore Intellicharger.
Here is a page listing the specs for the Gnoma 1200.  
However El Speleo has released the new Gnoma 1500, which has an additional 300 lumen.

Fun Stuff 2017

Jan 1 Choccoloco creek. In the WS Project X56. With Joan S. Temp 58, water level low, drizzle rain.
Jan 14 Cahaba.  In the WS ProjectX 56.  With some boaters I had never met before.  280 upstream towards the water plant.   2 hr paddle, 75 degrees, drysuit was overkill.  Flatwater.
Jan 21 Glenn Mills Memorial.  I joined Martha and many other cavers to celebrate the life of my friend Glenn.
Jan 22 Hydrology study; springs near Sewanne Tn.  With Kelly and Jason, and some hydrologists from the USGS.  Springs included Owen Springs, Gourdneck Springs, and Blowout Bluehole.
Photos HERE.
Jan 28 Caving.  With B'ham Grotto to unnamed cave.   Great day.

Jan 29 Locust Fork.  In the LL Stomper 80.  Level 2.4.   Nice level...  air temps mid to upper 40's. With Sally purple-hair, David in the Outburst,  new canoeist Trent.
Feb 8-12  Breckenridge.   Awesome trip, best I've ever skied...   photos here.

Gorgeous Brekenridge
Feb 17-19 Grotto Getaway.  At Paint Rock Valley Lodge.  Photos here.
Feb 25 Ridgewalk.   We returned to try to dig out the lead Dave found the year before.  Video here.
March 3-5 Mulberry Fork Races.  I volunteered as gate judge and safety boater for the downriver race.  I didn't race this year.
March 10-12 ALF 2017.   Tellico low flow in the snow on Saturday,  perhaps 1.5? Highs in the low 40s, brrr. But gorgeous. Tellico very low flow on Sunday, 1.4 I think, highs in the low 50's but sunny.   In the Stomper 80, I caught much flack for not paddling a canoe.  With the Lost Tribe.   Photos here.

A wonderful video from ALF 2017 by my friend Stu Thompson.   #TennesseeWhitewaterParadise

March 18 Mulberry.  In the Stomper 80 with Clayton and Kah Yee.   Started out cloudy but 
sunny skies by the end.   Temps started in the upper 50s and went to 71 at the takeout.  Level 640 on the Arkadelphia gauge; perhaps 10" on the bridge gauge.   Lunchstop was a nice wave but I found 5-0 to be trashy foam pile, glassy wave in center was very very shallow.  Didn't bring my camera.

I haven't been updating this blog in a timely fashion.   I hate it because I don't remember the river level data to post so I can compare it later.   I'm trying to get a correlation set to the Arkadelphia gauge.

March 26  Mulberry.  In the Necky Chronic.  Level around 1 foot.  Discovered Birthday Wave below the rock at Glen Clark Memorial.   Was Norma L's b'day.  Great group.  Combat roll at Lunchstop.

Me on the wave I dubbed "Birthday Wave" as it was Norma's B'day.  This is only in below 1.5 on the bridge gauge.

April 1st Paddlefest.  At King's Bend, the first annual Paddlefest.   In the Necky Chronic.  Level around 2.7.  Took out at Swann.

April 2 Mulberry.  In the Bell Ocoee canoe. Level 1.5.  Air temp around 70.   Wonderful day.

April 9 Mulberry.  In the Necky Chronic.  Warm, sunny day.  First time using the AT Eddy Flexi paddle, 197 cm. 30 feather.  First lap with Drew M. and Lance H.  We saw a bald eagle and two osprey during our trip.  After shuttling back to the putin I saw the Neeses getting ready to paddle and went down the river with them for another lap.  They were catching a lot of spotted bass and at the take-out I caught one as well (this is unheard of: for a Ranelli to catch a fish).  

March 4, 2017

February 20, 2017

February 15, 2017

February 1, 2017

January 31, 2017

Cool blog

My friend and fellow caver Kelly Smallwood has an excellent new blog up about her adventures underground here:
Kelly and Jason