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A climber’s best friend is efficiency. The more quickly you get to the crag, the more time you have to spend climbing. So the fewer times you need to pull out your phone, the better. That’s where a wrist-mounted supercomputer like the Garmin fēnix 6 Pro comes in handy. Capable of navigating, increasing efficiency, and even helping keep you safe, the latest installment of the fēnix line is crammed with so many features, sensors, and smart software it’s a miracle that it hangs lightly enough from your wrist to be forgotten as you gun for the summit or chalk up.
Topo Maps within Arms’ Reach
A GPS unit is only as good as a climber’s ability to reference it. A handheld unit with a big screen will always be easier to use when mapping out and planning the day ahead—and getting the big picture. But strapping a topographic map to your wrist so you can reference it as often as you need during a tricky approach or on a backcountry alpine climb will make your outing that much easier and more efficient. Loading the fēnix 6 Pro with topographic maps makes identifying nearby peaks and picking the right direction at trail intersections as easy as lifting your arm. The watch uses three global navigation satellite systems (the standard GPS satellite array, GLONASS, and Galileo) to give you a better location fix in challenging environments and weather conditions, so you always know exactly where you are.
Expertly Plan your Approach
Don’t burn out before even getting to the good stuff. Monitor your progress on the approach and en route to the summit, gauge the steepness of the terrain, and plan your effort for the day. The fēnix 6 gives you an easy-to-read profile of your day’s mission. It shows you where you are on the climb and gives you data about how much farther you have to go, as well as stats on your rate of ascent.
Elevation is the silent killer. It’s easy to forget that you drove from sea level to 5,000 feet and then started hiking uphill, to even greater altitudes, all in a single day—at least until the headaches and exhaustion kick in. The Pulse Ox sensor in the fēnix 6 bounces beams of light onto your wrist to gauge how well your body is absorbing the oxygen in the atmosphere and how well acclimated you are to the elevation. It simplifies decision making around how much elevation to gain and when you’ve gone high enough for today.
Safety and Tracking
Nothing will ever replace a dedicated two-way satellite messenger (like the inReach® Mini from Garmin), but if your watch senses an accident at your favorite roadside crag (or you hold down a button to signal it), it will automatically send a message to your emergency contacts via the Garmin Connect app on your phone. Cell service is required, but if you’re hurt or unconscious and are unable to call for help yourself, your watch could take over to keep you safe. You can also pair your fēnix 6 with an inReach device so your watch can display messages received on your inReach and send messages using its satellite communication technology. Plus, beyond sending a notification to your emergency contacts, you can trigger an SOS alert to contact the GEOS 24/7 emergency-response team.
Monitor Your Body Battery
Never overtrain again. Using heart-rate variability (which refers to your heart’s changes throughout the day), stress, sleep, and other data, the fēnix 6 can tell you when to get sendy and start cranking out the pitches, or when today might be a rest day. The result? Bump up a grade by pushing hard and getting stronger when your body is ready for it, and slow down and avoid burning yourself out when it’s not.