When you’re booting up a 40-plus-degree couloir—your hands occupied by an ice axe and ski pole—with a heavy pack containing all of your essentials (including your skis), minor conveniences can become major. Like hands-free communication, for example, something I experienced with the UCLEAR HBC150 Plus Bluetooth Audio System this past weekend while climbing and skiing the Shit For Brains couloir in Colorado.
The system is made up of a radio unit that clips to your backpack strap as well as ear-buds that run from the unit to your ears. Dual microphones attached to each ear bud cord allows for communication with your partner(s). The private group intercom function—connected via Bluetooth—allows you to quickly and easily talk back and forth with your partner both on the ascent and descent.
The UCLEAR HBC150 came in handy during the Shit For Brains mission. While ascending, my partner Nat and I could clearly talk to one another, letting each other know whether the snow conditions were changing or if we happened to be appraoching a tricky section of climbing. On the descent, we were able to clearly convey when we had reached safe zones and it was time for the next person to drop in. All of this, of course, without having to push a button or use your hands at all. The HBC150 has a range of 500 meters (.32 miles) making it particularly effective during skiing endeavors when partners are not too far away from one another. — Donny O’Neill, Senior Editor