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The Coros Vertix 2 is a Watch Built for Climbers

This watch was designed for climbers with input from Tommy Caldwell. A must have when heading into the mountains

As a runner, I depended on athletic watches to monitor my heart rate, distance, pace and a host of other metrics. Like most climbers, however, I left the watch behind, because the metrics at the core of climbing were not measured by the available watches. Coros sets out to change this with the Vertix 2, designed with top American climber Tommy Caldwell’s input.

First impression was that the watch, with its 1.4-inch display and weight of 89 grams with the wrist strap, is hefty, even as modern watches go. The large display may make it feel a little out-sized on small wrists, but it made it easier to see the colour topo maps, gps route info and general menu options. The glass is reported to be highly resistant to scratching, although I didn’t test this myself.

Coros, knows that many climbers would be reticent to wear a watch while crack climbing or simply prefer not to when sport climbing, and provide a separate locking carabiner with a clip to attach the watch. This way, you can simply attach it to your harness. The carabiner has a polyamide clip to keep the watch secure that can be operated with one hand. An extra locking feature makes it impossible to accidentally remove the watch.

The Vertix 2 has onboard music storage, downloadable by USB that you can listen to with air pods. It measures heart rate, air pressure, barometric pressure and a host of other outdoor sport metrics, There was a learning curve getting to the functions I wanted because of the unique spinning crown, which accesses some of the functions usually accessed by buttons on other watches, but once I got the hang of it, it gave me no trouble. What makes it truly unique is the suite of features directly relevant to climbers.

Performance of the GPS on multi-pitch rock climbs on walls with complex ridges and overhangs was outstanding, with few service losses, presumably because the Vertix 2 communicates with five satellite systems. A stunning battery life of 140 hours of GPS use makes it suitable for routes that are days long, or backcountry trips where recharging is not an option.

The watch allows you to record not just routes, but individual pitches, pitch and route length, the length of the approach and descent, the grade and even the length of falls. Some of this is registered automatically, but some of it is input by the user. Watch sensors that can tell you how hard a pitch just was, or whether you onsighted, redpointed or flashed have yet to be developed! Pitch lengths, the elevation covered on the approach and descent on a cliff I am very familiar with, however, were accurate.

The Vertix 2 will appeal to anyone who wants to log their climbing info electronically, and especially those who want to know how many kcal they used, heart rate (note: if you use the carabiner clip, you must wear a monitor to get heart rate readings) and other training data while logging pitches. If you ever wanted a watch specially built with climbers in mind, this is it.