ProView – Petzl Tikka Headlamp
Is the Petzl Tikka headlamp up for the tallest mountain in Montana? I decided to put the Tikka to the test on a two-day trip to Granite peak. The Absaroka – Beartooth wilderness are some of Montana’s wildest mountains; the razor-sharp peaks are pristine and formidable. The crown jewel of the Absaroke is Granite Peak at 12,807 ft. Granite peak boasts one of the most difficult approaches of any of the 50 states’ high points.
The approach to Granite Peak involves a 12-mile hike, 8 miles of which are off trail and in exposed alpine terrain. A long, frozen approach across the Froze-to-Death plateau necessitates a before-dawn departure and many hours treacherously hiking the icy terrain in the dark. A perfect first test for the Tikka!
When packing for my solo attempt on granite I decided to go as light as possible. Mountain house, ultralight tent, and a stubby 9mm rope for repels. The Tikkas 3 oz, super light profile fit right in for this job. I started out at 4am at the trailhead in the dark. The first thing I noticed about the Tikka is how much light it put out for a 3AAA headlamp: 200 lumens at 80 meter max beam distance. I usually wield the Black Diamond Storm, but it is substantially heavier at 3.9 ounces, and every once counts in a two-day burley journey up Granite.
Another bonus: the glow-in-the-dark feature made the Tikka super easy to find in the lid of my pack. I rolled out my bag early the next morning to make coffee before the summit attempt and was very happy to instantly spot my headlamp without the usual stumbling, pack fussing and stub-toeing. Montana is grizzly bear country so knowing I could find my bear spray and headlamp in a hurry is always welcome.
I started hiking at about five AM and was happy to find some fellow peak baggers to link up with for the summit attempt. The Tikka’s low power mode was more than up to the job of picking my way through the giant talus slope that buttresses the peak. The Tikka is comfortable to wear and it also seem to perform well in the cold temperatures; it was about 18 degrees when we started out. I stowed the Tikka just as we made it to the top. Woohoo!
On our long scramble back down I decided to hustle and try to pack up camp and hit the trail before it got dark. As I was picking my way back across Froze-to-Death plateau I was quickly losing light (and warmth), so I pulled on my big, hooded parka and was able to easily slip the Tikka over the big, down hood.
What I loved about the Petzl Tikka
As I mentioned, the ultra-light weight of this headlamp is the number one benefit for me as an Outdoor Guide who puts a lot of miles and hours in in the dark. The red LED bulb is great for when you are walking around camp at night and don’t want to blind any of your camping compadres, and the four light settings allow you to adjust brightness and save battery when needed. Petzl says that the Tikka gets between 60 (on high light setting) and 240 hours (on the lowest light setting) before you need to recharge or replace the batteries, so its great for shorter trips but you will need to bring extra batteries for longer journeys for sure. Finally, my dome was very comfortable in the adjustable strap and I was able to easily fit it over a fluffy hood.
Areas for improvement
At 200 lumens max brightness, the Tikka was noticeably dimmer than my Black Diamond Storm. It would not be my first choice for longer adeventures like night skiing or long mountaineering approaches, but it is great for short, lightweight missions and general camping/night use.
All-in-all I really enjoyed the Tikka and it will definitely be my new go-to headlamp for light applications.
Trevor Hawks is an Outdoor Adventure Guide with Adventure Learning LLC in Bozeman, Montana. He is also a former NOLS student whose trip to the Himalayas as a NOLS India student solidified his passion for the outdoors and mountaineering.