My previous write up on the Suunto Traverse was one I had based on barely a couple of weeks use, using it back and forth to work, short walks with the dog and general day to day activities. It functioned as you would expect, and more. It gave me a sneak peak into its advanced features and made me keen to push the watch further on days out in the mountains, for which it is designed.

I have since taken the watch on several outings to Snowdonia in Wales, where is saw its fair share of our wintery weather on some routes that have both physically tested its durability and given its features as a sporting watch a good grilling too.

Whenever I am approached to talk about my ‘cool looking watch’ I struggle to know where to start, I often look around for the closest chairs as I feel that if we’re going to properly talk about it, we will probably need to sit down. Even now, I am struggling to think of the most suitable starting point as the list of features is almost endless, and selecting my favourite feature is just as difficult.


To make this a little easier, I shall focus on the days out with the watch, verses focusing on the watch its self. My first trip out with the watch was with a group of friends in the Ogwen valley to complete a traverse (I couldn’t help it) of Tryfan’s (pronounced Tr-van) northern face, across the summit and down its slightly less arduous southern side and back around to the car. I have to confess initially I forgot to start the watch, but with the flick of a switch its route recording function was up and running. You can pre-allocate a up to five sports modes, which can be easily started by holding the ‘Start’ button until a menu of your chosen modes shows up. The Ambit watches could store more than five modes, but I don’t think this is anything that holds the Traverse back as it takes just a few seconds to swap the modes you use on the App.

In this case I selected hiking, left the watch to latch on to the relevant GPS, which also supports the Russian version of GPS – GLONASS, and continued on my way. Tryfan is in many places a steep exposed scramble. It gets the heart racing (which, combined with the Suunto HR monitor you could keep an eye on…) and can offer some stunning scrambling routes, some of the best in the UK.


Using the Movescount app you can customise your selected sports modes to show the information you feel will be appropriate for your chosen sport, whether it is running, hiking, swimming or a session on the weights. With the Hiking mode I chose such settings as speed, altitude, elevation profile, GPS route navigation, distance, heart rate when using the HR monitor, which also works when swimming and even oxygen level and, believe it or not, the time. Tryfan certainly allowed me to focus on the elevation as its steep ascent and descent make for a stunning profile.

The watch had few issues locking on to the GPS, it was tracking our movements within seconds. The altimeter on the watch is based on both the barometric pressure and the GPS, which gives the most accurate altitude you could get on any wrist based device such as the Traverse. This meant that I could shatter the groups dreams every time they thought we were nearing the summit, but did in fact have a few hundred meters to go.


The day concluded nicely, we could use the breadcrumb function on the watch to pinpoint the exact location of the car and gradually work our way back through the boggy ground. We did tempt another mountain, but fortunately, the Traverse stepped in with its sunrise and sunset feature to warn us against such a decision.

Once back down I was able to fine tune the functions used in my Hiking mode before a very wet walk up a mountain called Moel Siabod (Mole Sha-bod) also in Snowdonia. We reluctantly stepped out the door into the driving rain, a typical Welsh day, and began our ascent of this slightly smaller less technical peak straight from our accommodation. The low cloud, heavy rain and paths that had turned to rivers meant that we had to use the Traverse’s altimeter and its inbuilt compass to pinpoint our location, it performed fantastically. My SLR remained safe in the boot of the car, but my GoPro Hero 4 certainly came into its own as it caught images of our extremely wet ascent.


The summit presented a gale that knocked me clean off my feet but the real challenge came from finding the way back down. We had scrambled up polished wet rock which made descending the same route less than desirable. TRAVERSE TO THE RESCUE. We descended the north side of the mountain, and used the bread crumb tool to lead us back round to our original path in, avoiding the slick rock we had climbed up on. Not only did the watch support us in our times of navigational need, but it also spent its entire time strapped to the outside of my jacket taking the grunt of the weather for the whole time, and showed no sign of weakness even when I bounced off some rocks.

My last ascent with the Traverse was of a mountain across the road from Tryfan, Pen Yr Ole Wen, a mountain with a steep ascent and some exposed and challenging grade 2 scrambles. This time I plotted the route prior to our departure. This is an extremely easy task, and there are many ways to do it. You can access routes plotted by others and download them, access routes through the Movescount site, plot your own on an external mapping system or plot it directly on the Movescount site. Once done the route can be synchronised with the watch and started as you begin.


Along side a pre-plotted route, you can allocate Point Of Interest, or POIs, these may be the location of the summit, a refuge, shelter, water source or in my case, the pub. When you near said POI the watch begins to vibrate and beep, perfect for adverse weather conditions.

Our trip up Pen Yr Ole Wen was simple enough, and the weather not too bad – aside from the incredible testing high speed winds. The skies cleared enough to allow sunshine to beam down through the clouds, presenting some of the most fantastic views I’ve seen in the hills.


For me, with the Traverse, the second half of the magic starts when you get back down. Within minutes the watch will synchronise with the Movescount app and present data from your hike in an easy to digest manner. In the app you can upload photos taken during the trip, or use the phone app at the time to do the snapping.

The real post trip highlight for me is the Suunto Movie that the app can generate. Once your ‘Move’ is synchronised you can turn the route into an animated movie, using 3D mapping. It draws a line following the exact route plotted by the GPS function on the watch over the course of a 60 second movie (it is possible to vary the length of the video accordingly, but 60 seconds is the longest option). If you took photos during your expedition it will automatically insert them into your video at the locations they were taken, it even worked it out from the time stamp on my GoPro photos.


This is a bit of fun, but once you have synchronised the ‘move’ there are a wealth of mapping programs and devices that can use the GPX file. Load it onto a GPS unit, print it off using online mapping, share routes with friends or simply load it back into the Traverse so you can follow the exact same route once again.

The Movescount does a fantastic job of organising your activities. Its easy to see what you’ve done in the way of big wall climbing, then with a quick swipe of the finger scan over to your runs and check out how they’re coming along. Upload images and customise your profile to share with others on Movescount and compare progress. The whole experience only just starts with the watch, its a fantastically immersive experience that will keep you busy getting out and about completing your favourite activities.


Technology takes all of a few seconds to update, but fear not as the app will soon notify you if there is new software for your watch, and its easy enough to download the new features etcetera and get back to business taking on a new peak or stepping up the pace in the gym.

The Suunto Traverse for me has not only performed beyond expectations, it has become addictive, I struggle not to plot my route around the local super market and am constantly competing to beat the previous days steps. For the casual hiker it is perfect, it presents a means of very easily logging all your outings, as well as adding an element of security with its navigational features. For the more avid mountaineer it’s a brilliant companion for tracking every tiny detail of your expeditions. The watch performs well on a daily basis and is very aesthetically pleasing. I am extremely fortunate to have been able to put this watch through its paces, but whilst my review grinds to a halt, my exploration into this watches capabilities will not.

Take it out, play with it, experiment and enjoy!



About The Author

Jack Williams

Jack has thrived on travel for years, and is especially attracted to inhospitable locations. Jack has spent most of the last six years dotting around the world including expeditions to Iceland, Morocco & several Trips to Nepal. Mountaineering and hiking has always being the core of Jack’s travel, but its not unusual to find him skiing across ice caps or hiking through deserts.

One Response

  1. John Hudson

    Fantastic write up on the Suunto Traverse, thank you.
    I have just purchased one myself and having read your blog and seen the final 3 d map movie can’t wait to get out and trial the watch.


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