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ULA Relay as an Alpine climbing pack?
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Huzefa Siamwala
ULA Relay as an Alpine climbing pack? on 04/03/2008 11:13:16 MDT Print View

Im just wondering has anyone considered Relay as an alpine climbing pack?

The Relay's shape is reflective of its design intent, a pack used for unencumbered movement. The hourglass shape allows arms and elbows to swing freely while moving and its simple waist belt ensures easy, unencumbered movement for a range of activities (hiking, running, biking). (ULA)

It is made of Dyneema Cross-Rip Gridstop so it is very durable. The shoulder straps are very well padded. It has front Shock Cord &
Ice Axe/Pole Retention Loops. The max volume is 2,100 cu in.

For more details:

I have no exprience of alpine climbing but plan to do some in coming years. Here ia s gear list I found:'s/alpEquip%20(WP)%20copy.pdf

They require a 1800-2200 pack. Relay seems to be the perfect alpine climbing pack to me.

Any thoughts?

Kathleen B

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Relay as Alpine climbing pack on 04/03/2008 13:06:18 MDT Print View

Huzefa - see my post on the favorite day pack thread. I do alpine scrambling (non-technical climbing) with it all the time. I haven't done any technical climbing for a few years, and during the time I did I was using an Arcteryx Bora 30, which is also a very fine pack, but it weighs a ton. I've packed a helmet, ice axe, and crampons on the Relay with no problems. It holds everything I need and stays close and stable to my back and is very comfortable.

Huzefa Siamwala
Kathleen -pics? on 04/03/2008 14:06:17 MDT Print View

Do you have some pics of relay with all that stuff on it? I would love to see some.

Kathleen B

Locale: Pacific Northwest
ULA Relay as an Alpine climbing pack?" on 04/03/2008 14:19:35 MDT Print View

My camera is in the shop right now, but when I get it back, I can post a picture.

douglas ray
Re; ULA Relay as an Alpine climbing pack? on 04/03/2008 15:20:44 MDT Print View

The drawbacks to using this pack for climbing are the shape and the side pockets. Packs for climbing should be narrow and taper down to as little as possible at the bottom, as well as being a bit short so the waist belt is above the harness. This allows more flexibility of body positions and better access to the gear on your harness. It also means the pack will last longer because it will rub against sharp rock less.

The relay would probably be great for snow/glacier climbing, and one could get some use out of it on technical terrain if you were to remove the side pockets and size it a bit short. Most likely the bottom will wear out quickly though, and it will keep you from getting at the stuff on your rear gear loops. And it will get in the way more than a pack designed for climbing. Probably a better alternative that's not to much heavier would be the Arcteryx Cierzo 35.

Doug Johnson
(djohnson) - MLife

Locale: Washington State
Re: Re; ULA Relay as an Alpine climbing pack? on 04/03/2008 23:56:37 MDT Print View

I agree with Douglas- the side pockets get in the way when climbing on rock and fill with snow when glissading. You could always cut them off.

The Golite Pinnacle is another good choice because you can use it to roll into base camp, shrink it down, and go for the summit.

There are reviews of both of these packs on this site that you might enjoy:

Golite Pinnacle review:

ULA Relay review:

Huzefa Siamwala
Re: ULA Relay as an Alpine climbing pack? on 04/04/2008 12:28:14 MDT Print View

Thanks for the comments.

If I had a Relay, I wouldnt be so merciless. I would tighten the cords on the pockets and tie them up with guylines. May be Brian would consider making a custom pack with Powergrid Spectra 500D instead of 210D Dyneema Gridstop.

FYI, PowerGrid Nylon with Spectra 500D weights 8.2oz/yard.

Kathleen B

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Relay fully loaded on 04/13/2008 22:38:35 MDT Print View

Huzefa - at long last my gear and my camera are in the same place, so I've taken a picture of the packed Relay, including ice axe, snowshoes, and helmet. I've never packed the helmet and the snowshoes on the same trip. The picture just shows it can be done.

The other picture was taken last June on the rim of Mt. St. Helens. It shows my crampons in a plastic bag strapped on top of the pack, and the ice axe attached.

Relay fully loadedRelay on Mt. St. Helens

Huzefa Siamwala
ULA Relay as an Alpine climbing pack? on 04/18/2008 01:02:45 MDT Print View

Relay is looking awesome! Kathleen, thanks for the pics. I am hoping to pull together a sub 20 pounds winter mountaineering gear list in a few months. Relay is the pack I will buy.


Locale: Greater Gila
re: Amp for alpine climbing on 04/18/2008 05:47:00 MDT Print View

Why not take a look at the ULA Amp? It weighs less than the Relay, and has a much slimmer, yet taller, profile. You can really compress the pack if you want slightly less volume, and you get an even nicer, slimmer, package. I love this pack and can't wait to take it on the PCT next week. Sadly I have no experience with it in Alpine situations.

Huzefa Siamwala
Re: ULA amp on 04/21/2008 23:57:03 MDT Print View

Eric, there is a lot of silnyon on Amp. I wouldnt use anything less durable then Dyneema gidstop for alpine and mountaineering. Infact I am thinking of designing my own pack of completely out of much more durable 500D spectra fabric.