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LW Moutaineering Packs
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Brian Sims
(MtnFiend) - F

Locale: Pasadena, CA
LW Moutaineering Packs on 04/30/2007 22:41:15 MDT Print View

I just thumbed through the different threads on the Mountaineering & Alpinism board and didn't find anything related to packs.

I'm trying to cut my base weight and the item I can cut the most weight would be my pack. I'm currently use a '99 Gregory Reality. Weight 5lb. 5oz. and 4,650c.i.

My outings will be summer and fall trips to the Sierra high country, climbing 14ers. This summer we have permits for Mt. Tyndal, Mt. Williamson, and Mt. Russell.

I used a Granite Gear Vapor Trail last summer on a 3 day, 2 night trip to Mt. Langley. Temps were pretty cool so gear was pretty bulky, but not necessarily heavy. The pack was too small. I had to off load too much stuff to my mate.

I'm considering the Osprey Aether 70 for a point of comparison. What lightweight packs are others using for alpine travel with small amounts of climbing gear (short rope, ax, light crampons)?

Steve Smack
(gearho) - F

Locale: PNW
Lt. wt. mountaineering packs on 04/30/2007 23:18:43 MDT Print View

Check out Great, super-versatile packs designed for climbing.

Brett .
(Brett1234) - F

Locale: CA
Brian: re:LW Moutaineering Packs on 04/30/2007 23:22:01 MDT Print View

Brian, glad to hear someone else is considering this topic. My problem seems to be similar to yours, volume, and weight. My micropuff pants for example, are as big as my sleeping bag. I choose some of the lightest gear in the world which meets my performance requirements; namely survival at -20C and safe mountaineering; still, volume is a limitation.

I just bought the Granite Gear Nimbus Meridian as my alpine pack; 65L, about 1600grams(3.5 lbs). It can strip down to about 1200 grams for summiting by removing the waist belt and lid.
It is not a perfect alpine pack, but I can fit most everything for a 3 day trip inside, with an axe, one trekking pole, one snow anchor, snow shovel, crampons, helmet, and tent poles on the outside.
Good points of the pack are the panel loading, comfortable suspension, 6 compression straps, huge lid, adjustable frame, upgradable straps, and perfect lid straps for my helmet.

Bad points mainly come with the light weight, in durability. I wish they had reversed opposing buckle pairs male/female, so the straps could be more versitile.. for example, currently two opposing side buckles can not join across the front of the pack because they are both male or both female.
As soon as time permits I am going to upgrade the standard shoulder straps with wide ones, as my 3-day winter mountaineering load is 20+kg. (list at my profile)

Please post a mountaineering packing list and your new pack choice?

I am interested in cilogear packs, but he does not show the suspension for any of the packs. When buying over the internet, large detailed and well-lit pictures of all angles of the suspension would help judge their geometry, fit, and comfort. I can only guess the straps are the weak point of the pack?

Edited by Brett1234 on 04/30/2007 23:31:13 MDT.

Robert Mohid
(mohid) - F
Style on 05/01/2007 09:36:06 MDT Print View

Hi Brian,

Are you planing to do done-in-a-day type trips, perhaps leaving from a hut or basecamp, or are you planning to do "unsupported" multiday climbs ?

Normally you can make due with a load hauling bag+summit bag.
The trade off between the speed to make it back to camp versus the penalty of lugging bivy gear is an important one.

Do you have logistical restrictions that affect the climbing style available to you?

Edited by mohid on 05/01/2007 09:37:37 MDT.

Brian Sims
(MtnFiend) - F

Locale: Pasadena, CA
Gear List on 05/01/2007 09:55:16 MDT Print View

Steve, I quickly checked out CiloGear. Nice looking stuff but like Brett I wish they had more photos. I am going to do some more research on their stuff.


We seem to be in the same boat on several issues (e.g. lightweight climbing gear, LW alpine packs), with you being a few steps ahead of me.

My basic list of gear includes:
- Marmot Arroyo 35deg. bag (~1lb)
- Ridge Rest
- MH Kiva (6lbs. but we sleep 4 in there. 2lbs./person is not bad for a bomber tent)
- Pretty light Primus stove with small windscreen and piezo lighter
- Evernew .9l ti pot (painted black on the outside)
- Montrail CTC
- Patagucci Rain Shadow jacket
- Sierra Designs Peak Bagger rain pants
- MH down jacket
- Pear Izumi thermal tights
- Fingerless surplus wool gloves
- TNF windstopper fleece gloves
- Smartwool balaclava
- REI Sahara zip-off pants
- Smartwool LW short sleeve top
- Ice Breaker LW long sleeve top
Climbing Gear:
- CAMP USA Tourax Ice Axe 50 cm (17oz., new from Steep & Cheap $63)
- BD Alpine Bod harness
- Considering either the Metolius or Beal rope you mentioned on another thread
- other climbing gear still in the works
- Crampons: Given the really dry winter I'm hoping to get away with a set of Climb High instep crampons. If reports come back of lots of ice I will look at some of the LW flexible crampons that work well with approach shoes.

kevin davidson
(kdesign) - F

Locale: Mythical State of Jefferson
LW mtneering packs on 05/01/2007 10:28:35 MDT Print View

Don't forget a perrenial favorite of Alpinists---the Wild Things Andinista, I've used one for years. I confess that I'm also investigating the Cilogear Worksacks.

Other possibilities:
Crux AK57 ( I believe that Ryan Jordan had nice things to say about this pack, in the past).
Black Diamond Quantum in the 45 or 55L flavors. These can be stripped down real light for summiting.

Brian Sims
(MtnFiend) - F

Locale: Pasadena, CA
Re: Style on 05/01/2007 12:41:34 MDT Print View

Responding to Robert but also a general statement about the style of "mountaineering" I will be doing. I quoted mountaineering because we are not doing really advanced stuff here. We will be taking the easiest way to the summit in every case, basically Class II and short sections of Class III. The rope and climbing gear will not be used for lead climbing. Also given our snow pack (or lack there of) I expect limited snow and/or this summer but will have more in future years. At this time all alpine usage will be in the Sierra.

Typical trips will include a full day hike into a basecamp, summit(s), hike out. Some trips will include one summit other will include more than one summit, which could be in one day or across several days. Trips will be limited to 3-5 days in length.

I know this will hardly constitute mountaineering to some, and maybe most, but it is a departure from strictly on trail backpacking I have done most of my life. My issue in finding a new pack is most lightweight and definitely most ultra lightweight packs are too small to hold the additional warm cloths for these higher altitude trips and limited climbing gear. Furthermore I am slightly concerned about pack material of LW and ULW packs when off trail on Sierra granite.

Hope this explanation helps.

Brian Sims
(MtnFiend) - F

Locale: Pasadena, CA
Re: LW mtneering packs on 05/01/2007 12:48:29 MDT Print View

Wild Things looks nice, weight and capacity, but $360. Wow that is up there compared to the others.

kevin davidson
(kdesign) - F

Locale: Mythical State of Jefferson
Style and the LW pack on 05/01/2007 12:53:26 MDT Print View

The Dyneema fabric reinforced ULA packs should be considered for your described style. They are very much up to Sierra granite and have used mine (the discontinued P1) on many an off-trail foray there. I consider their pack line to offer among the lightest "durable" packs on the market today. Even the Mesh pockets are surprisingly tough.

And much cheaper than the Andinista!

Edited by kdesign on 05/01/2007 12:54:05 MDT.

Ryan P. Murphy
(rmurphy) - M

Locale: Colorado
cold cold world on 05/01/2007 19:26:26 MDT Print View

It might be a little smaller than you're looking for but a friend of mine has been very happy with his cold cold world chaos. ( These packs are pretty popular for winter climbing in the northeast. Plus because the packs are made pretty much by two guys they'll do minor modifications for free. I have a valdez that they modified and they're very easy to deal with.

Brian Sims
(MtnFiend) - F

Locale: Pasadena, CA
Another Thread on CiloPacks on 05/01/2007 19:49:18 MDT Print View

There is another ongoing thread on The G-Spot board about CiloGear packs. Graham has offered to post additional pictures of the pack.

Brett .
(Brett1234) - F

Locale: CA
re:LW Moutaineering Packs on 05/02/2007 02:54:31 MDT Print View

Bryan, my trips sound a lot like yours, but I can only get away for a three day weekend at best. It might not be expeditionary, but it is mountaineering none the less.

I like the brevity of your list. I am struggling with which items I can exclude from mine; I keep coming up with 'none', yet I must reduce weight..
Can you sleep on snow with just a ridgerest for insulation? I carry a gound sheet, tent mat, evasote pad, and thin MB pad; about R3 total..
I leave in a few hours, but I am going to make a few reductions.. pull out my rack and limit myself to self-belayed roped travel instead.. remove small redundant items, reduce my water load, leave some stuff sacks at home.
That puts me at about 30lbs skin out base weight.

Brian Sims
(MtnFiend) - F

Locale: Pasadena, CA
Re: re:LW Moutaineering Packs on 05/02/2007 11:44:32 MDT Print View

My trips are late enough in the year I am not likely to be camping on the snow. If I do I carry the RidgeRest and Therma-A-Rest as well, but again this is rare.

There are several little items I left out of my list, like bowl, lexan spoon, headlamp, etc. but that is the basic list. When I am in larger groups and the mileage is short I take a Primus single mantel lantern. It goes a long way for moral at night.

I really wish MH would reproduce the Kiva with lighter material. They recently released a design similar to the Kiva with much lighter material but not an exact copy. The Kiva's walls go all the way to the ground and there are generous snow flaps along the bottom. Using some rocks to hold down the flaps above tree line goes a long way to warm up the tent at night, especially with 4 adults inside.

Peter King
(pking) - MLife

Locale: N. Nevada
Re: LW Moutaineering Packs on 05/02/2007 14:23:14 MDT Print View

Take a look at the Golite Pinnacle if you haven't already. It's lighter than many of those mentioned so far, at 710g/25oz and 4500 cubic inches, with very tough fabric, at a cost of $130.

I still occasionally use my circa 1990 Lightweight Andinista, 790g/28oz w/o the pad. Unfortunately they don't offer it anymore, but it was ahead of its time and has lasted very well with only a bit of duct tape.

kevin davidson
(kdesign) - F

Locale: Mythical State of Jefferson
LW mtneering pack sizing--Pinnacle on 05/02/2007 14:33:53 MDT Print View

Only if it fits you--- Golite offers it only to fit a torso length of up to 21 1/2 " so 6' plussers, like myself, can find the admirable Golite packs not to fit(me--22 1/2 torso). If it does fit---this is a good choice, actually, and the price is right. Good materials set.

This should be emphasized---make sure that whatever pack you get fits you. Don't fall in love w/ a piece of gear that ultimately will not work for you.

Doug Johnson
(djohnson) - MLife

Locale: Washington State
Re: LW mtneering pack sizing--Pinnacle on 05/02/2007 15:25:47 MDT Print View

Hey all,

I've used a Golite Gust for years (precursor to the Pinnacle) and have loved it for the types of climbing you mentioned. I'm 6'1" and use a medium. My 6'4" buddy uses a large and finds that it fits him quite well.

I'm currently testing a Pinnacle. Wonderful pack. It has all of the simplicity of the Gust but with a larger outside pocket, a hydration sleeve, side water bottle pockets (easy to cut off if they fill with snow when glissading), and it compacts a whole bunch for quick summit attempts. I love this pack.

Best of luck in your search!

kevin davidson
(kdesign) - F

Locale: Mythical State of Jefferson
Gust sizing on 05/02/2007 15:38:26 MDT Print View

A Med.! Interesting, Doug. The Gust even in large was too short and was verry uncomfortable (a svelte 6'2" 22 1/2 torso, here) and the same went for the Jam when loaded to over 20 #--the waist belt was a bellyband. Do you guys even have a torso? ;-P

Now the ULA packs, on the other hand...

Doug Johnson
(djohnson) - MLife

Locale: Washington State
Re: Gust sizing on 05/02/2007 19:38:22 MDT Print View

I guess I'm long in the legs- 19.5 inch torso- and I have a 33 waist.

My buddy with the large probably has a torso like yours...

Anyway, sizing is sometimes a preference thing, as seen by our different opinions...

carlos fernandez rivas
(pitagorin) - MLife

Locale: Galicia -Spain
Gust an other packs on 05/03/2007 07:04:01 MDT Print View

I use to carry a sub 5 backpacking pack and i spent the last years trying to reduce my mountaineering pack at the same way

Unfortunately as all we know, winter equipment is still bulky and heavy.....

ropes (7.8mm), axe (titanium), ice bolts (titanium and aluminum) crampons (xlc 390), harness (sub 300 grms) , some biners (sub 30 grms) helmet (250 grms), winter clothing, water, gas....too much weight anyway :-(

I tried light packs but in my honest opinion I think that is better idea to invest the money and some weight more in packs with a good hip belt to carry the weight in a comfortable way

(and believe me I´m VERY concerned about loose as much weight as possible in all my gear)

I use one golite jam 2 and i had the previous jam, and i think that are fantastic packs but with moderate loads I think that these packs are quite uncomfortable with alpine loads I modified mine with a light plastic sheet inside the pad pocket, to create a semi rigid frame and transfer the load to my hips, with only 60 grams more i felt that now i carry heavier loads in a more comfortable and effective way but I suppose that the pinnacle had the same limitations

I own a crux ak57 too, is a Very good (and very expensive) pack but i only miss a better hip belt (which is fundamental for me)

My favorite pack is one berghaus cyclops lite.... is quite light (1500 grms) and more comfortable because has better hip belt and wider shoulder straps

Robert Mohid
(mohid) - F
Packs on 05/03/2007 10:57:08 MDT Print View

Ok, so you need to bring all your gear on the approach.

I've been using an arcteryx kamshin 62 (discontinued) to get to base camp and switched to a serratus genie for the actual "summit day". Bringing only water, some food and enough clothes in the pack to let me be immobile and stay tolerably warm. The rest stays in the tent.

Tech gear would be carried on my harness or slung around my shoulder and the axe in hand. All the dense heavy gear is out of the pack, so i don't need a framesheet or backpanel. I stuff the puffies uncompressed into the pack to help it carry better. I put my water in the bladder sleeve on the serratus wich is next to my back and the lack of padding lets my body heat keep the water from freezing. The other stuff, like headlamp, first-aid, etc, are in my pockets at all times, never in my pack.

This is just my preference, you may wish the bring full bivy gear at all times ...

A lot of good suggestions on packs, as kevin said, the durability of the material is key.

I see you're bringing an a-bod harness and a rope for class 2-3 terrain, but didn't specify any protection to bring along.

I'm wondering what kind of scenario you expect a rope would be required? Do you think it might be possible to dump the a-bod and just bring enough sling to make a harness instead?
The sling material can always double as leaver rap cord.

Edited by mohid on 05/03/2007 11:01:43 MDT.