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Looking for an alpine pack... any recs? What about the patagonia ascensionist 30L?


Original Post
dsauerbrun · · Boulder · Joined Oct 2013 · Points: 55

Hi All,

I'm in the market for an alpine pack that'll be comfy for the long approach with 20-25 pounds as well as something that doesn't get in the way while I'm climbing.

I'm not gonna splurge for an arcteryx alpha FL but would like to know what people think about the patagonia ascensionist (30L version) since that's the one I'm currently looking at.

I'll likely be using it for alpine rock as I haven't gotten into ice climbing yet. I am going to pick up skiing next season with the intention of getting into the backcountry so a pack that is decent for that would be great too. I'm not expecting it to excel at alpine rock AND backcountry skiing but if it can at least have a little bit of crossover to save me from buying another pack until i get hooked into the backcountry skiing world I'd appreciate that.

thanks!

Nick Sweeney · · Spokane, WA · Joined Jun 2013 · Points: 661

I have used and loved my Patagonia Ascentionist 45 pack for three years.  It's come along on alpine rock climbs, days of ice cragging, alpine ice climbs, and technical climbs on volcanoes.  It's a sweet pack.  However, I recently got an Arcteryx Alpha FL 45 and I can confidently say it's the best pack out there for lightweight alpine climbing.  I want to get the FL30, too.  Splurge on one.  

Dallin Carey · · Missoula · Joined Aug 2014 · Points: 157

Cilogear

dsauerbrun · · Boulder · Joined Oct 2013 · Points: 55
Nick Sweeney wrote: I have used and loved my Patagonia Ascentionist 45 pack for three years.  It's come along on alpine rock climbs, days of ice cragging, alpine ice climbs, and technical climbs on volcanoes.  It's a sweet pack.  However, I recently got an Arcteryx Alpha FL 45 and I can confidently say it's the best pack out there for lightweight alpine climbing.  I want to get the FL30, too.  Splurge on one.  

I'm not entirely sure I can justify 2.5x the cost on an fl 30 for the amount of alpine climbing I do... I just bought an ascensionist for $89(I'm gonna return it if it doesn't end up fitting or feeling comfortable after putting some weight in it)

Porter McMichael · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2017 · Points: 20

I have the Mammut Trion zip 28. I love it. Compresses down on route, and the straps can carry skis well. Axe carry is perfect. Light enough with good access. I cant stand roll top packs and specifically searched out a zip access one.
Good Luck!

Gabe B. · · Madison, WI · Joined Apr 2013 · Points: 86

I love my Alpha FL 30, however, I have found a strong desire to have a camleback inside. It's nice for summer alpine approaches to not have to stop. The durability though is amazing (I did rip the roll top  part) and the waterproof fabric is great for wet snow/rain. The comfort is pretty good. I found mine on sale (I avoid full price for anything).

Brian Abram · · Celo, NC · Joined Oct 2007 · Points: 478

The newer Ascensionist 30 is a MUCH better pack than the older 25 or 35. Doesn't even compare. More comfortable, significantly more durable, better tool attachment. Ski carry requires the addition of straps and likely sucks. I have owned many packs over the years, including an FL30 I loved but destroyed after a year of use. The Ascensionist 30 is as good as any of the mid-size options. And I did not like the 25 or 35 at all.

Best small pack: Tufa Mochilla
Best mid-sized pack: Pat Ascensionist 30, Arc FL30, or ME Tupilak 30
Best larger pack: Arc FL45, ME Tupilak 37/45, HMG Dyneema Ice Pack

Mikey Schaefer · · Terrebonne, OR · Joined Jun 2014 · Points: 245

Sounds like you already bought one so not sure this matters...

The current Ascensionist has changed a little since the 1st generation.   The 2nd gen packs have a slightly burlier fabric that should also be more water resistant.  The trade off is the 2nd gen is heavier. It is definitely an improvement.   The volume has also been tweaked a little with the line up being 30L and 40L.   1st gen was 25/35/45.  

The lid pocket is improved on the 2nd allowing easier access when the pack is really full which was a problem on the original.  I still don't love the lid/pocket design but I've gotten used to it.  

And using it as a ski pack is ok as long as you have a fair bit of stuff in it.  If the pack is only half full it can be difficult to keep your skis from flopping around when they are strapped to the pack.  I've had better luck with the diagonal carry method in these situations.  I tied a small loop of 6mm cord near the ice axe loop to slide my skis in and then use a ski strap around the top shoulder strap tensioner.

Overall I think they are really good simple packs for the price.  I've taken them up alpine/rock climbs all over the world and I have always been happy with them.  But I should note that I'm affiliated with patagonia so I might be biased.

Chris C. · · Seattle, WA · Joined Mar 2016 · Points: 337

I love the whole Mammut Trion series.  The Arcteryx Alpha FL 45 is pretty sweet too.

Sean Hoffecker · · Central PA · Joined Jun 2012 · Points: 20

Surprised no one mentioned BD.  I have the Axis 33 and it's rad.  Very similar to the mission or Speed series that are currently being sold.  Very well suited (and built for) any rock, ice, or alpine mission you can come up with, provided you're not going to be out for days on end.

ConorCarroll · · Golden, CO · Joined Oct 2014 · Points: 0

alpine threadworks.  Neal will fix you up.  I love mine.  My cilogear has grown on me, but I find it to be a bit clunky if not filled all the way, especially if carrying skis.  

Nick Drake · · Newcastle, WA · Joined Jan 2015 · Points: 476

Glad to hear the new ascensionist has a burly fabric, the first ones were about as durable as a wet napkin. Shredded in a season.

One thing I would note about the desire for ski touring. If you're skiing avalanche terrain with a remote chance of actual slides consider how the hell you're going to get your probe and shovel out FAST. Most of the time the shovel blade ends up working it's way down inside the pack. I've watched numerous people yardsale trying to get their shovel together in timed practice burial search/recovery tests. You really should just get a pack with a dedicated avy gear storage that's fast to access for mid winter touring. Besides the access to tools just having more pockets/compartments to organize is really nice ski touring where you're switching modes many times throughout the day, it's the one time I want a complicated pack.  

Sterling Falconer · · California · Joined Feb 2017 · Points: 0

Arcteryx Alpha FL 45, I really underestimated the comfort of it. They did a really great job on it.

Matias Francis · · Bozeman, Montana · Joined Aug 2013 · Points: 30

Had the old receptionist 35 and fell apart very quickly. Just splurged and got the FL45, doesn't feel like a 45. My favorite pack I have ever used hands down. Look for one cheaper than retail. 

Brian Abram · · Celo, NC · Joined Oct 2007 · Points: 478
Matias Francis wrote:  Just splurged and got the FL45, doesn't feel like a 45.

I measured mine by adding water via Nalgene. It closed comfortably at 36 liters without the extension collar. Some spilled out when i tried to close it after adding liter 37. Yes, I really did this

Nick Drake · · Newcastle, WA · Joined Jan 2015 · Points: 476
Matias Francis wrote: Had the old receptionist 35 and fell apart very quickly.

One should only hire employees in their mid 20s to be receptionists. 

fossana · · leeds, ut · Joined Apr 2006 · Points: 13,231
DCarey wrote: Cilogear

I had one, and it tore on the first trip on a granite alpine traverse. I had no cams or nut tool with me, and there weren't any trees or bushes. The owner was an asshole when I called about it, but repaired it. I sold it.


I managed to get an Alpha FL 30 a few years ago for $119 and it's great so far.  Also about to try out one of the VX-42 Tufa packs.  The most bomber (and light) pack I've owned was the old Arc'teryx Khamsin (circa early 2000s).
JDMCO · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2015 · Points: 0

I have the cilogear 30:30, Hyperlite ice pack, and the hyperlite summit pack.

I'd pick the ice pack for my alpine pack if i had to do it over again. I can fit full rack and rope plus layers and food easily. Its also "hyper" light and has solid attachments for tools, crampons, and other alpine-y gear. Summit pack is awesome too. Plus you can get the Dyneema version as well, in each of these packs.

Agreed that the cilo kind of sucks if it isnt stuffed.

Brandon.Phillips · · Portola, CA · Joined May 2011 · Points: 55

I have a 1st generation 35 L patagonia ascensionist. Its tapered towards the bottom of the pack - I suppose to move more freely while you are actually climbing.  However, because of this taper it is hard to pack as much gear in it as other 35 L packs. Throw a rope on top and the pack feels perpetually off balance on the approach.  I don't know if this problem has been corrected in the last couple of years, but I used it on one trip in the Tetons and never used it again.  It would probably be nice if you had the pack fully packed while climbing on some multiday alpine climb, but for most stuff in the lower 48 with long approaches and one-day ascents - It was not my favorite. The Alpha FL or a Cilogear pack would be a better investment, in my opinion.

alpinejoe · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2016 · Points: 0

I recently got the Ascensionist 30L for alpine day/light and fast climbs, and so far I love it. It's a no nonsense alpine climbing pack; designed to climb well, be comfortable enough on the approach, but really not enough space for more than a day long trip (fits your gear, layers, food, water, and not much else). But that's the point of the pack...

Peter J · · Davis, CA · Joined Aug 2017 · Points: 105
Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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