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What's best size pack for Ice Climbing


Original Post
Chris Wright · · Unknown Hometown · Joined 22 days ago · Points: 0

Leaning towards BD Blitz 20 but considering the 28.  Seems like a 22L would be closer to ideal.  I'm not a big guy (5'9" 150lbs) and dont want something getting in my way but want everything to fit.  I welcome all pack suggestions.  I think the blitz is my style though, my favorite hiking pack was an old golite.

Chris Blatchley · · Somerville, MA · Joined Sep 2016 · Points: 0

the arcteryx alpha fl 30 is super nice.

Allen Sanderson · · Oootah · Joined Jul 2007 · Points: 1,187

A friend brings his big 50L pack with everything in it and then brings a small 20L pack for the climb.  I like a pack that is big enough (45L) to stuff everything in, including the rope. I wear it while climbing and it does not bother me. It also offer some protection from falling ice.The nice part about a bigger pack is that one can just dump everything in and it fits. Over the weekend whilst climbing after topping out I put all the screws and my tools directly in to my pack and then rapped the route. Much nicer than than having screws and tools dangling off my harness.

Roots · · Redmond. OR · Joined Dec 2010 · Points: 20

oh, while ice climbing....something small and light. I doubt there is a "best" as it depends on a few factors...

David Maver · · Philadelphia PA · Joined Nov 2012 · Points: 15

I used to try and cram things into a BD 22L pack, but just had to make compromises with layers, gear, comfort, etc. Now, I use a 35L pack from Patagonia and it's just right.

Porter M · · Bellingham, WA · Joined Jun 2017 · Points: 30

I use a mammut trion zip 28 and it works well, I use it for skiing, ice climbing and alpine climbing, works for all and isn’t perfect for any. Forbice climbing it may be a tad big for on route but big enough to carry all my gear for the whole day if I pack at least sort of efficiently. If I need a lot the 28 L is nice and if I don’t then I hang a coat and water on my harness and mittens in my jacket. How long of routes are you talking? A more specific description of what you want to do may elicit more specific answers.

Matt S. · · Milwaukee, WI · Joined May 2018 · Points: 0

The Osprey Mutant series is worth checking out.

Peter Lewis · · Bridgton, ME · Joined Oct 2009 · Points: 165

So small that your buddy has to carry most of the stuff.

Nick Sweeney · · Spokane, WA · Joined Jun 2013 · Points: 662

For cragging, I like a 45L pack so I can just dump stuff into it, including the rope.  I don't want to spend time organizing my pack when I could be hiking to the next climb.  If I'm climbing with a pack, I use a ~20L TUFA Mochilla or the Arcteryx Alpha 45 (actually more like a ~35L pack).

Ryan Pfleger · · North Lake Tahoe, CA · Joined Sep 2014 · Points: 15

Totally depends on the situation! Anywhere from "none" to "50L", maybe more! Are you using this for single pitch cragging? Are you carrying it on multipitch climbs? How far from the car is it? How cold is it? Is this for an overnight alpine route? Given the information available the best answer is use the smallest size that comfortably carries everything you need.

Chris Wright · · Unknown Hometown · Joined 22 days ago · Points: 0

This will be my 1st time ice climbing but I'm guessing that best scenario is to take a bigger pack for travel and a smaller pack to actually climb in?  I would say for future endeavors my question would be this:  when does a pack become too big to climb steep ice in? Do people climb steep ice with 35L packs?  I'd rather have the room in case I need it but I dont want to go overkill and hinder ability.

Nick Sweeney · · Spokane, WA · Joined Jun 2013 · Points: 662
Chris Wright wrote: This will be my 1st time ice climbing but I'm guessing that best scenario is to take a bigger pack for travel and a smaller pack to actually climb in?  I would say for future endeavors my question would be this:  when does a pack become too big to climb steep ice in? Do people climb steep ice with 35L packs?  I'd rather have the room in case I need it but I dont want to go overkill and hinder ability.

Are you doing multipitch for your first day of ice climbing? I only carry a pack if I'm climbing a long route.  People climb ice with all sizes of packs, but the smaller, the better.

Greg Shea · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2015 · Points: 10

What are you planning to climb, and in what temperatures? If it's your first time out I'm guessing there will be a bit more time spent standing around getting cold, your going to need a bigger pack for more layers. A bigger pack might also be good just because it can be hard to stay organized and get things out from a small bag in winter with gloves on. You would probably be served well by anything in the  30-40L range. Look for a minimal suspension and a hip belt that can either be removed or is minimal and easy to clip around the backside of the pack. After a few seasons you will know how to go lighter and could may enjoy something smaller like a 20L. I personally don't like a top lid/brain.

Nick B · · Anchorage, AK · Joined Jan 2016 · Points: 61

Big fan of the Patagonia ascentionist 40l, at least here in Ak.  Big enough to comfortably carry all my bulky winter stuff for those -f days and my gear on the approach, but cinches down nicely and climbs nimbly with good access to gear on my harness.  It is the best pack I have ever owned.  I lead steep ice with it no problem, though I will just haul any pack up if I am leading at my limit.  A pack in the 20s will generally be too small if you need a belay parka, etc and doesn't offer much advantage over a 30-40 liter pack that is well designed.

Don't buy something before you go out a few times and know what you need if you have any pack you can use for now.

Luc-514 · · Montreal, Quebec · Joined Nov 2006 · Points: 9,320

I bring my gear to the base in an Osprey Variant 35L, then I climb with an old Arc'teryx Cerzio 18L. The Arc'teryx pack is small enough to fit in my hand when empty and has enough room for mitts, snacks, belay jacket, water and spare cord.
I guess Osprey converted all the Variants to Mutants, better packs now.

Allen Sanderson · · Oootah · Joined Jul 2007 · Points: 1,187
Chris Wright wrote: This will be my 1st time ice climbing but I'm guessing that best scenario is to take a bigger pack for travel and a smaller pack to actually climb in?  I would say for future endeavors my question would be this:  when does a pack become too big to climb steep ice in? Do people climb steep ice with 35L packs?  I'd rather have the room in case I need it but I dont want to go overkill and hinder ability.

It is not really the size of the pack but how well it conforms to your body and what is in it.  As mentioned above I climb with my 45L pack and at best it has 10lbs of stuff in it. I do not notice it, even while leading. It might seem bulky because I have my belay jacked stuffed (but not compressed) in it.  My suggestion is if you already have a pack just take it and go climb.

Chris Wright · · Unknown Hometown · Joined 22 days ago · Points: 0

Thanks for all the responses guys. Unfortunately all I have is a very large pack and a very small pack. Does anyone have any thoughts on the mountain hardware out dryer scrambler 30?

Allen Sanderson · · Oootah · Joined Jul 2007 · Points: 1,187

Look at the Cold Cold World Valdez (40L)  http://www.coldcoldworldpacks.com/valdez.htm Way more functional for not much more money. Another is the Wild Things Guide Pack which is 26L https://www.wildthingsgear.com/products/guide-pack?variant=1648721859

What I do not like about the MW is the lid is fixed. So if you stuff it full and put a rope on top the lid is going to pushing into your head.

Gunkiemike · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2009 · Points: 2,800
Chris Wright wrote: Thanks for all the responses guys. Unfortunately all I have is a very large pack and a very small pack. Does anyone have any thoughts on the mountain hardware out dryer scrambler 30?

That's perfect. A big one to haul all your stuff to the climbing site; a small one to take up with you if it's more than a couple pitches (which I doubt your first ice day would be).

wisam · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2012 · Points: 60

Either leave a big pack at the base and take an 18 liter pack on route or take my arcterix alpha 45. It’s so light that you don’t notice it when climbing.  

Chris Wright · · Unknown Hometown · Joined 22 days ago · Points: 0
wisam wrote: Either leave a big pack at the base and take an 18 liter pack on route or take my arcterix alpha 45. It’s so light that you don’t notice it when climbing.  

Wow that pack is super light.  But I think I'll call cold cold world tomorrow about the valdez.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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