Friday, July 19, 2013

Ozone as a Summit Pack



Simple, no frills climbing packs are hard to come by. Yes, it's true, manufacturers like to add bells and whistles, claiming they've improved upon timeless highly functional designs. Every time I try a pack from one of the big packmakers - Black Diamond, Mountain Hardwear, Gregory, Osprey, etc, I am inevitably drawn back to my Cold Cold World packs. It's hard to say why, except that simplicity reigns supreme when it comes to climbing packs.

For the past year I've been using a custom Cold Cold World Ozone pack. Randy made it for me with a slightly longer torso, floating removable lid, and external ax attachments. The pack is constructed of 500d Spectra grid fabric which is light yet very durable. It originally came with a spindrift collar also, but I opted to slice to collar out. This makes repeated packing at the crag a bit easier. The spindrift collar makes good sense when you use it only in the mountains, where the extra volume is nice to have, but hinders packing the bag efficiently time and again (common during a day of cragging).


During the last year I've also used a few other packs - a CCW Chernobyl, an MEC Alpinelite 30, and a BD Speed 30. They are all nice bags, but every time I return to the Ozone. It's my favorite bag and I'm constantly scheming about how I can improve this pack or increase it's carrying capacity by just a little bit without adding a long spindrift collar.

I'm headed to the Bugaboos later this summer and I'm going to take a few different packs with me. Here's my current dilemma - I'd like to take a few different packs with me. The terrain there varies quite a bit. There is a long, backcountry approach which requires that one carry and expedition-sized pack. There are long rock routes where you descend back to your pack at the end of the day. These routes will require something in the 15L range that can easily be worn while climbing 5.9-5.11 rock. There are also carry over routes. On these routes you bring your kit - ice axe, crampons, and all of your rock rack up the route because you'll descend in a different place from where you started. A minimalist pack in the 30L range seems appropriate for routes like this (like the Beckey-Chouinard from Applebee camp in a day).

To me it sounds like I'm going to need 3 different packs. The two smaller packs need to be packable. There aren't many 30L-ish packs that stuff down small, are highly functional, will carry a load well, and are durable. At first, even my Ozone seemed like it might be hard to bring along even though it might be the best 30L option.

So, the other day I dismantled the pack. I took out the foam pad and my makeshift frame. I then stuffed the entire body of the pack into the lid. Bingo! My favorite pack fits into it's lid like many other lighter, less durable summit packs. The foam will easily slide in the frame of my expedition pack, and I'm sure I could just use part of a foam sleeping pad instead.

There was extra space in the lid still. You could probably stuff a 1000d ballistics Ozone into it's lid too. So, one of the simplest, most durable packs is also a great summit pack.


For more information about the Ozone check out Randy's site here