"Life is brought down to the basics: if you are warm, regular, healthy, not thirsty or hungry, then you are not on a mountain... Climbing at altitude is like hitting your head against a brick wall - it's great when you stop."

Chris Darwin

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Search is over

Credit: Ari Paulin,  Shot on 2010-04-30 Photo taken.(c) (c) 2010 Ari Paulin, licensed under: (c) 2010 Ari Paulin.

I've previously written about my search for perfect alpine pack. To summarize, what I was was looking for is a pack small enough to actually climb with, yet large enough to carry a tent (very small one), sleeping bag, pad and few days worth of food on top of all the gear needed for technical climbing in mixed alpine terrain during the approach. So somewhere around 40 liters with a possibility to overpack.

Featurewise, some things I was looking for:

  • Lean-and-mean single compartment design
  • Reasonably durable fabrics
  • Low weight
  • Side attachments for ice tools
  • Strap for rope
  • Floating lid for overpacking

And some that I wasn't looking for:

  • Unnecessarily heavy and sturdy frame
  • Unnecessarily heavy and sturdy waist belt
  • Traditional ice tool loops
  • Zippered compartments aside from the ones on lid

The search is over, I decided on Cold Cold World pack made by Randy Rackliff. Mine is a custom model that is somewhat smaller than standard Chernobyl. Size aside, the other customizations include:

  • Standard cordura replaced with Spectra rip stop. I did go with 500D instead of lighter 210D for better durability as the weight difference is rather modest. Granted, dyneema might be a better still, but it is not too readily available and packs made of it tend to come with prohibitively hefty price tag
  • Standard ice axe loops replaced with pick pockets style attachment system that works better with modern leashless tools
  • Integrated crampon pouch
  • Standard rope attachment replaced with the model that is connected to pack only in the pack to facilitate accessing the pack without detaching the rope
  • Reflective tape added in order to be able to better locate the pack in the dark

So far the pack seems really cool and I am anxious to try it out. Customer service by CCW is absolutely top notch and prize of custom made pack is reasonable enough. So if the pack works as well as I expect it to, then I see no reason to look elsewhere whenever I am in need of a pack in the future.

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