Turns out big packs don’t have to be heavy. Black Diamond solved the age-old problem by weaving Dynex (Dyneema) into the Cirque 35 pack. The ultralight material is not weak, since it’s the same life-saving material in many of BD’s quickdraws. The new backpack is designed for ski mountaineers that need to carry a lot of technical gear, which is supported by an active suspension system. The lid is a highlight, being a simple system that is easy to operate with one gloved hand. It’s also extendable with an add-on for even more storage. The Cirque line is a very clean, lightweight solution for technical ski mountaineering missions.
- Unique CINCH closure system makes accessing gear a breeze.
- SwingArm™ shoulder straps anchor the form-fitting suspension.
- Special avalanche-tool pocket has drain holes for less water-weight.
- Stretch-woven hip-belt pocket and gear loops enable up-front toting.
- Skis can be carried diagonally or in an A-frame with tuck-away straps.
- Expandable helmet flap is stowable to keep things slim when unused.
- Tuck-away PickPocket™ straps hold piolets, technical, and mixed tools.
- Nicely integrated rope strap unfurls to securely hold your vital life-line.
- Compatible with the AvaLung system for improved odds in a burial.
- Optional lid adds even more storage capacity to an ample backpack.
* The Cirque 35 is available in two sizes. Small is actually “Small/Medium” and fits folks up to 5’9” or so. Large is “Medium/Large” and better for, well, larger folks.
|Ski Carry||Diagonal or A-frame|
|Shovel / Probe||Internal compartment with drain holes|
|Ice Axe||Tuck-away straps|
|Stash Pockets||1 hip belt|
|Skimo Co Says|
|Usage||Technical ski mountaineering|
|Notes||CINCH lid can be operated with one hand|
|Bottom Line||Big yet light|
Questions & Reviews
Highlights: Easy access via the funky top closure (something I quickly fell in love with) which works great unless the draw cord gets iced up, the adjustment buckles are easy to manipulate with gloves on and the top side cinch straps lock which is a fantastic feature, the diagonal ski carry works extremely well (you need to use the side entry zipper to access the pack while skis are on it), it stowes an ice axe and rope really well (the quick draw axe feature seems neat but I found I didn't use it much), and the hip belt pouch is really handy. The size is just right for anything you would want to carry on long days with technical ascents and descents but doesn't get in the way.
Cons are mostly minor but include: no way to store crampons externally except on top under the closure strap which becomes unavailable if also carrying a rope and you cant use the helmet holder (which works pretty well) while diagonally carrying skis.
Overall, a great pack to comfortably carry all you need for long days in the mountains.
I have two minor gripes with it. First off the hipbelt pocket can get in the way of accessing gear loops while climbing so I might just cut it off (this only matters when leading hard ice or rock). Secondly I wish they had a separate strap at the top for the diagonal ski carry instead of utilizing the top strap for two purposes. It looks slick at first but it becomes a hassle to get into the pack when your skis are attached diagonally.
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