I have always be a proponent of Black Diamond packs. Whether it is the old school Bullet or the tried and true Sidewinder I have always found Black Diamond's packs to be comfortable and feature rich. Black Diamond always seems to be able to put in the little extra features without over engineering the pack or making it a porker. One of my favorite Black Diamond packs was the Predator (circa 2007 -2008 ish) and this pack had it all; ski carry, rope strap, external crampon pouch, helmet trapper on the lid and a back panel and internal stay that made the pack comfortable even with 40+ lbs. loads. I really didn't think there would ever be a better pack for ice/alpine climbing. Low and behold Black Diamond blew that notion out of the water this past year with the Mission 50. It has everything the Predator had plus a better carrying system and side entry zipper (no more helmet trapper though...sad face). I have to admit the first chance I got to use this pack was for ice climbing in the Long's Peak cirque and I was worried about the long hike and how the new pack would perform. We carried in a good amount of gear and of course the hike was a slog. The Mission 50 was incredibly comfortable and shouldered the load very well. The main storage tunnel is cavernous and with the side entry zipper you can access pretty much anything with ease. There are compression straps all over the pack for attaching more gear, lifting shoulder straps and cinching down certain parts of the pack. All the zippers are water resistant and the top lid pocket is big enough to fit lunch a camera and an extra pair of gloves.
|Black Diamond Mission 50 with side pocket in view|
|Black Diamond Mission 50 with back panel and carry system in view|
If you want a mountaineering pack for high alpine summits and ice cragging look no further than the Black Diamond Mission 50.