Utterly Thrashed and Ready for More
Words & Photos by Jayson Simmons-Jones
As an IFMGA Licensed Mountain Guide, my 2400 Ice Pack has accompanied me to many places around the mountains of the world, and even after five years of hard, hard use, it’s still is the pack I go to on a daily basis. Besides being utterly thrashed in airline baggage transport services and overhead compartments along the way, it has also spent many hours hauling both my gear and that of my clients around some of the world’s most iconic mountain ranges.
It’s kept my gear bone dry on rainy and snowy summer climbs up to the Lower Saddle of the Grand Teton while leading ascents as an Exum Mountain Guide. It’s also kept my gear (especially my sleeping bag) dry on typical damp, wet, and rainy climbs up the endless Muir Snowfield on Mount Rainer to help me get clients to the summit for Alpine Ascents International. It worked back-to-back for many years on trips to the Bolivian South American Andes, enduring airline abuse, endless 4WD Jeep abuse, donkey trains, and the inherent crampon stab, ice axe pick, and ice screw catch on dozens of guided climbing trips to the Cordillera Real for my old company Crested Butte Mountain Guides. Same deal on trips with my current company Lotus Alpine Adventures. It’s also carried French baguettes and cheese to the high mountain slopes of Mont Blanc with as much aplomb as my rope and rack and endured the frenzied pace and occasional verbal abuse from impatient Zermatt Guides on guided ascents of the iconic Matterhorn. It’s even been donned by some of my brethren mountain guides in other cultures and countries, making its way to the summit of Kilimanjaro (three times), both on my back and via the backs of various African porters and guides.
When not helping me along the way to some known or unknown aesthetic mountain summit, it has schlepped backcountry gear across the Western Fjords of remote Iceland via sailboat while skiing for weeks. It’s been up and back down dozens of world-class ice climbs in the San Juan Mountains of Southwest Colorado, gone backcountry skiing hut-to-hut-to-hut-to-hut in Colorado and the European Alps, and (possibly most notably) endured weeks on end of being thrashed, poked, stuck, speared, stuck, freed, tossed, rolled, kicked, scraped, lowered, hauled, dragged, and even once forgotten amidst the unforgiving landscapes of both the Joshua Tree and Red Rock deserts of the American Southwest.
Through all this use (~1000 days total), my 2400 Ice Pack is definitely showing signs of use via small tiny pinprick tears in the fabric, but only after being subjected to literally hundreds of jabs by crampons, ice axes, sharp boulders, sharp ice screws, desert cactus, and god knows what in the bowels of airline baggage transfer stations. It’s ice tool holders eventually started to tear, and then a careless Bolivian Jeep driver finished the job by catching them in the tailgate while pulling away. But, considering the amount of use and abuse its seen, I think that is a pretty reasonable and minimal amount of wear and tear for such a lightweight, streamlined, minimalist pack to endure throughout a not so easy life. The shoulder and waist belt straps all still work as good as new, the Velcro roll-top closure still works fine, and in all but the biggest deluge (or water submersion), the pack’s contents still mostly remain dry enough not to be a concern in wet weather.
These days it is mostly accompanying me around the summertime rock climbing crags of Boulder, Eldorado Canyon, Moab, Indian Creek, Red Rock, Nevada, and the climbing in the greater Chamonix Valley that I use for guiding work at Lotus Alpine Adventures. And although I have a brand new fully-woven Dyneema® version of the same pack sitting in my garage that’s still in the plastic, I can’t seem to stop using my original old trusty one for the time being. At this rate, it may even outlast me.
Adventurer and Guide Jayson Simons-Jones has a simple goal: “to influence and inspire people to be better, happier human-beings.” He does that by providing one-on-one educational-based experiences through his work as an IFMGA/American Mountain Guide. Follow him on Instagram.