The North Face Prophet 65
The prophet is a standout climbing/mountaineering pack, no doubt about it. The fabric is durable and light, the features are well thought out, and the frame/suspension is sturdy. I am a die-hard M.H. fan when it comes to mountaineering gear, however I went with this pack over the South Col. (mainly for monetary reasons - I was able to get the Prophet much cheaper). Needless to say, I am bias to the M.H. alpine packs. With that said, here's my two cents; the prophet has a 300 denier fabric throughout the pack, which is the perfect balance of durability and weight. This pack contains 3 side compression straps which can be a bit busy at times, but does add more functionality to the pack. The frame of the pack is ridged enough which makes for good sturdy weight transfer. Nice features include the designated crampon pocket in front, extension skirt, huge side pockets, and piece of mind.. this isn't one of those packs you have to baby. Here's what I don't like; the padding on the backpanel, hip belt, and shoulder straps could be a few more ml's thick. I understand that mountaineering packs typically have streamlined padding because assuming you will have several layers on while climbing, you dont need 5 inches of padding. Nonetheless, this one could use a bit more. The hipbelt is not removable, which is a nice feature when you are pushing for the summit and have a harness/rack on. Lastly, one comparison (if I didn't find the Prophet cheaper) that would've made me lean towards the South Col., the full wrap compression of the South Col. M.H.'s design of the compression straps not only being on the sides, but also on the front is a great feature that I use all the time in my other M.H. alpine packs. You can strap a set of snowshoes to the front of the pack, and still have the compression straps on the side for pads, tent poles, ice pickets, etc. Overall, there are plenty of options out there for a large volume mountaineering pack, but this one is one of the better ones.