Black Sheep Adventure Sports

I’m Monte Johnston, a full-time Skiing, Mountaineering & Climbing Guide based in Squamish, BC. After graduating university with an engineering degree he found he wasn’t satisfied only chasing his passion for the mountains on weekends or in the evenings. This led me away from working behind a desk into a life of guiding, avalanche forecasting and movie/film safety work.

I have since climbed and skied all over the world including Patagonia, India, Kenya, Tanzania, Oman, Chile, Argentina, Costa Rica, Australia, New Zealand, Spain and Japan. Of course he’s also visited numerous areas closer to home like Bella Coola, Bugaboos, Rockies, Rogers Pass, Alaska, Yukon, Indian Creek, Red Rocks, Zion, Joshua Tree, Index, Yosemite, etc.

As a guide I spend a lot of time in the mountains using all types of outdoor gear including packs. I was approached to start testing gear which eventually led me to writing reviews. I simply love testing the limits of new gear, apparel and packs for various articles and reviews though mainly for my Black Sheep Adventure Sports website.

What kind of bags do you review?

I tend to focus on bags and packs for:

  • Climbing
  • Mountaineering
  • Ski Touring
  • Adventure Travel

How do you review the bags?

As a full time guide I spend a lot of time climbing, skiing, traveling, etc. This gives me plenty of opportunity to really put gear to the test. For my typical reviews I’ll put about 50 days on a pack. For long-term reviews the days of use go up significantly to 100+. First Look review’s on the other hand have had limited field use, typically in the 5-20 day range. All gear is field tested.

What are your favorite bags?

I find that packs and bags have become quite specialized with some brands excelling in certain areas. Some current models that I really like include the Osprey Mutant line for alpine and ice climbing, the Patagonia Descensionist for ski touring and the Black Diamond Creek 50 for cragging.

How do people use your reviews?

I hope that my reviews help people in choosing the right pack for their specific use. I have received a few emails from readers with additional questions about some reviews but not as many as when I had a comments area on the website (I discontinued the comments area as I was getting too much spam). I also get contacted from brands who have questions about the reviews which is fun. It’s always a pleasure talking shop with fellow gear junkies.


Visit Black Sheep Adventure Sports



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