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D4 Trapezium Review

by Brandon Adams  20 May, 2018

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Big walls can be climbed either in pushes or as vertical camping trips of three days or more. It is usually impractical to climb them in two days because as soon as you start hauling a bag equipped with a camping load, the work required becomes prohibitive. John Middendorf’s new lightweight Trapezium portaledge may finally provide a way of merging this gap.

The key advantage of the Trapezium is its low weight and highly compact design. It packs to 25" x 8" x 3.5" and weighs less than 8 pounds, yet provides 2400 square inches of usable space. Hauling the Trapezium and a weight conscious camping load feels almost like hauling a light bag as you would in a long push. It is best qualified as a 1.5 person portaledge and offers tight quarters for a two person team. However, I believe that the advantages outweigh the disadvantages for light and fast shoves of big objectives.

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The Trapezium sports further advantages as well. It assembles and is taken down incredibly easily. The male coupling where the bars come together is rounded which makes the frame come together much more effortlessly than on other commercially available portaledges. There is also no spreader bar which further simplifies assembly, yet the Trapezium is still very stable due to its trapezoidal shape. The fly has a zipper going up the center that facilitates deployment and makes life within much more comfortable. The Trapezium makes one wonder why these innovations are only coming to portaledges in the modern age.

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I recently tested a Trapezium on a two day climb of a grade VI wall in Yosemite Valley and was impressed with its performance. The climbing was made more enjoyable with a light load. The ratio of climbing to work was much more favorable than on usual vertical camping trips. My partner and I are both over six feet tall and enjoyed a tight but comfortable night of sleep. I look forward to using the Trapezium for many other adventures in the future.