BigWallGear D4 Portaledge annual report 2019
2019 D4 BigWallGear Annual Report
*D4 has become the #1 portaledge in the world with mainstream press news and reviews.
*Durango Sewing Solutions has new larger and improved portaledge making shop.
*D4 Alpine Double availability in 2020.
*Social Media updates now mostly on Instagram @bigwalldeuce
*Updated http://bigwallgear.com and new Big Walls Forum at http://bigwallsforum.com
*D4 Design news.
STATE OF THE ART:
Since our Kickstarter introduction of the D4 Portaledge design in 2017, four co-designers have been crafting hundreds of D4 portaledges of various shapes and sizes, with our two main products, the Full Size D4 from Durango Sewing Solutions, and the Alpine Double, by Runout Customs, leading the way as our main sellers.
The D4 design is now firmly established as the new state of the art in portaledge technology, with dozens of favorable reviews from the top big wall practitioners (most of which have been posted on the Facebook BigWallGear page), in addition to the Climbing Editor's Choice award for our full size D4 Portaledge, and 5 out of 5 star product review from Alpinist for the D4 Octapod.
Just as the A5 "block-corner" portaledge, the first truly stormproof portaledge developed in Flagstaff Arizona, has been the standard portaledge design by all manufacturers for the past 30 years, the new D4 design is now fully established and well proven as the current state-0f-the-art. It's only a matter of time before the big distributors of climbing gear will adopt our design, but never fret, we at D4/BigWallGear will always be several steps ahead.
Barry Ward at Durango Sewing Solutions has moved into a new, larger shop in Durango, and is in full production of the D4 Full Size portaledge, along with the classic and super useful A5/D4 Rope Bucket, the original and ideal hanging rope bag for big wall climbs.
Contact Barry at http://D4portaledge.com for more info.
Luke at Runout Customs is taking a break from D4 Alpine Double production this fall and is now planning for 2020. Last year, we introduced the D4 Alpine Double, which has been successfully used around the world to wide acclaim as the best expedition portaledge, where every ounce counts. This summer, we discovered our initial frame specification could be compromised in a rare situation where the frame was short-suspended, and the frame twisted into a "taco" configuration. Even though our original specification for the D4 Alpine Double has been used for hundreds of nights as a double portaledge without issue, and fully capable of supporting 3 climbers (designed for 2, of course) when set up properly, we wanted to ensure that our first generation D4 Alpine Doubles were completely foolproof even in the most extreme situations, so we upgraded every Alpine Double sold with new thicker tubes, which only added about 0.75 lb. to the weight of the ledge, but made the ledge virtually indestructible, even with two people jumping on a single side in the worst-case setup situation. Luke worked double time to do the upgrade, with only a few replacements remaining to be sent out, including to Thomas Huber, who took the first generation of the D4 Alpine Double on his 2019 expedition to Pakistan.
We are also sponsoring Marek Raganowicz with his very own D4 Alpine Double ledge, who will be in Yosemite this fall to hone his skills for his future solo expeditions to the world's most remote walls. Marek has tested every generation of D4 ledge, including some of John Middendorf's smaller and more compact experimental designs (the D4 Octapod and the D4 Trapezium) in the most extreme conditions, and this will be his first full production model. We thank Marek for testing our initial prototypes which improved significantly with his feedback, and are glad to finally get him our most state-of-the-art model.
Australia Headquarters: John continues to make small batches of his new designs, and is especially excited about the adoption of the smaller, more compact portaledges for vertical endeavors that have not used portaledges extensively before. Because of the new ease of portaledge set up with the D4 design, users as diverse as Anti-Poacher crews in both Zimbabwe and South Africa, to recreational tree climber and environmental protestors, have been some of the main buyers of his new design. John's goal with these new designs was to create a sub-10 pound system (including haulsack and stormfly) that could be packed no larger than 24" (so could be put into a daypack). The combination of these factors have created a whole new concept in single-point hanging weatherproof technology.
We have decided to consolidate our social media, and the Facebook BigWallGear page will remain as our main collection of past reviews and many photos of the ledges being used in the most wild places of the world https://www.facebook.com/bigwallgear/ , but in the future, updates will likely be found more on our Instagram page @bigwalldeuce http://instagram.com/bigwalldeuce
COOL WEB STUFF:
Inspired by his recent involvement in the big wall climbing world, John has been slowly updating his webpages at http://bigwalls.net and has also set up a new BigWallsForum at http://bigwallsforum.com. John has helped dozens of climbers and craftsfolk over the decades with technical expertise and advice for DIY portaledge and big wall gear building, and will continue to do so at the new forum, with the continuing goal of creating the best and most efficient tools for the most extreme adventures. Looks for lots of cool open source info appearing on the forum in the coming months and years.
Check out the new bigwalls forum (and sign up!): http://bigwallsforum.com
If you have feedback for the D4 designs, please post on the open source D4 Design thread here: D4 Feedback forum.
That's about it for now, thanks for your interest if you've read this far. It's been a wonderful and fun journey these past 3 years making climbing gear. I will be be continuing to tinker and work on new designs, as well as small batches of custom ledges while I continue to pursue my maths/ science/robotics high school teaching career, so please feel free to get in touch anytime you have an idea or a need for a vertical shelter that hangs anywhere and offers complete protection from any of the world's weather in a lightweight, compact, easy to set up package.