Good Bye Spreader Bars (and plug for the new D4 Portaledge)

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'Pass the Pitons' Pete

Big Wall climber
like Ontario, Canada, eh?
Mar 9, 2017 - 09:24am PT
In case you missed it at the bottom of the last page,

CLICK ON JOHN'S NEWEST VIDEO: https://www.facebook.com/thetreeprojects/videos/598241450369089

If you go to the video where he shows the titanium ledge they used on Great Trango Tower, this is around -1:59 on the video, you will see the design flaw:

Look at the portaledge straps, and you will see that there is not enough "adjustability" built into them. This has been a CONSTANT problem of all portaledge designs [except Fish]. The problem with lack of adjustability occurs during the too-frequent situation where your belay anchors are too close together.

If you are climbing a trade route, and you have a nice wide horizontal spread of bolts and anchors, it is easy to set up your ledge and pig far enough apart, so that your ledge hangs symmetrically next to your pig for easy access in and out of your pig. Because the anchor bolts are well spread, the straps on either end of your portaledge are all about the same length - a symmetrical hang.

Truly this type of camp setup is more Big Wall Theory than Big Wall Fact. Quite often the anchor bolts are very close together. What if you only have a two-bolt anchor? In this situation, the pig and the ledge hang too close together. What you need to do is to "shorten" up the straps on the "pig" end of the ledge, and "lengthen" the straps on the other end of the ledge to give yourself an asymmetric hang. Hopefully this will allow you to hang your ledge and pig side-by-side for easy access.

In virtually all portaledge designs [exept Fish] there is not enough "adjustability" in the straps. This is particularly annoying in really big ledges. Some of those monstrosities like the Anker and the BD have some tiny amount of adjustability like only 16 inches. On hangs where the anchors are close together horizontally, it is impossible to get a proper hang!

If you look on John's video above at his old Trango ledge from the 90's, you will see this design flaw. Look carefully at the straps on this ledge [you will have to pause the video] and see how little adjustability there is. This is the problem that has existed for so long in so many [crappy] ledge designs!

The new D4 ledge has fixed this design flaw. The D4 has a properly adjustable suspension system, with near infinite "adjustability", so you can get this baby set up comfortably on even the most "asymmetric" of hangs, where the bolts are too close together.

In all the various features and benefits for big wall camping that the D4 offers, this was - to me - the most important problem in current ledge design that needed fixing.

You're going to love it!




Also, if you have never seen this video of JOHN SETTING UP THE LEDGE, then please click here:

https://www.facebook.com/bigwallgear/videos/402269260150407/
deuce4

climber
Hobart, Australia
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 11, 2017 - 08:30pm PT


I have been setting it up and taking down about 8 times now, and I have it down to about 90 seconds set up and less than a minute packup. Way quicker than what you see in these initial videos, which were both early setups before practicing setup much ( although even in these videos it was pretty smooth and quick to set up with no clusterf*#ks or hassles).

Way easier than my old block corner design and of course no spreader bar to struggle with.

We still have some more available for pre-order at the sale price of $1080. An awesome good deal if I don't say so myself as the more I use this ledge the more I realise it is really a game changer for big walls, especially for remote big walls where light is right and extra messing around with setup and fly deploy in rough conditions can really be taxing. We are not compromising on materials ( and will likely only break even on the Kickstarter batches). Hopefully we will continue producing them past the Kickstarter sales, but you never know. My primary aim is to get them into the hands of climbers like Libecki and Twid Turner and Marek Raganowicz who need better tools like a lightweight and compact full-size ledge system to help push their endeavours, so that is already being accomplished, but of course these ledges will help benefit everyone's big wall experiences. So order yours now!

The D4 portaledge will be available on Kickstarter for a few more weeks. (note, I am being conservative with delivery dates--once we finalise the details of the design in the next month or two we will be producing them and delivering on first ordered, first shipped basis from Durango, so the ones ordered now though Kickstarter may well be delivered sometime later this year).

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1188459201/the-d4-portaledge



BLUEBLOCR

Social climber
joshua tree
Mar 11, 2017 - 09:57pm PT
Nice job Duece!

Maybe you otta give one to Anita and have her make a video setting it up. Bet it would go viral💃🏻
Tom Patterson

Trad climber
Seattle
Mar 12, 2017 - 06:37am PT
This is fantastic, John! Best of luck in this endeavor!
BLUEBLOCR

Social climber
joshua tree
Mar 15, 2017 - 06:45am PT
Are there gonna be any singles for purchase this season?
deuce4

climber
Hobart, Australia
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 18, 2017 - 01:27am PT
The D4 makes for a great belay ledge. Had it packed and shoved in the ...
The D4 makes for a great belay ledge. Had it packed and shoved in the haul bag (with nothing sticking out, despite the fact that the haulbag had everything else already in it) in quicker time between the "rope's fixed" and "ready to haul" calls.
Credit: deuce4

Just finished a couple nights on the portaledge on Ozymandias, Australia's iconic big wall. The D4 portaledge worked great--incredibly stable and rigid, I was very happy that it performed in all respects better than any other ledge I have designed.

See the Kickstarter update #3 for more pics, and also the Facebook bigwallgear page.
the Fet

climber
Tu-Tok-A-Nu-La
Mar 18, 2017 - 11:20am PT
This thread was in this month's SuperTopo Climbing News email. I was just a little early on my prognostication. 8^)
deuce4

climber
Hobart, Australia
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 18, 2017 - 01:15pm PT
Yeehaw!

By the way, if readers could consider contributing even the $10 option on the Kickstarter, that would help contribute to the current production of demo prototypes that are going out to our first product testers (besides me), for teams like Marek, Twid Turner, Mike Libecki, and others for whom we are supplying ledges for some extreme expeditions. Thanks!!!

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1188459201/the-d4-portaledge
deuce4

climber
Hobart, Australia
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 20, 2017 - 02:50pm PT
Tarkine protest last weekend...

D4 ledge in the Tarkine Protest
D4 ledge in the Tarkine Protest
Credit: deuce4
'Pass the Pitons' Pete

Big Wall climber
like Ontario, Canada, eh?
Mar 20, 2017 - 04:01pm PT
Right then, tell us how it worked!

 How stable is the four-strap suspension system vs. the traditional 6?

 How well did the shark fin suspension points work?

 Was it as easy to set up and take down as you said?

 Could you do it in 90 seconds on the wall?

 What do you think you did really well?

 Now that you have tested it, what changes if any are you going to make?

 Does it come with a beer cozy?

 Does it come in pink for Anita?


Cheers, mate!
deuce4

climber
Hobart, Australia
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 20, 2017 - 11:50pm PT
[quote]Pitons' Pete

All good questions!
I am very pleased with the 4/8 point suspension system. It is more stable when hanging out in the ledge, I think because alternatively with a six-point system the center support point acts a bit like a see-saw fulcrum point. I recall back in my wall days much more ledge shifts when moving about the ledge--there was none of that on the two days we hung out in the ledge on Ozymandias--it never really ever suddenly shifted when we were moving about the ledge. The fact that each fin equalizes the load to two points is also key to not only the strength, but also the stability. On the other hand, I was wary that there would be a more dramatic tipping if the center of gravity ever passed to the outside of the suspension points, though this never happened, even when I was settled in on one side of the ledge and Simon stood up and stood more on my side of the ledge.

Other advantages are easier setup as it's much more obvious if the frame is getting wrapped around one of the four suspension fins when first deploying (this did happen once after a sloppy packup job), but it was easy to fix by just undoing and redoing the quick link.

And of course the four points instead of six saves weight! And simpler.

I also discovered the tacoing really doesn't matter when setting up--though all the tubes more naturally slip into place when the ledge is fully "flat" and un-tacoed, it didn't really matter because as soon as the ledge was weighted, it seemed to naturally become flat and level after adjusting the suspension. But I do recommend getting rid of any taco before fully tensioning the bed tensioners before getting into the ledge.

It just got easier and easier to set it up as I used it more--probably not 90 seconds while hanging, but certainly within 3 minutes, and probably most of that time is in tensioning the bed, which is a simple task. I have incorporated plastic helpers on each of the end tubes which keep the tubes somewhat in place during assembly, and there is a moment when one end tube is held by the plastic keeper, but not all the way in yet, where one needs to gingerly turn the ledge (or move) to the other side to assemble the other end otherwise the first end could fall out of the plastic keeper--as I got better at doing this, it all went together without any snafus, and this was the only time I ever felt like I had to be careful.

I plan to annotate a sequence of setup to explain this more fully. Basically long tubes first, then end tubes, then tension the bed, and you're done. Especially considering that there is no spreader bar, I'd say it is twice as easy to setup than my previous block corner design.

Packup was literally less than a minute, especially after a night with the fabric a bit pre-stretched. So easy with the new D4 haulsack design.

There are some minor tweaks I am making to the strap lengths, for example, I want the shark fin divider faster to be within easy reach even when barely sitting up so it is way easy to change from sleep position to hangout out time with backs to wall. Also I have some really cool fly modifications which I will be working on this week (removing my speedy stitch mods with some real sewing!).

Overall, more pleased than even expected with how it works--really an improvement in existing ledge design in all aspects.

Will be posting an update with similar information on the Kickstarter soon, along with more photos and details.

Still 17 left at the Kickstarter discount! https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1188459201/the-d4-portaledge
duncan

climber
London, UK
Mar 21, 2017 - 07:42am PT


Portaledge design c.1982

 Oversized aluminium tubes
 4 point suspension
 Curved corners

On the first punter's ascent of the PO Wall. JM, you may recognise the model!
deuce4

climber
Hobart, Australia
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 21, 2017 - 11:40am PT
Nice rig! And nice partner! I think that was soon after we had climbed the Zodiac? Great photo!

(Those things weighed about 20kg, didn't they?). Back to our roots!
John Mac

Trad climber
Breckenridge, CO
Mar 21, 2017 - 01:30pm PT
A young Lydia... first woman to climb the big E without O2.
deuce4

climber
Hobart, Australia
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 21, 2017 - 08:24pm PT
Trip report of our recent Ozymandias climb here: http://www.supertopo.com/tripreport/tripreport.php?articleid=13126
'Pass the Pitons' Pete

Big Wall climber
like Ontario, Canada, eh?
Mar 21, 2017 - 11:16pm PT
Interesting point about the six-point suspension having the see-saw fulcrum point in the middle cuz of the two middle straps. Never thought of that but it makes intuitive sense.

Don't you make those buckles too low! I would far rather stand up to adjust the straps, than to sacrifice any "adjustability" for asymmetric hangs, especially when there are four lovely daisy clips in each strap for me to hang my stuff off of!
deuce4

climber
Hobart, Australia
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 22, 2017 - 07:47pm PT
Down to 16 left at the Kickstarter discount!
duncan

climber
London, UK
Mar 24, 2017 - 03:10am PT
THAT Lydia, a very nice partner who wasn't a punter at all, but neither of us had done many walls and we imagined ourselves first team to do the route who were not the usual Yosemite suspects.

That ledge was a heavy old thing, the D4 looks sweet!
deuce4

climber
Hobart, Australia
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 24, 2017 - 11:15pm PT
Updated setup video here:


NOTE: Steve Pearce of the The Tree Projects has found it easier to set up the end tubes first (making two big U's), then the long tubes. Initial testing on the ground confirms this, is likely another benefit of the unique D4 design (this wouldn't be possible with the block corners, as the corners would offer too much flex when setting up and would probably fall out of the joint, but the U's in this case are completely rigid and ready to accept the middle poles on the long side.) It is more important to ensure that the long tubes are all fully inserted with this method, but of course, getting to know any ledge by practicing, and ensuring that all joints are fully inserted is essential no matter what method of set-up--this is clear and easy with the D4 because the joints offer an audible "click" when fully inserted, and can easily be checked by pulling tubes slightly apart then letting them snap back for the "click", thanks to the shockcord.

Steve Pearce with tree setup--note minimal flex of frame--all other le...
Steve Pearce with tree setup--note minimal flex of frame--all other ledges on the market would have significant flex in this kind of one point of contact setup.
Credit: deuce4
'Pass the Pitons' Pete

Big Wall climber
like Ontario, Canada, eh?
Mar 25, 2017 - 11:08am PT
All right then, buddy - let's see a video of Setup Method 2.

This is somewhat counter-intuitive to me, which makes it very interesting.
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