Double portaledge- which one is best ???


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Mountain climber
Topic Author's Original Post - Aug 17, 2007 - 11:32pm PT
I'd really appreciate your opinion. I am asking about the functionality/quality.( Supposedly money doesn't matter)
As far as i know the options are:

Metolius Bomb shelter

Fish Double Whammy

BD Cliff Cabana

and older
Double north face
and even older double A5.

Which one has the least kinks?
Thanks a lot.

Trad climber
Butte, America
Aug 18, 2007 - 12:19am PT
Nothing flops like a FISH !
feelio Babar

Trad climber
Sneaking up behind you...
Aug 18, 2007 - 12:37am PT
'Pass the Pitons' Pete

Big Wall climber
like Oakville, Ontario, Canada, eh?
Aug 18, 2007 - 12:54am PT
Oh, I dunno.

Does 325 nights [and counting] on the side of El Cap in a Fish double mean anything?


Big Wall climber
Yosemite area
Aug 18, 2007 - 01:28am PT

Nice, AC.

Sorry for laughing, Pete!

Aug 18, 2007 - 01:52am PT
I think the best ledge is the one you sleep nicely on.

As usual my post is totally worthless.
'Pass the Pitons' Pete

Big Wall climber
like Oakville, Ontario, Canada, eh?
Aug 18, 2007 - 04:31am PT
Oh, shut up.

Christian's gag was still the best one, thought - that ivy climbs faster than me.

I climb slowly because I CHOOSE to. So there. A preposition is a bad thing to end a sentence with.
Ain't no flatlander

Aug 18, 2007 - 10:42am PT
fish = best value
metolius = best comfort
bd = worst value
pika = worst enenmy
Aaron Johnson

Bear Valley, CA
Aug 18, 2007 - 10:55am PT
I have a Pika double and it sucks!

Big Wall climber
Yosemite area
Aug 18, 2007 - 12:00pm PT
Hello P:

Here it goes. In order of what matters to me, anyway, and who wins IMO -

This is like Goldilocks and the three bears...I find the FISH to be too small (shorter and more narrow) the BD to be a huge monster and the Metolius to be just right...

* Length - On the double ledges, the FISH ledge is 6 inches shorter, at 6.5 feet long, while Metolius and BD are 7 feet long.
* Width - Width is where these ledges vary dramatically. The fish is 3'6" wide, the Metolius Double Bombshelter is 5'9" wide, whopping *5'3"** wide. This width makes the BD VERY difficult to assemble alone.

Weight varies dramatically and FISH wins by a long shot for a double ledge...partly due to size, and partly due to using cromolly tubing which is smaller but just as sturdy.

* MEDIUM Metolius double with bag: 14lbs and 1oz, fly is 7lbs 5 oz (FLY IS BOMBER.)
* HEAVY BD double with bag: 19lbs and 13 OZ. But hey, it has cup holders. Simple fly weighs 5lbs, lighter material than Metolius but still good.
* SUPERLIGHT: FISH - 10lbs, fly 6lbs. Nice.

The key features on a ledge tells you what they cater to.

* FISH - Caters to function!!! With daisy chains on the straps and sides of higher end models, dual adjustment straps, ventallation ports on the fly, more fly floor coverage than other ledges, lock down straps for the fly, and bombproof materials, this ledge eliminates the fru-fru and simply functions well.
* METOLIUS - Caters to comfort!!! For the bigger (wider, longer) ledges, a spreader bar is nice. This key comfort feature has now been replicated by BD, though.
* BLACK DIAMOND - Caters to people who, perhaps, should be at home with servents serviing them breakfast in bed. It includes cup holders, a spreader bar, three separation fins, for a total of 9 straps to this portaledge!!! Wee Hoo! You could sleep seven comfortably. I have seen these things set up from a distance and they are massive luxury ships, to be sure. The true party ledge.

FISH is the only double ledge that doesn't require a spreader bar for stability. This is huge. Simply huge, in my opinion. Spreader bars are a PITA, but also a liekly necissity as the size of ledges has balooned over time. Metolius and BD are the same, but the BD is tougher if you are alone simply due to size. Both require insertion of a spreader bar which can be a bitch.

COST: For Ledge and Fly - FISH WINS

* BD - $950 new not many on ebay, as just came out this ear
* Metolius - $950, with many used available as they've been out for awhile

Of all the models, the FISH has seen the fewest changes overall, is nearly 10 pounds lighter than other models, and is perfect as a simple, single ledge. Additionally, you can lose the bells and whistles and get it EVEN CHEAPER! The design is tried and true. If I had to buy a ledge for me, for all purpose climbing, I'd chose the FISH double whammy for all my climbing.

But what do I own? Older style A5 single, Older style BD single, Newer BD single, Metolius Double Bombshelter, and a new BD single. (Don't ask how or why...)

So yes, I know my ledges, and have spenttime on all except for the A5 models from 8-10 years ago, and NO, I am not going to buy a fish...Well, maybe I'm not, not yet, anyway...)

Gearwhore, reporting. :)


Trad climber
the blighted lands of hatu
Aug 18, 2007 - 12:05pm PT
^^ you gotta respect a woman that owns more than two portaledges i tell ya...

Big Wall climber
Yosemite area
Aug 18, 2007 - 12:20pm PT
Well, at least I loan them out a lot, so I don't feel too bad. I love portaledges...

On the day I bought my first few cams and nuts, I stuck around in the shop for a slide show on Nameless Tower. Its the first time I ever saw a portledge and I thought it was the coolest thing EVER. Decided that someday I was going to learn how to climb stuff that needed a portledge. Or climb slowly enough that I'd need a ledge for everything I climbed, either way. ;)


Big Wall climber
the Southwest
Aug 18, 2007 - 12:27pm PT

Yes, I was stunned and amazed when BD chose to manufacture only the heavy Cliff Cabana (really designed as part of a three-person system when used in conjunction with the Diamond Fly), and the relatively useless single ledge, and discontinued the A5 best-seller Double Ledge, which in my opinion was the best combination of weight and size (it was inbetween the Fish and the Metolius in size, weighed about 11.5 pounds, making it suitable as a single or a double)

Big Wall climber
Yosemite area
Aug 18, 2007 - 12:34pm PT
Yes, agreed. If anyone can get their hands on the ACE/A5 double, the kind that was made right before BD bought it out, that would be a veeery nice ledge to have.

It has some of the newer bells and whistles (materials, corner design, size, and suspension) that make it a bit of an improvement over the earlier A5s, but doesn't go totally over the top the way the new BD double does...

Todd Gordon

Trad climber
Joshua Tree, Cal
Aug 18, 2007 - 01:39pm PT
Fish ledges are the best;...duh.......but don't take MY word for it....just ask Russ.


Trad climber
Brooklyn, NY
Aug 18, 2007 - 06:19pm PT

With all those ledges, you could give up your day job and open a bed and breakfast. ;-)

Best, Kim
'Pass the Pitons' Pete

Big Wall climber
like Oakville, Ontario, Canada, eh?
Aug 18, 2007 - 06:26pm PT
With respect to the Metolius, I believe [but am not certain] that some have complained about being uncomfortable not in spite of, but because of, the spreader bar. Unless you happen to be a slim, svelte, lightweight hottie like Kate, I have heard guys speak about the discomfort of the spreader bar when their weight presses against it.

Tom used a single Metolius up Tribal Rite, maybe he can comment?

If you value your comfort, and like to belay from a ledge rather than a bosun's chair or [horrors!] standing in your aiders, you can't flag a Metolius ledge because of the spreader bar. [but you can try, heh heh...] Kate has lovely gear to fondle. I especially love her big Pecker.

Trad climber
pitch above you
Aug 18, 2007 - 10:10pm PT
Kate -

All those ledges and just the one good (and missing) pulley, huh?

T Moses

Trad climber
Paso Robles
Aug 19, 2007 - 01:44am PT

Mix of A5 (old) and some new ideas.

Built it all except the bartacking in the webbing.

Big Wall climber
Yosemite area
Aug 19, 2007 - 10:02am PT
Hey Oopsie - I have several pullys, but only one four-inch one with bearings, that I use for special stuff (a LOT of special stuff ;) ). Had to buy a new one but eventually got the other one (and my friend, Gene) back.

Thankfully, after loaning out ledges for at least 10 walls, I've always had them returned in good shape and good time, even from my bro, Gene. (Who is doing great, BTW). :)

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