Author Topic: D4 Alpine Double Review: North America Wall, November 2019  (Read 331 times)

stevent

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D4 Alpine Double Review: North America Wall, November 2019
« on: November 26, 2019, 09:19:59 PM »
My friend Lance and I tested out the D4 Alpine Double on an ascent of the North America Wall  from November 13-16, 2019. I had used the D4 Double on El Cap earlier in the season and was psyched to take the Alpine Double on a wall. The North America Wall seemed like an ideal place to test out the Alpine Double as it has many traverses, plenty of less-than-vertical hauling, and some interesting anchors. The climb had been on my list for years and it was awesome to finally get on it after staring at that part of El Cap for so long. This was my 10th El Cap route and certainly one of my favorites!

For me, the most impressive attributes of the Alpine Double are its light weight and small packed size. The ledge and fly easily fit inside a haul bag and are incredibly compact. Their combined weight and size is minimal compared to larger ledges like the Black Diamond Cliff Cabana or Metolius Bomb Shelter. My partner and I are both ~5’11” and fit comfortably on the ledge, although there wasn’t much extra space. This wasn’t an issue and I prefer to have a smaller ledge because it’s easier to fit at cramped anchors, where a larger ledge would have been difficult to hang. The smaller profile is also easier to manage during setup and breakdown. Breaking the ledge down was incredibly easy and it only took a few minutes to do alone on the wall.

The main drawback that we found with the ledge was in its setup and adjustment. Assembly was slightly finicky and the fabric felt tight compared to the standard D4. As with any new portaledge, we got faster at setting it up each night and this was never a significant problem, though I can imagine that it would have been very difficult to set the ledge up alone at a hanging belay. By our third night on the wall setup only took a few minutes, but only after some struggles on the previous two days. The buckles on the four corners were far easier to adjust than those on the two middle straps and divider, which could not be released while the ledge was weighted. This made fine-tuning the straps difficult while standing on the ledge.

Overall, the D4 Alpine Double is the coolest portaledge I’ve ever used and I’m still amazed at how light, functional, and compact it is. It looks like a single ledge when it is packed, even with the fly in the haul sack. I thought that I lost the fly before realizing that it was already packed with the ledge. My primary critical feedback is that setup could have been easier if all of the buckles were of the same style as those used on the four corners. A few extra clip in loops would have been nice too for hanging small items and a stove too. It was a pleasure to use the Alpine Double and I'd take in on any big wall.



Deuce

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Re: D4 Alpine Double Review: North America Wall, November 2019
« Reply #1 on: November 26, 2019, 10:23:32 PM »
Awesome report! 

The D4 Alpine Doubles made by Luke have been noted as having beds too tight side to side, which can make set up trickier.  I think it also makes it more difficult to equalize end-to-end tension with the six bed tensioners to eliminate any "taco" of the frame. 

You can cut 1/4" off each of the straight end tubes to make the fit a bit looser (use a tube cutter and ream and steel wool polish the edges)  Otherwise, the Runout D4 Alpine Doubles are the finest expedition ledge out there.  There are about 64 out there in the wild, ready for the remote.

Thanks heaps for your review.  I randomly ship out D4 t-shirts from time to time, so might be asking for your t-shirt size at some point!

Cheers

Ps, nice summit hats!