Since the pioneers of big wall climbing were making their own gear to climb groundbreaking first ascents in Yosemite, innovation in climbing gear has dictated by a few important qualities: weight and durability. For a lot of gear, that balance has been achieved, but one piece that was notably lacking in innovation was the portaledge, a deployable hanging tent system—until now.
The G7 POD, the world’s lightest portaledge has arrived, and weighs in at a mere 3.3 lbs (or 1.5 kg’s). With traditional portaledges weighing anywhere from 14-28 pounds, the weight decrease is a huge step in innovation for big wall climbing, as the weight and compact size of the ledge will allow for much faster travel on multi-day climbing projects.
The idea was spawned on a climbing trip to Baffin Island where founder Nathan Kukathas grew frustrated after spending much of his time on the trip hauling a heavy portaledge up the wall, detracting from their ability to work on their project they had travelled across the world for. Since Nathan was 15 he had been sewing his own harnesses, ledges, and bags in his parents garage, so when he grew tired of his heavy portaledge, he set out to make something that would suit his needs. That, along with his experience designing products at Arcteryx and Sea To Summit, led him to create a comfortable, safe, and lightweight ledge unlike any other.
The ledge uses incredibly durable packraft material that is re-engineered to be lighter and stronger, allowing them to be perfectly safe to trust with you and a partners body weight. Because they are inflatable, they can save tons of weight and are easily packaged, making moving with the ledges easier on the wall. The stiffness and strength of the material also allows for a comfortable sleep on a surface that is rigid enough to not bend, but soft enough for cushion.
By all accounts, the newest technology certainly seems like a gamechanger, and we can’t wait to see how it changes the world of big wall climbing.
The company has a Kickstarter going to get your hands on the first model, and a lot of other awesome prizes. Check it out here.
From Grade 7:
Grade VII Climbing Equipment (G7) is a newclimbing brand, founded by Squamish resident Nathan Kukathas who has designed award winning projects for Arc’teryx and SeaTo Summit. We are a team of fellow passionate big wall climbers, designers and outdoor industry geeks who exist to expand what’s possible by making tools for the most committed.
On May 14 2019, Grade VII Climbing Equipment will launch the G7 POD, a lightweight comfortable 1.5kg (3.3 lb) 4-season insulated inflatable ledge that replaces the traditional 7.5kg (16.5lbs) single framed portaledge plus sleeping mat.
Grade VII Climbing Equipment products are designed in Squamish, all prototypes are hand made and thoroughly tested in the rugged reality of British Columbia’s world class climbs. The G7 POD is the result of6 years of R&D, hundreds of prototypes, countless big wall climbs and a belief that we can transform how we climb big walls, and specifically how we climb Grade VII routes.
The G7 POD uses the same concept as today’s whitewater river rafts. Rigid rafts would be destroyed by rocks while inflatables bounce over rocks and sharp edges. We developed our own Air Tight High Tenacity Nylon235 Denier fabric which was engineered specifically for the G7 POD. It is a new fabric that is extremely strong and incredibly durable.
The G7 POD uses a 6 point suspension system that makes it completely stable. Created with an adjustable anchor the G7 POD is simple to set up and get level. This is not just a sleeping system the G7 POD will make those long belays way more comfortable.
We designed an inflation bag system that takes little to no breath. We use the Sea to Summit air valve for the highest quality seal. The G7 POD isa fraction of the weight of a traditional portaledge and it’s also a fully insulated 4-season sleeping mat removing the need for a separate sleeping pad.
When two G7 PODs are connected side by side you get more coverage area than a standard double ledge. For those times when you and your partner need some space apart, the G7 PODs works great in bunk bed style.
Equipped with a lightweight storm shelter that expands in size to fit either one G7 POD or two G7 PODs side by side, G7 PODs can be used in all environments. This is the first time a climbing ledge shelter was one size fits all. Now you can own one shelter that for both single and double ledge set-up. The expected retail price is $470 USD for the G7 POD and about $325 USD for the Fly.
We stand behind our products. As a Kickstarter backer you will get our Kickstarter Lifetime Warranty, which is: we will repair or replace your G7 POD forever. No questions asked, no fine print, no BS.