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Two people on a single portaledge. Generic big wall questions
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By randy88fj62
Mar 1, 2012
Thunderbolt Peak in the Palisades

My girlfriend and I are planning to do a big wall this July. Something easy / beginners level in Yosemite like Washington column. We have never slept in a portaledge and this past weekend was the first time we set it up on a hanging belay for practice. We borrowed our friendís single Pika portaledge. My girlfriend was convinced you can stand in the middle of these things without wrecking it. I thought it would stretch out the urethane coated nylon and possibly bend the aluminum supports. I was also hesitant to have both of us sit on it as I thought it would also potentially bend the aluminum tubes.
Are single portaledges designed to have two people sit on them?
Can standing on a portaledge damage it?

I know these are generic dumb questions but I need to start somewhere if I am going to do multi-day walls. I love aid and trad and big walls are the next step. Any other general big wall advice is welcomed.
Our climbing mentor has never used double portaledges so any specific information about managing two people on a double portaledge would be nice to know too.


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By KyleAnderson
From San Francisco, CA
Mar 1, 2012
tonsai, thailand

I have never used a portaledge myself, but you definitely don't need one for Washington Column. There is a huge natural ledge to sleep on if you want to climb it in two days. On the other side of things, when I was sleeping on that ledge, there were 9 other people doing the same thing, luckily one of the parties brought up a ledge so it gave a little more room for everyone else. I think it would be more rewarding to spend the extra effort hauling up a six pack or a nice dinner than a portaledge!


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By randy88fj62
Mar 1, 2012
Thunderbolt Peak in the Palisades

Since I do not have a lot of vacation time I plan on doing the wall over a three day weekend. This means we will be in the same boat as you with potential groups already using the ledge. I prefer to haul up the portaledge in case the ledge is full of people. I don't want to have to risk overcrowding on the ledge. I am the type of person that tends to overpack. The bane of my existence is trying to ween down weight for weekend backpacking trips and other multi-day excusrsions.


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By Larry S
Mar 1, 2012
The wife and I road-trippin on the Connie.

For the column - The ledge is atop P3 and sleeps 8 people. The hauling up to that point is pretty bad (P1 and 3). Hike in the night before, ninja-bivy at the base (kinda illegal), right at the bottom of P1 or elsewhere, and be the first one on the wall and beat everyone else to the dinner ledge so you know you have a spot.


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By Carquinez
Mar 1, 2012

To avoid the WC crowds last year I did Liberty Cap. A great route, nice bivy ledge and we were by ourselves. Long approach but you can pack light for this one.


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By S Denny
From Carbondale, CO
Mar 1, 2012

as for standing on the ledge or 2 people sitting on the ledge... i would expect that and much more from my ledge. those things are bomber. no experience with the PIKA one, but I would expect it to be just as quality


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By randy88fj62
Mar 1, 2012
Thunderbolt Peak in the Palisades

Carquinez wrote:
To avoid the WC crowds last year I did Liberty Cap. A great route, nice bivy ledge and we were by ourselves. Long approach but you can pack light for this one.


Thanks for the recommendation. I'll look into the route. I don't mind long approaches. Especially if there are less people. As a new aid climber I would love to have a wall to myself and not feel the pressure of letting groups pass.


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By Fat Dad
From Los Angeles, CA
Mar 1, 2012

First, you need to figure out which wall you're going to do since that will resolve most of your ledge related questions.

Two people can sleep on one ledge unless you're both huge. I had to do it one night with a buddy, which was grim. Snuggling with a GF would have been much better, but you'll still feel every move the other person makes.

Yes, you can stand on it, but I'm not really sure why you need to. BTW, you probably could have answered those questions yourself by just going to the manufacturer's website and checking the specks.

Next, buy a guidebook and see whether the wall you want to do even requires a ledge. Don't bother bringing it unless you'll really need it. You'll want to keep the amount you haul to a minimum. Also, ledge bivies are really nice, assuming the ledge itself is decent. Do your research and have fun. The S. Face of the Column is REALLY crowded so maybe consider another objective. The Prow is a good alternative. The West Face of Leaning Tower is great too but it's really exposed right of the bat, which freaks some people out. I wouldn't bother doing something with a big approach. Wall gear is heavy. Spend your energy on the wall, not getting to it.

P.S. I hope your GF is a good sport.


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