Barry Ward of Durango Sewing Solutions is a retired rock climber known for his free climbing and big wall ascents in Zion and Yosemite National Parks in the 1980s and early 90s. Barry also helped develop some of the most popular climbing areas in Arizona.
Back in those days, rock climbing was a fast evolving sport when it came to gear and accoutrements. As climbers pursued ever more challenging routes, the equipment had to advance with them. And if what they needed didn’t exist, they designed and made it themselves.
In 1987 Barry joined up with John Middendorf, founder of A5 Adventures based in Flagstaff, Arizona to design and build the world's best rock climbing gear. A5 Adventures was literally the place where necessity bred innovation, an open forum shop specializing in design and fabrication of high performance climbing gear using the latest technologies and materials.
Barry swiftly honed his expertise designing and sewing big wall climbing gear. The A5 Portaledge was among its best known products used by climbers to scale some of the longest, most difficult big walls in the world.
In 2017, John Middendorf launched the D4 Portaledge, a whole new paradigm in portaledge design and technology. Naturally, John brought Barry on board to render his new D4 Portaledge designs into beautiful, hand-built reality. Together, John and Barry have re-established the world’s best portaledge design/build team.
In 2019, the D4 Portaledge was honored to receive Climbing Magazine's "Gear of the Year" award. Demand for the D4 continues to stay strong, thanks to continued advances in portaledge design and materials, and of course Barry's sewing and production prowess!