Our Story


Barry Ward, owner 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. He 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 came on board and 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.  


Fast forward to 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 awarded Climbing Magazine's "Gear of the Year" award. Wait 'til you see what's in store for 2020!