I attempted West Crack in Tuolumne last year. I was unable to get past the wide crack part towards the end of pitch two (I was 20 feet past the fixed BD C4 #6 for those that have done it.) I was exhausted because I had stayed in the crack the entire time without using the face to help climb it. I was 10 feet from the second belay when I was so tired I had to rig a quick belay anchor and bring my gf up to climb the last bit to the two bolts on the shelf. We were both tired and rapelled from there.
That experience was my first real taste of offwidth. I had no technique to guide me thorugh it and the elevation did not help. The next day we went back to Mammoth Lakes for a rest day and eventually drive home to LA. In the Mammoth Mountaineering shop I chatted with an employee looking for easy cragging before our departure back to the city.
It was at this point I cam across Pratt's Crack. I want to be able to lead this one day but feel my experience level and technique suck hard.
Question 1: Can I top rope Pratt's Crack?
Question 2: What are the best offwidth climbs to practice to work up my grade? I have done Dolphin in JTree and that was pushing my limit. Dolphin was the first time I came down from a climb with my whole body exhausted and shaking. Fun times.
I have read up at widefetish for basic technique. Where can I hone my skills to prevail at wide cracks and offwidths?
I don't think that West Crack, Pratts Crack, or Dolphin are really OW climbs. Maybe you need to reassess your definition of the word.
West Crack is easy face climbing on knobs at the short wide section. Hate to say it, but you're a sucker if you got in that thing. Fixed #6? Who brings one of those up there?
Dolphin (with the exception of maybe 10' in the middle) and Pratts Crack are both squeeze chimneys, not OW to me. As for TR'ing Pratts, I think no. Unless you can scramble up to the 2nd anchor on Ecstacy (.13a) after climbing Shiela (.10a) and then rap left to Pratts anchors. Don't know if this is possible, and you'd need two ropes.
To me, true OW is where you are hand/foot stacking, techniques that are not needed on any of the above mentioned climbs. If it's wide enough to heel-toe or armbar, you can get a hip or shoulder in there too and things get pretty secure. Good core strength is the key to succeed in the wide.
The only way to get better is to force yourself to climb more of them. It's not easy convincing a partner to join you in those kind of masochistic escapades either.
Piece of advice for West Crack: Don't climb the "offwidth" like an offwidth. Remember, you're in Tuolumne- there are literally thousands of knobs to choose from on that pitch. Absolutely no reason to shove an arm/shoulder or leg in there.
I was told by everyone that I made a huge mistake going into the crack on west crack. I was so focused on crack climbing last year that I didn't allow myself to evaluate all the other options.
Richard, I got stuck and was struggling in the OW portion of Dolphin. I am looking for climbs to hone my technique so that narrow chimneys as you call them and OW's are easier when on longer climbs where one is forced to go through such difficult moves.
If I am climbing big wall or a long trad route I want to be ready and know I can get through any section of difficult chimney or OW and have practiced it beforehand.
if west crack gave him some difficulties, he probably won't get off the ground on generator crack. he needs to spend some time in the 5.7 to 5.8 range to get a general concept of how to use his body in wide cracks.
my advice, go through your guidebooks and pick out the good looking routes with wideness, in the 7 to 9 range, and spend the summer working your way up. if you are doing one of these routes and it gives you a hard time, maybe TR it a few times to figure it out and get more dialed in.
Sorry it's taken me a while to get back, but Galens Crack in Tuolumne Meadows is a workout at 10c. Also, I'd recommend trying some chimney climbs. Like offwidth, its a full bodymworkout and will help you get used to being inside the crack. Have fun!
If Dolphin was pushing your limits then probably the best thing for you to do right now would be to just go back to Dolphin. Every time you return it will get easier, just keep doing it until you can do several laps without getting all torn up and exhausted. Then you will be solid on the 5.7 wide, and can move up to harder stuff if you want.
I'm guessing right now you probably wouldn't get much out of a Generator Crack session because you won't be able to stay in it at all. That's how it was for me the first time I went there. I pretty much just stuck my arm and leg in there and was like "well this is fucking impossible" and fell right back out. A year later, after working through a bunch of 5.9 and 10a offwidths I returned and managed to battle my way up it on TR.
I don't know of any on Bishop's Peak, SB, or Ventura area. Crossing over the mountains east and heading to Yosemite may be your best bet once the weather gets better.
In fact, there are a few on Bishop's Peak. Corridor crack is an easy 10b OW to toprope, Handjob is a 10d ow, and Mickey B Way is a stout wide crack that is only a few feet off of the ground until the exit. And there's a few others.
Also, for anyone who can butterfly (opposing handjams with the back of your hands touching) and can knee jam (stick leg in, bring foot back outside the crack so your knee holds you in, the first 10 feet of generator are not going to pump anyone out who can face climb 10a. Figure out how to heel-toe and chicken wing from there, or circus trick if you have the core for it.
Bryan G is right. You'll be wasting your time on Generator. It's like saying 'i should TR Butterballs 'cause i flailed on that 5.9 finger crack.'. Ridiculous. Consider maybe the Hobbit Hole offwidth, Filch, Dolphin, Jumar of Flesh, etc.
Oh come on, you guys are no fun at all!! Everyone gets butchered on the Generator their first time (or second, or third...). The first time I got on it, I didn't do any levitating or anything, I just got b*tch slapped. But I kept at it and learned. And the great thing about it is that it so convenient to set a toprope that you can learn an awful lot in a short period of time. Besides, all offwidth is grunty and makes you want to puke...5.8, 10c whatever (shit, I swear I get just as worked on Trial By Fire up by Serenity as I do on the Generator). And I really don't think that its as big of a jump to go from 5.8 to 5.10 offwidth as it is to go from a 5.9 finger crack to Butterballs. Totally different beast.
But hey, I'm pretty sure that Fat Dad has been climbing a lot longer than I have, so take my opinion with a grain of salt (still though, I don't think that my suggestion is "ridiculous"...ridiculous would be telling someone who struggled on the Golfer's Route to go try Hall of Mirrors).