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The wide fetish bug


Original Post
eli poss · · Durango, Co · Joined May 2014 · Points: 456

So, for a while I've been curious about and simultaneously intrigued but put off by off-width climbing, until last weekend when I really enjoy an offwidth. After climbing a short easy off-width in at wall street in moab (this route), I was amazed by how much I liked climbing it. Granted, it was very easy both in the low angle and in the actual crack size, but I feel like off-width might be something I could like.

There was a lot of heal-toe camming, some fist jams, some arm techniques that I don't know the name, and some chimneying.

I have found that I really love chimneys, although I usually stick to leading relatively easy chimneys and/or bolted chimneys (like in EPC) because of some of the protection complications involved. For example, I on Tunnel Vision in Red Rock, I was super stoked leading the P1 chimney, following the P2 chimney and leading the P5 chimney/tunnel.

I guess I'm asking for any advice from seasoned veterans with the wide fetish as well as route recommendations, preferably in the 4 corners region. I really like how, in this climb, it was mostly physically easy but awkward and somewhat technical movement but with a section or two of thrutching thrown in to keep it interesting and spicy. 

Also, I only have cams up to #3 with a supplementary #11 hex and I've been thinking about getting a #4 but the idea of getting a 5 and/or a 6 is quite unappealing at the moment. 

Eli · · GMC3500 · Joined Nov 2010 · Points: 2,816

You're not going to find a lot of wide stuff to climb in the desert with no wide gear.
If you think you'll like the wide stuff then either get the gear or climb with people that have it.

Kor-Ingalls on Castleton could be a fun adventure for you.

Jason Todd · · Cody, WY · Joined Apr 2012 · Points: 1,119

Best wishes to Russ.


Wide Fetish

Guy Keesee · · Moorpark, CA · Joined Mar 2008 · Points: 310

Be carefull if you click on the W I D E  F E T I S H ..... deal. you will start to get lots of strange cookies/adds/ and phone calls... beware. 

eli poss .....   sounds to me like you need to get your butt to Yosemite....  lots of wide to be found. 

Adam Fleming · · North Carolina · Joined Jun 2015 · Points: 303

Great chimneys in Moab:
Boognish Tower 5.10, knees to legs, well bolted
Coffin Crack sandbag 5.9, squeeze to knees, offwidth section is easy and you could run it out, small gear if you want it at base of chimney, otherwise bigbros needed
Hallow Souls 5.9+, legs to stemming, gear to #3
Ancient Art 5.8 A0, stemming, gear to #3

Indian Creek:
Closed Course 5.8, legs, protects extremely well with finger gear
Way Nutter 5.9, OW, need the gear
As for OW, Big Guy almost always has a top rope on it.  You can probably ask for a burn if you end up there.  I've never been to Vedauwoo, but there's likely an OW with top access.

Eli · · GMC3500 · Joined Nov 2010 · Points: 2,816

Adam Fleming wrote:

Great chimneys in Moab:
Boognish Tower 5.10, knees to legs, well bolted
Coffin Crack sandbag 5.9, squeeze to knees, offwidth section is easy and you could run it out, small gear if you want it at base of chimney, otherwise bigbros needed
Hallow Souls 5.9+, legs to stemming, gear to #3
Ancient Art 5.8 A0, stemming, gear to #3

As for OW, Big Guy almost always has a top rope on it.  You can probably ask for a burn if you end up there.  I've never been to Vedauwoo, but there's likely an OW with top access.

Tons in vedauwoo 

Justin Laursen · · Durango, CO · Joined Sep 2010 · Points: 410

Eli, Yosemite Crack (5.8) at East A is my favorite off width in Durango. #3s won't really work on it, but a handful of #4s and one #5 and #6 will do the trick. It also ends in a perfect hand crack at the top, just for dessert. I know this doesn't really help you, so...There are also a handful of mellow off widths at Lightner Creek that can be top roped or led. There's a wide flake at the end of the cliff band up there that probably goes at 5.9, or so, as well as a pure splitter in a corner that takes #4s to the top. There's also a 5.7 chimney right next to the corner that protects with hand-sized cams, and can be climbed as a chimney or duel hand cracks. Lightner closes at the end of this month, so take your beating with haste. The route binder at Pine Needle has some info on the cliffs up there, but it's limited. Hit me up if you want more info. 

eli poss · · Durango, Co · Joined May 2014 · Points: 456

Thanks for the suggestions guys. As far as the gear goes, I have at least 4 good friends and climbing partners who have a #4, two of which have even bigger gear. So, while I don't have any wide gear, borrowing it is an option. I just don't think I'm at the point yet where it makes sense to go out and buy a bunch of wide gear, which I why I mentioned gear in the first place.

Also, any more moderate options for OW? Depending on the style of climbing and level of sandbagging I lead .7s to .9+s on gear. I am weary of jumping on a solid 5.9 lead if it's off-width just because this is a very new discipline for me and I doubt that my level of technique may be up to the test. 

eli poss · · Durango, Co · Joined May 2014 · Points: 456

Justin Laursen wrote:

Eli, Yosemite Crack (5.8) at East A is my favorite off width in Durango. #3s won't really work on it, but a handful of #4s and one #5 and #6 will do the trick. It also ends in a perfect hand crack at the top, just for dessert. I know this doesn't really help you, so...There are also a handful of mellow off widths at Lightner Creek that can be top roped or led. There's a wide flake at the end of the cliff band up there that probably goes at 5.9, or so, as well as a pure splitter in a corner that takes #4s to the top. There's also a 5.7 chimney right next to the corner that protects with hand-sized cams, and can be climbed as a chimney or duel hand cracks. Lightner closes at the end of this month, so take your beating with haste. The route binder at Pine Needle has some info on the cliffs up there, but it's limited. Hit me up if you want more info. 

I dunno about you but my cardio is not where it should be and I'm a wee bit lazy so the idea of lugging up a handful of #4s and even more wide gear all the way up to east a is ever so slightly alarming. But perhaps I should just quit being a wimp and do it anyways. I'll put it on the to do list, though, after finishing Imp's Arete and climbing Byrd's Classic. 

But I think my future off-width adventures, either at East A or Lightner will have to wait until spring because I'm leaving town for thanksgiving break on sat and I expect that, by the time I get back, it will be too cold. I'm also a wimp when it comes to the cold (although I can manage the heat better than most of colorado).

But perhaps if this year is similar to last year, I might be able to climb the week I get back. Although, if it's anything like the year before... Fuck that. That year there were icicles up at East A right about now.

What's lightner creek like? I knew there was bouldering there but I didn't realize there were cliffs as well. What's the rock like? As long as it's not like the rock at junction creek then I think I could handle the choss 

Zac Robinson · · Salt Lake City, UT · Joined Jul 2006 · Points: 415

Another nice things about some offwidths (look for straightforward, not grade) If you have enough gear, can you can almost always push something in front of you.

Big Guy in the Creek. Once into the main crack, you can just keep pushing a piece or 2 ahead of you. You'll need a decent rack and it will be a much more tiring way to get up the thing, but you can stay safe as you learn.
Aim for something less crowded but still consistent.  Or just take the TR when you can and figure out what fits.

Gonna have to get into some cracks bigger than 3 or 4 for a long while to get the feeling. Borrow that gear and hit the desert for 10 and 11-!  (11- are probably easier than the 10, stay off of 10+)



David Kerkeslager · · New Paltz, NY · Joined Jan 2017 · Points: 55

eli poss wrote:

I dunno about you but my cardio is not where it should be and I'm a wee bit lazy so the idea of lugging up a handful of #4s and even more wide gear all the way up to east a is ever so slightly alarming. But perhaps I should just quit being a wimp and do it anyways. I'll put it on the to do list, though, after finishing Imp's Arete and climbing Byrd's Classic. 

I did the same route with and without a #5, and I think the psychological benefits of being above a solid, easy-to-place piece that fits the situation are way bigger than the cardio benefits of not carrying the weight. I'm not saying I bring the #5 up everything just in case, but if the guide says a #5 is useful, I've brought it and never regretted it.

You can always change your mind about carrying a big cam and plug it into the wall, or even just clip it to another piece of pro. But you can't change your mind about not carrying a big cam once you've started.

eli poss · · Durango, Co · Joined May 2014 · Points: 456

David Kerkeslager wrote:

I did the same route with and without a #5, and I think the psychological benefits of being above a solid, easy-to-place piece that fits the situation are way bigger than the cardio benefits of not carrying the weight. I'm not saying I bring the #5 up everything just in case, but if the guide says a #5 is useful, I've brought it and never regretted it.

You can always change your mind about carrying a big cam and plug it into the wall, or even just clip it to another piece of pro. But you can't change your mind about not carrying a big cam once you've started.

You've climbed up at East A in Durango? Your profile says you're from NY and your ticklist is all Red Rocks and The Gunks. I'm not so much concerned about bringing big gear up a climb, rather I don't feel like carrying a whole lot of big gear of a long, steep slog of an approach to get to my local trad climbing area.

David Kerkeslager · · New Paltz, NY · Joined Jan 2017 · Points: 55

eli poss wrote:

You've climbed up at East A in Durango?

No, I've never been there. What I mean by "I did the same route with and without a #5" is that I climbed a route twice, once with a #5 and once without a #5.

Adam Fleming · · North Carolina · Joined Jun 2015 · Points: 303

I would encourage you to try chimneys before you dive into OW.  But it does seem like OW is the new fad these days...

A chimney sometimes has some other way to protect it (bolts, "normal" sized gear, top access), meaning you don't have to shell out for a #5, #6, or big bros.  Even if you did manage to snag the big gear, not everyone is keen on skating it like Zac describes (though doing this is often easier, since you don't have to move your body around the gear, and somewhat more secure depending on your definition, since you're always on "toprope" in a way).  

Learning how to chimney is also less demoralizing.  In the world of OW, each inch of forward progress takes a tremendous amount of energy, determination, and skin.  Chimney technique is far more valuable; just compare the number of chimney downclimbs/approach pitches to those that are OW.  

Whatever you decide, I'm glad you discovered a new way to suffer!

Justin Laursen · · Durango, CO · Joined Sep 2010 · Points: 410

eli poss wrote:

What's lightner creek like? I knew there was bouldering there but I didn't realize there were cliffs as well. What's the rock like? As long as it's not like the rock at junction creek then I think I could handle the choss 

The stone at Lightner is pretty freaking cool. It's not bullet sandstone, but it is solid and the cracks are actual parallel sided splitters that usually occur in corners, with a few straight ins as well. Most climbs can be set up for a top rope, as there's a trail along both the base of the cliffs and the top. The cracks do accumulate sand and duff run off every season, but a quick brushing off is enough. As far as gear is concerned, I haven't found a nut placement yet, so bring yer cams. There are still quite a few cracks to be cleaned, anchored, and led up there, so if you're looking for some development, you have found it.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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