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Pratt's Crack and general Offwidth Technique
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By randy88fj62
May 16, 2012
Thunderbolt Peak in the Palisades

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?


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By Richard Shore
May 16, 2012
Eichorns Pinnacle

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.


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By Nick Stayner
From The Magic City
May 16, 2012
Nick Stayner near the crux. Ryan Minton photo.

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.


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By randy88fj62
May 16, 2012
Thunderbolt Peak in the Palisades

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.


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By Richard Shore
May 16, 2012
Eichorns Pinnacle

Try the Six Pack Crack and Jumar of Flesh in JT. I think they can both be TR'ed without much trouble. Both 5.9+. I can't really give you any recommendations for any "easier" ones.


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By Aerili
From Salt Lake City, UT
May 17, 2012
Get down from there! <br /> <br />May 2013 <br />Photo by Duc

Pratt's Crack does not offer a TR set-up.

It also has many incuts and does not give a true, hardcore offwidth or squeeze chimney experience on many moves.


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By Josh Cameron
May 17, 2012
Castleton Summit Sunset

Nectar in J-Tree has a short 5.4 offwidth section. Where are your local crags? That could help people recommend some climbs.


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By randy88fj62
May 17, 2012
Thunderbolt Peak in the Palisades

Josh,
I live north of LA and usually go to JTree, Suicide, Taquitz, Yosemite Valley, Tuolumne Meadows, and anything near Mammoth Lakes.


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By J. Albers
From Colorado
May 17, 2012
Bucky

Randy,

Go TR the Generator Crack just outside of the Ditch. It goes from OW to squeeze and is shady during all seasons. TR setup is an easy scramble to the top. See here:

www.mountainproject.com/v/generator-crack/105952381

Cheers.


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By slim
Administrator
May 17, 2012
tomato, tomotto, kill mike amato.

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.


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By randy88fj62
May 17, 2012
Thunderbolt Peak in the Palisades

I will top rope anything. Generator looks like a fun climb to practice until exhuastion sets in.


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By Scott M. McNamara
From Tucson, Arizona
May 17, 2012
One Way Sunset

www.widefetish.com/


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By randy88fj62
May 17, 2012
Thunderbolt Peak in the Palisades

Scott,
I have been visiting that site for a few weeks now. Love it.

Scott M. McNamara wrote:


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By Josh Cameron
Jul 14, 2012
Castleton Summit Sunset

Hi Randy,

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!


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By William Domhart
From Ventucky, CA
Feb 7, 2013
Traverse by HWY 41 Cave

So was there any consensus on where there might be any OW's north of LA in the SB/Ventura area? I try to get to Josh atleast once a month, but it'd be nice to train closer to home.


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By randy88fj62
Feb 7, 2013
Thunderbolt Peak in the Palisades

William Domhart wrote:
So was there any consensus on where there might be any OW's north of LA in the SB/Ventura area? I try to get to Josh atleast once a month, but it'd be nice to train closer to home.


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.


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By Unassigned User
Feb 7, 2013

Will there are 3-4 ow in slo. There is one or two here in SB. Also there are a couple boulder problems that I know of including one invert that I know of. Hit me up sometime when you are in SB.


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By JWong
From Los Angeles, California
Feb 7, 2013

Hey Randy,

Since you climb in JTree, you might consider Duchess Right (5.7)

mountainproject.com/v/duchess-right/105721729

Have fun. Pratt's Crack does look awesome.


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By randy88fj62
Feb 7, 2013
Thunderbolt Peak in the Palisades

JWong wrote:
Hey Randy, Since you climb in JTree, you might consider Duchess Right (5.7) mountainproject.com/v/duchess-right/105721729 Have fun. Pratt's Crack does look awesome.


Thanks for the recommendation. That looks like fun.


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By Bryan G
From San Jose
Feb 7, 2013
Puffy jackets and Happy Boulders

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.


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By Fat Dad
From Los Angeles, CA
Feb 7, 2013

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.


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By jeff lebowski
Feb 8, 2013

Go to Mt. Woodson. Tons of OW from 5.8 to 5.12+ and you can TR most of them.


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By Aaron InternetHardman Stireman
From San Luis Obispo, California
Feb 8, 2013
Crapping pants on crux. Stuck it.

randy88fj62 wrote:
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.

Hope that helps whoever was asking for the help


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By Aaron InternetHardman Stireman
From San Luis Obispo, California
Feb 8, 2013
Crapping pants on crux. Stuck it.

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.


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By J. Albers
From Colorado
Feb 8, 2013
Bucky

Fat Dad wrote:
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).

Good luck Randy.
Cheers.


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