Road to the Twilight Zone


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Russ Walling

Social climber
Dec 14, 2005 - 06:55pm PT
Hey Lucho...

I'm not crawling up your tree or anything..... My post was more of a generalization about spray on the internet. It is great to get the real poop when you can get it, and even some of that poop is untrue.

Don't take my post to say that you in particular were talking right out your ass, as that was not what I was trying to say, nor was it directed at you.

Los Angeles, CA
Dec 14, 2005 - 10:06pm PT
I asked about the Yosemite Hardman Offwidth Training Circuit a while back and got a lot of good info including several lists of climbs to do. I have since made up a web page to collect all that together. It is here:

Additions and corrections are welcome any time.

Trad climber
San Francisco
Dec 14, 2005 - 10:12pm PT
Hey as anyone here done the Left Side of the Worst Error, damn that was a good wide crack bout those three flakes stacked at the beginning of the 5.8 chimney

Social climber
My Subconcious
Dec 15, 2005 - 02:40am PT
Dude, I totally talk out of my ass. My memory changes more than Paris Hilton's love interests. I think that Mental Block is harder than Twilight Zone...but the Zone isn't that hard. You can stem/chimney your way up if you don't know how to offwidth. There's all those edges on the side. Mental block is easy if you know how to chicken wing. You can motor right up the thing. The first time I got on it I was hanging like a picture. We did do some chossy 5.9 pitch above the ledge that was "adventurous" though. The second time it was a lot easier. Grades are all pretty gray. Twilight Zone is 10d but if you can stem it then the route is more like 10c. Mental Block is 10c but more sustained than the zone at the first 10c offwidth pitch. I would say the route is harder as you are climbing two 10c offwidths as apposed to the one 5.9 pitch and one 10d pitch on the zone. Cream is harder than twilight zone. It's more consistent and in your face for longer.

I've climbed mental block twice, redpointing every pitch but following the second 10c offwidth pitch clean. I fell trying to onsight twilight zone. I have a decent excuse for t-zone. Onsighted that choss pile OJ avenue(Way told me it was good), then onsight led generator crack, and then tried to onsight t-zone. I was worked to say the least. Cream gave me a paper bag and took me to school. Luckily my partner redeemed the trip with an onsight of Energy Crisis.

Brutus of Wyde

Old Climbers' Home, Oakland CA
Dec 15, 2005 - 04:45am PT
Pretty low on the list.
and pretty short as well.

Much easier than, say, Reeds Left, right side in.


Trad climber
Sh#t Hole, Brooklyn, NY
Dec 15, 2005 - 04:56am PT
"Additions and corrections are welcome any time."

Absolutely Free, Left Side, Lower Brother.

I have no recollection of an offwidth section on this climb. I remember the chimney section well because my prescription shades made contact with the rock. One lens popped out and bounced down the chimney; a couple moves later ... TWING! the wire frame completely delaminated while on my face and the other lens tinked down the rock. Did that edge the OW out of my memory .... ?

Trad climber
Sh#t Hole, Brooklyn, NY
Dec 15, 2005 - 05:15am PT
A couple more (for those on the Tucker circut):

Sow Sow Sow (10a)
Dick Wrenching Classic (10b)
Wade Icey

Social climber
the EPC
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 16, 2005 - 02:24pm PT
AlexC Wrote:

I asked about the Yosemite Hardman Offwidth Training Circuit a while back and got a lot of good info including several lists of climbs to do. I have since made up a web page to collect all that together. It is here:

Additions and corrections are welcome any time."

Just wanted to say that Alex's page is pretty cool. You all may want to check it out. Nice work Alex.

..and just found this in an old notebook from '80's Ditch days.

"I'm not afraaid of heights,
I'm afraid of widths."
-Steven Wright

16 oz. flys/ high reps- manboobs here i come,


Trad climber
Dec 16, 2005 - 07:41pm PT
Tom Higgins gives tips from quirky love of off widths:


 technique: involves separate movement of lower and upper body: if right arm straight in, right leg is in and cocked up, foot and leg torqued; left arm is bent and holding crack edge near head; move by shifting hips out and pumping up off left foot heel-toe at outer edge of crack; hold self in with arms but don't try to drag body up; arms stabilize, legs do push up, then arms move up to hold in for next pump; motion is sideways coma, straighten, comma, straighten; don't pump unless have good pump foot as will waste energy and cause, uh, panic.
 rest: if heel toe is good, left edge sharp, and not overhanging, one can rest between pumps (e.g. Crack of Despair); other rest can come from chicken wing arm in crack, if crack and upper arm length match.
 flares: where bombay or flare won't allow heel toe pump, try feet in a T position for double leg pump (e.g. short wide 5.9 section on Traveler's Buttress, Lover's Leap).
 helpful to have sling for hardware, hanging from outside side, versus hanging stuff on harness or swami which blocks hip area; other posts make same point too.
 protection: long ago, used bongs, t-bars and tubes; t-bars were tempting choice since have slim profile compared to tubes; work OK (e.g. Crack of Fear, Colorado) except for flare and bombay places; tubes also OK, but need to fiddle to get just right size and avoid pivoting; all why Bigbros and big Friends are preferred (but didn't have them long ago).
 rack: try to get rack recommendation from trusted, experienced friend so don't take too much or little as either is vexing.
 reversing: when practicing, try down climbing a little to know it is possible and how to do it; helps reduce fear to know (or fool yourself) you can go back to a "secure" point.
 body size: important are distance from shoulder to elbow, knee width and hand size for transitions into hand cracks; in time, will learn favorite and hated widths and be able to "read" cracks for rest points (see "chicken wing" above).
 pacing: very important not to rush, take time, rest, think about body position, as other posts suggest; beauty of off-widths is how impossible and possible they are all in a matter of moments; very satisfying to make it; very disconcerting to retreat, a most quirky love.
 crack machine: consider building crack machine since hard to practice on real thing; once put up wooden plank job on side of three story house; planks supported by 2 X 6's (probably overkill) on edge to give stiffness; third story porch and railing allowed top to be moved easily along railing so whole thing could be vertical, less or overhanging and any width; climbed between planks (didn't have plywood then) and stucco house wall (reminds me of English "grit").

Notes From Old Climbing Diary

 Cream: hard part is early while still fresh; secure higher with good knee fit; tube chocks up to 6 inches were cumbersome, but pretty secure; nice line.
 Twilight Zone: t-bars and tubes did not work well; felt mostly 3rd class; quite insecure and strenuous all the way until, strangely, crux where pinches down and is more technical (getting around pro) than scary; key lore is Pratt hung at crux, yelled to T.M. Herbert to run to car to get bong, hauled it up, finished climb; some say big friends make this much easier on the mind, but talk to trusted ones before go as climb has ugly, knifing flakes at bottom.
 Left Side of Slack: tubes and bars did not work too well, but climb felt much more safe than TZ with no fall prospect onto piercing flakes; crux creeps up, wearing you out if don't go easy; overall, good, stiff starter off-width given easy access too.
 Despair: quite secure off width; sharp edge to grab, good heel toe with right side in, stronger side for most; good bolt protected it in old days; key lore - here Frank Sacherer nearly pulled Tom Gerughty off because young, inexperienced Tom stepped on a bolt to rest; some old mentors were pretty strict about free being free.
 Edge of Night: very hard technically due to nasty flare; easy to flail and try to overpower; again, bongs and bars not good; modern big friends probably much better.
 Hourglass: right side has pretty short crux and not too hard, but hard to protect with bars and tubes (left side crux is very hard undercling, not off width); remote, peaceful feel to Ribbon Falls area and views to soaring west wall of El Cap.

Hope this helps.

Tom Higgins
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Dec 16, 2005 - 09:19pm PT
Thanks Tom

Great stuff

Social climber
Dec 22, 2005 - 07:29pm PT

This is how you do TZ.

Dec 22, 2005 - 07:39pm PT
And that's fun why?

Related question: Anyone ever need to be rescued in the valley for being, er, jammed?


Dec 22, 2005 - 07:49pm PT
It's happened, some guys knee was stuck very badly.

It's fun because it's a challenge to see if you can do it. It's there and it naturally will attract one to try it if you are a climber.

It's a very difficult climbing disipline to master .........

And nice photo, 1096

Gym climber
Dec 22, 2005 - 08:04pm PT
Shhez, that guy is wearing a tank. I was talkin' to some friends yesterday and they said it's better to not have a long-sleeve on because the materail balls up and gives you burns.

What's the skinny, long pants and shirts, or shorts and tanks?

FWIT, my buddy did Steppin' Out, said it was sick.
:- k

Trad climber
Denver, CO
Dec 22, 2005 - 08:50pm PT
Bob from El Portal is featured in one of Heinz Zak's books... a killer shot of him hand - fist stacking. Anybody got that shot?


Trad climber
emporium, pa
Dec 23, 2005 - 02:03am PT
Arch rock has some good "easyish" offwidth for training. Midterm is nice and glassy (especially in the rain like my first time) although the offwidth is short and English Breakfast Crack has a fun offwidth on pitch one.
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Dec 23, 2005 - 02:15am PT
p*g looking at it right now... but don't have a scanner! there are a lot of nice OW (and squeeze) shots in that book:

Randy Leavitt on Bad Ass Moma fist stacks and large gear walking
Bob Boorman on Twilight Zone hand stacking, steming right and heel/toe-ing
Mark Chapman on Ahab killer chicken wing, left side in...
Cedar Wright on Cedar Eater crack boulder problem
Peter Croft on Astroman in the Harding Slot
Rob Miller on Quantum Mechanics
can't say

Social climber
Pasadena CA
Dec 23, 2005 - 09:00am PT
pc, "Related question: Anyone ever need to be rescued in the valley for being, er, jammed?"

While it wasn't in the Valley, you might see if you can get Russ to tell his Pisano Overhang story. It really is a classic.
Chris W

Dec 23, 2005 - 06:24pm PT
Jaybro!!! I wanna climb with you!!! Offwiths ROCK!!! I will bring my Elbow and knee pads. Tell me when this spring in the Valley. Where do i sign up for the offwith Circuit????

Trad climber
Denver, CO
Dec 23, 2005 - 08:18pm PT

I tried t-zone once - but I didn't have the rack for it.
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