Ahab 5.10b?

Search
Go

Discussion Topic

Return to Forum List
This thread has been locked
Messages 1 - 113 of total 113 in this topic
Iztok

climber
Cupertino, CA
Topic Author's Original Post - May 2, 2006 - 05:12pm PT
Is the 5.10b grade on Ahab (El Cap base) a sandbag or is that pretty much what to expect for 5.10 chimney/offwidths at Yosemite? I took a whipping on toprope. I don't know how I'd protect it on lead or how Bridwell et. al. did it the first time with the gear they had.
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
May 2, 2006 - 05:24pm PT
Look in Pat Ament's biography of Robbins for the story, he soloed Ahab and downclimbed Moby Dick, Center. I heard TM Herbert tell this story while holding court one day underneath MBC to a crowd of wide eyed youngin's who had fresh copies of the Climbing featuring Yosemite crack... TM is great!

...not a sandbag, it's just that people don't climb chimney much anymore... if you really want to get big eyes, go climb The Remnant, Right 5.7 at Reed's once you do that you'll see that the Meyer's rating for Ahab, 5.10a, is probably closer to truth.
Grug

Trad climber
Golden, Colorado
May 2, 2006 - 05:35pm PT
I always thought of Ahab as THE standard for 5.10a chimney/offwidth in Yosemite.
John Vawter

Social climber
San Diego
May 2, 2006 - 05:36pm PT
For pro, I seem to recall the old 6" bong as a nut trick worked on this one, but not sure about that. The crux is a short thrutch to a point where the crack goes straight up again and you can get a good chicken wing, and then get your feet under you.

As far as the rating goes, it seemed fair the first time I tried it and led it, and way off the next two times I tried and couldn't do it.

PS -- Grug, your opinion doesn't count. Your preternatural talent in off size cracks disqualifies you.
Jaybro

Social climber
The West
May 2, 2006 - 05:49pm PT
What they said. When did it get up graded?
Grug

Trad climber
Golden, Colorado
May 2, 2006 - 06:06pm PT
If I'm disqualified Jaybro is too.
bobmarley

Trad climber
auburn, california
May 2, 2006 - 06:12pm PT
ahab is harder than midterm, which is 10a. so i can see it being 10b. now don't tell me midterm ain't 10a! if it's 5.9, then steck-salathe is 5.7!
scuffy b

climber
Chalet Neva-Care
May 2, 2006 - 06:40pm PT
Hey Iztok
Which way did you face? I know it's done both ways.
Maybe one direction is favored by OW people and the
other by OW learners?
Iztok

climber
Cupertino, CA
Topic Author's Reply - May 2, 2006 - 06:46pm PT
I started facing out from the wall. But I couldn't figure out how to get passed the section where it was too wide for me to go heel/toe so I turned around and managed to chicken wing, friction, calf toe, my way up. It was an ugly scene.
John Vawter

Social climber
San Diego
May 2, 2006 - 06:48pm PT
Hey without sticky rubber, Midterm's first 15 feet are .10b. ;-)

Talk about ratings creep, how about the mantle pitch on DNB! From .10b to .11a??!! Low .10 seemed fair to me, but I could tuck my foot behind my head back in those days.
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
May 2, 2006 - 06:50pm PT
Midterm is alledgedly 10a for the fingers at the bottom but some folks consider the crux the transition to the squeeze from the OW.

Ahab seems light years harder than Midterm to me. I think it's a world class sandbag, but I have seen smaller folks cruise it "easier" than larger types.

It's nothing like what you should expect at a similar rating on long Yosemite climbs.

It's kinda of a unique buggering, that Ahab. Good practice

Peace

karl
scuffy b

climber
Chalet Neva-Care
May 2, 2006 - 06:58pm PT
Karl
According to The Book, the fist-OW-squeeze transition is .10a
and the start is .10b. I think the start is a lot harder than
it was in the 70's, when it was also rated .10b. some flakes have
broken, it's shinier. It even looks different in pictures, whiter
than it used to be. It probably depends on your individual mix
of jam/stem/lieback.
John Vawter

Social climber
San Diego
May 2, 2006 - 07:24pm PT
I'm with Karl on this one. Ahab is a sandbag. I had a lot less trouble with Chin Strap Crack, a similarly leaning wide fissure (given .10c) at Tahquitz, than with Ahab.
Tom

Big Wall climber
San Luis Obispo CA
May 2, 2006 - 07:47pm PT
For pro, I seem to recall the old 6" bong as a nut trick

LOL

Yeah, you stick the bong vertically, like a big stopper, and run a sling through one of the lightening holes near the tip. There was a drawing of this in one of Robbin's Rockcraft books.


You can get those mutant aluminum bongs from Yvon, at the GPIW in Ventura.

OOPS! The battery in my calendar died. I have no idea what year it is 8-)


You can push a big cam ahead of you as you go. Bridwell once called this Sequential Toproping.

The flexible trigger wires of the Camalot and Friend allow the head of the cam to rotate, and fall out of the crack and onto your head. To fix this, replace the flexible trigger wires with a solid piece of music wire, or other spring wire (about 0.040" diameter). Allow the trigger to slide up the wire easily, to accomodate flared placements. I just stick the bottom loop of the solid wire through the hole and bend an L shape about 1/2" long as a stop. I've only done this with Camalots, but it should work the same for large Friends.
k-man

Gym climber
SCruz
May 2, 2006 - 07:52pm PT
I'm now curious about The Slack, which was mentioned here a few months ago. Big Bay trees in the first 50' prevent folks from going up there now I suppose.

If Ahab is .10a, then that green route is certainly .10+.

And yeah, solo'ed in boat shoes, then downclimbed MDC. I'd like to see that one! Apparently RR was trying to promote those shoes for climbing.
k-man

Gym climber
SCruz
May 2, 2006 - 07:55pm PT
"The flexible trigger wires of the Camalot and Friend allow the head of the cam to rotate, and fall out of the crack and onto your head. To fix this, replace the flexible trigger wires with a solid piece of music wire, or other spring wire (about 0.040" diameter). Allow the trigger to slide up the wire easily, to accomodate flared placements. I just stick the bottom loop of the solid wire through the hole and bend an L shape about 1/2" long as a stop. I've only done this with Camalots, but it should work the same for large Friends."

Tom, you gotta picture? I can't imagine what you're talking about.
Also, WTF is "music wire?"


PS. Your picture of all those big cams in that other post--I know where that pictue was taken, but I'll be damned if I've ever seen it like that.
bvb

Social climber
flagstaff arizona
May 2, 2006 - 08:02pm PT
suck it up, losers. sacher fired off the ahab with sketchier pro than we'll ever have to deal with. ya wanna know what it's rated? it's rated 1964.
Tom

Big Wall climber
San Luis Obispo CA
May 2, 2006 - 08:34pm PT
k-man: I'll post a photo in a few minutes.

Music wire is a type of spring wire. I guess the idea is that it's used for piano strings. If you go to a typical hobby shop, they'll have these 1" diameter by 3' long red cardboard tubes with brass wire, aluminum tubing, etc. Some of them have music wire in them.

Personally, I prefer stainless spring wire, because it doesn't rust. But, you gotta buy a roll at a time.


If you're who I think you are, I took that photo at your house at Yosemite West. Steve-O was caretaking the place at the time. He'd just got hired by YMS. Anna Levine, Ricardo and I were there to do SOH (June, 2004) but wound up bailing because of time constraints, team friction, etc.

PTPP and I returned in October and sent it. He was nursing the broken ankle he got on the Sheep Ranch the previous spring, so I did all but about five leads. This is why he hated the route: he was my belay monkey and hauling slave. Gotta love it.




EDIT: HERE IS THE PHOTO

This is a photo of a hand-cam that I put solid wires on. Sorry, I don't have a photo of a big cam that has been modified. The idea is the same, though.

The solid wire is bent into a U-shape, and then pressed with pliers to get the loop radius quite small. The upper ends are bent into legs that go through the cam lobes and get trimmed off and a short stub bent over to lock it in. The bottoms of the two wire loops are then fed down through the trigger's holes, and then bent over so they can't pull back out.

However, the trigger can slide up the wires. In a flared placement, the two lobes that are more compressed will have their trigger wire sticking down, like the one on the right in the photo.

This is how the small Aliens accomodate flares, with the trigger wires sliding down through that transfer plate that is near the head.





If the trigger wires are flexible (i.e., thin cable with short pieces of wire), the head of a big cam can flop back and forth. If you push one of those up a crack, the lobes tend to compress unevenly, the head rotates to one side, the lobes snap open, and the thing falls out.

The solid spring wire keeps the head from flopping back and forth. If it gets a bit angled, the wires spring it back to center. When you push the cam up the crack, it glides right along. The lobes remain equally compressed.
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
May 2, 2006 - 08:59pm PT
bvb's got the point, much of this stuff was freed by Frank Sacherer, Chuck Pratt and Royal Robbins early, before 66...

that means mostly using pitons (and probably rudimentary bongs, not even the aluminum ones) on these routes...

As I've said often, my mantra on this stuff is Pratt's comment: "technique is our protection"

carry on!
Tom

Big Wall climber
San Luis Obispo CA
May 2, 2006 - 09:16pm PT
technique is our protection

I guess I misundertood him. I thought he said

Technology is our Protection

8-)
Weenis

Trad climber
Tel Aviv
May 2, 2006 - 09:17pm PT
Hey Iztok,
For what it's worth, After onsighting Cream and Generator Crack as well as a stack of other Valley wide cracks, with tube chocks, I got totally worked an Ahab. That thing is a total sand bag that is logically about 5.10d. The left side of Moby Dick is also pretty stiff. I might venture to give it a 5.10a rating. Okay tough boys- go ahead and hack on me.
yo

climber
I'm so over it
May 2, 2006 - 10:26pm PT
Left side of Moby, that would be the official Muir start, no? That's one of my fave old pictures, Chouinard wedged up in that thing in his hiking boots with like a mile of slack out. Not a care in the world.

Chingando is 10a too, right? Miles easier than the Captain (Ahab). MILES. I guess they could both be 10a, in the same way that Serenity and Good Book are both 10d.

Which is to say, not very the same.






What the hell are boat shoes? Like old school Vans? Topsiders?! I'm getting sort of ill just asking.
Jaybro

Social climber
The West
May 2, 2006 - 10:37pm PT
BTW, how did Chingando EVER get a 5.10 rating, anyway?


edit, er, it appears I was thinking of Doggie-Do, a 5.8 that is rated 5.10, carry on.
WBraun

climber
May 2, 2006 - 10:38pm PT
Royal free soloed in Treetorn Tennis shoes.

Not boat shoes.

Tom nice hint on the spring steel cam modification idea, thanks.
can't say

Social climber
Pasadena CA
May 2, 2006 - 10:42pm PT
Jaybro, the same way Chingadera got it's 5.10 rating when Kamps first did it.
Tom

Big Wall climber
San Luis Obispo CA
May 2, 2006 - 10:48pm PT
I think a pair of RR's Treetorns are under glass in the Valley mountain shop.
Largo

Sport climber
Venice, Ca
May 2, 2006 - 11:19pm PT
All those old-school 5.10 off-widths are only 5.10 after you climb a stack of them and get the technique wired. Till you do, they all feel like 5.12--or they did to me during my first few months in the Valley.

JL
Jaybro

Social climber
The West
May 2, 2006 - 11:42pm PT
Definitely. But I think that carries over to Any, unfamiliar technique.
I can remember when the handjam 'clicked' for me, in that instant I was aware of a technique that my patient climbing partners had long taken for granted.

I tried to ride a unicycle a couple of times; never got balanced on it for more than a few feet, I know, it's impossible.
Weenis

Trad climber
Tel Aviv
May 3, 2006 - 12:50am PT
"Back in the Day" it seemed as though one had to go through a wide crack/chimney phase if you were spending any time in the Valley. Offwidths seemed unimaginable until you got some kind of clue. My logic was to do as many wide cracks in the 5.9 range and then progress up the grades. One spring day I was like 40 ft. up Mongolian Clusterf*#k with no pro and scratching past a water streak and yelled to my belayer, "I might be comin' off". Knowing full well that if I kept going the consequences couldn't be worse I persisted and got a tube chock in and finished the lead.
Largo's right, it is a matter of practice and training. After sticking to my schedule and toughing it out I somehow got all the wide pitches on every climb, even the "Chimney of Horrors" on the Northwest face of Higher Cathedral Spire. (Horrendo!)
So here is my sand bag wide crack list, afterall it is SuperTaco:
-Entrance Exam, Mandatory for all, 5.8
-Doggie Do, 5.8+
-Mongolian Clusterf*#k, 5.9
-Chingando, 5.9
-Goldrush, 5.9+ with gloves
-Jam Session, 5.10a
-Mental Block, 5.10b
-Generator Crack, 5.10b
-Steppin' Out, 5.10b
-Edge of Night, 5.10b
-Twilight Zone, 5.10a or b
-Cream, 5.8+ with cams.
-Chopper, I actually whipped from an upside down position when some europeans walked out of the woods. My guess is that if you can finish it, that it is probably 5.9 or 5.10.
-Left side of Moby Dick, 5.10a
-Ahab, 5.11a
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
May 3, 2006 - 02:47am PT
Moby Dick, Left 5.10a??? gee, Gary and I did this last year and while it felt hard it probably wasn't worse then the 5.9 it gets in Reid's...

And Doggie Do at 5.8, ROFL! I sounded like a Doggie Do doing a brick on that one... I thought 5.10a was kind...

Weenis hats off to you dude, sandbagger par excellent.

This is really weird climber humor... anyone out there not knowing these routes should do Weenis' list in order... but I ain't responible for your death or destruction... if you get through it you will be righteous.

Unfortunately, a lot of these are on my "to do" list... but I know what I'm getting into (and everyone here is tired of hearing about my list, I'm sure).
ChrisW

Trad climber
boulder, co
May 3, 2006 - 05:38am PT
5.10b....That's about right. ED...I don't know u. BUt look me up in CAmp 4. Let's do your tick list.
Patrick Sawyer

climber
Originally California now Ireland
May 3, 2006 - 06:04am PT
Chingando is 10a too, right? Miles easier than the Captain (Ahab). MILES.

I second that motion.
ChrisW

Trad climber
boulder, co
May 3, 2006 - 06:16am PT
I used a Wok to Send Chingando....

Actually, I am talking out of my ass. Never climbed Chingando. And down climbed the start of AHaB.
Zander

Trad climber
Berkeley
May 3, 2006 - 10:47am PT
I havn't been able to do Ahab yet.
I've seen it done four ways. Right side in. Left side in. I saw some English kid lie-back it. The fourth way was- a couple of quick lie-back moves then a toe - calf jamb with the right leg. The left is on the face. Shuffle up. Plenty of time to chalk up etc.
Zander
Rhodo-Router

Gym climber
Otto, NC
May 3, 2006 - 10:56am PT
Weenis... the Chimney of Horrors? Who are you? nobody does that route!
Largo

Sport climber
Venice, Ca
May 3, 2006 - 11:01am PT
Couple other sandbag offwidths are: Right Side of the Hourglass, Left Side of the Slack, Right Side of Absolutely Free, Leverage, Vendetta, Left Side of Bongs Away. Just lyback Chopper Flake.

JL
Patrick Sawyer

climber
Originally California now Ireland
May 3, 2006 - 11:05am PT
Rhodo-Router, he did say that he was a sandbagger.

And looking at his list, I'd say so.

Either that or he has a perverse enjoyment to suffering on OW.
Roger Breedlove

Trad climber
Cleveland Heights, Ohio
May 3, 2006 - 11:06am PT
Ha! Love your list, Weenis, and carefully considered ratings. Probably as good as anyone else's for ow. Any list is a sandbag for the next person up.

Ahab felt like a solo job with a trailing rope for the second. Scary lead on nuts, as I remember it, repeating to myself, "don't start a'gripping cause your gonna crater if you do."
yo

climber
I'm so over it
May 3, 2006 - 11:34am PT
Hi, Roger! Ahab on nuts...sick.

Check this dude styling Ahab. He is slaying it with those foot stacks!
(http://annwm.lbl.gov/~leggett/pictures/yosemite_04-16-05/main.shtml)

You can cheat like crazy on Chingando, which is why it ain't the best OW trainer around. Absolutely the only fattie around I thought felt soft.
Weenis

Trad climber
Tel Aviv
May 3, 2006 - 11:40am PT
Rhodo-router, Yeah, kinda hard to believe, but I did the Northwest face of Higher Cathedral spire in a one day push back in 1982. The route is proud if only a little dirty. The old red Roper's guide said that it was "One of the most difficult routes in the Valley". The "chimney of Horrors" was a very maturing experience with some steep A2 or A3 at the end. We fixed to there and finished the route with a midnight start. I mentioned this to Tom Frost a few years ago and I got a kind of blank stare. The location is beautiful, The cracks are long and continuous and there are only a few bolts on the whole route. I heard that someone was trying to freeclimb it and saw fixed lines and crap up there some years ago, hope they cleaned it up.
Getting back to the wide crack thing. If you're gonna climb anything of consequence in the Valley you really need to train on chimney and offwidth because you'll find them on just about every wall route. Like Largo said, they all seem like 5.12 until you get the hang of it.
And yes, I've sand bagged most of those ratings; Cream and Generator crack are 5.10+ but I still think that Ahab is 5.11.
Go and do the obscure climbs and get their tidings, we've all done the Nose at least once. Oh yeah Rhodo-router, I've also done the Heart Route- start to finish.
Jaybro

Social climber
The West
May 3, 2006 - 01:29pm PT
Wierd humor, indeed, epsecially, but not limited to, "-Goldrush, 5.9+ with gloves." -that was harder for me than any of the others on the list

guess I'll have to go do mongollian and Entrance.
malabarista

Trad climber
San Francisco, Ca
May 3, 2006 - 01:50pm PT
I've never cursed so much on a climb as on this one -on toprope too.
guyman

Trad climber
Moorpark, CA.
May 3, 2006 - 02:48pm PT
ENTRANCE EXAM...Good one for sure!
Kevin

Social climber
Oak-town
May 3, 2006 - 03:18pm PT
second that for entrance exam. all time greatest training pitch(I recommend breaking it into two) for the steck salathe-

loads of fun, with that super cool hand jam throw out of the bombay chimney to the exit.

also, application around the corner, a peter haan fist crack (5.9) 3.5 and 4 camalots all the way. the dude had huge mitts if you want to call it a fist crack. its a fist crack if you're wearing boxing gloves.

arch rock is the greatest!
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
May 3, 2006 - 03:21pm PT
After doing the first pitch of Entrance Exam I felt that I had cheated because modern wide gear allows you to sew it up. Still a very fun climb. I need to go back and do the other pitches where the gear is not so possible.
Grug

Trad climber
Golden, Colorado
May 3, 2006 - 03:45pm PT
Personally, I think modern big gear gets in the way. In the "old" days, you would just have to fire these pitches - like Robbins did. Now you have to have these ungodly voluminous pieces either around your neck or at your waist, which makes it extra hard to ever turn around in the crack. Then you have to somehow get around your gear after you placed it. True, walking a piece ahead of you can make it seem like top-roping, but eventually you need leave the piece behind.

I think that wide cracks are best done with gear placed sparingly and at locations where you don't have to work hard to get around them.

Hardly Visible

climber
Port Angeles
May 3, 2006 - 04:17pm PT
I also would also consider Chingado easy for 5.10a in compairison to a couple other 5.10a's I've done in the valley.I'd have to say that Left Side of Reeds and second pitch of Yin Yang are considerably harder and two of my proudest onsites ever. Since I found Ahab harder than either of these I can see 5.10b as a realistic rating, but then I ain't no hardman neither. Entrance Exam as one pitch and Moby Dick Left up to the nice ledge are two of my favorite single pitch 5.9's anywhere. I see what you are saying Grug but I don't think I'll be leaving the big cams behind anytime soon. I guess I still want to live.
Rhodo-Router

Gym climber
Otto, NC
May 3, 2006 - 04:23pm PT
Weenis, I've actually climbed that route, with a valley local ropegun. "I better take this one," he said. Munge-filled cracks, horrendous old gear like the lone rust-stain in the middle of the Chimney--Yosemite classic or classic Yosemite?
I hand-cleaned a piton anchor that we'd slept on. The ropegun free-climbed the first 2 A1 pitches, and then we got rained off, so our ropes were indeed up there for a while... this would be around 1997 or so.

I've never climbed the Nose.
Weenis

Trad climber
Tel Aviv
May 3, 2006 - 06:25pm PT
Hey Rhodo-Router,
Way cool to hear that some others have done that climb (nwfohcs). Imagine if it had been done scores of times and "cleaned off". I think it would be very popular if parties had the chutzpah to get past the Chimney of Horrors. Would like to hear about your experience and what you were able to free climb on it.
And Jaybro, one day I was up at Reed's and Rick Cashner with that gleam in his eyes, showed me the leather work gloves that he had taped and pulled off Goldrush with. That was another semester's work; it is afterall waaay hard. For sure do Entrance Exam and do it as four pitches; Beautiful Yosemite classic inside and out. Mongolian Clusterf*#k Will likely be a little safer now with modern wide crack pro. Yeah Grug, Back in the day we were lucky to get in a "tube chock". Something a lot of climbers have never seen or heard of. They were sure in the way on the rack, harness or trying to pass one you'd placed. Only concession and I'll admit to it is that sometimes they could be used as a "rung" of a ladder and even stood on.
Cool to see Yin Yang mentioned here. That is a groovy climb that is worth doing both pitches of. Anybody done that heap called "South Central" on the Column? The first pitch off the traverse from Dinner Ledge is a tough wide crack; any opinions on difficulty?
guyman

Trad climber
Moorpark, CA.
May 3, 2006 - 07:01pm PT
The best part of Entrance Exam is the Exit! At last you spin around and leave the dam chimney and climb a nice fin, out in the air! I figure this sort of climbing is a lost art...it usta be required for all hardmen who aspired to climb in the Valley.
kevin Fosburg

Sport climber
park city,ut
May 3, 2006 - 08:52pm PT
I think Ahab got bumped up to 10b because it certainly isn't 10a. Here's my experience.
I went up to the base of El Cap after work one winter afternoon without a partner. Soloed the center route of Moby Dick and rapped off my 7mm static trail line in order to use it for a self-belay on Ahab. Clove-hitch with a supertape swami. So, pimping along, it became inconvenient to adjust the clove-hitch and pretty soon there was quite a length of static slack hanging down. I became aware that a fall would result in a cheese-wire sort of effect and at the same time was faced with some unusually weird off-width moves. Pretty technical, I thought. You old-dad heavies should not begrudge that rating in my opinion.
nutjob

Trad climber
San Jose, CA
May 4, 2006 - 04:16am PT
Iztok,

We've been exchanging emails after I posted the note in PG. Let's go get Ahab done!

I passed up my only opportunity to try it so far (my partner did it on toprope)... was last climb of day after soloing Royal Arches, then doing all the Camp4 doggie routes (made in up Doggie Do on TR with no falls, thought the right leaning 5.9 crack after the 5.7 chimney start aound the corner was tougher), and doing Moby Dick Center. I thought direct start of MDC was awful fingertips, above that was easy cruiser hand stacking and knee jams. Then I was too tired and philosophically past the need for a cathartic experience to even get on Ahab.

Hi Mei, I've switched aliases :)
Leroy

climber
May 4, 2006 - 05:19am PT
Funny that people think the left side of Moby Dick is stiff.I think that its probably the first route I ever did with Jbro.More or less a century ago.Or did we do it? anyway ,it was an epic.Afterwords we went to the Indian Room and raised all kinds of hell.Ahab is 10.a just like all the OWs that arenīt 10.c.I led it with the late Granny Dandusky.Danny tried valiently to follow but to no avail.He shouted, what do I do?I told him to Batman the rope.He asked, Whatīs that?.I said ,Hand over hand the rope.Thats where Danny learned to Batman the rope.A very usefull technique.
Tom

Big Wall climber
San Luis Obispo CA
May 4, 2006 - 08:03am PT
I told him to Batman the rope. He asked, Whatīs that?. I said, Hand over hand the rope. Thats where Danny learned to Batman the rope. A very useful technique.

See? TV's not a Cultural Wasteland. It teaches you valuable, real-world skills 8-)
k-man

Gym climber
SCruz
May 4, 2006 - 11:08am PT
Chimney of Horrors? I tried to solo that route one time (free climbing the first two pitches on cloves was pretty interesting, considering the crummy gear and loose rock). Then I got to that chimney, took one look, and said to myself "Looks like beer-thirty to me." I'm glad to hear that I didn't turn around for no good reason (I get spanked on that chimney over by the churchbowl).

Now I want to try it again! (and also that line that goes left after the first pitch, High Life).

Good list of wide goin' on here. But I'm surprised Basket Case hasn't been mentioned, you know as a .10a or something. But Steppin' Out as .10b? I gotta get some heal-toe action goin', no doubt.

Hey Tom, Anna is up in Yos as we speak! When are you going back up there?
poop*ghost

Trad climber
Denver, CO
May 4, 2006 - 11:21am PT
YO - Do you know Dan or did you just find that pic?
yo

climber
I'm so over it
May 4, 2006 - 11:32am PT
Just found it searching. Tell me about him, he looks amazingly dialed in that thing. Not worried about falling out, not worried about proing in. Some kind of OW hardman?

Funny thing with Moby Center is the Reid beta says, I think, "many 2" to 3" pieces." Which is not entirely true. I remember arming to the gills and using like one 2" and not that many 3"s before it gets way bigger than that. I could be wrong, it's been a while. But I'm sure I'm not the only one who's ended up running it for the anchors elbow deep in that mama with a bunch of useless small gear.

ChrisW

Trad climber
boulder, co
May 4, 2006 - 11:37am PT
Entrance Exam on Arch Rock is a very FUN! Climb. Except we got attacked by some black birds at the top and there's a little bit of bird crap on the top of the last pitch. They had a nest just right of the finish.
It's more of a chimney then a offwith. If not, just all chimney.
Iztok

climber
Cupertino, CA
Topic Author's Reply - May 4, 2006 - 12:16pm PT
Nutjob,
I am ready to get some more OW training (punishment) on Ahab. The guy "styling" in the picture is doing a foot stack right where I had the most problems, I think it may be the ticket. Next time I'm not doing it in shorts and a tshirt.

I'd like to work on Weenis wide crack list (if doesn't kill you it will make you stronger).
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
May 4, 2006 - 01:09pm PT
"bvb's got the point, much of this stuff was freed by Frank Sacherer, Chuck Pratt and Royal Robbins early, before 66... "

BFD! These guys were the greatest climbers in the world. So what if they could cruise a 10d wide crack that wasn't particularly dependent on technical shoes!

Do you think folks have changed that much. If I had a hard time on some overhanging sport route, it would be little comfort that "Sharma and Caldwell campussed it when they were 17 years old!"

Second pitch of Yin Yang is a spanker if I remember correctly.

Chingando is rated 10a for the fist section at the start. The OW is rated 5.8 (but let's call it 5.9-)

Peace

Karl

PS I always face the wall on Ahab, unlike the picture. Am I screwing it up. Which way do ya'll face? Any old codger who says it's easy has to go lead it for me in Yosemite next time you're there.
Jaybro

Social climber
The West
May 4, 2006 - 01:23pm PT
That Is, funny, Leroy, the other day I was reading this and trying to recall if that was the first climbe we got on together.

I remember two teenagers going over there, and the one without glasses leading up to somewhere around the Vert. World photo opp spot, bailing and saying "there's fifty dollars worth of gear in there and I'm not the one, getting it out." then the owner of the gear went up (heavily intimidated by the 5.9 rating)and either led boldly to the summit, or cleaned and downclimbed, that memory is unclear. But the raising hell later in the day in the Indian room part is as clear as those kind of memories can be.

Cams definitely make that one more secure
scuffy b

climber
Chalet Neva-Care
May 4, 2006 - 01:36pm PT
Karl, good points, of course, as usual, but...

Climb it using your choice of Cortina, Spider (the gray ones)
Zillertal or Kronhoffer, then tell us that it's not particularly
dependent on technical shoes.
Robbins boots were a huge advance for wide cracks.
Roger Breedlove

Trad climber
Cleveland Heights, Ohio
May 4, 2006 - 01:52pm PT

Hey scuffy b, I don't know anyone who actually free climbed in Robbins boots except Royal and didn’t for long. They were good for wide cracks and standing in slings, but otherwise....

Karl, for the record, I think that everyone I knew thought that Ahab was a hard, scary crack that required really good off-width and squeeze chimney technique.

Everyone was very respectful even if they didn't agree on what to rate it. If you had great technique and were strong, it is just a very slow, strenuous slog but never desperate. But if anything slipped it was instantly desperate, no matter how strong you were. And the protection always sucked (technical term). Sounds like the perfect description of off-width.

Roger
Jaybro

Social climber
The West
May 4, 2006 - 01:52pm PT
psst-Karl Face out, let gravity work For you.
k-man

Gym climber
SCruz
May 4, 2006 - 02:04pm PT
I just read Brid's The Innocent, the Ignorant, and the Insecure where he states that Ahab is .10a hands. Using Russ' conversion chart I see that this is really just 5.7, so WTF is all the moaning about?
scuffy b

climber
Chalet Neva-Care
May 4, 2006 - 02:11pm PT
Also, when Robbins was reporting on Henry Barber's solo of
Steck-Salathe he said it was a very different game than the
"secure hand jams" of Ahab.
Grug

Trad climber
Golden, Colorado
May 4, 2006 - 02:12pm PT

Even though I stated early on in this thread that I thought of Ahab as the standard for 5.10a offwidth/chimney, I must admit I don't remember a dang thing about it. I basically remember doing it, that it was rated 5.10a back in '76 or whenever I did it, and that it didn't seem like a sandbag at the time.
poop*ghost

Trad climber
Denver, CO
May 4, 2006 - 03:30pm PT
Yo - I'm going to leave it SirRunItOut to answer your questions about Dan the Hardman. :-)

Jaybro

Social climber
The West
May 4, 2006 - 03:33pm PT
yeah, what greg said. Only I probably did it in'78. Seemed consistant at the time (esp compared to vedauwoo ratings, the scale that made me feel cheated when I climbed Chingando* I mean Doggie-do, I think). Haven't been back.

I can't imagine that it's gotten harder, though that is possible. I thought of that when someone compared Ahab to midterm, which has gotten a lot harder (at the bottom where it has slicked up, the crux) I first climbed that one in 74/75 with Tim Wasich of BUBS fame (I think he's just wall-eyed, not glass eyed, Russ) and the bottom was way easier than it seemed even five or so years later.



*edit, er, it appears I was thinking of Doggie-Do, a 5.8 that is rated 5.10, carry on.
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
May 4, 2006 - 03:38pm PT
There are two reasons for not remember something you did 20 years ago as being hard.

1. It wasn't hard

2. It was desparate and your mind blocked it out.

That's why I do Steck Salathe every 3-4 years. Need time to forget the Narrows

Peace

Karl
yo

climber
I'm so over it
May 4, 2006 - 03:46pm PT
hahah, you're a wise man, KB.

"How's Route X?"

"Hmmm...did it a while back, don't remember it being that bad."


AAAAAOOOOOOGGGAAAAA!!!!!!!!!!!
Biggest red flag in the book.

Jaybro

Social climber
The West
May 4, 2006 - 03:49pm PT
Then why didn't I get married again?

oh wait, I remembered.
Grug

Trad climber
Golden, Colorado
May 4, 2006 - 03:49pm PT
I can think of at least one other reason for not remembering... I FORGOT!!!
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
May 4, 2006 - 03:54pm PT
Karl, sorry for inciting you.. but my point wasn't to denegrate the skills of that trio of true hardmen (Sacherer, Pratt and Robbins) but what you left in the ellipsis was that that generation of climber was better practiced on chimney and wide crack climbs, certainly in the 5.10 range as that was the top of the difficulty then.

Perhaps I would make a meek statement now not to invoke your wrath but simply to re-enforce what you mom used to tell you: "practice makes perfect." She was right, and it is also true for wide venturing.

Sacherer and Pratt are now gone, no one knew, I believe, what it was about them that let them do what they did... Robbins is still around, yet I suspect the answer for the three, though different, probably would not help me be any better.

They had it.
Jaybro

Social climber
The West
May 4, 2006 - 04:56pm PT
They definitely had 'It'




I believe that I have said Chingando when i meant Doggie-Do in a bunch of post above, that I think I have now all corrected.

how did Doggie-do get rated .10 instead of .8?
Tom

Big Wall climber
San Luis Obispo CA
May 4, 2006 - 06:49pm PT
K-Man - Hey Tom, Anna is up in Yos as we speak! When are you going back up there?

About June 10 or 15. I'll try emailing her.
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
May 4, 2006 - 07:23pm PT
I'm not angry, just talking sh#t.

I bet it wouldn't take a lot of practice for Sharma to wire Ahab

Peace

Karl
Tom

Big Wall climber
San Luis Obispo CA
May 4, 2006 - 08:00pm PT
what you left in the ellipsis was that that generation of climber was better practiced on chimney and wide crack climbs, certainly in the 5.10 range as that was the top of the difficulty then

I think that's exactly right. Finger and hand cracks could be aided, but the only way up an OW was to actually climb it. So, the guys who got up the big walls were the ones who could do the wide stuff.

Nowadays, of course, people like me just C1 everything up to narrow chimney.
Roger Breedlove

Trad climber
Cleveland Heights, Ohio
May 4, 2006 - 09:21pm PT
You know Tom, that is a very insightful comment about wide cracks on big walls.
Larry

Trad climber
Reno NV
May 4, 2006 - 10:12pm PT
Funny thing with Moby Center is the Reid beta says, I think, "many 2" to 3" pieces." Which is not entirely true. I remember arming to the gills and using like one 2" and not that many 3"s before it gets way bigger than that. I could be wrong, it's been a while. But I'm sure I'm not the only one who's ended up running it for the anchors elbow deep in that mama with a bunch of useless small gear.

Reid says 2-3" for Doggie Deviations too. There is NO WHERE the crack is that narrow.
Weenis

Trad climber
Tel Aviv
May 4, 2006 - 10:24pm PT
Tom & Roger,
That is exactly why I worked out and trained on offwidths and chimneys. The fact of the matter is that if you do something enough you will shortly find out if it is a matter of practice or that you're just not cut out for it. After a while it became apparent that on these climbs you had way more body contact and friction. Sure, you could grind yourself up and down but you learned or went back to thin cracks and face. think about how much contact to the rock you have on a thin finger crack. It's more a matter of technique than fighting it.
My perception of wide cracks has always been that they are another type of free pitch and not some esoteric scarefest. By starting on easier ones and learning the basics it became fun to get the leads. Again, pretty much every wall route has some wide crack that seems scary but isn't that hard. The Valley is filled with 'em, it's a Yosemite Standard; get training and don't be light.
Jaybro

Social climber
The West
May 4, 2006 - 10:30pm PT
Weenis, you keep giving it away like that and you're out of the club!
Weenis

Trad climber
Tel Aviv
May 4, 2006 - 10:43pm PT
Yo Jaybro,
We shouldn't worry about giving away secrets. I'm trying to lure all the Noob's onto/into Entrance Exam. 95% of them will be scared just looking at it and go over to Ranger Mountain. Remember that the Harding Slot is only 5.7.
Jaybro

Social climber
The West
May 4, 2006 - 10:52pm PT
Good plan!
Roger Breedlove

Trad climber
Cleveland Heights, Ohio
May 4, 2006 - 11:36pm PT
Off width must be the most un-natural thing in climbing to learn. I have had world class climbers--long ago world class climbers, mind you--ask me to show them how the hell you climb off width. Once you showed them, they cruised--hell, they were world class before they asked. Like a Formula One driver asking "how do you start this thing?"

I know that I have commented way too much on off width in the past--makes it seem like I was really good at them. But here are a few essential observations.

Off width uses way to many body parts to be elegant. But, if done right it has its own rhythm.

With all those body parts in play, it is really hard not to exert too much energy.

Pure off width can be climbed with your eyes closed.

Pure off width starts at 5.10--up until then, it is a matter of finding the hidden holds inside the crack and stemming.

Good protection?

Deciding on the rating is totally dependent on the amount of fire wood.

It's a club without tape.
Sir Run-it-out

Trad climber
Berkeley, CA
May 5, 2006 - 02:27am PT

Re: that nice picture of Dan on Ahab.

Dan is an amazing o/w climber. He styled Ahab that day, hardly putting in any pro at all. Given, he did view it on rap after doing Moby Dick, but it's still quite an accomplishment. I've heard it said that he's soloed Steck-Salathe a number of times.

Here's another great picture of him soloing some heinous o/w somewhere in Tuolumne. In his tennis shoes. And he's smiling!

k-man

Gym climber
SCruz
May 5, 2006 - 03:26am PT
"I have had world class climbers--long ago world class climbers, mind you--ask me to show them how the hell you climb off width."

Reminds me of the ABC route where I heard that Moffat would climb the face of the book (at 5.11 something) rather than doing the 5.8 squeeze.

"Deciding on the rating is totally dependent on the amount of fire wood."

And that is why we now have the Mojave desert, and still no decision.
scuffy b

climber
Chalet Neva-Care
May 5, 2006 - 11:08am PT
Tom's statement seems pretty powerful--in the old days the
only way to get up the wide was to free climb because aid
was impossible.
Also Roger on Pure Offwidth beginning at 5.10. I think
the key on most of the easier offwidth is figuring out how
to avoid the offwidth moves with other trickery.
shortguy

Gym climber
berkeley
May 5, 2006 - 11:24am PT
I've seen that Offwidth Dan guy cruising the wide stuff in the valley a few times. He's got the wide skills, but mostly he's pretty bold and willing to hang on when running it out above his pro and that's the main skill I think. I guess when he was younger, he lived in Eastern Europe, climbing in czechoslovakia, hungary, and slovenia where good pro is nonexistant and climbers are bold. After awhile, you learn that strength and technique are the best protection.


p.s. If you see him, ask him about his rope solo of the Harding Route on Conness, gives me chills just thinking about it.
poop*ghost

Trad climber
Denver, CO
May 5, 2006 - 12:11pm PT
Yep - that's "DanDan the OffWidth Man"

True enough, he was born on a small island called Kerkira. Raised in Macedonia. Climbed all over eastern europe.

I was around the ditch one day and saw him stumbling back to camp in shorts and a tank top - bloodied shins, ankles and elbows.

had sent bad-ass momma and t-zone before I'd had my morning beer.
healyje

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
May 5, 2006 - 03:26pm PT
Finally tried to figure out exactly what John J. Glime's tiny personal photo on Mountain Project was - turns out to be an off-width picture...

poop*ghost

Trad climber
Denver, CO
May 5, 2006 - 05:05pm PT
sling the rat for pro?
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Dec 22, 2011 - 12:37am PT
ahoy there bump
Wade Icey

Trad climber
www.alohashirtrescue.com
Dec 22, 2011 - 11:58am PT
skating on stilts
eeyonkee

Trad climber
Golden, CO
Oct 15, 2014 - 09:12am PT
Just did this on Sunday for the first time in 40 years or so. Now that it's fresh, 5.10a seems about right.
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Oct 15, 2014 - 10:05am PT
Ahab is not 10b, it's not even Ahab. It is a section of rock architecture currently given the name Ahab and the grade 10b. The rock architecture will be there long after the given name and grade have disappeared.
If you are able to lead, what is now called Ahab, consider yourself a decent trad climber and don't concern yourself with the arbitrary number attached to it.
Elcapinyoazz

Social climber
Joshua Tree
Oct 15, 2014 - 10:27am PT
Facing out, I thought 5.10+. Facing in, I though mid 5.10. Either way, full value. I think larger people have a slightly easier time in this one.

Getting some in the late 90s? or thereabouts:

Peter Haan

Trad climber
Santa Cruz, CA
Oct 15, 2014 - 10:47am PT
I did Ahab a bunch of times. Even took Ament up it, he reminds us.

I think it is 10b, certainly not less and not likely to be any harder for my body type then. The hardest moves were the first two at start, as it is bell-shaped down there, you can't heel-and-toe and foot-stacking is not possible right there either for that first foot or two, if I remember. So it was highly flared and unlikely toe smear and other foot's heel on the bell walls for maybe two power moves. Unusual actually. A hard S-chimney, in other words, with a very short bombay feature just a the start. The rest of the climb of course is easier and more conventional, even though it looks scary from the ground. The second part, the flare is truly fun and offers total rests.

Others have mentioned that somewhat thicker types might find the initial off width a bit easier for them. One might experience more security at that point being thicker, but then you also have a ton more friction upwards, as well. And part of the essential challenge is to stay efficient. So I don't think it is that plain what's best. Most people on it want to make moves that are too big and think they are blowing it by moving a half-inch at a time. so then the inevitable friction is their undoing.

On a climb such as this one, I always wore half-length ace bandages under my pants. I would not wear a harness on it today, even. I would have one or two-loop 1" tubular webbing that the rope is tied into and can rotate out of the way. I would wear a stiff full-upper type of shoe that could offer a powerful heel-and-toe and not merely fold up like kitchen gloves. I would wear a turtleneck with the neck split as if a collar. I would wear docker-type pants that slide really well but offer some protection, even a bit of friction as they wear a bit and if you really press hard with them.
Norwegian

Trad climber
dancin on the tip of god's middle finger
Oct 15, 2014 - 11:01am PT
[Click to View YouTube Video]
skitch

climber
East of Heaven
Oct 15, 2014 - 11:09am PT
And I would wear a shirt made from one way rubber tha slid easily up an stuck like glue when pulled down, and I would wear a squishy helmet that I could jam into the crack so I couldn't slide down, and I would wear a couple helium balloons, and I would put tape on my hands sticky side out, and I would wear a chalk bag as a necklace to keep it out of the crack and I would. . . Climb it with clothes and gear totally different than normally used for climbing then tell everyone it is only 10a.
eeyonkee

Trad climber
Golden, CO
Oct 15, 2014 - 11:32am PT
I call it 10a because that's what my guide book says (yellow Meyers guide) and it did not seem out of line for that grade.
Patrick Oliver

Boulder climber
Fruita, Colorado
Nov 22, 2014 - 05:33pm PT
We climbed it, no one took anyone up it. Just two people capable of doing it. I had led it before, the first time I did the route. If I mentioned it, it was not to remind anyone. It was probably to point out how well Peter climbed back then, how he stormed up the cracks.
Peter Haan

Trad climber
Santa Cruz, CA
Nov 22, 2014 - 06:49pm PT
Thanks Pat. That really was a fun day out, for sure.
Studly

Trad climber
WA
Nov 22, 2014 - 06:57pm PT
Peter and Pat, legendary old school American climbers.
Thanks for the memories!
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Nov 22, 2014 - 10:37pm PT
As Kevin and others have said...it is totally technique dependent. Some pretty good climbers without the proper technique have been humbled. Do it right, like Keven, Pat, Peter et al, and it's not so bad.
Patrick Oliver

Boulder climber
Fruita, Colorado
Nov 23, 2014 - 12:17am PT
Karl, it would be much more difficult to face toward the main wall.
That is my opinion. One needs the friction of back against
the main wall. As for Largo, I can only imagine with his great
physique and strong muscles the climb would be two grades harder.
I got thick in the chest for a time, and certain cracks I once
fit in were desperate off-widths on the outside. The thinner
person who fits in will be more solid. So Largo, your opinion
of Ahab being hard would be correct for your solid size and
easier for one such as I. Actually I felt very solid in Ahab
and led it the first time I did it, surprised by how well I
fit into it. One must learn how to do arm-bars and arm-locks,
though, and to heel-toe. My Spiders back then fit perfect,
like standing on boards....

Pratt was wide in the shoulders but thin in his chest, a perfect
build for off-widths. Combine that with his fine technique, and
you had the master. Sacherer too was thin, as was Kamps, and could
fit into the crux of Right Side of Hour Glass, for example.

Royal told me when he discovered Tre-torn tennis shoes they smeared
better than his climbing shoes. He had bad bunions at the time,
and climbing shoes hurt his feet. To discover how well he could
climb in Tre-torns was a kind of joyful revelation. I tried to
get some and could not find them, but one day David Breashears
arrived and brought me a pair. I did all sorts of routes in
Eldorado in them and found some routes substantially easier,
though a few (with difficult edging) harder. Those shoes literally
fell to pieces off my feet, I used them so much. They were, in
a way, a kind of precursor to the modern sticky rubber. When Royal
soloed Ahab, he was possibly in the best shape of his life.

Everyone who does not live in the Valley must get in shape for
off-width, even if you have led hard off-widths in the past.
Each season I would have to spend at least a week remembering
the technique and mindset of the off-width. I have to admit,
though, the Yosemite off-width is a unique experience. Someone
mentioned the Left Side of the Slack. Right at the crux, as
I led it with Higgins, I found a way to lean back in a lieback
move, and I was past the crux suddenly. Sometimes a trick
will work. One of the crux aspects of Twilight Zone, back in
the day, was the lack of protection. With big Friends and
such, that is no longer a problem. I was with Henry when he
led Twilight Zone in fine style. He could do any type of
climbing.... Just a lot of rambling thoughts....
martygarrison

Trad climber
Washington DC
Nov 23, 2014 - 05:23am PT
I led Jardine up the thing in 76. I remember him coming up and saying how far I had run it out. With a 4 hex as my biggest piece I don't think I had much choice.

Royal was in his "Tennis Phase" when he soloed Ahab in Tretorns. I was on the AAU swim team at Modesto Swim and Racquet club and would see him all the time in his whites.
Roger Breedlove

climber
Cleveland Heights, Ohio
Nov 23, 2014 - 07:57am PT
Kevin, I also climbed the lower part horizontal but with my legs outside and my right arm in a chicken wing above my head and my left arm below. In addition to the secure chicken wing, with my legs sideways, I could catch my knees on the outer edge of the chimney with my feet against the wall as if it were a 2 foot wide chimney. Very secure and easy. The hard part was getting upright to pass the squeeze. The first time, I remember having to back down a foot or so to get my head out.
David Wilson

climber
CA
Nov 23, 2014 - 08:25am PT
Finally led that a few years ago. I'm a big guy so I didn't fit in all. I had a really good left chicken wing but everything else felt insecure and overall it felt much harder than the left side of the slack or Chingando or left side of Reeds.....I was very happy not to slip out of that maw
chappy

Social climber
ventura
Nov 23, 2014 - 10:30am PT
Your technique sounds perfect Kev. That's how I have always done it. Pretty easy that way if you have your technique dialed and aren't too thick in the chest. 10a is a good grade for it. I have done it many times over the years. More times than not whenever I did the center route we would do it on TR. The first time I did it was on lead in 1973 belayed by Jardine. The last time was for Heinz Zak for photos. He was very eager to get his pictures. I think he thought I was trying to avoid him. It wasn't that. Rather, I had hardly climbed for years--certainly no wide routes. I wasn't exactly brimming with confidence. Europeans seem to have a somewhat morbid fascination with this route. It has a rep with them because most haven't mastered the craft like a local who grew up climbing chimneys and off widths. He finally cornered me and I had no choice. I broke out the old 2 inch swami. Harnesses in these things just get in the way. You can't slide the knot around to your outside hip. I briefly thought of doing it on hexes for the total retro look but my hexes were all in pretty poor shape from years of neglect. I was a little nervous hiking up to meet him. Why couldn't this have happened back in the day when I was fit? I kept reassuring myself that, despite the scanty pro, it had always seemed pretty easy. When I got to the base he had a rope hanging down the center route for pictures. Perfect! I told him I wanted to rehearse the thing prior to leading it. Readily agreeing, I think he sensed my apprehension. I tied on and with his wife belaying me I scooted right up the thing stopping at the hand jam pod 50 or so feet up. No problemo. A little extra huffing and puffing but essentially just how I remembered it. Commenting on how easy I made it look, I think he was as relieved as I. Lowering off I arranged my rack and tied into the sharp end. I scrambled up the first easy 20 feet or so to the base of the chimney where I slung a block. Looking up at the gaping maw a bit of my nervousness returned. I was fully aware that if I fell before getting my first piece of real gear in--a bomber wire in a flake deep in the back of the chimney--I would deck. Pushing this aside I started up. I felt solid enough though this definitely wasn't the Mark of old. The relief I gained as each move up brought me closer to that nut placement was balanced by the fear of knowing I was that much higher above the ground. I just tried to relax and let the old instincts take over. Before I knew it I was at the placement. Locking myself in with my legs in hips I removed the wire from my rack reached back deep in the crack slotted it and clipped the rope. Ah! The hard part was over. With the threat of decking gone I polished of the last of the chimney, subdued the transitional wide crack with some foot stacks and reveled in the fist jams that came shortly thereafter. It was nice to know I still had a bit of it in me. Technique is a beautiful thing.
Largo

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
Nov 23, 2014 - 03:51pm PT
I think the reason most of us have memories about routes like Ahab is that back in the day you were supposed to do all those off-width cracks and these entrance level ones came along early when our technique was raw. Once I had done a stack of these things, and got it all dialed on the Geenerator Crack, Ahab and Left Reeds and so forth were suddenly pretty casual - but they always required effort. Harder stuff like Stepping Out and Cream and Hourglass Left (more of an undercling, really) were also doable if your technique was solid. I still remember doing Crack of Despair with Warner and Luke before I had any technique and thought it was the hardest climb on the planet. Man, I got my ass kicked on some of those off widths early on. Too stubborn to quit, I came away with horrific road burns about the knee and elbow. I got pretty handy with off width technique after a decade in the Valley and I still regret never getting up on Basket Case. That sounds like the gem of them all.

JL
Patrick Oliver

Boulder climber
Fruita, Colorado
Nov 23, 2014 - 03:55pm PT
Kevin,
Your method is similar to mine. My right leg stayed below me, with
right foot in heel and toe, but then my left leg high in the crack
and body at an angle, near horizontal, with an arm-lock above my left
shoulder. My right hand pushed against the crack edge at about my
right hip. I felt very solid, and then the rest: perfect handjams.
I could easily see how one could solo this. But if you were big or
in some way did not fit, it could be a nightmare. For me, the Left
Side of the Slack was much harder (especially if you did not find
the lieback move I did).

I think possibly the real danger of Ahab was the point at which the
chimney ends, and one has to change techniques and make the
transition into jams. That kind of a section can be confusing,
if you're not careful, I mean, what with feet still in heel and toe
but hands beginning to jam above...

I actually thought Peter Pan was rather hard. Peter H. and I did it the
same day we did Ahab. Peter raced up it, like nothing,
as he always did, but for me Peter Pan has some strange moves....
It might just be that it is rather continuous.
Patrick Oliver

Boulder climber
Fruita, Colorado
Nov 23, 2014 - 06:12pm PT
Largo's comments are really good, about the steep learning curve,
and how we had to get in shape and get "dialed in." On Crack of
Doom I expected off-width, but there is none on that climb. There
is every other type of crack: hand jams, squeeze chimney, back foot,
Narrows-like tight squeeze.... The most exciting part of that climb
is the overhanging squeeze chimney of the second pitch, which I found
easy, because I could get in it and get an arm lock with my left arm.
Much like Ahab, steeper but easier.
The crux turned out to be a short wall with a thin crack up through it,
right at the top of the climb, a little pitch that looks trivial... until
you try it.
Messages 1 - 113 of total 113 in this topic
Return to Forum List
 
Our Guidebooks
Check 'em out!
SuperTopo Guidebooks


Try a free sample topo!

 
SuperTopo on the Web

Recent Route Beta