Off-width: The Last Bastion of True Climbing

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Jaybro

Social climber
Wolf City, Wyoming
Jul 23, 2012 - 01:30pm PT
I'm glad to have come of age in offwidth in the run-it-out days.

I dont think any upcoming wydecrackers will have that
opportunity, unless they learn their craft in minimalist rack situations in places like Patagonia or farther afield.


As far as the last frontier in Bold climbing, cragging anyway, I think it's in soloing and gritstone, runout slabs seems to overlap that...
Elcapinyoazz

Social climber
Joshua Tree
Jul 23, 2012 - 01:42pm PT
More like the Last Chance for people who can't climb hard in any other realm

Funny, I though Rifle was the place for that. Only place I've been where you can climb "5.13" without ever pulling a move harder than 11b. (although, admittedly, I've never clipped bolts in the Red)
JEleazarian

Trad climber
Fresno CA
Jul 23, 2012 - 02:06pm PT
I'm glad to have come of age in offwidth in the run-it-out days.

Me, too, although the run-it-out days were in effect on slab and face climbing too, particularly considering some of Kevin's routes on, say, Lower Cathedral Rock from the mid-70's, or early Apron routes like Coonyard Pinnacle. And even without grid-bolting, climbing, say, Coonyard in today's footwear feels quite different from doing so in klettershoes, or even RR's and PA's.

I think, though, that offwidth probably will remain unattractive to most because, even with modern protection, it's one horrendous amount of work for the uninitiated; the ergs go quickly, and the grace comes slowly.

John
JLP

Social climber
The internet
Jul 23, 2012 - 02:40pm PT
Only place I've been where you can climb "5.13" without ever pulling a move harder than 11b.
Which route?
Elcapinyoazz

Social climber
Joshua Tree
Jul 23, 2012 - 02:50pm PT
Pump-O-Rama.
Prod

Trad climber
Jul 23, 2012 - 03:08pm PT
Anyone pulling down, finishing, on anything rated 5.13 should be proud in my book. You two need to get a room.

Specializing is cool if that is your thing, but the best climbers, ones that I respect the most, are the ones who can get on a route at their grade limit and go. thin steep face, OW, run out slabs etc.

Prod.
JLP

Social climber
The internet
Jul 23, 2012 - 03:34pm PT
Pump-O-Rama.
How many goes to send, compared to other 13's you've done? Can't say I've heard anyone wanting to downgrade this route, certainly not to an 11b. Pump-O-Rama does sit at the bottom of the 13a grade. It used to be a 12d/13a slash grade.

Whatever you want to rate it for whatever reason - it does have, basically, international consensus as a 13 - period. The only other area in the US with this kind of upper end grade consensus is going to be Smith.

I think the only OW with similar "consensus", if you can even apply such a vernacular to the OW world, is the Generator, at 10c, maybe Ahab at 10b? What else? Where is the international 13 yardstick for OW? There isn't one, there never will be and I think that's the way the people who do these things like it. Is this what makes it the "Last Bastion" - nobody knows WTF you are really doing, so you can make things up and call it hard?
chill

climber
between the flat part and the blue wobbly thing
Jul 23, 2012 - 03:41pm PT
For wide-crack aspirants, here is an OW technique I've seen the masters use: lift beer gut and wedge in crack, raise feet, repeat.
Elcapinyoazz

Social climber
Joshua Tree
Jul 23, 2012 - 03:50pm PT
I think we're talking past each other on this one.

When you said "last chance", I envision older people or folks without a lot of power, and the enduro style on a lot of Rifle routes caters to that...if you can't climb hard moves, just go where there are a lot of easier ones in a row. Same with the Red I'd imagine. Power seems to fade with age while endurance seems to continue to improve (if Ironman comp winners vs bouldering phenoms are any indication)

Not arguing that Pump-O is soft or whatever, just that it doesn't have individually hard moves, it's a jug haul that I think takes well to having it wired and sprinting it.

The consensus thing is easy to understand, there aren't as many routes for one...limestone clipups are everywhere, not so much on cracks of a certain size and/or geometry...and the body-size-dependency is critical, OW for some will be fists at 6 letter grades easier for others.


JLP

Social climber
The internet
Jul 23, 2012 - 04:35pm PT
OW for some will be fists at 6 letter grades easier for others.
These issues exist with all types of climbing. The climbs still get rated. At the top of one's grade, it's common to seek climbs that "fit", others at the same grade may well feel impossible.

More on this "Last Bastion" silliness -

Would the OP's premise imply it's easier to learn to face climb well? Seems to me the OW bag of tricks is a much smaller one than a sport climber's, comparing 1:1 for each grade. What's that Steve Hong quote on the subject?
SteveW

Trad climber
The state of confusion
Jul 23, 2012 - 05:01pm PT

Yup.
MisterE

Social climber
Topic Author's Reply - Jul 23, 2012 - 05:06pm PT
I say this because off-widthing is pretty much a fringe activity, not understood by society in general in a time when climbing is showing up all over the place in advertising, etc. It is inglorious, painful and a crapload of hard work.
JEleazarian

Trad climber
Fresno CA
Jul 23, 2012 - 05:08pm PT
I think Elcap is right about individual move difficulty, at least most of the time. Most offwidths challenge us because you have to make a straightforward move a ridiculous number of times in a row. Rather like liebacks in that regard.

John
Prod

Trad climber
Jul 23, 2012 - 05:37pm PT
All OW enthusists need to watch Tosh.0 tomorrow night.

Where this guy gets a shot at redemption.

http://tosh.comedycentral.com/blog/2012/07/20/tuesdays-web-redemption-rock-climber-poops-pants/?xrs=synd_facebook

Preview of redemption.

http://tosh.comedycentral.com/blog/2012/07/23/preview-rock-climber-poops-pants/?xrs=synd_facebook

Prod.
The Call Of K2 Lou

climber
Squamish
Jul 23, 2012 - 07:10pm PT
^^^^^^
Damn! Beat me to it.
Chopping the Compressor Route, and a Tosh web redemption for getting the sharts. There ought to be some sort of special ranking on 8a.spew for that.
Peter Haan

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Jul 23, 2012 - 07:48pm PT
John, that is very funny (“a straightforward move a ridiculous number of times in a row”) and visual too, but you are being simplistic, let me assure you. Not everything in the Valley is rated hard because it is enduro. And this holds true for offwidth as well.

Hard OWs are not just "longer Pharoah's Beards". They get just as subtle, tenuous, and hideous as any face climb of the approximate grade. Perhaps more so in that the OWs are so unintuitive, as Werner has said.
tarek

climber
berkeley
Jul 23, 2012 - 09:51pm PT
The Last Bastion of True Climbing

would still be chalkless, barefoot ascents.
much as I admire all involved in ow climbing, doing a hard one (>10a) barefoot would seem pretty unlikely.
OW may be the most shoe-dependent type of climbing in the upper grades.
I got on an ow in some old worn lasers and couldn't take the pain/bleeding. Put on some old ballets--seemed like a # grade easier.
mojede

Trad climber
Butte, America
Jul 23, 2012 - 11:11pm PT
The future of hard off-width climbing...

http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.php?topic_id=1869253&msg=1869253#msg1869253







Edit: "Gulching" will be the art practiced by children of the wyde :-)
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Jul 23, 2012 - 11:45pm PT
Odd comments from some... not sure why JLP reacted with the post:
More like the Last Chance for people who can't climb hard in any other realm. The climber avoids all of the pressure, competition and comparison present elsewhere in rock climbng - and in most other competitive sports. The whole thing is a lot easier for the ego, especially if you call it a 13 and get it in just a few gos.

perhaps because of the recent spate of 5.13 OWs being put up... of course, after how long? OW hasn't seen a lot of attention for quite a while.

As far as MisterE's provocative OP title "...last bastion of true climbing..." well, really what is true climbing.

For me, it's seeing a line and going for it... to do that in a place like Yosemite requires a broad range of skills, OW included... in past years, being like a lot of people and adverse to expending a lot of effort and time, I just avoided OWs... but at some point you have to learn something about the technique.

In the OP find the assertion: "There ain't no short-cuts here" and that is also true to my experience. Lots and lots of practice to learn the technique, which one finds generally applicable to other forms of climbing, just as one brings those other forms to OW... no surprise there, or there shouldn't be. But even though "natural talent is rarer than a unicorn" there are some "unicorns" out there, always have been just a few, and they did amazing things in their time, and the contemporary ones are doing it now... so I'm also not surprised that those natural talents are pushing the grades, and even doing it at a rather brisk pace.

Not being a 5.13 climber (at least not an outdoor 5.13 climber) I didn't know there was a "number of attempts" minimum for a route to qualify for the grade... seems strange to me that such a notion would exist.

How would you support a statement like: "More like the Last Chance for people who can't climb hard in any other realm. The climber avoids all of the pressure, competition and comparison present elsewhere in rock climbng - and in most other competitive sports."? How hard is hard? Let's put it at 5.15? 5.16? how many people climb at that level, and if they can't then you're saying they're slouches for putting up 5.13 and 5.14 OW routes? Like that is some pathetic thing?

As far as I've heard, the current "stars" of the OW realm have had loads of negativity dumped on them for their recent accomplishments, and it was definitely not "a lot easier for the ego" by a long shot. A climb like Century Crack is an amazing line, who wouldn't see it as compelling, a person eating Separate Reality only longer by about an order of magnitude. It's been there, no one had figured out how to do it until this last year... it is an amazing accomplishment.

New development in Vedauwoo is equally amazing, that area had been the arena of many OW masters, and the center of the universe of OW climbing, and new lines are being pushed at higher grades... a climb from the last generation, like Lucille still hasn't many repeats, less than 10? yet it's grade is debated as not possibly that hard... by people who haven't ever touched it.

Strange...

One night drinking beers at the Fish compound Russ opined that his favorite OW was The Living Conjunction 5.11d at JT... pretty tiny grade there, but as he observed "it's smeared with the DNA of the best climbers of the day who couldn't touch it" what's that all about?




Isn't it all climbing?

tarek

climber
berkeley
Jul 24, 2012 - 12:03am PT
at least one of those ow Brits has climbed solid 5.14 sport.
always heard Schneider was one of the best ow climbers ever...he also climbed 5.14 at Smith, 5.13 knobs in the meadows, big walls, one of first uiaa cert. route setters, etc.
not sure what got stuck in jlp's ow either...
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