The best offwidth climber ever


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Peter Haan

Trad climber
Santa Cruz, CA
Jul 29, 2013 - 10:40pm PT
Thanks a great deal in all the contributions you make Ed H. Now many years here. Please never doubt that there are thousands onboard that feel this too!!!
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Jul 29, 2013 - 11:00pm PT
lars, thanks, I forgot! updated....

Gym climber
A dingy corner in your refrigerator
Jul 29, 2013 - 11:10pm PT
Your climbing partner who sets off into the great unknown? Ed I saw Roger just smooth generator crack so well I went home and bought a tutu. This is a great topic because in the trad climbing realm offwidth and slab hold a special place in the hierarchy of mind fuk. I have a couple friends from CO who throw themselves with reckless abandon at the hardest offwidths available. Got to hang with them in Vedauwoo and it was inspirational. I tip my hat to the best of the OW and hope to practice more.

Trad climber
Santa Cruz/New Zealand/South Pacific
Jul 29, 2013 - 11:16pm PT
I almost puked? Dam, that is a good name for a route in its own right.

Trad climber
Butte, America
Jul 29, 2013 - 11:21pm PT
It's difficult to compare a climber of yore who ventured up the unknown 5.10 wide with little to sketchy gear--versus a modern day wyde-warrior with bros and bolts...

...all relative to the wave that you're surfing at the time :-)

Social climber
Jul 29, 2013 - 11:26pm PT
Who's Eeyonkee by the way?

Hee hee.

Grug you missed JULIE BRUGGER from yer list.

YOU SUCK !!!!!!!!!!!!!

Trad climber
Jul 29, 2013 - 11:27pm PT
It seems some people have OW's for bfast, eeyonkee would be one

Social climber
humboldt nation
Jul 29, 2013 - 11:58pm PT
scott perry, brothers got soul overflowing and has passion for the gerth

Boulder climber
Jul 30, 2013 - 12:10am PT

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Jul 30, 2013 - 12:12am PT
In terms of where he was relative to his time......Don Whillans.

Trad climber
Jul 30, 2013 - 12:21am PT
The Brit's kicked ass (as much as their performance galled me) and wtf can you say about the following?

Did Whittaker and Randall do Forever War?

But yeah, FA free solo of Pipeline is pretty effin awesome. (edit: Tami's correct of course FFA).

What's goatboy-stinks' problem? (hey, I can post under an alias, too!)
Patrick Oliver

Boulder climber
Fruita, Colorado
Jul 30, 2013 - 12:23am PT
I don't like these kinds of threads, but I'll throw in a few comments from the peanut gallery.

Yosemite was the place, in terms of mastery of cracks of most every kind.
Off-widths are characteristic of Yosemite, and most outsiders of any
ability would have to get in shape and work at it to get up to speed
with those off-widths. I watched Henry Barber sight-lead Twilight
Zone. I knew Barry Bates could climb anything he wanted to climb, in
terms of an off-width. Other people more outside Yosemite would have
to include Randy Levitt.

Pratt and Bridwell, in that order, were the real stars of the 1960s,
although Mark Klemens was another great talent in their class, in terms
of off-width climbing. And don't forget Sacherer, who was
really brilliant. Pratt made every climb a work of art. Tom
Higgins, known for his bold and brilliant face climbing showed he
could do the off-widths as well, leading Twilight Zone, for example,
and many hard off-widths. I learned off-widths mostly from my visits
to the Valley and often climbed with Pratt. He frequently made me lead
the hard pitch. I only did a couple of off-width firsts, as I recall,
so I definitely don't register on the list, but I climbed a lot of
those off-widths. Peter Haan's free solo of Crack of Despair impressed
us all. There were many really good crack climbers in the golden
age, such as Westbay and Chapman..., and later of course Ron
Kauk and John Bachar could do any off-width presented them.
In Colorado we had off-widths, some difficult ones
too, but nothing so elegant and beautiful, so long and pure, as the
Yosemite cracks. The whole picture, of course, changed when the new
sticky rubber came along and when people were able to slide a big friend
up an off-width or use some other modern gear. Pratt was in some
beat-up old Cortinas, no chalk, no pro.... There will never be another
Chuck Pratt, no matter how high the standards go...

Jul 30, 2013 - 12:52am PT
Great thread.

Just had to chime in to say, I'd love to hear more about the FA of the Pipeline, Greg. Must be some cool memories of that day....!!

Social climber
Jul 30, 2013 - 12:57am PT
It's "FFA" , Friend. The FA was aided on hunks of an antennae or so I've heard. Will hafta get "Tricouni" to chime in here.

Jul 30, 2013 - 01:02am PT
Oh wow, it gets better and better. I'd like to hear that story too!

Trad climber
Jul 30, 2013 - 01:08am PT

Ament mentioned Leavitt and really, without Randy Leavitt and Tony Yaniro, PTK's Trench Warfare wouldn't have happened. And that was the beginning of a brave new world. At least least the way I see it from where I sit on the couch.

Trad climber
Jul 30, 2013 - 01:39am PT
Looking through the history books (yeah, I have to look in books, too young to have been there) and having sampled some of his routes, I am leaning towards Donini's candidate. Don Whillans did a lot of really nice OW testpieces in the .11 range in the late 50s.

I would be very interested in US OW masters' take on Whillans' gritstone OW offerings in terms of rating, as the original UK trad grades do not translate well, especially with new gear.

Otherwise, Eeyonkee's list seems spot on, + Wide Boyz.

On a side note, I think I'll use Pennsylenvy's line in the future:

"In the trad climbing realm offwidth and slab hold a special place in the hierarchy of mind fuk."

mike m

Trad climber
black hills
Jul 30, 2013 - 01:39am PT
Fritz Weissner seemed pretty solid when he did the first free route on Devils Tower with only one piton for pro. It must have been the sticky rubber they made in '37. Also pioneered several of the highest spires in the needles by some of their longest routes. I do those routes on occasion and they seem somewhat sane with large grear, but without that, a guidebook, a road, sticky rubber, good ropes, ect I would say that dude was one bad ass offwidth climber. Maybe someone on the east coast could speak to his routes there, or in Alaska, BC, Pakistan,ect.
gonzo chemist

Fort Collins, CO
Jul 30, 2013 - 01:45am PT
Just thinking about being up on Pipeline without a rope makes me want to poop myself!

Well, if we're going to vote for it...I'd put a vote in for Pamela Shanti Pack. She seems to have a gnarly resume of just plain heinous OW. And it seems like she's got physical proportions that might work AGAINST her in the realm of the wide (i.e. she's small).

But guys like Chuck Pratt (and climbers from that whole era!) blow me away: venturing into the OW with crappy (or NO gear). And Bob Scarpelli's single-minded pursuit of gritty, blue-collar climbing in Vedauwoo. Those wacky Brits and their grueling cellar training regimen that morphed into a ticklist that any climber wishes they had. Who knows....I'm sure not a historian...

Trad climber
Butte, America
Jul 30, 2013 - 01:51am PT
If being small works "against" you in an off-width--then one has never experienced crack proportion for the diminutive...

...5.5' and a buck twenty-five works pretty well in the wyde, fwiw ;-)
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