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Jello

Social climber
No Ut
Topic Author's Original Post - Feb 18, 2007 - 06:46pm PT
Found these interesting offwidth shots today and thought I'd start a new thread.

Just after the crux of the Regge Pole near SLC during the first ascent in 1970. Note the Robbins boots. Jim Langdon photo.

A picture of me looking up through a difficult bulge on the first ascent of Sandblaster, 1987. Wilford must have believed the stuff I'd written in the old Tri-Cam brochure, where I said it was OK to stack the larger sizes!

Starting the crux of Acquired Taste (first ascent), near Moab in 1994, on honeymoon with Teri Ebel, who took the photo.

Anyone else have shots of interesting wide pro, etc?

Edit: Should have said FFA of the Regge Pole.
WBraun

climber
Feb 18, 2007 - 07:04pm PT
The body is becoming very tired "climbing" in your "offwidth stuff" in the minds eye. It is very strenuous. The key protection piece has been forgotten.

A run out has now reveled itself as a possible choice. The nice partner below is shouting encouraging words to the tune of go for it. The mind is now reeling with possibilities that scare it.

The ankles and knees are beginning to bleed. Little does the partner know what state the leader has reached. The partner thinks everything is going smooth from below. The rope will not break says the voice in the head.

Such a thing is possible.
Jello

Social climber
No Ut
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 18, 2007 - 07:10pm PT
Your poetry gets right at the heart of it, Werner!
Mighty Hiker

Social climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Feb 18, 2007 - 07:12pm PT
A very nice, albeit perhaps a bit unlikely, juxtaposition of blank verse poetry and offwidths.
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
Feb 18, 2007 - 08:19pm PT
I like the Regge Pole shot; the OW you'd just done looks perfect.

But those stacked cams of Wilford's, seems like rope movement alone would be 'nuff to tinkle that shyte right down the cord -yow...
Mungeclimber

Trad climber
one pass away from the big ditch
Feb 18, 2007 - 09:08pm PT
keeping things wide here...


Brutus on Wagon Train FA

note 'Wagon Wheel' cam ready to be deployed. Note also which direction it hangs down. hrm sumpin ain't right there.
Jello

Social climber
No Ut
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 18, 2007 - 09:56pm PT
Looks like some bomb-bay action there, Munge...
Roger Breedlove

climber
Cleveland Heights, Ohio
Feb 18, 2007 - 10:17pm PT
Hey Jeff,

I like the way your picture shows the excellent flexibility of the Robbins Blue Bazookas. You can tell that you can just bend those toes right over for good smearing action.

Buzz
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Feb 19, 2007 - 12:40am PT
Ahhhhh, but the comfy heel and toe work always made the RR king! I guess that I just love the old blue boots since they were my first. Blue shoes, blue Mammut rope and a baby blue Joe Brown brain bucket was how it all got started for me back in 1970!
Jello

Social climber
No Ut
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 19, 2007 - 10:05am PT
Yes, Roger (edit: I meant Steve, as Roger didn't seem to appreciate the RR's all that much. See below), I liked those old Robbins boots, too. Great support on aid climbs, and actually free-climbed pretty well, too. You just had to edge everything - even on the Apron in the Valley, you could do most of the routes by edging. Heel-toe in wide cracks was much more comfortable wearing them, than with slippers (for example), as well. You could also do long walk-in in the Sierras, Rockies or Wind Rivers, without carrying extra shoes. In the old days everything was simpler, wasn't it?
Roger Breedlove

climber
Cleveland Heights, Ohio
Feb 19, 2007 - 10:42am PT
Hey Steve and Jeff,

I have no such fond memories of those shoes. I wore Spyders--I think that is what they were called--before Royal's shoes came out. I bought a pair of RRs and found that edging was a little easier since they were so stiff. Also the rubber rand was better in wider cracks.

But I could never get used to the size of those beasts or their stiffness. It felt like all crack climbs gained a notch or two in difficulty. I also didn't like trying to get my feet into aid slings, at least not the skinny loops that I used--they would not fit without turning my foot sideways.

When PAs were available, I switched to those. I think I may have also tried a pair of RDs. They both skated on just about anything since they had smooth soles and were hard, but they were more flexible than RRs and had a rubber rand. I switched to EBs as soon as they came out. Even when I climbed with Royal or worked at RockCraft, he wore EBs. However there are some pictures of him wearing RRs. He told me once that they did not turn out the way he thought he had specified them.

I carried tennis shoes or light boots for approaches.

Maybe I would have appreciated RRs more if I had not been so wedded to the Valley and it rhythms: arise and stagger to the cafeteria. Consume coffee and awake. Plan the day. If it included climbing, get the gear, drive to closest pull-out. Hike as little as possible. Climb, descend, shower, spruce up, return to the Lodge, eat, drink, carouse, stagger to camp, sleep. Repeat.

As you say, A simple life.


Wes Allen

Boulder climber
KY
Feb 19, 2007 - 10:59am PT
People are always saying how hard OW climbing is, yet you can get no hands stances all the time...


The red has a few pretty cool OW routes as well,

Not my photo (Kris Hampton, aka odub)

not sure who took this one.

Jello

Social climber
No Ut
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 19, 2007 - 11:13am PT
Love those burly shots of the Red, Wes. Really cool-looking awfull-widths. But in that first shot, the climber obviously has a solid knee jam, so it's not really offwidth, is it? Nice looking jamcrack, though...
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Feb 19, 2007 - 11:28am PT
I still do walls in my second pair of RR's and love them to death. However, once Ellis Bringham's Ego Boosters showed up there was no turning back for free climbing. One advantage of learning in stiffer shoes way back when is that I became acutely aware of weight distribution and foot positioning early on. I was inspired by Mr. Kamps' legacy to keep refining my technique. Solid edging skills really pay on the steep and airy routes like those on MCR when the pro may be distant. Climbing without chalk sharpened my footwork even more.

It is hard to imagine all of those classic Apron routes going up in RR's! But it is also hard to imagine a superior slab skiing boot when faced with the inevitable. One boot for the many faces of alpinism! RR should at least be proud of that. LOL

My personal favorite footwear all time was produced by the House of Hawkins in GB and was called the Master. Super thin toe profile and outstanding friction feel made these boots tops in my book even by modern standards.

Things were delightfully simple back in the day. Jello, you are absolutely right on there. All you have to do is compare trade shows then and now to witness the madness. To quote John Doe, "we got freedom of choice in the USA, drives everybody crazy! See how we are?"

Edit; interesting definition of OW regarding the knee entry! I have a 4" fist and a 5" knee width. Is my whole OW universe confined to that 1" spread? LOL
steelmnkey

climber
Vision man...ya gotta have vision...
Feb 19, 2007 - 11:46am PT
Nature giving it a go on Between A Rock and a Hard Place

Billy Russell doing something definitely not in the guidebook... Oz Area, Joshua Tree

Elcapinyoazz with the classic groin and heel bridge...talk about yer stacked nuts...

Fish getting ready to slap that hand stack in there on this first ascent of Boot and Rally

This one says it all...where did I leave those golf clubs?
Roger Breedlove

climber
Cleveland Heights, Ohio
Feb 19, 2007 - 11:58am PT
As I reflect more on RRs, I don't think I know of a single climber in the late 60s or early 70s who was putting up first ascents who wore RRs. Maybe aid climbers--seems like Jim and Kim had them. All I remember are Cortina's and the lesser Sypders, if I have the names right.

Regarding the width of off width, Steve, I think your comment--bigger than fists, smaller than a knee--is too narrow a definition of off-width. For sure, this is the hardest size to not fall out of and to make progress. But, personally I think that off-width includes getting your knee in. Once you can get inside--stacked feet and arm barring--its no longer off width. Still pretty dependent on the individual climber.
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Feb 19, 2007 - 12:11pm PT
Roger, I was mostly ribbing Jello on the OW definition not proposing one. Do you go back far enough to know what Ken Boche was wearing during his Apron days? His name appears most often in the 60's on Apron FA's.
Jello

Social climber
No Ut
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 19, 2007 - 01:00pm PT
Monkey- thanks for posting up those images of pure off-width elegance.

Steve and Roger- I was joking about the knee jam disqualifying the route from offwidth categorization, although there's a point to be made that "offwidth" could really be defined as any crack that doesn't allow some body part to be jammed securely. By this definition, off-fingers and off-hands would qualify, and of course, they don't, for most of us. But Munge's photos bring up the issue of what to call some of those "off-body" leaning, flared, bomb-bay chimney thingies?

Roger- I put up hundreds of routes of all kinds in RR's. Didn't know you couldn't climb in them, I guess! Actually, over the years I climbed in all those other shoes, too: Spiders, Kronhofers, PA's, RD's, and then Fire's, which ruined everything...
Roger Breedlove

climber
Cleveland Heights, Ohio
Feb 19, 2007 - 01:11pm PT
I figured that you were asking a loaded question Steve on your 1" proposal--I figured that to be safe you should add a margin and call it 1/2". I also roughly measured the difference between my own fist and knee--it's about 1/2".

I am pretty sure that Ken wore Cortinas--the same sort that Kamps wore. (Is that the right name for those shoes--thin lug soles and gray suede uppers?) This was mostly before my time in the Valley, but I think that is what Ken was wearing when I met him a little later. Anyway, I don't know what else anyone would have been wearing.

I even have a vague recollection of Pratt wearing those shoes into the 70s--at least in the few times that he and I both worked the same sessions of RockCraft. But Chuck was just stubborn and super conservative.

Personally, I took every opportunity to give myself any advantage possible--new shoes, tincture of benzoin, chalk, tape, knee pads, young rope guns (modern phrase) for sharp end duties, multiple rest days devoted to the whims of young girls, wine soaked courage enhancement sessions…

Edit: Kronhofers--that's what they were. Thanks Jeff. Cortina was the company that made the Spyders. Kronhofers are the shoes that I remember everyone wearing.

So, Jeff, would it crush your spirts so much if you learned at this late date that all those desperate climbs you did in RRs were all 5.3 in regular climbing shoes? Just asking?
Jello

Social climber
No Ut
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 19, 2007 - 01:24pm PT
HaHaHa...They're not, Roger! But if they were - yes, my spirits would be devastated.
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