Wide World of Yosemite Valley Off-Widths

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marty(r)

climber
Berkeley, CA
Topic Author's Original Post - Jun 28, 2004 - 04:10pm PT
Forum at large,
Everyone seems to have a different take on the "Valley Hardman OW Circuit." I'm interested in what others consider the best of the best wide cracks in the Valley. Mussy Walling made me a list once, comparing Quality versus Grimness--three star scale. Example: Space Invaders--Q, G; Jaws--Q; G*. The major exception was Twilight Zone that he gave three stars for quality and four for grimness (he apparently punched himself when a handstack popped and "I was held in by the rivet on my jeans!") So what's your take?
Marty
dirtbagaaron

Trad climber
i get around
Jun 30, 2004 - 09:10am PT
what are the grades on these climbs?
marty(r)

climber
Berkeley, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Jun 30, 2004 - 12:00pm PT
With OW, it's all jingus...Here's the list I've got: grade/quality/grimness. Jaws isn't actually on here, but I think it's 12a, double overhung, and rarely done (one story has Michael Paul knee-locked off in the upper crux, dry heaving, after having left big blood splotches where his shoulder wore through the skin...the whole way up!) Jay"bro"Anderson also did it, and I think Rick Cashner was there when Dale Bard put it up. I'm sure they have great stories as well.

Valley Wide Tour
Grade Name Quality Grimness
10d 1096 *
12a space invaders
11+/12a bad ass momma *** *
10c twilight zone * **
11a cream *** *
10d stepping out *** *
10c chopper * **
10c edge of night * ***
10c generator *** *
10a doggie do * **
9/10a chingando *** *
10b vendetta
11c cool wheel * **
11c river boulder *
10c meat grinder *** *
Fingerlocks

Trad climber
where the climbing's good
Jun 30, 2004 - 01:28pm PT
Ahab would be high quality/low grimness on your scheme.

And what about Mental Block?
Russ Walling

Social climber
Bishop is DEAD, long live JT
Jun 30, 2004 - 04:08pm PT
And what about Mental Block?
grade: 5.10c
quality:
Grimness: *

Super route. Easy for the grade.
Melissa

Big Wall climber
oakland, ca
Jun 30, 2004 - 05:11pm PT
Bridge for sale! Get yer shiney new bridges, here! Golden Gate offered for a limited time at a 10% discount to qualified buyers!
Roger Breedlove

Trad climber
Cleveland Heights, Ohio
Jun 30, 2004 - 07:33pm PT
Come on Melissa:

Fuse with the art. Torque those feet. It it's that small, climb inside--I'm guessing that you have short toes. Off widths are cool, once your are in the groove, bridges are free.

On the other hand, Ms Hill stuck those skinny digits into the Nose and no one has followed.

:-) Roger

Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Jun 30, 2004 - 09:44pm PT
This thread has me wishing for fall climbing in the Valley already!

Just have to get my jollys running it out in the Meadows... though it seems the summer of high sierra peaks this year for some reason.

And there are offwidth in the Meadows, what fun.
Jaybro

Social climber
The West
Jun 30, 2004 - 10:39pm PT
Considering the general high quality of Yosemite Rock, I don't think any Valley OW has a palpable grimness factor.-haven't done the Burner, though.
As far as qualty goes, I pretty much go with Marty's ratings, assuming he's using a 3 star scale.
ad to the list;
Peter Left 10c *** with unexpected thin stuff after the crux
Moby Dick Left.9 ***
second Pitch of Yinyang ( or is ir Manana?) 5.10-
That pitch on Steck/sally (The Narrows?) possibly the best of all, rated variously from 5.7-5.10
The Harding slot on Astroman, 5.11c for the pitch, the squeeze part is easier.
Plumbline 10d *** solid for the grade
Skye 11c, three stars, but approaching grimness on the loose, lower part
The Owl 12c, at least three stars
Elephant's Eliminate 5.? probably lots 'o' stars, but I can't say, as I couldn't manage it the one time I got on it.
For a yardstick Grim OW try Glue-sniffing Squishheads,12b? Near Bluff Utah, if the wind hasn't eroded it yet.
Mental Block is very cool and about two letter grades lighter than the rating.
Jay
Melissa

Big Wall climber
oakland, ca
Jul 1, 2004 - 11:41am PT
Roger, a few weeks back, a bridge was exactly what I was wishing for! I guess I've got time on my hands this morning and a story about a supertopo forums sandbagging to tell...Not really that worried about splitting hairs about grades, but your insights might be interesting.

A month-or-so ago I headed over to Mental Block with my favorite ropegun. I'd read Russ's suggestion that it was light for the grade and in his estimation was easier than Generator, and thought I'd be fine following it. I got SPANKED! I got up the ow with a couple moves that were french and with some hanging, spitting, and cussing, and then got totally twarted on the '5.8' bottomless traversing squeeze roof where my legs couldn't span the gap under the squeeze but I couldn't get myself in the roof sideways to start moving toward the anchor. I actually cried. It was one of those days where I got such a schooling that I was depressed for a couple of days to follow...afraid to get on a commiting route with any pitch marked harder than 5.6.

A couple of weeks later, we were hanging out in the meadow and ran into one of the FAists for that route. Prompted by discussion of grade inflation in this modern day, he started talking about a reverse case where this route that he put up many moons ago that he thought was solid 5.11 was downgraded. He shocked to learn from his partner the route was now the standard for 10c ow. The route...Mental Block, of course.

Is there some kind of tradition of sandbag around Mental Block? Or do you guys really think that it's light compared to, for example, Generator, Peter Left? Two grades lighter means that you'd think it's the same difficulty as Chingando, Doggie Do, or Bongs Away Center? Athough our different sizes made obviously different cruxes for my partner and I, and perhaps I was having an off day or was running up against some subtle technique that I haven't got very honed yet, I found it in a whole 'nother universe than any of these other routes.
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Jul 1, 2004 - 12:31pm PT
Are you acusin' Russ of a Lyin'? of having faulty inteligents?
Or maybe he's wider and fits better.

I don't know. Haven't climbed the route, but I will when I feel the need to repent

Peace

karl
Melissa

Big Wall climber
oakland, ca
Jul 1, 2004 - 12:34pm PT
Honestly, Karl, I didn't know which was the case...Don't forget the whole 'better climber' angle too.
Russ Walling

Social climber
Bishop is DEAD, long live JT
Jul 1, 2004 - 01:11pm PT
Re: Mental Block

True story. That thing is easy for the grade. No matter what you call them nowadays ratings wise, but Mental block is miles easier than:
Twilight Zone
Chopper
Edge of Night
Steppin' Out
1096

Back in the day (tm) all those were (and still are) 5.10+.

Why Mental Block is easy:
Crux is probably the thin start. You can push a cam the entire way. You can link pitches. You can stem the entire thing. It is low angle. Your leg is in it the whole way. It is a corner,so your ass dragging the wall keeps you in, instead of wacked core strength that a straight in OW demands.

Maybe JayBro just taught me too well.

Notes from the yellow guide by me:

pitch one, pro, in order of appearance:
sling, #1 cam, sling, #1.5, #2, #2.5, #3, #4, belay at bolts.

pitch two, pro, in order of appearance:
#4 cam, #4 tube, #7 stopper on rt. wall, #1 cam on rt. wall. belay at bolt.

pitch three pro, in order of appearance:
#7 stopper, 4.5 tube, #1.5 cam, #3 cam, #2 cam, #5 cam to push. Belay at ledge, 3 raps.

Try it, you'll like it......
Melissa

Big Wall climber
oakland, ca
Jul 1, 2004 - 01:20pm PT
Sounds like you may have had a leg in when I was struggling with half-an-arse cheek, an exhausted arm bar, and peddling down below like Jerry Lewis. Perhaps from the depths of the crack my arse could not stem over to the wall behind? Perhaps I just need to practice. Maybe I'll go back after practicing for another 5 or 10 years and find out.

If you'd be willing to lead that pitch stemming, I'll happily carry the gear, give you a belay, and buy you a beer afterwards just for the opportunity to watch. Someone else will have to second for you though. Karl...could it be your time to atone? I'm good with God now for a few more weeks anyway.

The first pitch may have been the real crux, but I do a lot better with that sort of thing...Thrashing on an endurance lay-back just doesn't involve the same kind of suffering as sliding up and down in a wide crack, going nowhere slowly.
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Jul 1, 2004 - 02:03pm PT
I'd second the Fish up Mental Block any day, and promise not to make him look bad.

As long as he promises not to come down and hand me the sharp end!
Russ Walling

Social climber
Bishop is DEAD, long live JT
Jul 1, 2004 - 03:29pm PT
As long as he promises not to come down and hand me the sharp end!

Never happen... I'm a crappy follower. I'm way more of a lead stealer.

Side note: I do not advise leading the MB with a stem. You will probably die. But, I had a follower (not disciple, but rope partner) stem the entire thing. Big guy though... 6'6" or so.... probably makes a difference.
Jaybro

Social climber
The West
Jul 1, 2004 - 04:45pm PT
Hmmmm .. maybe it Is a size thing. I'm pretty average size, the 70kilo man as seen in many medical references. 3/4 a fish? haha
But really, I thought it was slightly harder than Chingando and WAY easier than, say Chopper or Edge of night (the 10c, if I got the name wrong)
References are to the ow pitch(es-If you don't run them together)
I thought the first pitch was the crux, and a very good pitch that should be included in a list of similar pitches, along with the first pitch of Blind faith.
Jay
Brutus of Wyde

climber
Old Climbers' Home, Oakland CA
Jul 1, 2004 - 06:05pm PT
You OWies are makin me drool!

Any consensus on the (9th) pitch of Magic Mushroom?

"5.9"

Brutus, remembering one of the grimmest OWs I've ever led.

(But then I suck at OWs)
Roger Breedlove

Trad climber
Cleveland Heights, Ohio
Jul 1, 2004 - 06:12pm PT
Hey Melissa:

No insights into the making of a day from hell.

I decided fairly soon in my climbing career that grading climbs was difficult and one's own experience was a bad benchmark. I was tall, skinny, and had very long arms (I am still tall and have long arms.) My favorite grading exercise was to bunch my feet and hands up under the crux of a hand crack, and then fully extend and reach 6 feet past it. Other times I could stem onto holds that were on different sides of the Valley--Well that sounds like unlikely. Anyway, the point is that body size at some point makes a big difference. I am thinking that off-widths are one of the types of climbing where this can make a big difference.

However, in one of your posts, you talk about your feet skidding. So, I have to ask, respectively, how many times have you actually practiced the foot work required--as opposed to trying new hard cracks? A lot of climbing is figuring out what will work by looking at the rock and visualizing the moves--doing lots of new climbs builds that skill. In off-widths, what you have to do is usually clear and repetitive--you could close your eyes and work out the moves by feel. Practicing this on the same crack is efficient. (Actually doing it with your eyes closed also helps with the concentration. Sometimes trying to use a hand hold takes you out of position and makes it harder. Top rope only, unless you are Karl.)

Maybe Mental Block is not the easiest place to do it, but if you can find the time and energy to do laps on an off width, you will really accelerate the whole-body-memory-staying-on-versus-moving-up thing.

You'll be giving bridges away with Russ in no time.

Best regards, Roger

(I wonder if I could actaully still do real offwidth. I am thinking I should rig up a way to improve my torsional foot strength and try.)
Melissa

Big Wall climber
oakland, ca
Jul 1, 2004 - 07:03pm PT
"So, I have to ask, respectively, how many times have you actually practiced the foot work required--as opposed to trying new hard cracks?"

I'm not sure that I understand the distinction? I have returned to a few practice cracks, but usually I try something new. A quick estimate tells me that probably a third of my ow pitches have been repeaters...usually 2-3 repeats, but I've been on Generator 9 times.

In my limited experience...it's always about praciticing the footwork whether it's a new pitch or not, or else I just plain don't move. When it gets really grim, though, everything starts thrashing around, most notabley the hands and feet. It's like a drowning reflex. I have the hardest time, when it's too wide get a good leg jam of sorts, but can't crawl inside yet. It's like my body gets confused at that size...and that's where I got the business on Mental Block. Of course, that's something that I need to practice. Still...I got up the other routes that I mentioned without falling, let alone crying. This route was way, way harder for me.

I've made a special effort with wide cracks, but I'll admit that I do have a hard time giving up a precious weekend to 'training' if we could be out exploring instead. I guess I tend to make my plans based on whatever sounds like the most fun rather than what will help me the most in the long run. I'm not going to get sponsored anytime soon, so it's working out OK for me so far. ;-) Thanks, as ever, for the feedback.
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