Here are 5 tips from one of the best in the off-width game to keep you coming back for the wide stuff
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Your first pitch of offwidth in nearly always a memorable experience. Here are 5 tips from one of the best in the game to keep you coming back for more of the wide stuff!
1. When you are learning to climb offwidths there is generally more groveling than technique involved. If you are climbing in a location with sharp granite crystals, such as Vedauwoo, WY -- that means lots of blood and abrasions. Knee pads, elbow pads (worn high around your triceps), long sleeved shirts and pants will help with the pain and keep you climbing for longer. It’s more fun when you are in a bit less pain!
2. Wear high-top shoes like the TC Pros or your ankles will get badly abraded. Also, the TC Pros are a stiffer shoe and will give you more support when you are learning basic offwidth techniques such as the heel-toe.
3. Most climbers are familiar with taping the back of their hands for crack climbing, but in areas with sharp granite such as Vedauwoo it’s also beneficial to tape the palms of your hands to prevent crystals gouging into them when you are palming down and stacking.
4. Progress on vertical offwidths is often slow, grueling and painful. It is essential to learn to utilize rest positions. When you find a good rest, stop and be patient – focus on your breathing and wait until you feel fully recovered before continuing with the battle. Also, experiment with rest positions that may seem less than ideal as they are crucial on long pitches.
5. Pay close attention to your gear placements so that you do not block your upward progress with a big cam or knock it out with a knee while climbing past it. Often placing gear deeper in the crack will keep it out of your way. Also, learn to place Big Bros – they are lighter than cams, less bulky and help keep the rope running more smoothly. Practice placing them on the ground as they are a bit challenging and mid-pitch 20’ above your last piece is not the place to practice!
Photos: © Jon Glassberg
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Pamela Shanti Pack is a member of the La Sportiva Climbing Team.
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