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Yosemite Offwidth

Yosemite Offwidth
Yosemite Offwidth
March 30, 2010 -  Natasha Barnes    

Another lifetime goal completed! Generator crack (10c) in Yosemite second try!! Generator is on a giant boulder at the Generator Station in Yosemite Valley. It gradually widens from about 8" to a tight chimney at the top with the crux near the bottom. Here is the Supertopo* description:


This burly offwidth is easily toproped and seldom led. The crux comes just a few feet off the ground but the climbing remains physical and sustained to the top. Some advanced offwidth climbers use the "leavittation" technique but most climbers just throw in a knee, make a chicken wing, and struggle. Wear long sleeves and pants and you may want to tape your hands and ankles. Climb this route in cooler temperatures--even if it is near freezing the strenuous moves will keep you warm. Don't be discouraged if it takes you multiple visits to this climb to finally get it. Once you do, you?ll be ready to tackle most 5.10 and easier offwidths and squeeze chimneys in Yosemite.

60 feet of squeezing, sliding, wedging and I emerged from the top feeling completely worked as though I had just climbed 31 pitches on El Cap. Offwidth is a whole different game. It's an entirely different way of climbing using your entire body. It's not climbing, it's wedging, shoving, sliding, grovelling, camming and stuffing any and all parts of your body in a large crack anyway you can to get to the top eliciting a full-body fatigue after you are done. Splitter Yosemite there any better way to suffer?

...maybe, but this is pretty close to the most fun I've ever had suffering.

With my ego boosted I posted a picture on the 'book about my ascent and get called out by MOG and Yosemite hard-man James Lucas.

AND I also get this email from Ethan;

Damn...just as I though it was "in the bag," I get called out for being soft. I thought that I had been well on my way to become a Yosemite OW hard-man (Hard-woman). I was even planning to try the Yosemite Hard-Man OW Training Circuit. Turns out I'm just a punter flailing my way up on TR. Aaaaarrrggh!!!! Now I must go back with a #6 Cam and some huevos and lead da shiiiiiiiiittt outta dat as promised. This story to be continued...

Speaking of bags...I wanted to take the opportunity to use this blog to introduce you all to my new handmade chalkbag. I know there are a lot of fancy chalkbags out there but I am pretty sure this personally-designed home-made bag takes the cake. I had a lot of haters when I debuted this bag in the Fall of 2009 but I'm chalking it up to bag envy, pun intended.

As you can see, it's made from a used paper lunch sac and it's lined with a used plastic bag from the bulk section at my local food c0-op, Rainbow Grocery.


Here is a close up of the lining.

I have been waiting a long time to reveal this sophisticated prototype. It's simple yet functional. Easy to make and sustainable. Form follows function in this design.

The only drawback to my new chalk bag is that I have not yet designed a flawless way to secure the chalkbag to my person while climbing so currently this bag is only for bouldering. Since I have been doing more routes than bouldering lately my chalkbag hasn't been seeing the light of day as it's stuffed at the bottom of my pack these days. I'll be reintroducing a new and improved design this Fall so look out!!

More route news...As you can tell I've been flirting with the idea of getting into trad climbing. I did my third ever trad lead on the crux pitch of Serenity Crack (10d, First Dragon Ascent??) with my friend Dan. Why can't everything be splitter?? I have to get a better lead head for trad so I can crush some OW and some harder routes that I'd like to do like Astroman, The Rostrum and most of all The Steck Salathe. Lofty goals? Maybe...

Hopefully sometime this summer I'll find myself in here;

On this;

We'll see! I have a lot to learn about trad climbing in Yosemite. Thursday I am off to Jailhouse again to tackle one last project and "plant the seed"  on another one before the season is over.

*Note: I realize that Supertopo is not for Hard-men (Hard-women)


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