Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Tape gloves and other offwidth secrets!

Hello everyone!
Here are a couple of tricks and tips to help your offwidth climbing.

At the request of several people I've made a video showing how I tape my hands for offwidth climbing.
I would suggest using either Metolius, Euro, or Kendall Curity tape. The Euro is a bit more tacky and sticky which is great for hand cracks, but can be a little difficult when doing hand stacks (they stick together). I use the Metolius brand of tape, I've found it to be more durable than the other tapes, which is really nice when you're trashing your hands so heavily.

Sick of re-lacing your shoes after every climb? Try out some waxed hockey laces, they are thick and incredibly durable, and even lay flat to avoid painful pressure points. they are incredible easy to find and really cheap!

Gear Bags!!!!!
I found this amazing bag at IKEA that is the same size as my haul bag

Wednesday, July 27, 2016


I wish that I had found climbing much earlier in life, but before climbing my passion was playing hockey. I started at about eight years old and from day one on the ice I knew that playing goalie was going to be my calling. Yeah going from hockey goalie to climbing offwidths somehow makes perfect sense right? anyway, I've had a crazy year and it all relates back to a very important lesson I learned in my very early hockey days. Stay with me. 

As a young impressionable hockey fanatic whats the first thing to do? find an idol, a hockey god, and for me the right person was too obvious. He was the best, he was passionate and known for not being afraid to skate out and drop the gloves with anyone. 
One day my father pulled me aside and gave me a rather rude awakening, this idol of mine had taken his ferocity home with him and beat his wife, and that was it, I could never look at him the same.
It doesn't matter how many games he won, how many immaculate saves he made, he beat his wife. 
Although people do deserve redemption and our forgiveness, in the world of sports simply retaining a winning form can be enough to get away with being a horrible person. 
In the case of my hockey hero, it looks like it was a one time offense, and that he did many charitable and respectable things throughout the rest of his career. 

Well it's happened again, this time within the climbing community, an idol of mine has degraded themselves to personal attacks and threats upon many of my friends and even myself. For a long time simply ignoring these attacks was easy enough, I just lost my respect for this person and tried to move on. But here I am months later, still trying to get over this ugly behavior.
It's the frequency of people I hear talking about this previous idol of mine, how incredible and inspiring they are, it makes me sick.
I want to tell the world, write to this persons many sponsors, write a zillion blogs displaying the malicious messages I received, however I feel the need to refrain, after all this may be a brief lapse in their behavior, and they could still go on to have a successful career and be a decent human being. 
(I may still write to their sponsors)

So here's my conclusion, maybe we should take a small snippet from the old testament, remember that part about not having any idols before me? that was supposedly god speaking to Moses, but maybe we should assume the me is the current reader. (yeah I can bible too).
Don't have any idols before yourself, you are good enough I promise. 

You don't need sponsorships (or a trust fund), a photographer to follow you around to everything you've ever climbed, or a hoard of worshippers to earn my respect. Be a decent human being and enjoy yourself out there. 

Wednesday, May 25, 2016


Gabriel is an incredible roof crack down on Zion, that long ago captured my interest and has been in the back of my mind for far too long. 
This fall I finally went down to give it ago, and was in for quite a surprise. 
Its soooo wide, my feet wouldn't cam enough to hold my body weight, fortunately it also offers a plethora of crimps and jugs for some kind of "inverted campusing". 
The beta is to leg bar the thing by creating counter pressure between your knees and heels, and use features outside the crack to help you move and clip the bolts. 
Yes, bolts, back when Varco found this thing big big gear really wasn't a thing, So at one point the route had five or so bolts placed on it. Today it has three still, two are on the wrong side of the crack, which makes for annoying potentially dangerous climbing, and they're all so close to eachother it really doesn't protect more than 20% of the route. Which got me thinking, we have the gear to protect this thing now, maybe it's time to climb it cleanly. 

So I rounded up every Valley Giant I could and went back down there, not sure if it's plausible (for me) to climb something at that grade with a potentially 15 pound rack. 

I spent a day reworking sections of the route, but placing gear this time, and come back the following day to give it a redpoint attempt. 

My first attempt was garbage, I rushed, missed holds, botched sequences made it ten feet from the chains and blew it.
I was pretty upset with myself, I wasted a lot of energy giving a poor effort, I may not have enough in the tank for a decent second go, and it was the last day of the trip. After a nap and massage and a little meditation, I gave it a second go. 

This time, I took my time, rested when I could, and didn't lose focus. It felt like a rehearsal, next thing I knew I was clipping the chains. 
                 (Taking it all in) 

A huge thank you to Ashley for all of the belays, cleaning, and aiding this route. 

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Wapiti Crack

"WAPITI" a Shawnee word meaning white rump, or elk.

Wapiti crack is a beautiful sandstone offwidth in southern Utah, it features a short five foot roof about ten feet off the ground, followed by one hundered feet of six inch crack. 

I first heard about this crack from Scott Carson, he's the super friendly guy who works at IME in Salt Lake, oh yeah everyone who works there is friendly, he's the guy with the horrifically fat fingers, turns out those fat fingers are the by product of being a finger crack crusher. 

Whenever I would visit IME, Scott would always tell me about a specific place in southern Utah that he had been developing for many years, he would tell me about the beatiful untouched offwidths that were just waiting for ascents. 

             (Leon loves the desert) 
So Ashley and I finally got around to going down there and found Wapiti, we spent a day cleaning the route with toilet scrubbers and a crow bar, installed some anchors an got to work. 

At first glance, I thought this wouldn't be too difficult, and that Ashley and I would make short work of it. Two full days of absolute failure later, we were still trying to make it around the short roof. 
At the end of day two I finally managed to pull the roof, but unfortunately I had not expected to do so, and hadn't brought the gear I needed to finish the pitch. Ashley and I swapped leads and she subsequently pulled the roof too, we decided to call it a day and come back the next day for the redpoint attempt.

The following morning I took the first lead and blew the moves at the roof, swapped with Ashley and she danced her way to the top. Wahoo go Ashley! 
Feeling quite proud of her, I opted to follow the pitch as she belayed me from the top. 

I'm sure I'll get back and give this one a proper send at some point, but for now this ones all Ashleys. 

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

The Forever War (Part 1 of 2)


                 Two years ago Pamela Pack an Jay Anderson dragged me out to an offwidth route in Vedauwoo called The Forever War 5.13+R.  Pamela had established the route just six months prior, and was keen on filling Jay and I with horror stories of; head first falls, emergency room visits, a severely battered kidney, and large rodent nests.
Filled with fear, we hung a top rope and Jay went first, unable to link the inverted climbing and pivot, he jugged to the overhanging armbar section and started making progress. still to this day I've never met someone with nearly the same armbar power as Jay, and to watch him give everything he had, on a post crux section of a climb, filled me with doubt.
I went next, and it was quite pathetic. Fresh off a recent ascent of Trench Warfare 5.13, I was feeling confident in my abilities to climb offwidths. Yet I didn't make a single move on any section of the climb,  It was a completely different level of climbing.
Pamela hopped on the TR to clean the route, and made short work of it, almost making it look effortless. I remember thinking "maybe someday I could climb this, but probably not."

Vedauwoo 2015, Ashley Cracroft and I went to attempt another route established by Pamela called Spatial Relations 5.13. Ashley got on first and just cruised through the roof, only stopping to perfect her beta for a later redpoint attempt. I was blown away, and filled with confidence that we would quickly tick this route, until I attempted it.
Vedauwoo, has this characteristic flare to it's cracks that can lend it impossible to jam with your hands, and on inverted climbs like Spatial Relations, you're left hanging off of your feet, with nothing to pull on.
What do the pro's do in these kind of scenarios? They pull with their feet, something Ashley was incredibly good at, and something I flat out couldn't do.

We had one month before our return to Vedauwoo,Which we were planning on attempting Spatial. I trained with Ashley the entire time, learning her techniques, and training routines.
Below is a time lapse of her inverted walking routine, which is a technique used heavily on Spatial Relations.
Upon our return to Vedauwoo, we didn't head straight out to Spatial Relations, but somehow found ourselves sitting underneath The Forever War instead.
I tried the route half heartedly, and just couldn't feel the movement coming together. Ashley got on the route and just like with Spatial, made easy work of the climbing. Watching her climb the route I had a huge realization, it was the exact same movement I had been learning from Ashley in her training routine, I suddenly felt confident about my abilities, and got right back on the route, top roping it clean!

We put Spatial Relations on the back burner, took a rest day to recover, and went out to The Forever War to get the send.
Ashley went first, cruised through the inverted walking, made the over the foot sit up, went to place the first of two number six cams and slid out.
Being slightly bigger than Pamela, we can't get a solid enough chicken wing to stop and place gear,
It was heart breaking to realize this.
Ashley had spent all of her energy on her first attempt, and wouldn't be able to give it another 100% effort, which for an R rated climb plus skipping two crux pieces of gear, meant she would have to attempt the route next time we returned.

Ashley enticed me to tie in, I grabbed the gear but left the sixes on the ground, got on the route and sent it.

I remember feeling overwhelmingly happy about finishing the route, Vedauwoo's hardest offwidth, yet..... still incomplete, this story will not be complete until Ashley sends the route too. In no way could I have climbed this route without her direction and inspiration.
to be continued.......


Thanks for reading this post! 
Here is a video of Pamela's fist ascent of The Forever War 
and the article she wrote on her website regarding The Forever War

Interested in doing a little offwidth climbing of your own? Here's a link for the best offwidth shoes on the market!

Monday, March 30, 2015

Boulders That Touch

This started out as a bit of a joke, but after being asked about it constantly, Ashley and I threw together an offwidth bouldering guide for Little Cottonwood Canyon. Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

No Bodies here

Finding a dead body is a scenario that never really crossed my mind, I've been around dead bodies, but never gone through the "hello.... hello, wake up please" part. 
Ok story time, 
It was during a climbing trip to Vedauwoo, with my girlfriend Ashley, and friend Matt. It was both of their first times to Vedauwoo, so I made sure to fill them in on all of the crazy, gun toting redneck, aggressive wildlife, groups of swingers, stories I've accumulated while climbing there. 
Vedauwoo isn't just a place to climb hard offwidth cracks, it's a freak show, a full value survival of all kinds, and I really wanted Matt and Ashley to have that "adventure".  Well things usually don't go as planned, of our four days there, the first three were beautiful, friendly locals, blue skies, everyone sent atleast one climb! There were no gunshots ringing out, or even a moose sighting! 
All it needed was some, vegan lady telling me I needed to wear a helmet. And it would have been the exact same as a typical Indian creek trip. Boo!
On the last day, we decided to pack up camp and head back to a boulder called beer crack, so Ashley and Matt could have another shot at finishing it. We all jumped in the car and drove out, it's a boulder that's really out in the middle of no where. So I was surprised to see a car in the parking area when we pulled up. 
We all piled out of the car grabbed the bouldering pads, and there it was (a body). I think we had all partially noticed it before, but it hadn't moved, and it was time to acknowledge what we were all fearing, I'll just leave the details to that. The next hour of my life was all a blur of cops, paramedics, morticians, and even a random cowboy (Wyoming). 
It was an unusually quiet ride home, conversation never really held. Just awkward.....  
We had talked about it a little, just to make sure we were all ok, but we just needed to get out of Wyoming and back to a routine. 
Two weeks later Ashley and I were packing to head back to Vedauwoo, she mentioned that she had a bad feeling, oh thank god she said it first! We immediately abandoned going back, and decided to establish a new climb in Bells canyon, which we decided to name "No Bodies Here" 
Last week we returned to Vedauwoo, it was time to give it another chance. I remember feeling a lot of anxiety about just being in the area, Vedauwoo is, by far my favorite place to climb, and I was worried that it could be ruined forever. 
We stepped out of the car and heard that all too familiar sound, of not so distance gun shots, and even saw storm clouds building up on the horizon. It brought an odd relief over me, I knew we were in store for a much more normal trip. 
Ashley Cracroft hanging out on "Squat"