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Pete Whittaker in Century crack
Björn Pohl - UKC, Dec 2012
© Alex Ekins
The split mountain was found by Crusher Bartlett who rope soloed the line in 2001 (naming it Chocolate Starfish), and later tried by Stevie Haston, but no one had been able to free it.
Could two guys from England, which doesn't have any off widths to speak of, be the boyz who could get the job done?
Even if the film somewhat gives that impression, becoming an accomplished specialist in off width climbing is not only a matter of working extremely hard and using weird looking home made tools. At least I think it's not. The truth could very well be the opposite. It's not like I've gone through that kind of self imposed suffering myself...
Anyway, we have to remember both boyz were very accomplished climbers to begin with.
Compared to "normal" climbing off width crack climbing certainly involves a, by far, higher degree of fighting and dealing with pain. In some ways, it's perhaps closer to wrestling than say... sport climbing.
Being fit helps obviously and before the trip to the US, our boyz spent two years in a Sheffield basement filled with home made equipment designed to prepare them for the task at hand. A great chunk of those two years was spent hanging upside down moving back and forth in an artificial roof crack.
The rest is history which I'm sure you are all aware of. The boyz climb all off width longer than three feet and arrive at the crack of their dream...
For the rest of the story, watch the film.
There is so much stuff that could have been showed more of. The many climbs they did before their main objective and maybe a bit more discussion about the controversy revolving around the pre-placement/non-pre-placement of gear issue. After all, it forced (well) the boyz to head back into the desert a second time to re-climb the thing.
In short however, Hot Aches have succeeded in making a highly enjoyable film about something that honestly isn't exactly exciting to watch in itself. Not many spectacular moves really.
The film won Best Climbing Film and People's Choice at Kendal Mountain film festival earlier this autumn.
UKC readers get a special discount code: enter 'UKCWB5' into the voucher box and get £5 off! This offer ends 20th December. Here's where you order.