In early November 2021, after a summer of recce trips and one previous attempt that ended halfway, Tom Randall and Pete Whittaker climbed a horizontal roof crack over 2500 feet long (roughly the length of Half Dome in Yosemite). The line took the pair four days, with three nights on a portaledge. 'The Great Rift' — their proudest crack line to date — was on the underside of a six-lane concrete motorway bridge.
Mark Bullock, who sent Tom Randall photos of the M5 bridge to sow the seed for their latest roof crack project, speaks to the 'WideBoyz' and finds out that this climb was significantly more than just another big tick...
Cool interview, looking forward to the film.
If either of you are reading this, were there any concerns with cams getting crushed on the flexing sections? I just have images of a lorry going over, the cams getting squeezed and then falling out when it widened again.
Would a cam not just engage / disengage with the flex? Granted don't have one in my hand to test right now
I'm not sure
It didn't happen so on that limited information I guess it's a non issue?
About as astounding as the Fitzroy Traverse and soloing El Cap, respect,
How on Earth did they persuade the police to allow them to continue? That's seriously impressive!
> Would a cam not just engage / disengage with the flex? Granted don't have one in my hand to test right now
I guess the worry would be that the crack would flex wide enough that your cams would fall out. A blue camalot has a working range of about 27mm so wouldn't need a lot of movement. Obviously not a problem in practice though!
> About as astounding as the Fitzroy Traverse and soloing El Cap, respect,
What's this meter for again?
Great stuff, but I'm surprised to hear them call this the ultimate in their field. What happened to the Crucifix project? - perhaps they did it when I wasn't looking.
'Ulimate' in different ways perhaps. This would be the dawn wall of cracks, crucifix would be silence. They haven't done crucifix yet.
The way they talk about the impact of the flex on their hands, it sounds quite subtle.
Mega effort and one for the record books - I do wonder how long until this is made an illegal activity though, if it isn't already!? Pete mentions access and Police at the end but no details. Maybe a bit like Fowler climbing the infamous St Pancras station drainpipe!
I'm sure it's technically illegal but coppers often give you some leeway if you are reasonable. I was caught jumaring up a kind of rope treadmill rigged off a bridge in York and I just explained to the police that I was training for a caving expedition and they left me to it. I think the Wide Boys got an enormous amount of leeway for that though!
>I think the Wide Boys got an enormous amount of leeway for that though!
I dunno, it's all about risk - if they demonstrated that they knew what they were doing and had appropriate backup / bailout plans then there shouldn't be a problem.
They could have probably made a few quid as well, giving the bridge a quick inspection as they went. Save closing the road whilst one of those overhanging crane platforms moves along!
Do you reckon in fifty years' time this might be our Nose in a Day?! I mean, sure it seems a long way off now, but then that's what Warren Harding thought, and it only took a couple of decades.
> I dunno, it's all about risk - if they demonstrated that they knew what they were doing and had appropriate backup / bailout plans then there shouldn't be a problem.
Wouldn't the Police's main concern be about a potential terrorist attack as opposed to their safety?
I just want to know if they abbed down for a sneaky pint at the Double Locks each night.
I'm intrigued about logistics. Or at least I was. I'm getting the impression from the lack of mention that they had ground support for their kit.
Is that right, or did they do some amazing penduhaul setup?
I can't see any haulbag or portaledge in the pictures so I guess they just lowered a rope down to the ground support people and then pulled the ledge up every night?
> I can't see any haulbag or portaledge in the pictures so I guess they just lowered a rope down to the ground support people and then pulled the ledge up every night?
Agreed, looks like it.
Also, want to agree with Marksykes.
Love the WBs. Everything they've come up with over the years is almost guaranteed to bring a smile.
The are close to the best climbers in the UK and probably having the most fun!
The way things are going weather wise in Devon right now, this will be a DWS before long!
They were successfully trolled into going back to repeat Century Crack in a better style, but I can't see them falling for it this time!