Wide Boyz DVD Review

In Wide boyz, or as it could have been called, A journey into the brutal beauty of off width climbing, from Hot Aches Productions, we get to follow Pete Whittaker and Tom Randall on their quest to fulfill their lifetime dream of freeing the legendary 40 meter off width roof crack of Century crack in the Utah desert.

Tom Randall on Century crack  © Alex Ekins
Tom Randall on Century crack
© Alex Ekins
Pete Whittaker in Century crack  © Alex Ekins
Pete Whittaker in Century crack
© 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.

So, how did I like it. Well, I did, but wish it would have been longer.

Wide boyz  © Hot Aches productions

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.

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For more information visit hotaches.com


  • Rope soloed El Capitan in 20 hours 6 minutes
  • First ascent of Dynamics of Change (E9 7a), Burbage South, Peak District
  • First ascent of Century Crack (5.14b), the world’s hardest off-width,...

Pete's Athlete Page 14 posts 1 video

Tom is a trad climber at heart, whose passion for the unknown in climbing has lead to numerous new routes both in the UK and overseas.

FA's of multiple 5.14 trad routes, repeats of many of the world's...

Tom's Athlete Page 33 posts 16 videos


6 Dec, 2012
I'm getting a copy for Xmas, can't wait :0) PS it may be good to get someone to proof read the write up. I know English is the writers second language but it has quite a few errors that make it hard to read in places.
11 Dec, 2012
I'm getting a "doesn't exist in the database" error.
11 Dec, 2012
I wasn't being petty, no they are not horrific, but one section in particular was puzzling to read to me. I am not going to get into a detailed discussion about it as i wouldn't like someone to do that to me on a public forum. I live in Spain so am very aware of learning/using a second language. I think Bjorn's posts are normally very good for EASL. This one however had a few errors that stood out more than normal. How long would it take to send a copy to any of the UKC staff who have English as a first language and get them to proof read it ? It's not a complaint or something that will make me stop reading the articles. And lastly how will Bjorn improve his English if no one points out any errors ?
11 Dec, 2012
I agree and it's not petty. We all overlook some of Bjorn's more minor "flaws" in English grammar but this review is distractingly off kilter. Again no offence to Bjorn himself.
11 Dec, 2012
Reagrding the film, I bought it whilst at the Kendal MFF, I really enjoyed the film but it felt like at least half of the story was missing. There should have been more footage from the other climbs to give more of a sense of journey. I think if I'd seen the film at the festival I wouldn't have bought the film, I buy quite a few films and think Pete and Tom are ace but the film is missing something.
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