Tom Randall and Pete Whittaker - AKA The Wideboyz - have established the world's biggest roof crack at White Rim in Utah's Canyonlands National Park, USA. Crown of Thorns 5.14a features 165ft of horizontal climbing running perpendicular to the Wideboyz' 'Crucifix' crack project, forming its 'crosspiece'.
Tom described the intensity of the line, which quite clearly involved the use of every limb and body part:
'Hands, fists, stacks, knee locks and invert torpedo. One rack haul halfway and a very patient belayer needed to allow the leader to mutilate themselves by abrasion.'
The initial goal of the trip was the 180ft 'Crucifix' crack project, but the line was wet and the pair were forced to shift their focus, resulting in eight new first ascents ranging from 5.11d - 5.14a - three of which Pete managed to climb in just three hours.
Tom claims that Crown of Thorns is 'One of the few routes in recent times that both of [them] have screamed on quite a bit!'. The Boyz have history in the White Rim area, having made the first ascent of Stevie Haston's project Century Crack in 2011 (UKC News Report), widely regarded as the hardest offwidth crack climb in the world to date. Comparing the two routes, Tom told UKC:
'Overall it has harder and more technical moves than Century Crack, but it's less sustained so you're able to recover on a couple of sections. It felt similarly tiring on the body though.'
More information to follow...
Watch a video of the Wideboyz' recce mission to Utah earlier this year: