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Roof Crack Repeat by Randall and Whittaker - Necronomicon 5.13d/14a

© Tom Randall

Tom Randall and Pete Whittaker AKA The Wideboyz have made the first repeat of another monster roof crack, Necronomicon 5.13d/14a, in their old stomping ground of White Rim in Canyonlands National Park, Utah.

Pete Whittaker repeating Necronomicon in White Rim.  © Tom Randall
Pete Whittaker repeating Necronomicon in White Rim.
© Tom Randall

The incredible roof cracks of the White Rim that the pair have spent the last eight years exploring were first developed as free climbing projects by local Rob Pizem. Over a few seasons, he established a number of 5.13 roof cracks and left some uncompleted projects. One of these was a giant arching roof crack of hand and thin-hand jams. Canadian crack wizard J-P Ouellet (Peewee) eventually made the first ascent of Necronomicon 13d/14a in 2011. Tom and Pete are currently in the Utah desert battling with their ongoing projects and this past week revisited Necronomicon to nab the second ascent.

Tom commented:

'I was really pleased to get this line done, as me and Pete don't always end up doing that many repeats in the area as we're so obsessed with FAs. In a way, it's nice to calibrate our recent developments and remind ourselves that other people have contributed hard lines and that we should all continually cross-pollinate for difficulty and quality! Fortunately, we've been training thin hands in the last two months, so this was a perfect line at the perfect time. I opted to place extra pieces in the runout middle crux, whereas Pete did his usual "go all-in" and I'm not sure how far he'd have been off the ground if he'd blown it at the end!'

Pete told UKC:

'I was pleased with our successes on this one. When one person gets it it's great, but it always feels like a job half-done, so it was good that we both did it one after the other on the same day. It felt like a little inner personal achievement to me. I'm not particularly known for my small hands, often getting comments of "Oh my God, look at the size of your hands," so this one really proved to me that I can climb the hardest cracks in all styles. We all know that size doesn't matter, it's all in the technique...'

Notable past first ascents in the White Rim by the WideBoyz include the 49 metre offwidth Century Crack 5.14a, which they climbed in 2011. In 2016, the duo established the world's biggest roof crack with Crown of Thorns 5.14a, featuring 50 metres of horizontal climbing running perpendicular to the Wideboyz' 'Crucifix' crack project, forming its 'crosspiece'. During that same trip, the pair also made the first ascents of a 90 metre roof crack, The Millennium Arch 5.14a.

Read more about the WideBoyz' history with White Rim in this UKC interview.

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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.

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