Wide Boyz Blog

Friday, 6 September 2013

Slender Gents Vs. The Cobra

So here we are in Canada. Squamish to be precise, and one of the best places on this planet to go granite trad climbing. What do two Brits who are ex-wide-convicts do in a location like this? Stuff our bags full of friend 6s, rubber pads and leather face masks? Nope.... we take a new direction and fill up on friend 0.5s, finger tape and superglue.

(c) Hotaches Productions

Our main objective for this trip is to try and climb Cobra Crack. It seems kind of weird thinking about that, as it's a route that's one of the very hardest trad routes in the world and who on earth would consider it a reasonable prospect to climb this in just a quick 3 week trip? Well, maybe we've got a bit carried away with the optimism but we're definitely not falling short on inspiration. The line is every bit of the "King" that you expect from seeing the videos over the years and the quality of moves are like nothing  else. Mono undercuts, feet-first inverts off pinkies jams and holdless bridging. Mega!!

Pete Whittaker Working Cobra Crack, Diff filming and in the way. from Hot Aches Productions on Vimeo.

We've had just under a week out in Squamish now and it's been an interesting, harsh and grounding experience. I think we've learnt a lot.

The interest:

Cobra is a hugely varied piece of climbing. It's got so many different styles of movement within one pitch and it's been a realisation that our training hasn't been as effective on the variation as one might expect. With hindsight, that's easy to see now. Also the pain factor on the route is massive. Every hold on the crux overhang brings tears to your eyes and it's pretty hard to convince yourself at times that you want to give it everything.

(c) Hotaches Productions

The harsh:

This route ain't no push over. Despite the number of repeats for such a high end route, there's not really a feeling of "soft for the grade" or "apply the cheater-beta and it'll be fine." Every jam is pretty good for a finger jam; pretty sinker in fact. But put in the factor of no feet on a 35 degree overhang and they suddenly become painful, powerful and slightly disappointing. When we first abbed down the line our first thoughts were "man, these jams are so sinker we can never fall off this."

It's not just the moves and poor feet that are harsh, it's the nature of the red point. You can get two goes a day on the route (and that's just working moves) before skin flappers occur and the shoulders give out. To do a route like this in a short space of time seems hardcore. Yuji-we-are-not!

The Grounding:

Leading up to this trip, we've poured over information, videos and anything we could find to help us. This gives some preparation, but only a limited amount. We could see the moves and try and replicate them with some specific training but at the end of the day nothing is the same as the route and I guess this has hit us fairly hard whilst being here.

It's ok though I'm sure we can handle it, I mean the hardest finger crack we've done in the the UK is 7a+ and Honnold soloed that on-sight. Nothing like going big.


  1. Welcome to Squampton. What puzzles me most is where Pete got a pair of Pinks! Good luck on the Cobra.

  2. You guys are rad!!! Keep it up!!

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