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Wide Boyz Crack School Tour 2017 – Big Rock

The Wide Boyz Crack School in association with Wild Country will tour a number of popular UK climbing walls this winter to introduce climbers of all abilities to crack climbing.

The Crack School is a 90 minute course led by two of the world’s top climbers Pete Whittaker and Tom Randall, aka the Wide Boyz. Participants will have the opportunity to experience all aspects of this climbing discipline. From how to make a pair of crack gloves to learning and putting into practice the full range of jamming techniques.

Having served a lengthy apprenticeship in crack climbing on the legendary Peak Gritstone and in Tom’s cellar in Sheffield, the Wide Boyz have gone on to test their skills on some of the most formidable lines around the world, including their ongoing Crucifix Project.

Based in the heart of the Peak, Wild Country has long met the needs of climbers, manufacturing gear to contribute to the sum of their knowledge. Wild Country are supporting the Wide Boyz Crack School to help climbers develop new techniques that they can then apply outdoors.

Tom Randall says: “Crack climbing is always perceived as this dark art that is almost impossible to learn quickly and involves quite a lot of suffering. The Crack Schools really prove that both of these are not true! We will have you jamming up parallel cracks in less than 90 minutes and we promise you will have a smile on your face. It is about learning AND having fun.”

Pete Whittaker says: “Most people think of crack climbing as painful, difficult and not useful. Crack School will help to erase all these problems! You will get to practice jamming on new painless volumes. We will show you that it is purely technique based rather than strength (so all abilities are welcome). Finally sneaky jamming can be found everywhere, so whether you want to swim up splitters in Indian creek or pull on tufas in Kalymnos, there will be a jam for you. We’re jamming, we’re jamming, I hope you like jamming too!”

To sign up for the Wide Boyz Crack School follow the direct link to each climbing venue below.

Date: 18th Fe

Milton Keynes Big Rock

Interested parties to self book and notify meet organiser so we can arrange lifts etc. Price includes usage of the wall before / after the event.

Flying Buttress Direct (various attempts)

Ever since seeing Flying Buttress Direct at Stanage on my beginner’s weekend with the IMC, I’ve wanted to have a go at it.  I wasn’t brave enough then – it looked too intimidating – but I have seconded/top-roped it since then (in 2013 with Bob Butcher)

This year I wanted to go for lead and was unsuccessful on my first try (on the Friday before the beginner’s weekend in May with Martin Hore).  But in the second attempt I got a bit closer as you can see below.

In July I was heading off to a weekend in Snowdonia with Josh and on the way up we stopped with Adam Gosling in Sheffield.  The next day we spent the morning at Stanage with Adam before heading to Wales.  After a few climbs we ended up at Flying Buttress.  We’d just seen a couple of German climbers climb it as their first climb of the day, which was impressive, even more impressive was that the lead climber reversed the crux whilst trying to find the right line!

We had a chat with them and then I had a go at leading it.

Attempt 1

On my first attempt, I got my finger into the crack on the crux but obviously not well enough as they slipped out pretty quickly.


Working my way up the slab


Placing gear before the crux


The crux (at least for me) move – unfortunately I didn’t last long in this position !

Attempt 2

This time I managed to last long enough at the crux to get some gear in and then get above it, but unfortunately I then struggled above and so ended up sinking back on the gear 🙁


Crux gear

Attempt 3

I left the gear in the crux, which made this attempt easier, and I managed to then complete the route


Just before swinging my legs up


Almost there


And up!

Next . . .

There is still some unfinished business, as I want to lead it cleanly – so maybe this year . . .