(Home on the Range)
This past month, In my crack climbing quest, I found myself at Vedauwoo. VW is world renown for its nasty Off-Width climbing. People go there armed with #5 and #6 Camalots and Big Bros, tons of athletic tape, jeans and long sleeve shirts. The rock is good and textured and will leave you bleeding no matter how many layers of tape you wear… I love it.
Hidden in a sea of wide cracks, there is a couple very hard finger (fairy) cracks I wanted to try. The first one I tackled was The Vedajuicer (V10). This is a very flared boulder roof crack. Yes you heard it BOULDERING CRACKS… Vedauwoo is packed with good roof crack bouldering and you can find any size from finger to OW boulder problems. Although Vedajuicer is very close to the ground this crack problem deserves more attention, because it is really good climbing. Justin Edl, the local harcore, put than one up a couple years ago and apparently my ascent was the first repeat… Who knows… The same day I ended up climbing two other classic roof crack problems: Deserata and PsychoShop (V7) both first try.
These problems ended up being a really good warm-up/training for my next projet: Home on the Range (5.14-).
Justin also did the first free ascent of this little gem in 2009. Although, HTR is only 50 feet long, this little bastard is very hard. It is slightly overhanging and it aggressively leans right at a 45 degrees angle. And it is as flared as the Vedauwoo cracks gets… For this kind of crack I use a weird slopper-hand-finger jam combo… It works really well until your foot slips or you grease out of the crack… It’s an interesting crack skill to develop but it can be frustrating, as it doesn’t take much to just slip out of the crack…
(Trying not to slip out of the jams)
This thing is really weather dependant (for me anyway). You need a good breeze to make the flary/sloppy/fingery jams hold. On some humid days the crux was simply impossible for me and I would get really frustrated, but on windy days I would do really well on the route and make good progress fast. Since it leans a lot it is almost impossible to jam both feet. I ended up using the good old combo for that kind of cracks: Super-Mocc on the left foot for jamming and Anasazi Verde on the right for edging. After a week hiatus to go work at a trade show, I ended up sending the route. It took me about 20 tries over 2 weeks.
Home on the Range is really hard to rate because it is so short. The crux is comparable to a V9 crack but it’s pretty easy before and after the crux (as usual I fell/punted a couple times in the easy finish…). When I compare HTR to other hard cracks I’ve been on, the grade that comes to mind is 5.13+. It’s harder than Fiddler on the Roof, Learning to Fly, From Switzerland, Deadline, Sphinx Crack, No Way Jose and Master Blaster, BUT easier than Stingray, La Zebree, Cobra Crack, Conception, Bushido and Orangutan Overhang.
No matter how hard it is, it's a pretty cool line! Good job finding this little gem Justin!