Wideboyzs comments their 750m MP under the motorway

Friday, 26 November

Pete Whittaker and Tom Randall, aka the "Wide boyz", report on Insta that they have established The Great Rift, which is a 750 roof crack under a motorway bridge! It took them four days and three nights, sleeping in a portaledge, to make a team ascent of the 7b+ to 8a+ with around 65 pitches. (c) Paul Diffley

Paul and Tom have made long reports on their Insta accounts and here are some follow up questions with Pete's answer first follow by Tom's - additional comments.

Is there a first pitch getting into the crack or how did you manage this?
There is a banking to the start of the crack and a short fence. From here you can easily reach into the crack. The start of the crack is about 4m off flat ground.
- Note the fence is an actual climbing feature. A bit weird to climb a 6a problem to start a massive roof crack :-D

How much noise and vibrations from the big trucks?
There is constant noise. Obviously, there is more noise early morning and late afternoon when people are going to and coming from work. Even though it sounds loud when you first get up to the crack, you don't notice the noise after a while, you become immune to it. The movement of the bridge varies. It is most noticeable when you are furthest from the pillars and something heavy sounding goes over the top. When you're climbing and have two hands in the crack it's not so much of an issue, it only really feels like a problem when you have to hang off one hand to place gear. It is nice when the crack squeezes your hand a lighter tighter, but that feeling suddenly wears off quickly when it loosens off after the large vehicle has passed.
- I think the variation in size whilst you're climbing is perhaps one of the weirdest/difficult things about the project. It's so unnerving to be climbing on a slightly moving/varying bit of rock. Hard to relax in a way!

So each pitch is like 12 meters long? Did you just push as long until you got tired? I mean, if you would have just continued with a 100-meter rope or so, you could have done an 8c or so?
Pitches weren't a consistent length, they varied depending on a number of factors; fatigue of the climber at that point of the day, movement in the bridge (and traffic), variations in the size of the crack. Pitch length constantly varied from 8m - 20/25m. Yes, theoretically you could have done it in 7-8 100m pitches, but it's just not feasible. To climb a 100m continuous stretch of this crack is much harder than 8c. We totally lost count of the number of pitches, but believe it could have been around the 60-70 mark.
- The interesting thing about this project is essentially the grade is a "how long Is a piece of string" concept. It's pretty flexible. In theory, if you wanted to make it 9b+ for every pitch you most definitely could... you just need a very long rope, an insane endurance, ha!

How does the line finish so you could get out of the crack with all gear?
The finish is exactly the same setup as the start; banking and fence. You climb down to the ground again.

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