What is Off-Width Climbing?




What is Off-Width Climbing?

What is Off-width Climbing?

'Off-width' is a particular style of rock climbing that involves cracks that are wider than the typical hand or fist size, yet too narrow for a climber to fit his or her entire body into. These cracks often require a combination of techniques that are different from those used in standard crack climbing.

You may find yourself wedging various body parts— knees, elbows, or even your entire body—into a crack to gain purchase and make upward progress. This style of climbing is demanding, requiring strength, flexibility, and creative problem-solving skills.

Off-width cracks are notorious for being awkward and strenuous to climb, as well as potentially hazardous because of the increased risk of getting stuck or falling. You'll use specialized techniques and equipment, such as wide camming devices or padded clothing, to protect yourself and to aid in your ascent.

Off-width climbing can be done on various rock formations (granite, sandstone, and limestone), and it presents a unique challenge for experienced climbers seeking test their skills in different types of terrain.

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