Pete Whittaker and Tom Randall of the U.K. (aka the Wide Boyz) have been in Squamish, Canada, the past three weeks gunning for ascents of the famed Cobra Crack (5.14). According to UKclimbing.com, Whittaker was successful in making the crack’s eighth ascent a few days ago. Whittaker had been making steady progress on the fierce, traditionally protected route during their trip, even writing on the Wide Boyz blog, “we’ve come to the conclusion that Cobra Crack is not a ‘if’ but ‘when.'” But the Cobra Crack did not go down without a fight, as Randall and Whittaker reportedly battled rainy weather and bad conditions while trying the route. “Is this the Curse of the Cobra striking into the heart of a European crack obsessive yet again?” wrote the Boyz, referring to the the early 2005 first ascent attempts on the line made by Swiss crack climber Didier Berthod, who eventually abandoned the route due to a torn meniscus. The Cobra Crack was finally completed in 2006 by Canadian Sonnie Trotter, and the crack is now considered one of the hardest trad climbs in the world. Now, Whittaker has joined the ranks of Trotter, Nico Favresse, Yuji Hirayama, Alex Honnold, and other Cobra Crack repeaters as one of the elite finger-crack climbers in the world. Randall is still trying the Cobra Crack and is reportedly very close, but only has one more day left in Squamish to send the route.
Interestingly, both Randall and Whittaker gained their reputation as offwidth climbers when they visited the U.S. in the spring of 2012 and repeated many of the country’s hardest wide-cracks (see Rock and Ice issue 200). The trip culminated in the historic first ascent of Century Crack (5.14b), which is now a contender for one of the world’s hardest traditionally protected routes. Now it seems the Boyz have seamlessly switched disciplines and are equally adept at climbing smaller cracks as well.
Check out the video below of Whittaker working out the beta on Cobra Crack.