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3RD ROCK Expedition: Irene Yee Establishes New 5.11 Off-Width
A Trip Into the Great Wide Unknown in Southern Utah, USA

Guest blogger Irene Yee, Instagram's @ladylockoff, teams up with 3rd Rock on her journey to establish a new off-width trad climbing route in Southern Utah.

Photo by: Irene Yee

When two of your favorite climbers invite you out into some new and unknown territory there is no way you could not say “yes.” So I packed up my car in Las Vegas, Nevada and headed out to what I only knew was a pin dropped onto a Google map. Not knowing when exactly I was going to arrive, I was filled with anticipation. The climbers left me a treasure map and as I inched closer to the pin on the map, I realised my path was leading to some beautiful un-climbed off-width desert gems.

Photo by: Irene Yee

These two favourite climbers of mine are Danny Parker and Ashley Cracroft. They’re not just any climbers, they are avid new-routers and they climb and establish routes as a team. They share the work and the credit; they even flip a carabiner to see who gets the first go. They constantly stream beta and gear info back and forth to each other, but what I love most is that they both have an inherent understanding of each other’s abilities and differences in how they climb. Ashley has smaller feet while Danny has bigger hands. Off-width especially lends to a variety of climbing styles on the same climb because of body size. They make an unstoppable pair.

Photo by: Irene Yee

This was my first time getting to see the process of how new routes get established. Surprisingly, tying in is probably the last part of the first ascension. We constantly forget that there are those who came before us building trails, finding climbs, bolting anchors, and ascending into the unknown before a climb is ever climbed.



After scoping, rapping, and cleaning (pushing off large chunks of loose rock) the route, Danny and Ashley both get to squeeze into their newly established off-width route. Not many choose this form of climbing because of the sheer full body effort of climbing cracks that are larger than your fist. But as they once told me, “It may seem like you're just shoving random body parts in and trying to move, but we promise there is a technique to it”. Having climbed off-width before and after their technique class, I can assure you that it is indeed true.

Photo by: Irene Yee

Finally after a few days of work, multiple climbing ascents to figure out the grade, and the excitement of getting to figure out how to get your body up a beautiful wide splitter crack, Big Brother, trad off-width climb 5.11, is officially established. I’m so glad I was able to join on this adventure with Danny and Ashley.  (and 3rd Rock!)

The only question left to ask is, ‘What’s next?’

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