“I remember Jihad as a route that at some point you quit climbing and start trying to stay alive.” ~Bob Scarpelli
Check out this awesome video of my battle to send Jihad (5.11d) in Vedauwoo, WY. The video was filmed by Climbing Magazine staff photographer Ben Fullerton.
Important Disclaimer: Note that in the Holy War video I mention Jihad being the “hardest” offwidth I have done in Vedauwoo, WY. I would like to clear that up. I found Jihad to be one of the hardest offwidths and certainly a test-piece. Also, as far as the grade, I jokingly refer to Jihad as a 5.13+ offwidth. That statement was not meant to be taken literally, rather I am paying my respects to Bob Scarpelli by intimating that the 11d grade may be a bit ah…misleading? It is important to understand that in the late 80s, Scarpelli rated all of his hardest offwidths 11b and by modern consensus these 11b’s are often considered flat 5.12. Meanwhile, he rated Jihad 5.11d. Scarpelli explained the 5.11d rating to me as meaning: “Don’t bring your weak shit here.” Generally offwidth ratings in Vedauwoo have been kept within a closed system with a rich history of wicked sand-bags. In a long career of climbing hard wide cracks, Scarpelli’s routes have been some of the hardest I have encountered and Jihad was one of the most physically and mentally demanding routes of them all and, in my opinion, a masterpiece.
The Holy War
I have spent the last seven summers in Veduawoo, WY, the American offwidth Mecca, seeking out the most physically and mentally demanding wide cracks in North America. The most ruthless collection of offwidths in Vedauwoo were established by the notorious “King of Offwidth” Bob Scarpelli. Late this past summer I sought out Jihad (5.11d), a Scarpelli master-piece, rumored to have gone unrepeated and unattempted for 25 years. Jihad is a 60’ right leaning crack on the North Corner crag in Upper Blair in Vedauwoo, WY. The route has spectacular and unique geometry – it is a flared, steeply overhanging, 45 degree leaning crack that begins as a squeeze chimney roof, transitioning into a predominately 4-5” offwidth for another 40’ and concluding with steep, traversing flared fingers.
Images from the 2nd ascent: