Siebe Vanhee | From roof crack to mega offwidth!
Official website of the professional rock climber and adventurer Siebe Vanhee
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From roof crack to mega offwidth!

From roof crack to mega offwidth!

Sitting in a chair at El Cap meadow looking at El Capitan, searching for our next projects. We’re completely worked, I feel every body part screaming for some rest and telling me to never do an offwidth again! But I will!
This is how we’re sitting here right now! Florian sais like he always does: On est bien là!

So why are we so tired today? We had three perfect and beautiful days of trad-climbing! When we got back in The Valley we did some cragging (single pitches) at the Cookie Clif. We tried some harder typical technical Yosemite routes. Perfect preparation for on a multi-pitch.

Our third day we had an easy but a mythic day! We went to the most famous single pitch in The Valley: ‘Separate Reality!’ The approach is funny because you need to rappel down from the top of the climb. First we rappelled down a slab, so we had no idea how the climb would look like. Suddenly the slab ends and you’re hanging in a high open space! Like you can see on the picture below! Before we could climb we had to wait a little because some Japanese climbers where just before us. I tried this mythic line when the Japo’s where done! First you start in a wide crack size #2 – 3 BD Camalot. It was still a little wet but that first part is not too hard. After that the roof starts immediately. The first part of the roof crack is size # 2 – 1 BD Camalot. Perfect hands in a nice roof splitter! What do you want more? …………… The crux at the end!!!
At the end the splitter gets thinner to size #.75. From there you make a big move to a jug and swing your feet over and place a toe hook at the lip of the roof! This move is amazing! In that position you place gear than you reach the lip with your hands next to your foot.

I succeeded doing this line in my first try! I did it flash because I had some Japanese gear-beta: #3 – # 2 – Sushi – #1 – #.75 – …

We also had some time to make a little movie of Separate Reality! Check it out! Definitely watch the last 10 seconds of the movie, the real end!

Yesterday the big and tiring day! Flo and I did ‘Astroman’, 5.11c! This is a perfect line of 12 pitches on ‘The Washington Column’. This is one of the most popular multi-pitch routes next to ‘The Nose’ in Yosemite! It is the free-climb test-piece in the valley, famous for ‘The Enduro Corner’ (4th pitch) , ‘Harding Slot’ (7th pitch) and ‘Changing Corners’ (9th pich). We prepared everything the day before sending! We woke up at 5:45am, ate some bananas and eggs and took off of Camp 4 to realize our goal. The approach took us longer as expected, at 8:30am we found the base of the climb. At 9:00am we left the ground!
Here are all the pitches. I lead most of the harder pitches because of the jamming style that goes well for the moment.

1. 5.7 Lead: Flo
2. 5.10a Lead: Flo
3. 5.11c ‘Boulder Problem’ Lead:Sieb
This short pitch is just two hard moves in a tiny corner crack.
4. 5.11c ‘The Enduro Corner’ Lead:Sieb
This one is a really famous pitch of ‘Astroman’, a long right facing corner that seems to never end.
5. 5.9 Lead: Flo
6. 5.10c Lead:Sieb
7. 5.11b ‘The Harding Slot’ Lead:Sieb
This pitch is by far the hardest pitch of the whole route. It’s an offwidth/ chimney through a roof. Every body part is necessary to send this monster!
8. 5.10c Lead:Flo
9. 5.11a ‘Changing Corners’ Lead:Sieb
The Changing Corners aren’t so hard if you have a sport climbing background! Really technical slabs combined with a thin crack on the right!
10. 5.10a Lead:Sieb
11. 5.7 Lead:Flo
12. 5.10d Lead:Sieb

I on sighted the whole route free without falling or pulling on gear! This is by far my proudest free (on sight) ascent on multi-pitch trad!
The Harding Slot was for me by far the hardest line! It’s a crazy offwidth, really exposed and without any little horizontal holds! I took my helmet off twice because my head was just stuck in this wide crack. I think it took me 40 minutes to climb this bitch!
After I did this line without falling I knew I could send the whole route! I was psyched!

Thanks to Flo for the fast following and for leading some pitches after the physical ones. It’s also really nice to have a fix climbing partner I know. We could move fast and efficient!
At 8:10pm we arrived at the top! The descent we did in the dark, this was still quite an adventure. Hiking down scary slabs at 300 meters high, in the dark. I’m glad nothing happened and we found our way to the Chevy Van!

The harding Slot in Astroman!

Find me deep in there!
On our way down we had good luck we past a small mountain water fall where we could drink some water, because we ran out of water at the summit of the climb. We’re not sick now so the water wasn’t poisoned.

The first thing we did when we came down at 10:30pm wasn’t eating. We bought our self a doctor pepper and took a 45 minute long shower! Perfect!

Today we take it really easy and are going to make some new plans!

Enjoy the pictures and the movie!

  • Christine

    June 12, 2011 at 3:54 am

    Great post, Siebe. But what did you do in the shower for 45 minutes?

  • Christine

    June 12, 2011 at 4:02 am


  • Lydia

    June 12, 2011 at 9:41 am


  • Leon

    June 13, 2011 at 10:46 am

    Wow Siebe, Separate Reality, en nog flash ook! Geweldig!

  • Siebe

    June 14, 2011 at 10:02 pm

    Haha Christine! The 45 minute shower was because we where really, really dirty! And bitch yeah you're right! I learned it all from the master!:)

  • Timothée Crabbé

    April 20, 2012 at 5:55 pm

    Super cool!
    Echt waauw!
    Dankzij u gaat de hele familie Crabbé klimmen 😉

  • Kris Poels

    December 14, 2012 at 7:30 pm

    Ja Siebe, gene zever zenne 🙂