PETE WHITTAKER

 "The Gritstone God! "

Residence: Sheffield, England

Home Climbing Area: The Peak District

Profession: Professional Rock Climber

Climbing Partner: Tom Randall

Hardest Ascents: Century Crack 5.14b, Cobra Crack 5.14a

Greatest Achievement: 1st 'All Free' Roped Solo Ascent of Free Rider (34 pitches) in a single day!

Sponsors: Wild Country, Patagonia

Pete Whittaker on El Cap
Pete Whittaker on El Cap

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Dynamics of Change
Dynamics of Change

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Pete Whittaker on Free Rider
Pete Whittaker on Free Rider

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Pete Whittaker on El Cap
Pete Whittaker on El Cap

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On November 11th and 12th 2016, Pete Whittaker forever etched his name in the history books by becoming the first person to rope solo 'All free'  El Capitan in under 24 hours, finishing the Free Rider (5,1`2d - 34 pitches) in a mind boggling 20 hours and 6 minutes. 

PETE WHITTAKER PODCAST

 Available on APPLE PODCAST

"The hardest challenges were just keeping going when you're tired. It's easy to give in when you're by yourself. I just focused on one pitch at a time, and before you know it, you're closer than you think. I had a low point at the top of the Monster Offwidth ( a notorious rope length of 5.11 offwidth/squeee chimney) in The Alcove. I think it was a mixture of not climbing it that well, along with the fact that my body wanted to be sleeping at that point. I had to fight on the endurance Corner ( a 5.12 dihedral high on the route below Salathe headwall )... I just pulled myself a massive loop of slack and gunned it for the jug. It would have been a good fall, if I'd come off there." 

PETE WHITTAKER VIDEOS

Silence is the hardest rock climb in the world, and seeing as though a very small portion of the crux has a crack on it, we wanted to see if we could find some jams and actually hang on

Thought of as one of the hardest crack climbs in the world, Recovery Drink on the Profile Wall in Jøssingfjord, Norway has attracted some of the biggest hitters in the trad game over the years...with few successes. In 2013, it was Nico Favresse who made the first ascent of the line, followed by Daniel Jung of Germany, who bagged the second ascent in 2018. So with brutal training regime and a partner in crime in Tom Randall to work the route with, Pete dediated his climbing trips to making the 3rd (or possibly 4th) ascent of Recovery Drink 5.14c / 8c+ .

In November 2016, Pete Whittaker became the first person to solo - all free - El Capitan in under 24 hours, finishing in 20 hours and 6 minutes. Rope Solo Free climbing is a sport that few people know about and even fewer people do. We hear from Pete Whittaker, his long time climbing partner Tom Randall and Big wall solo climbing expert Andy Kirkpatrick as they take us through the paces of what it really means to make a rope-solo-free ascent of El Cap.

“The ascent made by Pete on Freerider to me is hopefully the dawn of a new style of big wall solo climbing.  Big wall solo climbing on El Capitan for many years was just aid climbing.  Now Pete has proven that it's possible to do that free climbing, but relatively fast” - Tom Randall

OCTOBER 2011, British climbers Tom Randall and Pete Whittaker climbed what many are hailing as the hardest off-width in the world.  Located in Utah’s Canyonlands," Century Crack" 5.14b thwart numerous attempts, including the free-climbing prodigy Stevie Haston, who estimated the grade to be around 5.14d.  What's astonishing is the amount of motivation these two climbers possessed.  As you will hear in the Podcast below, they spent two years training in the dungeon (as Tom likes to call it), perfecting their off-width technique on wooden cracks that were hung from the ceiling in Tom's basement.  

 

And the training paid off.  While visiting the United States, the two, a.k.a. The Wideboyz, decimated every off-width in their path.  Test pieces like Lucille (5.13a) in Vedauwoo, Wyoming, were dismissed on their first or second try.   And in Little Cottonwood Canyon in Utah, both Tom and Pete onsighted Trench Warfare (5.12.d) with Tom free soloing it afterward just for shit and giggles.  

 

Feeling ready to take on Century Crack, Randall and Whittaker worked the 40-meter (130 feet) off-width roof over the course of a single day, then returned and sent the route the following morning.  Even though there was some minor controversy about how the camming devices were left in place between each attempt, the overwhelming majority of climbers hailed their ascent as one of the greatest achievements of our time.  

“The Century Crack is the most beautiful off-width crack I know, and if you want to be successful as a climber and reach your limits, you really do need creativity.  I’m thinking of Alex Honnold, Chris Sharma and Ueli Steck—people who inspire us because in climbing they have found their own personal style and expression.”  Tom Randall

Pete Whitaker establishes another First Ascent of "Silent Scream" E7 6c in Burbage in the Peak district

"The protection is a few ancient rusty bolts, which date back in time when aid climbing was practiced on this crag (1960's ?)"

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