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Rock Climbing, Abseiling & Canyoning

Photographer Chris Burkard And Free Solo Climber Alex Honnold Discuss Offwidth Climbing In New Black Diamond Film

The adventure photographer reflects on one epic Yosemite journey

Chris Burkard is the envy of all our Instagram lives. Winter surfing, climbing in Yosemite, road cycling, skiing, snowboarding, horse riding, van-lifeing  and just general adventuring, the world famous photographer seems to do it all. If you’ve ever seen a company use an outdoorsy photograph to market their products, chances are, Chris took it.  Beginning as a photographer for Transworld Surf, Chris has been at the forefront of adventure photography for over a decade, and has transformed into a sort-of-adventure-celebrity in recent years, owing mainly to his Instagram page .

In the video, Chris explains his love for Offwidth Climbing, which even the ‘Free Solo’ star and climbing legend, Alex Honnold, admits you have to have a ‘little something off with you’ to do. Offwidth Climbing is essentially a harder form of crack climbing (as if crack climbing could be any harder?) in which the cracks are too big for just one hand, so instead you put your entire body inside the crack (obviously) and move up the rock in any way you can. Often this involves turning upside down and rubbing your face against the rock, resulting in a multitude of scratches and bruises. The whole process of offwidth climbing involves tiny movements that take huge amounts of effort to make, resulting in a very slow and painful ascent. The video features a few action shots of Chris, looking a bit like he’s being sucked into the rock, only to be spun around and hit a few times before he eventually reaches the top gleaming with joy.

“The video features a few action shots of Chris, looking a bit like he’s being sucked into the rock”

Just  to add to your already sky-high envy of Chris, he has his own personal climbing rig in his basement so that he can train for those tough Yosemite climbs. Whilst most of us commute to our cosy local climbing gym, Chris, in true adventurer style, has manufactured his own basement Offwidth Climbing route out of wood, featuring multiple  crack routes of varying widths, and a full personal gym, allowing him to ‘be closer to his kids’. It’s no surprise that Chris has built this, given the tough nature of Offwidth Climbing he probably needs all the training he can get.

Considering he’s one of the world’s top action sports and adventure photographers, and goes to some of the world’s most epic locations, you can be forgiven for thinking that the whole idea of him being into Offwidth Climbing seems a bit odd. But, after seeing Chris’ genuine enthusiasm for it, we’re sure you’ll want to give it a go (we certainly want to).

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