Off width cracks
A good definition for off width cracks is every crack that is just too wide for straightforward jamming. They are just too big for foot jams or fist jams, and are too small to get into like you would do in a chimney.
Offwidths are very uncomfortable to climb and climbers from all over the world fear them and dislike them. Climbing them is very strenuous and resembles crawling upwords in a thin and ragged ditch, not unlike a squeeze chimney, only your body is not in that groove, but just one arm' une leg, and sometimes a shoulder. This is not a very delicate, balanced or elegant style of climbing, and it involves a lot of teeth grinding, swearwords and frustration. The reason is that apparently, there is no easy way to climb off widths and most climbers prever to ignore ond avoid them whenever possible, rather that tckle the problemn and practice the technique. Experienced off width climbers say, however, that with some training and instruction, climbing offwidth becomes feasible, even if not really easy.
The hardest offwidths to climb are the ones taht are too thin to stick your knee in. In this case you need to jam your entire hand, up to your shoulder, move your feet up and stack them in the crack, then take your shoulder out and put it right back in, higher in the crack. This is hard ork and progress is slow.
When you can jam your knee, life becomes a little nicer. that neans also more of your shoulder can go in, and it's more (even tough not exactly) like chimney climbing. You need to decide in advance which side of your body you want in, because once you start, it might b impossible to swich sides. You might want to take into account the differences between sides. if one wall sticks out more, it might give more support to your back. If one wall is less smooth, it might offer better friction and footholds. This may proove usefull as you can stand on a foothold and only jam your upper body in.
A common practice in offwidths is stacking, that is, jamming two hands or two feet at the same point. It is a general recomendation not to go too deep into the crack, as it might limit the climbers mobvements even more.
Contributions to this page by: Micha Yaniv and others