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Alyosha

Areas with good beginner cracks?

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Can anyone recommend some areas around Seattle (say, no more than 4-5hr drive) that have good beginner cracks? I'm looking for cracks in the 5.4-5.6 range that are reasonably straightforward to top-rope. Ideally, the approach would be reasonably short, and the crack would be pretty much the entire route: I would like to be able to practice climbing the crack a few times without annoying the people who want to climb the route and could care less about some fools wanting to practice crack climbing on that first pitch. Areas that are climbeable in autumn/winter, if the weather cooperates are a big bonus.

 

Thank you kindly.

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Vantage has some OK cracks, but I don't think I'd recommend it for top-rope crack climbing. Is Trapese Wall somehow not plagued with the typical piles of deadly flakes at the top of most Vantage crack climbs?

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octopusses garden at squamish, smoke bluffs in general. good luck with the weather, though...

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scott said:

octopusses garden at squamish, smoke bluffs in general. good luck with the weather, though...

 

I was thinking OG when I first replied, but then realized the poster specified 5.4-6. OG is more like 5.8-9 crack heaven isn't it?

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Yes, Saber, those cracks over there can be pretty good and they are so parallel sided that many of them really do force you to learn to jam. If that Trapese wall is cleaner up top than some areas, it'd be a good place to start. However, at Vantage it is for the most part more approaching 5.9 before you really do any actual jam crack climbing. On lower angle rock such as at Leavenworth, there actually are 5.4 to 5.6 jam cracks.

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There is a really nice long low angle jam crack at Upper Mountaineer Dome in Icicle Canyon, called The Left Crack that is good to practice on. You can lieback the thing, but you want to avoid that and force yourself to jam it the entire way, if you want to get practice. I believe it is 5.6.

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Squamish is the shit. Way better access to climbing than in Leavenworth... It just has to be dry. Pick a crag in the guidebook and just go.

 

A gaper like me got 10 pitches before noon one time. Then we made it to the coffeehouse and gaped more climbs in the afternoon. wave.gifthumbs_up.gif

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5.4-5.6 will likely be pretty easy for you. I would try to get on stuff in the 5.7-5.8 range because then you will have to use crack climbing technique where on something like 5.5 you could mostly face climb. The sooner you get comfertable with jamming the better.

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bigwalling said:

5.4-5.6 will likely be pretty easy for you.

 

If my past (and rather limited) experience with crack climbing is any indication, 5.4-5.6 should be just right for me difficulty-wise.

 

Thanks to everyone for their suggestions. Sounds like Icicle Creek Canyon is my best bet for now, and maybe I can go to Squamish or Vantage when I grow up. grin.gif

 

Royal Columns in Tieton sounds good too, but the only info I could find on it was a "here are a few routes, but, by all means, try any crack that looks good" in Soot. Thank you kndly, Mr. Soot, but not while I'm trying to learn new technique. hellno3d.gif

 

Thanks again to everyone who replied!

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Lots of good suggestions here, but I'd add Spring Mountain in Eastern Oregon, between Pendleton and La Grande. (probably at the limits of your 4-5 hour requirement from Seattle) It has some good moderate cracks, and would fit your social requirements, but I bet the season is closing out unless we get another heat wave. It'll be good come spring.

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Well, if you go to Squamish, Murrin Park has a cliff called the Sugar Loaf that will suit your level very well. It is very top ropeable also.

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bigwalling said:

Well, if you go to Squamish, Murrin Park has a cliff called the Sugar Loaf that will suit your level very well. It is very top ropeable also.

 

Klahanie Crack, next to Shannon Falls, is a good one, also. Someone has to lead it before it can be TR'd, but it's pretty forgiving. Hell, even I could ropegun it for you.

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Alyosha said:

bigwalling said:

5.4-5.6 will likely be pretty easy for you.

 

If my past (and rather limited) experience with crack climbing is any indication, 5.4-5.6 should be just right for me difficulty-wise.

 

Thanks to everyone for their suggestions. Sounds like Icicle Creek Canyon is my best bet for now, and maybe I can go to Squamish or Vantage when I grow up. grin.gif

 

Royal Columns in Tieton sounds good too, but the only info I could find on it was a "here are a few routes, but, by all means, try any crack that looks good" in Soot. Thank you kndly, Mr. Soot, but not while I'm trying to learn new technique. hellno3d.gif

 

Thanks again to everyone who replied!

 

you may find that 5.4-5.6 in Washington compares to some routes rated 5.7 or even 5.8 in some areas at Squamish....

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Sugerloaf cracks need no jamming, barely need hands.

I learned to jam on XY crack in Leavenworth, and Octopus Gardens in Squish. Personally, Octopus has a ton more to offer. Yeah they are a tad harder, but they are way longer, force more technique, and totally nice!

Another good crack to learn on is the crack on the right on the second pitch of GNS at Index. Pefect hands and fist 5.6, but someone has to lead to the anchors first.

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UltraMeggaCrack up near the Bobs at Exit 38. It's pretty low angle and the crack is fist size and sprouting weeds for the most part. I don't remember the rating, but it's near 5.5ish.

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Ultramega Crack is rated 5.8, but it's an Exit 38 5.8, which means it feels like 5.6. It's a long hike up there for that one crack, but there are three other cracks nearby, one on Chainsaw Wall, Crack One With Me 5.7, and one on the Peannacle, Salutiferous Exaltation, 5.8. "Crack One" looked rather short and unappealing. "Salutiferous" is kind of neat in it's own way. It takes a variety of small to medium cams.

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scott said:

octopusses garden at squamish, smoke bluffs in general. good luck with the weather, though...

 

I second that idea about OG. Also Krack Rock is a good place to practice. Never anybody there when I go past or climb there.

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