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hakioawa

Crack climbing

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Like a lot of people here I learned to climb indoors at the gym. I'm now starting to do multi-pitch trad routes outside and I find I'm stymied by the cracks. I know the basic techniques but for some reason I nothing sticks. I'd like to tick off outerspace and orbit this summer but the crack scares me a little.

Any recommendations for moderate (5.7-5.9) 1-2 pitch routes to hone my crack skills on? Sport (yeah I'd clip a bolt next to a crack), trad or alpine. Top Rope or Lead. Any suggestions?

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Index, Great Northern Slab. There are a few routes there. You can join the herd and top rope clasic crack. There is a bunch of stuff at Squish in the Smoke Bluff area. Castle Rock is good too.

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Outerspace's spectacular 300-foot crack is easier than one might think. There is gear available every six inches if you carry a rack big enough. The only challenge is that these pitches are very long, and their difficult sections require several pieces of the same size. Carry multiple cams in the two-inch to three-inch sizes, and save weight by learning to use hexes before you go.

The Smokebluff suggestion is an excellent one; these cliffs are a superb place to gain confidence and experience, with excellent gear and grades similar to Index but softer than Castle Rock. The Smokebluff Connection and its variations will not disappoint.

Closer to Seattle, I'd say that if you can lead Index's Godzilla competently, then Outerspace will be quite reasonable. Also, consider the quality pitches of the GM/Heart of the Country connection. Toxic Shock is a crack climb worth the hike.

In Leavenworth (say you find yourself there celebrating Hitler's birthday), if you can lead Classic Crack, the long pitches on Outerspace will not challenge you, although the crux traverse pitch will provide entertainment. Many agree that Orbit is more serious than Outerspace.

The U.W. rock has got a variety of crack climbing challenges; you will likely meet a character there who will be happy to coach you through the fundamentals of crack work.

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dude, if you're from the seattle area, there's no better place to hone your crack skills after work than the U.W. rock... well, besides heading an hour norht east to index.

the U.W. rock is where i first learned real crack climbing skills. you can cheat many of the cracks there with face/foot holds, but stay true to the pure jamming for the real deal. hands, fists, finger and off sizes too. warm summer evenings, soft gravel landings, raggae tunes from a parked VW bus and some cold beers... can't beat that for not leaving the city!

aside from that, when you get out there, my limited experience = thumbs up to pisces/libra crack @ the great northern slab in index - stout 10a crack, but fun (i've only seconded), and the first pitch of godzilla (5.9) to second pitch of city park (5.10b) - great crack pitches, although not as thuggish as libra/pisces (only seconded those pitches too).

classic crack in the icicle is a great 5.8 crack too, and the left variation has a good 5.9 start - a little wide and funky.

anyway, heed the recommendations of the real crack climbers out there and have fun. it's the best part of climbing as far as i'm concerned!

cheers.

 

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If you find yourself at Smith and don't feel like clipping:

White Satin 5.9 - fun 3 pitches

Karate Crack 5.10 - burly

Zebra Zion 5.10 - fun 4 pitches

 

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party in your pants- vantage, leavenworth- classic crack(the name says it all), givlers crack(similar to the upper pitches on outerspace: same size/angle), poison ivy crack, and of course castle rock- an exellent place to get proficient at multipitch trad climbing, there are a half dozen 3 pitch climbs there that are all under 5.8. At index, there is the great northern slabs(my first trad lead), and the lizard.

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ROTC and the free version of City Park. Jesus, Chepe, this guys getting psyched up to lead Outerspace!

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Hasdfasfyqeywrwhateverthefuckyernameis,

Dude you can probably already do Orbit. The crack climbing is not too difficult on it. If you can squeeze up the chimney pitch you are golden.

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As previously mentioned, you can't beat the UW rock for learning to crack climb. Easy access for practising techniques that will get you started crack climbing and keep you progressing. Get down there and start doing laps. Ask for "Coach", he'll get you started. grin.gif

Rgds

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hakioawa,

for what its worth, you can climb the upper crack on Outer Space without using the crack if you choose - there are jugs and knobs galore up there. if you can get past the 5.9 traverse pitch, you'll have no trouble with the upper crack. the greater issue is mastering the use of traditional protection systems if you're trained to clip bolts - a quick way to develop this mastery is to (don't shoot me) go aid up some easy cracks. This practice will force you to place LOTS of gear, and will also help you develop confidence in your placements since you'll be hanging on every piece. Once you get used to the idea that the stuff WILL hold you, the free climbing will come more readily. Hell, I'd even provide a belay if you want to try leading Classic Crack on aid - let me know a few days before you'd be coming to 11-worth. Have fun!

[This message has been edited by haireball (edited 08-07-2001).]

[This message has been edited by haireball (edited 08-07-2001).]

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Ok I don't want to work so...here are some lesser known routes at Index that might be a bit scruffy now but at least when I climbed them were fun:

Inner Wall:

Corner Flash 5.7 hand to wide hands

Happy Puppy 5.8/9 Hand to chimney

GN Slab

Top Rope the first part of Lizaed 5.8

Winkie Dinkie CLiff

Timberjack 5.8 lieback

Mid Wall

Robins Ramp 5.7 plus it's easy to TR some short cracks at the bottom.

Plum Puddin 5.9 finger crack lieback easy to hang on gear if you get tired.

And at the Fun Forest there are some easy things on the left side for TR'ing

 

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Second the motion in Givler's crack and Poison Ivy Crack in Leavenworth. Same with Castle Rock.

Also try Gibson's crack (5.5), Left Crack (5.6), Right Crack (5.2 ) at Mountaineers Dome. There are a bunch of easy jamcracks at Roto Wall (5.0 to 5.6 i think), another superb, but short 5.8 above that and left (can't remeber what it's called but it's in Kramar's book), Dogleg Crack (5.8+) by Alphabet Rock. R&D route on Icicle Buttress (5.5?) is a nice 3-4 pitch route that has some crack climbing.

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I agree with haireball.

The upper 2 pitches have enough jugs and knobs that you don't need to be fully in the crack. I don't think I ever had all hands\feet in the crack at once. And the gear placement is great if you have enough 2-3 gear. I you have a problem with the 5.9 traverse, the first crux you can place a tcu with a sling to use as aid.

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Squamish - Smoke Bluffs

At Octopus' Garden:

Octopus' Garden In The Shade (5.8)

Edible Panties (5.7 - difficult boulder start)

Pipe Dream (5.8)

At Neat and Cool:

Cat Crack (5.6)

You can set up a top rope and lap all these climbs. Great way to hone the techniqe.

 

BTW: In my opinion, Leavenworth's Classic Crack is a 5.9

 

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