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hawaii_climbing_guy


Jul 15, 2010, 6:20 AM
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training for crack-climbing without good cracks
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Hi guys,

I have a friend who wants to climb The Nose with me next summer. I've been climbing for about 10 years going on now and I can place gear on 5.10.

I've been told that The Nose has many 5.10 splitter cracks that go on for hundreds of feet. The problem is, although I climb trad at that grade, I don't have regular access to many good splitter cracks. One of the local climbing gyms has *one* splitter crack that feels like it goes at 5.10/11 for about 40 feet and two splitter cracks that go at about 5.12 for about 25 feet.

Two days ago, I learned the proper taping technique and was climbing the 40 foot crack at the gym. I ended up taking a hang on it the first lap and not finishing at all the second lap. My body was shaking all over and I've been sore from these two laps. I can clearly see that climbing tough crack, even on top-rope at the gym, will require me to improve my crack-specific technique *and* crack-specific strength; it works a completely different set of muscles.

I know there are a few 5.10 crack routes at Seneca Rocks, but they aren't splitter cracks and I don't get to climb there every weekend. I used to live somewhere where I could drive to a decent crag in 45 minutes. Now, Seneca Rocks is the closest major climbing destination at 2.5 hours away generally requiring an entire weekend commitment to climb. I now climb at the gym more often than anywhere else.

I'd be particularly interested in hearing from those of you who have climbed The Nose.

In short, what can I do to improve my crack-climbing strength besides doing laps on the few cracks at the local gym?


(This post was edited by hawaii_climbing_guy on Jul 15, 2010, 6:21 AM)


lemon_boy


Jul 15, 2010, 7:56 AM
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Re: [hawaii_climbing_guy] training for crack-climbing without good cracks [In reply to]
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you are going to have a really hard time climbing the nose, given your crack climbing skills. you should probably start with significantly shorter and easier routes and slowly work your way up.


jonwlkerblak


Jul 15, 2010, 8:06 AM
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You could always end up aiding half that thing. I see a few 50 year old 5.8 climbers at my gym explaining how theyre gonna "do the nose again".........however if you want to get badass and lead most of it, you need real cracks, gym cracks are great practice. If you cant find outdoor cracks or more gym cracks, you could always make an adjustable crack machine. I wont even try to explain, heres a link, do a google search and maybe youll find instructions with pictures. http://www.tradgirl.com/climbing_faq/home_walls.htm#crack


dugl33


Jul 15, 2010, 8:23 AM
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Re: [hawaii_climbing_guy] training for crack-climbing without good cracks [In reply to]
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hawaii_climbing_guy wrote:
Hi guys,

I have a friend who wants to climb The Nose with me next summer. I've been climbing for about 10 years going on now and I can place gear on 5.10.

I've been told that The Nose has many 5.10 splitter cracks that go on for hundreds of feet. The problem is, although I climb trad at that grade, I don't have regular access to many good splitter cracks. One of the local climbing gyms has *one* splitter crack that feels like it goes at 5.10/11 for about 40 feet and two splitter cracks that go at about 5.12 for about 25 feet.

Two days ago, I learned the proper taping technique and was climbing the 40 foot crack at the gym. I ended up taking a hang on it the first lap and not finishing at all the second lap. My body was shaking all over and I've been sore from these two laps. I can clearly see that climbing tough crack, even on top-rope at the gym, will require me to improve my crack-specific technique *and* crack-specific strength; it works a completely different set of muscles.

I know there are a few 5.10 crack routes at Seneca Rocks, but they aren't splitter cracks and I don't get to climb there every weekend. I used to live somewhere where I could drive to a decent crag in 45 minutes. Now, Seneca Rocks is the closest major climbing destination at 2.5 hours away generally requiring an entire weekend commitment to climb. I now climb at the gym more often than anywhere else.

I'd be particularly interested in hearing from those of you who have climbed The Nose.

In short, what can I do to improve my crack-climbing strength besides doing laps on the few cracks at the local gym?

Those are actually 5.9 and 5.9+.

Well, in all seriousness, sounds like your options are limited. You mention Seneca -- so you're here on the mainland?

There is no substitute for mileage on real cracks on real rock. Try to put together some trips between now and then. Indian Creek, Lumpy Ridge, Red Rocks, Yosemite if you can swing it. I'm sure others might have east coast suggestions.

As far as the gym goes just keep taping up and hitting what's available to you. Go from 1 hang to no hang to multiple laps being lowered back to earth as quickly as possible. See if there is someone who is more solid on it than you to watch and get some tips from. I doubt its just strength holding you back. You can also use some face holds for feet as you are getting used to the movement and muscle memory, or to alter the movement a bit on lap 3 or 4. You'll look like a freak show but work up to plugging gear and clipping a dummy rope.

As mentioned, making a crack machine could certainly help. I've never used one, but I've had access to the real thing. Just start working through all the sizes, from finger locks to offwidth, and you'll be tearing it up in no time.


hawaii_climbing_guy


Jul 15, 2010, 8:42 AM
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Re: [hawaii_climbing_guy] training for crack-climbing without good cracks [In reply to]
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In reply to:
As mentioned, making a crack machine could certainly help. I've never used one, but I've had access to the real thing. Just start working through all the sizes, from finger locks to offwidth, and you'll be tearing it up in no time.
This is the direction I'm leaning toward right now. I have a small apartment and use one of those "Iron Gym" door-mounted pull-up bars. They have a set of "rock rings" at the gym that you can use to train pull-ups on crimps. I think that a similar concept would be to put together some lumber into a crack shape, hang them from slings, and use them to do "jam-pull-ups" in a similar fashion.

Has anyone here built any kind of home exercise equipment to train for jamming on?


Partner cracklover


Jul 15, 2010, 9:02 AM
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hawaii_climbing_guy wrote:
Hi guys,

I have a friend who wants to climb The Nose with me next summer. I've been climbing for about 10 years going on now and I can place gear on 5.10.

I've been told that The Nose has many 5.10 splitter cracks that go on for hundreds of feet. The problem is, although I climb trad at that grade, I don't have regular access to many good splitter cracks. One of the local climbing gyms has *one* splitter crack that feels like it goes at 5.10/11 for about 40 feet and two splitter cracks that go at about 5.12 for about 25 feet.

Two days ago, I learned the proper taping technique and was climbing the 40 foot crack at the gym. I ended up taking a hang on it the first lap and not finishing at all the second lap. My body was shaking all over and I've been sore from these two laps. I can clearly see that climbing tough crack, even on top-rope at the gym, will require me to improve my crack-specific technique *and* crack-specific strength; it works a completely different set of muscles.

I know there are a few 5.10 crack routes at Seneca Rocks, but they aren't splitter cracks and I don't get to climb there every weekend. I used to live somewhere where I could drive to a decent crag in 45 minutes. Now, Seneca Rocks is the closest major climbing destination at 2.5 hours away generally requiring an entire weekend commitment to climb. I now climb at the gym more often than anywhere else.

I'd be particularly interested in hearing from those of you who have climbed The Nose.

In short, what can I do to improve my crack-climbing strength besides doing laps on the few cracks at the local gym?

If the crack climbing is seriously your biggest obstacle to a successful trip up the Nose, that's great news! Book a week-long trip to Indian Creek this fall, and climb your ass off. Make sure to work a variety of sizes. By the time you're done with that week, I can assure you you'll have the base skills you need. Then you can work on adding finesse and power to those skills over the remaining nine months before the big outing.

Honestly, I wish I were so lucky.

Cheers,

GO


Partner cracklover


Jul 15, 2010, 9:07 AM
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Re: [hawaii_climbing_guy] training for crack-climbing without good cracks [In reply to]
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hawaii_climbing_guy wrote:
In reply to:
As mentioned, making a crack machine could certainly help. I've never used one, but I've had access to the real thing. Just start working through all the sizes, from finger locks to offwidth, and you'll be tearing it up in no time.
This is the direction I'm leaning toward right now. I have a small apartment and use one of those "Iron Gym" door-mounted pull-up bars. They have a set of "rock rings" at the gym that you can use to train pull-ups on crimps. I think that a similar concept would be to put together some lumber into a crack shape, hang them from slings, and use them to do "jam-pull-ups" in a similar fashion.

Has anyone here built any kind of home exercise equipment to train for jamming on?

Do you think a beginning climber can learn to climb sustained 5.11 by mounting a pair of 5.11 crimps on their doorframe and doing pullups? That's exactly what you're trying to do. Crack climbing is a full skill set, just like face climbing. It involves a different set of movements, body positions, hand positions, and tactics.

Good luck.

GO


hawaii_climbing_guy


Jul 15, 2010, 9:18 AM
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Re: [cracklover] training for crack-climbing without good cracks [In reply to]
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In reply to:
Do you think a beginning climber can learn to climb sustained 5.11 by mounting a pair of 5.11 crimps on their doorframe and doing pullups? That's exactly what you're trying to do. Crack climbing is a full skill set, just like face climbing. It involves a different set of movements, body positions, hand positions, and tactics.

Good luck.

At the risk of being trolled, I'll respond. No, a beginning climber cannot learn to climb sustained 5.11 by doing pull-ups on 5.11 crimps. However, a beginning climber could train sport-specific stength by doing pull-ups on crimps.

Building the strength would solve part of the puzzle.


bill413


Jul 15, 2010, 9:21 AM
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When I read the OP's original description, I wondered. Now reading the idea about "pull-up cracks" I'm pretty sure.

Crack climbing is much more than all about the hands and arms. Feet are critical also. Whether used in the crack on holds, used in the crack as jams, or out on the face, they play an essential part. If you're trying to campus a crack you're going to burn out very quickly.


caughtinside


Jul 15, 2010, 9:29 AM
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have you done any aid climbing?


lucaskrajnik


Jul 15, 2010, 10:11 AM
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OP says how to train for crack, not your thoughts on the nose.

I notice alot of people shoot these nOOBs down trying to go for the nose.

anyway.. yes I guarantee doing different size crack pull ups and hanging one hand at a time(if possible), to practice placeing while pumped. Will greatly improve your chances.


caughtinside


Jul 15, 2010, 10:29 AM
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lucaskrajnik wrote:
OP says how to train for crack, not your thoughts on the nose.

I notice alot of people shoot these nOOBs down trying to go for the nose.

anyway.. yes I guarantee doing different size crack pull ups and hanging one hand at a time(if possible), to practice placeing while pumped. Will greatly improve your chances.

Have you done crack pullups? What did you use?

Anyway, the point is, that just because you can lead 5.10 placing gear, doesn't mean you can lead 5.10 crack. If you've never crack climbed, or done very little of it, it's going to be tough. Sure, it isn't rocket science. But I also think that a 5.10 climber whose only concern is how to train for crack would be well served to know how to aid climb, if they don't already.

In my opinion, the only real way to learn to crack climb is to crack climb. Same for aid. The nose is possible, but it's going to take a lot more than crack hangboard workouts.


lucaskrajnik


Jul 15, 2010, 11:52 AM
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hawaii_climbing_guy wrote:
Hi guys,

I have a friend who wants to climb The Nose with me next summer. I've been climbing for about 10 years going on now and I can place gear on 5.10.

I've been told that The Nose has many 5.10 splitter cracks that go on for hundreds of feet. The problem is, although I climb trad at that grade, I don't have regular access to many good splitter cracks. One of the local climbing gyms has *one* splitter crack that feels like it goes at 5.10/11 for about 40 feet and two splitter cracks that go at about 5.12 for about 25 feet.

Two days ago, I learned the proper taping technique and was climbing the 40 foot crack at the gym. I ended up taking a hang on it the first lap and not finishing at all the second lap. My body was shaking all over and I've been sore from these two laps. I can clearly see that climbing tough crack, even on top-rope at the gym, will require me to improve my crack-specific technique *and* crack-specific strength; it works a completely different set of muscles.

I know there are a few 5.10 crack routes at Seneca Rocks, but they aren't splitter cracks and I don't get to climb there every weekend. I used to live somewhere where I could drive to a decent crag in 45 minutes. Now, Seneca Rocks is the closest major climbing destination at 2.5 hours away generally requiring an entire weekend commitment to climb. I now climb at the gym more often than anywhere else.

I'd be particularly interested in hearing from those of you who have climbed The Nose.

In short, what can I do to improve my crack-climbing strength besides doing laps on the few cracks at the local gym?

"I've been climbing for 10 years and can place on 5.10" Im assuming he knows what the nose is about..

2-2x10s, 4 holes L=2'-0"
4-1/2" threaded rod L=1'0"
8-washers and nuts

Boom! adjustable hang board.
And yes I will still say, being able to hang on just as long as an experienced climber will definatly help you get back in mental/physical shape


Partner cracklover


Jul 15, 2010, 11:59 AM
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hawaii_climbing_guy wrote:
In reply to:
Do you think a beginning climber can learn to climb sustained 5.11 by mounting a pair of 5.11 crimps on their doorframe and doing pullups? That's exactly what you're trying to do. Crack climbing is a full skill set, just like face climbing. It involves a different set of movements, body positions, hand positions, and tactics.

Good luck.

At the risk of being trolled, I'll respond. No, a beginning climber cannot learn to climb sustained 5.11 by doing pull-ups on 5.11 crimps. However, a beginning climber could train sport-specific stength by doing pull-ups on crimps.

Building the strength would solve part of the puzzle.

Well sure, but if you plan to climb the Nose in a year, and your ability to climb sustained 5.10 and 5.11 crack is your one weak link, then "solving part of the puzzle" = bailing off the Nose.

Imagine putting that beginner who's spent six months doing little more than training on crimps on a doorframe onto a fifteen pitch sustained sport climb in which the difficulties ranged from 5.10 to 5.11+ on every pitch. How far do you think they'd get?

That's equivalent to what you're suggesting.

Crack machines can be useful training tools for people who already know how to crack climb, in exactly the same sense that campus boards are useful tools for high end sport climbing.

If you want to learn to climb cracks, you simply must go climb cracks. Sorry, there are no short cuts.

GO


shimanilami


Jul 15, 2010, 12:11 PM
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lucaskrajnik wrote:
OP says how to train for crack, not your thoughts on the nose.

I notice alot of people shoot these nOOBs down trying to go for the nose.

anyway.. yes I guarantee doing different size crack pull ups and hanging one hand at a time(if possible), to practice placeing while pumped. Will greatly improve your chances.

It seems to me that Caughtinside's question about the OP's aid experience is quite relevant. Even if the OP was a stout 5.12 crack climber, he'd still need to use aid to get up the Nose. (And I'm not just referring to pulling on gear. For an endeavor like the Nose, you need to have your big wall systems down pat.)

Regarding crack climbing tips, I'd suggest the OP try to wear out the crack climbs at his local gym. The climbing on the Nose isn't, for the most part, that hard, but there is a ton of it. I'd recommend that he start by climbing 1000' of cracks a day, even if they're only 5.9. That will condition his core, his legs, his back, etc. And as far as fingers and hands go, he can start pulling on gear once those wear out ... presuming he knows how, of course (see my point above).


welle


Jul 15, 2010, 12:11 PM
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Hey, HI_guy. I mostly climb in the Gunks, so there isn't much crack climbing around. Lately, I have been apprenticing on crack by making weekend trips to Adirondacks and New Hampshire. A couple of things I've learned:

- pure crack climbing is way harder than occasional finger jamming while edging on the face
- perfect vertical splitter cracks are rare, most are overhanging and/or leaning to the side
- "hand" crack can depend on whose hand you are talking about, better make sure you are dialed in on offwidths as well
- nothing is as satisfying and secure as a bomber jam
- placing gear so it's not in the way of your hands or feet is tricky
- learned to leapfrog gear

I'm still long ways from being good at crack climbing, but the good news is few outings on real crack help improve way faster than climbing on fake gym cracks. There is a kiddy crack in my gym that I kept falling off of even sidepulling, laybacking and smearing the wall, but yesterday I walked up it jamming the entire way without a single sidepull and foregoing the face holds. Also, make sure to go climb places with predominantly crack climbs to get more realistic feel for the grades. Areas with limited crack climbing may have inflated grades...

BTW, if you are close to Seneca, you maybe within a weekend trip distance from Looking Glass in NC. Many East Coast Nose aspirants go there to get some taste of big wall granite.


shimanilami


Jul 15, 2010, 12:18 PM
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cracklover wrote:
Well sure, but if you plan to climb the Nose in a year, and your ability to climb sustained 5.10 and 5.11 crack is your one weak link, then "solving part of the puzzle" = bailing off the Nose.

Imagine putting that beginner who's spent six months doing little more than training on crimps on a doorframe onto a fifteen pitch sustained sport climb in which the difficulties ranged from 5.10 to 5.11+ on every pitch. How far do you think they'd get?

That's equivalent to what you're suggesting.

Crack machines can be useful training tools for people who already know how to crack climb, in exactly the same sense that campus boards are useful tools for high end sport climbing.

If you want to learn to climb cracks, you simply must go climb cracks. Sorry, there are no short cuts.

GO

I agree entirely.

With that said, bailing off the Nose isn't that difficult, not unless you're hands are cramping up, or it's dumping rain on your head, or you've got an incompetent partner, or it's dark and you've got no headlamp ... in which case, it sucks. Trust me.


dugl33


Jul 15, 2010, 12:22 PM
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hawaii_climbing_guy wrote:
In reply to:
As mentioned, making a crack machine could certainly help. I've never used one, but I've had access to the real thing. Just start working through all the sizes, from finger locks to offwidth, and you'll be tearing it up in no time.
This is the direction I'm leaning toward right now. I have a small apartment and use one of those "Iron Gym" door-mounted pull-up bars. They have a set of "rock rings" at the gym that you can use to train pull-ups on crimps. I think that a similar concept would be to put together some lumber into a crack shape, hang them from slings, and use them to do "jam-pull-ups" in a similar fashion.

Has anyone here built any kind of home exercise equipment to train for jamming on?

Apartment living does add a degree of difficulty to the home-made crack scenario. I would say, though, if you're going to do it at least go floor to ceiling with your lumber. You could add an edge nailed 2x4 to the 2x10s (like and L in cross section - i.e. "strongback") to add rigidity and give wall attachment options. You could also put a block on the ceiling to attach to. If you drill pilot holes, use deck screws, and manage to miss wiring and plumbing, you can take it all down when you leave and putty the holes. If you're lucky your ceiling height is taller than 8'. Once you've used it for a while kick it up into a slight overhang. You can add a little feature to it with a belt sander on the inside edges, a final sand, and a varnish or texture coat.

The point being, even if you are doing sit starts and only going up to the ceiling and back down, this is going to help more than just jam pull ups.

If you have access to a weight gym you can add in bent dumbbell rows and close grip (palm sides of hands face each other) pull downs to get a bit more strength and endurance.

I have to agree with others that this is just one item on the list to be ready for the nose. Get in some aid practice, jugging, hauling, etc as well.


hyhuu


Jul 15, 2010, 12:23 PM
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If you are currently in NoVA, which is about 2.5 hrs away from Seneca, then I suggest Old Rag (1.5 hr) as another place to practice your crack techniques. It's granite and there are a number of cracks in various sizes. The other place is the New, it's further but worth the drive.


Partner cracklover


Jul 15, 2010, 12:29 PM
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shimanilami wrote:
cracklover wrote:
Well sure, but if you plan to climb the Nose in a year, and your ability to climb sustained 5.10 and 5.11 crack is your one weak link, then "solving part of the puzzle" = bailing off the Nose.

Imagine putting that beginner who's spent six months doing little more than training on crimps on a doorframe onto a fifteen pitch sustained sport climb in which the difficulties ranged from 5.10 to 5.11+ on every pitch. How far do you think they'd get?

That's equivalent to what you're suggesting.

Crack machines can be useful training tools for people who already know how to crack climb, in exactly the same sense that campus boards are useful tools for high end sport climbing.

If you want to learn to climb cracks, you simply must go climb cracks. Sorry, there are no short cuts.

GO

I agree entirely.

With that said, bailing off the Nose isn't that difficult, not unless you're hands are cramping up, or it's dumping rain on your head, or you've got an incompetent partner, or it's dark and you've got no headlamp ... in which case, it sucks. Trust me.

No doubt. But even if bailing were a piece of cake, if I had the opportunity to make a serious run at The Nose, you can bet I'd try real hard to have my shit together and minimize the chances of that happening.

GO


hawaii_climbing_guy


Jul 15, 2010, 12:50 PM
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In reply to:
No doubt. But even if bailing were a piece of cake, if I had the opportunity to make a serious run at The Nose, you can bet I'd try real hard to have my shit together and minimize the chances of that happening.

...and I hear that statistically, the chances of bailing are > 50%

I'm going to have to check out Old Rag. It doesn't get a whole lot of use by the local climbers here and I hear it's a tough spot to navigate, but I'll see what I can do.


justroberto


Jul 16, 2010, 6:37 AM
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Re: [caughtinside] training for crack-climbing without good cracks [In reply to]
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caughtinside wrote:
have you done any aid climbing?
That's the million dollar question. This sounds like USNavy all over again. I'd love to read the El Cap report on that attempt.


hawaii_climbing_guy


Jul 16, 2010, 7:07 AM
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Re: [hawaii_climbing_guy] training for crack-climbing without good cracks [In reply to]
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That's the million dollar question. This sounds like USNavy all over again. I'd love to read the El Cap report on that attempt.

What does this have to do with "USNavy" ???


camhead


Jul 16, 2010, 7:42 AM
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Re: [hawaii_climbing_guy] training for crack-climbing without good cracks [In reply to]
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So, you are somewhere on the middle East Coast area, or Hawaii? I've heard Old Rag is a good place for cracks. Check the NRG as well; the new guidebook states pretty clearly what some of the great pure crack lines are there (New Yosemite, Supercrack, Happy Hands).

Beyond that, what you are going to want to do is get solid on handjams. Here are some suggestions, assuming you cannot get outside too much.

1. Make sure you've got the right shoes. For an all day route with a lot of handjamming, err on the side of something stiffer, lots of support, and with no trace of toe bending.

2. Search around your city for good buildering handcracks. In most places, they are not uncommon; furthermore, cracks in concrete are usually slicker and more parallel-sided than sculpted gym cracks, so your technique will get that much better.

3. If you can find roof cracks, even better. Get comfortable hanging and doing lockoffs on handjams.

4. If you are really motivated, try building a crack machine, or perhaps mess with a hangboard feature that you can handjam on.

Finally, keep training everything else for long routes as well. Get your endurance in tip-top shape. I've not been on the Nose, but since it's granite, you can be sure that there will be more feet than pure splitters at Indian Creek, so keep working your footwork. And, as a last resort, work on your jugging technique.

Good luck.


minibiter


Jul 16, 2010, 8:20 AM
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This sounds exactly like a post someone else made a while ago, If you're in range of Seneca then you're in range of a few other key places. While someone else may have said the same thing already:

1) Use Seneca to train your logistics. Belay transitions, rope management, swinging leads, etc. Try to climb 10 or 15 pitches in a day there. It's the only place around where you can learn multipitch technique. There are routes there that very much benefit from crack skills, but it's a far cry from the cracks you'll find in granite. Crack of Dawn comes to mind, maybe Madmen Only (I haven't been on it yet but it looks like it could be a good hand-ish crack) but the rock at Seneca tends not to form cracks like granite does.

2) Use Old Rag to train your crack climbing. The granite there is way more frictiony than in the Valley but the moves will feel exactly the same. I recommend Strawberry Fields, Report To Sick Bay, Oh My God, and Bushwhack Crack. I don't know of a good straight-in finger crack at Old Rag in the 5.10 range, maybe you can find one. Pitch 2 of Strawberry fields is fingers but is mostly laybacked. Supercrack is straight in fingers but it's 5.13 :) maybe good for aid practice.

Someone mentioned the New, and there are a few good splitters there but the skills won't transfer as directly as if you learned them on granite. The approaches are waaay better than Old Rag though. Indian Summer (off-finger), King of Swing (finger), New Yosemite (hand), Fantasy Crack (hand), Burning Calves (finger), Spider Wand (fist-hand), Wham Bam Thanks For The Jam (fist-hand), Smooth Operator (fist), China Crisis (fist-ow), Fat Man's Folly (chimney-fist-and more), Unnamed SL # 16 (finger-chimney-hand), and there are plenty more. But they way you'll learn to move on Old Rag will transfer directly to the Valley.

Oh and if you're going to do the Nose and you aren't solid on 5.12+ granite cracks, I imagine you're going to have to know how to aid.

Good Luck!

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