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neeterock


Jul 15, 2003, 5:26 AM
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crack climbing question....
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I looked on the techniques area and couldn't find anything on crack climbing. I'm a beginner to the whole climbing scope (10 months) and tried crack climbing last night at a gym. Now, I know it's nothing like real(outside) crack climbing but I couldn't get myself that far off the ground.
This wall is really starting to piss me off, I really want to get up this route but it's so difficult. Is there any technique anyone could give me to kick this walls ass? The challenge is absolutely wonderful and I am completely inthralled with this wall...please some info!!!!


Partner rrrADAM


Jul 15, 2003, 5:54 AM
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Hands, fingers, fist, offwidth ???

Hands are the easiest... Put you hands in the crack, cup hand, insert feet in crack (knee out/big toe up, twist knee in), stand up, repeat.

Try to use your legs to go up, not pulling with you hands... Think climbing a ladder, as you hands only keep you from falling backwards, you legs push you up. Keep moving the feet up, and standing. Look for constrictions in the crack that will lock on your wrist. Keep you body close to the wall.

Crack climbing is "blue collar" climbing brutha. :wink:


neeterock


Jul 15, 2003, 6:19 AM
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Hey, thanks man!!! I'll try to work that in (without looking like a complete ass).

Shubee


briang


Jul 15, 2003, 6:45 AM
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hey there,
another tip for footwork, which may seem really obvious but when pointed out to me helped significantly, is to cam your toe or foot in the crack. just slide it in sideways then rotate your knee back until you feel your foot lockoff. also dont be tempted to do high steps as it requires a lot more effort from you arms in order to get your body back above your feet, instead, when it affords you, just work your feet up in smaller incraments. as the previous post mentioned you want to let your legs move you up the wall as much as possible.


neeterock


Jul 15, 2003, 6:53 AM
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Thanks...I think that was one of my major problems last night. I had no idea how to stick my feet in...my hands are ripped to shit, but it's all good. Thanks again...great advice!!!

Shubee


redpoint73


Jul 15, 2003, 7:23 AM
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Don't sweat it if you can't get good hand, finger, foot jams at the gym. It is usually much tougher to crack climb on an artificial crack. Some places might have a good simulation of a crack, particularly if the wall is a concrete covered surface (such as Nicros, Solid Rock, or Eldorado wall; or a similar "homemade" construction). But at many gyms, you are just trying to jam on parallel sided faces of plywood, maybe covered with a bit of texture.

Outside, there are more features in the cracks that help you jam. Every type of rock is a bit different, but many crack have little pods, bottle necks, and texture that help you jam easier. Particularly on more moderate or easy cracks. Also, for some reason I tend to feel much more motivated to jam outside. Even on a nicely made crack in a gym, I just don't feel motivated to endure the pain. I think my subconscious is thinking "its not a real crack, why the hell should I have to put up with the pain?"

Once you understand the basics of jamming (as others have already described), you should have no problem. Just try it outside.


hangingonfordearlife


Jul 15, 2003, 7:26 AM
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Here's some cool website i found yesterday on the subject of crack climbing thought i'd share it with ya http://www.uoregon.edu/...ng/crackclimbing.htm good luck dude


redpoint73


Jul 15, 2003, 7:35 AM
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Couple more things:

If you are tearing up your hands, then try taping. It will save your skin, and also make the jamming less painful, because the layers of tape actually cushion your hands a bit.

Also, if you are trying to hand jam (larger than fingers, smaller then fists) its often best to insert your hands thumbs-down. Then cam or twist them slightly inside the crack. Your hands will naturally want to return to the thumbs-up position, which keeps the hand securely cammed.


neeterock


Jul 15, 2003, 8:32 AM
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Wow!!! Thanks...the sites amazing...really helpful!!! Thanks for all your tips.
I heard a tale...most likely a tall tale, that if you use tape on you hands while you climb you cut down on the developmental speed of strength in your fingers... is this true?

Shub's


petsfed


Jul 15, 2003, 8:36 AM
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As rrradam said, hand cups and toe cams. Indian Creek style (especially thumbs down). Toe cams hurt in the wrong shoes. Be warned. As far as not highstepping goes, it will be nigh on impossible if you've never crack climbed before, so it shouldn't be an issue. In all cracks, look always for constrictions so you don't have to actually jam per se. You simply slot your hand/finger/first knuckle above said constriction and put your weight on the bone structure. It's almost like cheating. Likewise with fistjams. Footjams need not be toecams though. You can simply stick your toe directly into the crack and stand on it. The problem here is twofold though. First, its not always stable, as your foot will slide a bit until it wedges firmly. Second, once wedged firmly, yanking that sucker out can rip the sole off your shoe. Wider cracks are a discussion for another time.


dingus


Jul 15, 2003, 9:04 AM
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Check out the rec.climbing archives with a Google Advanced usenet search of that specific newsgroup. Keywords "secrets of crack climbing." You will find years of comments and the occasional word of wisdom in there.

Here is my contribution to the subject. May it be of some use to you (original thread url below, then original post reposted for your convenience, but check out the thread, tons of other good advice in there):

http://groups.google.com/groups?selm=3BE17ED9.2E7F0FDA%40midtown.net&output=gplain


The Secrets of Crack Climbing, by Dingus Milktoast

So what are they? What once piece of advice (or theme) would
you offer aspiring crack climbers?

Here's mine:

Yosemite: I see a lot of crack neophytes making a
fundamental mistake in their approach to climbing Yosemite
moderates. It concerns the use of the hands for upward
progress.

The classic image of a crack climber is some honed babe
reaching way high, locking some fingers or the back of her
hand in a crack and then cranking like a disease, biceps
bulging as she moves up the crack. That's the image...

The reality is that the hands should not be used all that
much for upward progress. Or rather, the use of the hands
for upward progress should be minimized as much as possible.
The same holds true for face climbing, but it's easier to
see there.

Our crack newbie comes to climb a line. The typical sequence
is to reach as high as possible, lock off (or something that
approximates a lockoff), then paw the feet up as high as
possible too, then fight to strenuously stand up, and wobbly
slap the other hand even higher. By stretching and reaching
like that, the leader is assuring herself of staying
continuously out of balance. By reaching too high, she leans
too close to the rock. This makes moving the feet up hard
and strenuous. It leaves the leader feeling insecure and
gripped.

OK, that's an image of poor crack climbing technique. What
would I offer to improve the picture? Here goes...

A simple adjustment of the mind can do wonders. And relaxing
the mind can do more. Cause crack climbing (all climbing in
my opinion, but we're talking crack just now) requires
relaxation.

Instead of reaching as high as possible, purposely look for
jams a foot lower, so the elbow is still bent once the jam
is discovered. Get a good jam, fiddle with it if you must,
and then once again purposely, back off on the lock pressure
until it feels as though the jam may slip if you let off
more.

Now walk the feet up the crack. Not huge, giant steps that
require a lot of hand pressure from which to stand. Smaller
steps, a foot at a time for example, and walk up, without
moving the hands. You walk as high as possible, stand in
balance, and then reach higher and repeat.

The other key to this, and the key to the Yosemite crack
candy store, is proper foot work. Too exhaustive a subject
for me to broach extensively, but the single most common
mistake I see is people just kicking or slapping their feet
into a fissure without regard to the best possibilities for
jamming.

Here's the secret... the more secure your feet are, the less
you will rely upon your hands for upward progress. The less
you rely upon your hands for upward progress, the better.

The same holds true for most foot jamming possibilities...
but is required for thin to hand sized cracks. Don't put
your foot in when oriented horizontally. Nope. Bend your
knee outward at right angles, so that your foot is rotated
into a vertical orientation. Now insert the foot (or toe)
into the crack, big toe up, little toe down. Feel around for
the most secure position. Then rotate the knee back in line
with your body. That rotation serves to lock the foot jam
into place. You can actually feel it lock down. When done
properly, you will realize that your feet can give
you more secure locking power than even your hands.

Knowing your feet won't slip allows you to relax your hands
even more. It's a feedback loop in the classic sense. And of
course, as you move up the grades, you rely on your hands
more and more. Yet mastering the basics of proper footwork
at the lower grades enables you to use your feet to
their best advantage once the going really gets tough.

Mentally, instead of thinking about cranking, or perfect
form, think "easy." The idea, unless you're a poser, is to
make the climbing look easy. The classic nasty Yosemite
flares for instance, are notorious for causing newbie
anxiety. And yet once you learn such techniques as hip scums
and what I label 90 degree toe jams (toe jams in blank
corners and the backs of flares), of properly using the
shoulders, of how to use leg and calf bars to totally take
the weight off your arms, once you start thinking of your
feet first and your hands second. you'll float these things
too. They really are moderate once you make the mental leap
to focus, and I mean really focus, on the feet.

Last note: my experience has been that gym crack simulations
are not very useful for practicing this type of movement.
Most of the gym cracks I've seen are very steep and
typically try to cram every known type of constriction into
the space of a 20 or 30 foot crack. You can't often get your
feet into them properly so you climb mostly on your hands. A
person can get quite strong at this very quickly. But when
he comes out of the gym and gets on a crack where the angle
is 90 or less and the jams are totally flaring and
insecure... well, let's just say his training sets him up
with the wrong tools and the wrong mindset.

You climb with your feet, not your hands. Your feet give you
balance and security. Say it over and over and just like
with Dorothy going back to Kansas, it will come true.

Whaddaya think? Am I blowing smoke, or what?

DMT


westcoastvert


Jul 15, 2003, 9:25 AM
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In reply to:
Also, for some reason I tend to feel much more motivated to jam outside. Even on a nicely made crack in a gym, I just don't feel motivated to endure the pain. I think my subconscious is thinking "its not a real crack, why the hell should I have to put up with the pain?"

SO TRUE!!!

The best way to learn how to climb crack is to climb crack. tolerating the pain is much easier when you're outside and a couple pitches up. You'll be surprised how quickly you learn that way.

However, I found a good way to build up strength:

Find two 2x12's about 2 feet long (good smooth ones)
using spacers on either side place the boards parallel to each other and fasten the whole piece together.
Preferably use some sort of wing nut so you can adjust the width later.
Hang this from the ceiling with some sturdy ropes.
Jam those hands in there and do pull ups!!!

You'll be surprised how quickly your forearms build up and how fast your knuckles build up a tolerance. When I first started I had bruises constantly.

Best of luck!!!


redpoint73


Jul 15, 2003, 9:36 AM
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In reply to:
I heard a tale...most likely a tall tale, that if you use tape on you hands while you climb you cut down on the developmental speed of strength in your fingers... is this true?

They were talking about taping around the pulley tendons in your fingers, to reinforce them and prevent the tendons from tearing when you climb fingery routes. Thin strips are wrapped around the fingers like rings, where the pulleys are. If you tape your fingers all the time, the tendons supposedly do not strengthen as they would without tape.

When taping for cracks, you wrap wide strips around your hand so that your palms and the back of your hands are covered. This way, those parts of your hands are protected from abrasion while fist or hand jamming. For this type of taping, tape all you want. It won't affect your strength development.


petsfed


Jul 15, 2003, 9:48 AM
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In reply to:
In reply to:
I heard a tale...most likely a tall tale, that if you use tape on you hands while you climb you cut down on the developmental speed of strength in your fingers... is this true?

When taping for cracks, you wrap wide strips around your hand so that your palms and the back of your hands are covered.

Across the palm is a trick for when you won't be face climbing much. If its a crack followed by some juggy face climbing, wrap only the back of the hand. One could also wrap the palm if the rock was so abrasive as to be painful whilst jamming.


maculated


Jul 15, 2003, 10:14 AM
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Dingus,

Wonderful post. Loved it.

As for crack gloves, I fail to see why you would ever go for taping the palm. I like to reuse my crack gloves, so the ol' loopin' around the finger method is my favorite.


redpoint73


Jul 16, 2003, 5:43 AM
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I can never really get the tape gloves to stay in place all that well without putting at least a strip or two around the palm. But thats just me. Others can probably speak better to this issue, I really don't tape that much for cracks. I am more personally more comfortable being able to feel the jam. And I don't crack climb constantly, so I don't worry about my hands getting completely chewed.


neeterock


Jul 16, 2003, 5:52 AM
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I want to tape but I don't...I think half the "fun" is ripping the shit outta my hands. I know I've done "good" if my hands are sore a bleeding. I think climbing might be thinly linked to masochism.
But ya, thanks for the tips. All very note worthy!
Shub's


scottcody


Jul 16, 2003, 7:25 AM
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In reply to:
Crack climbing is "blue collar" climbing brutha. :wink:

Dude, I love that comment.


leeloo


Jul 16, 2003, 7:29 AM
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I don't understand it. What do you mean? "blue collar"...not as clean cut, tougher???? I find it more fun!


Partner rrrADAM


Jul 16, 2003, 7:29 AM
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Well... It is. It's not for the "lycra wearing", matching quickdraws, and gri-gri kinda climbers.

Especially offwidths... They'd scratch their draws, and tear their spandex. :roll:


leeloo


Jul 16, 2003, 7:32 AM
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Oh! you mean like it's more bad ass!! I see, I see. Very true, sorry about that.

Lisa


corpse


Jul 16, 2003, 7:55 AM
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crack climbing is the shiz-nit! I definitely prefer crack over anything else the rock offers. Maybe it's a weakness??? If there's crack, I must use it.. I'd rather use a less than optimal crack "hold" than a better jug - maybe it's the challenge for twisting my hands in various positions to make that crack work FOR ME - with a jug, you don't have as many ways to hold it (wrist cup, chin hook, teeth pinch)..


petsfed


Jul 16, 2003, 8:08 AM
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The reason most people tape at Vedauwoo is so they can feel their hands at the end of a pitch. My partner failed to tape up once and by the end his hands were purple and creased. I had to grab his daisy and clip him in myself. Tape has its uses I must say.

If you build the glove correctly, it should go across your palm quite well. Thus the only thing retaped is your wrist.


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