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joemor


Mar 27, 2002, 1:07 PM
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my crack technique bites
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hey all

i can climb up to 5.11as but when i get on a crack like 5.7 i cant get up it to save myself, any things i should be trying to do???


joe


Partner camhead


Mar 27, 2002, 1:19 PM
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Practice practice practice.
Needless to say, you should try to get your crack technique down on toprope before leading. That said, I would probably start with a perfect hand size crack (about 2" wide for me, I think), and just jam it. It would also be easier if you can find a crack that is less than vertical (although falling on these sucks ass.

Tape also helps you gain confidence in your jamming, as you don't have to worry about as much physical discomfort. Kind of just stick your hand in, and kind of twist/flex it so that your weight is being held with the back of your hand. Try it with both the 'thumbs up' and 'thumbs down' positions. It is kind of hard to explain for me.

Your hands are important, but also try to concentrate on precise footwork. In a hand-sized crack, you should be able to get your foot in sideways, and then kind of cam it by twisting in. This will also hurt if you are using tightass sport shoes.

Last, but not least, remember that it does not matter what level you climb sport/face at!!! Cracks are an entirely different game. I've seen many strong climbers get totally bummed when they can't jam a 5.8 crack.

good luck!!!


woodse


Mar 27, 2002, 1:21 PM
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Unless you're more specific all I can say is try hand jammin and gettin in the crack. By this I mean get your toes in there if possible and utilize any jams you can.

woodsE


joemor


Mar 27, 2002, 1:28 PM
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yeah well all the cracks ive tried have been on trad lead, so i might try to tr them.... oh and i sort of know basic jamming techniques but still suck at it. tell me your secrets

joe


jt512


Mar 27, 2002, 1:50 PM
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This might be the best piece ever written on crack technique: Yosemite Guide Karl Baba On Crack Techniqe.

Or else, do what I do: Jay Cleverly Employing 5.10c Stem to Avoid Perfect 5.7 Foot Jam


crackaddict


Mar 27, 2002, 2:00 PM
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I have climbed with people who are pretty good face climbers but have the hardest time on cracks. Some things I noticed is that they set their jams, they don't commit to them and, they don't want to jam their feet. What I mean by not setting thier jams is that they dont just stick it in and pull on it. Instead they slide thier hands up and down the crack thinking it will get stuck some how. One thing I try to tell them is that as long as they have a foot in they have a hold to stand on. The only advice I can give is what everyone else has told you. Practice on TR. One thing I did when I learned. Force yourself to jam even on the easy stuff. Try to jam as much as possible. It helped me.
Later.


madscientist


Mar 27, 2002, 2:01 PM
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A couple of weeks ago I was working a route with a friend of mine. The crux involved a bad hand jam in a flaring crack. He was having alot of trouble getting the handjam to stick, so this is what I told him.

For a thumb down jam, put your hand in the crack and rotate your elbow down. Don't think about sqeezing with your hand, but rather rotating the elbow downwards. For your feet it is a similar idea. Put your foot sidways in the crack and rotate your knee towards the crack.

This worked for him, and he did the move and almost sent the climb next go. He fell at a different spot though.

The above description works for hand sized cracks and some finger cracks, but not fist or offwidth's. I generally put one hand in thumb down and the other with the thumb up. With thumb down, you can't torque the hand in as well, but you can make longer moves. For discontinuous cracks you need to keep that in mind.

For a thumb up jam, put the hand in the crack and push against the opposite wall with your hand. For some cracks you have to lean to one side or another to make the jam stick.

Lastly, and not leastly, you climb cracks more by standing on your feet than you do by pulling with your arms. Try to get the feet up and stand up. Then move your hands up and repeat.


atg200


Mar 27, 2002, 2:28 PM
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what sizes are you having trouble with?

to learn to jam different sizes, a friend of mine has built a crack machine out of some 2x6s. he can adjust them to different widths-you should be able to figure out how to do this if you think about it. practice just hanging in the jams, and then moving up and down the crack machine in 2" increments. dial the boards in too very bad sizes after you get good at fingerlocks, hands, etc. ringlocks, cupped hands, big fists, and other sizes take practice to get used to.

andrew



tenn_dawg


Mar 27, 2002, 2:50 PM
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Hey, if your into training books, "Advanced Rock Climbing" by John Long and Craig Luebben has some of the best crack climbing how to's and techiniques I've ever read. Lots of other good stuff too. Check it out!
Travis


pbjosh


Mar 27, 2002, 2:57 PM
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Every size of crack is climbed differently. General thoughts: Footwork is excrutiatingly important. Get your feet in the damn crack! But first you gotta know how to jam. The advice so far on hand jamming is kinda misleading, I think (sorry guys).

Roughly there are these techniques:

Seams - basically face climbs

Tips - strenuous finger jams, try to get as many fingers in as deep as possible (thumbs up or down) then rotate the wrist to lock them. Try to get the tips of your shoes in or the outside rand near your pinky toe. Sometimes you climb on one side and paste your feet and sidepull.

Fingers - Easier than tips, same technique. Feet may be hard to use but thin shoes help and you can actually get decent jams with the outside rand of a good pair of shoes. Mythos are really popular for thin cracks.

Off fingers - for a lot of people the hardest size. It's still really hard to get good feet. Try the outside rand. Thin shoes help. For your hands - you can try super thin hand jams where you flex your fingers to get your pads against one side and the finger knuckles on the other side. Or you can try ringlocks put your thumb (thumb down) and as many fingers in as possible and make an "A-OK" sign with your hand. It's damn hard. You can also try thumb stacks, put your thumb in with the tip on one side and the back of the second segment on the other side and stack your fingers on top.

Thin hands - put your hands in, try to bring your thumb down (for thumbs up jams) or up (for thumbs down) as much as possible to jam with the fat of your hand. Buckling your fingers to get your pads on one side of the crack and your knuckles on the other side helps this be a more secure jam.

Hands - the bread and butter. Contrary to what people say, you absolutely need to use your thumb on this one. Put your hand in and bring your thumb in tight, try to even get it into your palm. You should be able to wiggle your 4 fingers and be jamming with the fatty part of the base of your thumb and the back of your hand below your index finger.

Wide hands - cup your hands more and jame tips and fatty part of thumb on one side and knuckles at the base of your fingers on the other side. Twisting your whole arm here can make the jam more secure.

Fists - put your fist in like you were reaching into a bottle then make a fist like you're going to hit someone. Key to find a place where it'll fit. Often feels loose/sloppy/rattly and takes a long time to perfect.

Bigger than fists - there are more techniques here than I can fit into one post. Briefly - you can get elbows and knees into cracks and then flex arms/legs to make them bigger and get them to stick. Try not to fix your knee in the crack, it's harder to replace than a stopper You can do arm-bars, chicken-wings, foot stacks, hand stacks, leavittation, the yosemite-style sliding armbar/handstacks (dunno what it's called) instead of leavittation, and lots more. If you really get into offwidths you can learn more.

Most important things I can emphasize - use your feet, get them in the crack. Experiment with thumbs up vs. down and learn what works best for you. You can reach further off of a thumbs up jam than thumbs down because your arm isn't twisted and it's in natural position for a lock off. Frequently cracks are constantly varying in size. Taking the time to find the best jams and then reaching past the shitty ones is frequently the way to go.

Check out http://www.rockclimbing.org/tripreports/crackworkshop.htm - it's a great list of jtree cracks to work up the grades on.

Karl Baba's article that was linked to above is excellent - read it.

..josh


melonhead


Mar 27, 2002, 4:16 PM
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Dude,
Learn how to jam, when you can do that start making bold moves off those jams and that will help you get your confidence up. Try it, it helped me.



beyond_gravity


Mar 27, 2002, 4:25 PM
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I'm having a really hard time on fingure cracks, I can rip and hand/fist jam, but I just cant get myself to twist my fingures like that, it looks too sick!!!

Crack On,
Jeremy


acuteennui


Mar 27, 2002, 5:01 PM
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This month's Rock and Ice (May 2002) has a great article by Enga Lokey on how she uses stemming to get around doing those hand-thrashing jams. Good pics to go with good explanations. She makes a lot of hard crack climbs easy by refusing to jam and using her balance.


miagi


Mar 27, 2002, 8:41 PM
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what in god's name did you do to the coding JT? lol Your post is about 3 pages of nothing and a little tiny excerpt and crackaddicts post is smeared up against the side. Are we hogging space now?


apollodorus


Mar 27, 2002, 9:11 PM
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I'm with Mad Scientist: shove the fingers in deep with the thumb down, then pull the elbow down to lock in. The thumb can give you a Ring Lock in the right sized crack.

Also, you should totally learn clean pro (no cams), so you understand jamming. Basically, you make a #11 Hex out of your fist, and WHAMMO, up you go. Look for the natural constrictions when you place your hands, same as pro.

For the really wide cracks, I have only two words; FOOT STACK. You jam your feet together in anything wider than your fists. This only gives you one stance, but is bomber. Foot stacks with hand/fist stacks are the key to the wider offwidths.


beyond_gravity


Mar 28, 2002, 3:39 PM
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how do you move out of a fist/foot stack?


pbjosh


Mar 28, 2002, 4:25 PM
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How to move out of a hand or foot stack? Carefully. For feet stacks you generally need to be able to support all your body weight from your arms to shuffle your feet up. Makes sense.

For moving your arms up, though, it gets hard, because if you could support all your weight on your feet it wouldn't be very steep and low angle offwidths are almost universally easy (like 5.7 or lower usually).

In any case, here are some techniques:

You generally need to keep one arm/hand in a strenuous "hold you in" position and shuffle the other up then shuffle the first back up to the more bomber / less strenuous stacked position. Imagine doing this: Put an arm in the crack at a 90 angle so your forearm is vertical and your palm touches one side of the crack and your elbow the other. Now make a fist jam or whatever you need against the back of your hand. You can hold yourself in a crack this size with the hand/fist stack. When you need to move up, hold on really well with just the palm and elbow and move the other arm up to palm/elbow position. Hold on really tight with it, then take out your lower arm and recreate your hand/fist stack with that hand...

Another possibility, get your knee locked in the crack or your leg cammed in (knee on one side, foot on the other) well enough to pretty much hold you in. Keep your other leg fairly straight and do a heel/toe jam of some sort on the outside edge of the crack. The knee holding your waist in combined with the lower foot for a stabilizing base combined with your ab muscles will let you move your hands up and reset them freely. This is called leavittation.

There are a lot of other possibilities for moving arms/hands up offwidths. One thing you can do is gaston one edge of the crack and armbar or chickenwing the crack with the other arm. A good armbar or chickenwing can be pretty solid and may even be a rest stance. Gastoning the edge of the crack with one hand to hold yourself in is pretty strenuous and is only used to shuffle the armbar/chickenwing up. Works with elbow jams as well unless you're flexible enough (I'm not) to get both elbows fully into the crack and then shuffle them (very small movements I'd imagine) or leapfrog them (contortionist move I'd imagine).

The best way to figure all this stuff out is to try it. Go to your local trad area, odds are great there are some 5.6-5.9 offwidths for you to practice on. 5.9 offwidth can be DAMNED hard, btw.

..josh


radistrad


Apr 15, 2002, 8:05 AM
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I love to jam pinki down and I reach as high as I can. I can sometimes reach through the crux.
Also you foot work is very important.
Pratice, you'll get it


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