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Pam Migliore stuffing herself into Easy Jam.
Wide cracks have a well-deserved reputation for being one of the more difficult genres in our sport. I suspect this is due to the simple observation that in wide crack climbing, technique goes a long way. Struggling up a wide crack without technique is like climbing a steep trail on skiis- without wax: just plain miserable.
Locate Easy Jam by heading left from the parking lot, and wandering through the maze of boulders to a short slab with a nice-looking diagonal crack in it (Cornelius, 5.5, excellent). Just left is this wide crack challenge.
Wear protective clothing- minimizing pain or discomfort is a good place to start. Now decide which side of your body you want to have inside the crack. Think which orientation allows for the most friction (often very helpful) while reducing any awkwardness. In leaning wide cracks it is often advantageous to have your back against the lower angle side, so that rests can easily be found by leaning back (as opposed to being forced up against the crack). For this route you will want your left side in.
Arrange your gear on a sling, so there is nothing on your harness to get caught.
Keep in mind that in wide cracks and chimneys you can often optimize your body position to provide added security. Done properly, it is hard to fall out of a wide crack, although the tendency for the leader is to get too deep in a wide crack, which is not always the easiest way to climbing one.
The secret to wide cracks is focusing on your lower body. It is the legs that do most of the pushing and stabilizing. Use your arms to maintain your position. For this climb, heel-toe jams with the left foot work well. You can also torque your left knee to help. Arm bar with your left, and move systematically: secure your arms position, then release your lower body (legs, feet) and slide them to a higher position. Now lock them in, and slide up (don't pull) with your upper body by pushing with your legs. Lock the upper body and repeat.
This climb is a little runout, but short. If in doubt, try it on tr.
A nice progression on the Nautilus for learning wide cracks is: Easy Jam 5.4, Baldwin's Chimney 5.4, Right Parallel Space 5.5, Piton Perch 5.6, Slit 5.7, Hamburger Crack 5.7, Candlestick 5.7, Upper Slot 5.7+. Remember that, unfortunately, easier wide cracks tend to be squeezes, and are often poorly protected, so take this progression slowly.
#4 Camalots, #4 Friends.
My first lead climb.
Theo gearing up for Easy Jam and Cornelius, after ...
|By Steve Levin|
From: Boulder, CO
Sep 1, 2001
Add Handjacker (5.7+) to the Intro to Wide Cracks 101 list.
|By Mike Sofranko|
Oct 9, 2001
A #4 Camalot and a couple #4 Friends protects this one fine. An anchor can be made at the top of Cornelius with a few pieces in the range of .5/0.75 Camalots.
|By Brian Scoggins|
From: Eugene, OR
Jun 10, 2003
This climb is really short. It took me about 2 minutes to solo it and frankly, it didn't even feel like 5.4. Bring lots of big cams (#4 Camalot over and over and over again) and you can sew this baby up. Just place pro below you, otherwise your body will knock it out of position as you pass.
|By Michael Kullman|
Oct 20, 2003
A couple of big hexes (11s and 10s) are more than enough to protect this route. A good warm up or beginner lead.
|By Rob Migliore|
Sep 27, 2004
You can almost climb this route like a dihedral if you keep your feet outside the crack on the arete. I don't feel like I learned as much as I should have on this route. It was hard to get secure feet. I'm not a good crack climber, but I was hoping to get better. Again, I'm not fond of the walk off.
|By Jason Kaplan|
From: Glenwood ,Co
Oct 3, 2005
This was a fun warm up and intro to the areas wide crack tech, I found it was comforting to jam my body as deeply in as possible most of the time. That is assuming that this action does not prohibit further upward momentum. but then again I was ropeless, followed by my brother. If you can solo this thing you should be pretty comfortable with the walk off, and if not then I saw plenty of bolts that you could probably rap off. If your that worried you might just haul 2 ropes up this easy warm up. Like mentioned before if attempting this beast on lead bring pleanty of big gear and place it below you so that it doesn't get in your way; I don't know how just do it =) !
|By Sam Benedict|
From: Denver, CO
Aug 9, 2006
Probably easier to solo than to lead.
|By Brian Scoggins|
From: Eugene, OR
Apr 8, 2010
This is also a spectacular climb to practice stacks on. It feels even more like 5.4 when you're doing hand-fist and butterfly stacks on it.