Sign Up  |   Log In:Login with Facebook
REI Community
Columns (aka Skinner Butte)
Routes Sorted
L to R R to L Alpha
3rd Column Jam T,TR 
4th Column Jam T,TR 
Bat Crack T,TR 
Crack a No Go T 
Fat Crack T 
Hard Lieback T 
Left Ski Track T,TR 
Limp Dick T 
Main Chimney T,TR 
Satisfaction T 
Transportation Route T,TR 

Fat Crack 

YDS: 5.8- French: 5b Ewbanks: 16 UIAA: VI- ZA: 14 British: VS 4c

Type:  Trad, 1 pitch, 40'
Consensus:  YDS: 5.8- French: 5b Ewbanks: 16 UIAA: VI- ZA: 14 British: VS 4c [details]
Season: When Dry
Page Views: 1,370
Submitted By: Karsten on Jan 25, 2006

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (18)
Your todo list:
Your stars:
Your rating: -none- [change]
Your ticklist: [add new tick]
Your opinion of this PAGE:    [1 person likes this page.]


This is the most popular climb at the columns. It is the largest crack on the right side of the wall. Scramble up a pedestal to access the crack which gradually widens to fist size at the top.


Nuts, cams to 4 inches

Belay or rap from chains at top or walk off (5.1)

Comments on Fat Crack Add Comment
Show which comments
By Max Tepfer
From: Bend, OR
Feb 2, 2008

Actually, the crack never gets wider than 3 inches and the walk-off, while very exposed, isn't harder than 2nd-3rd class.
By EugeneGuy
Sep 14, 2008
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

While I know lots of people who would agree that this is one of their favs at The Columns, for me, it just hurts my feet way to bad (wah). I prefer anything on the Main Buttress, and the chimney. Although, Fat Crack definately deserves it's 3 or 4 star rating.
By Tyler Gates
From: Corvallis, Oregon
Apr 12, 2009
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

nice hand crack that shoots striaght up. book rates it as a 5.9 if you only use the crack. 5.8 if you venture outside the crack
By EugeneGuy
Sep 27, 2013
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

Climbed this again a few weeks ago, and found a new way to jam and stack the toes which was much better.

A couple points of note: This is actually the Outer Collumn Jam, but most refer to it as 'Fat Crack.'

As mentioned above, gear to 3 inches is all that's needed - a couple .75, or 1, then a gold, then blue Camalot gets you to the top. Plug in whatever else you feel comfortable with... Chains at top, rap down is easiest.
By Brian Scoggins
From: Boise, ID
Sep 28, 2013
rating: 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b

I disagree with Max's "isn't harder than 2nd-3rd class" comment. While most of the routes on the Main Column have a 2nd-3rd class walkoff, getting to the top of Outer Column definitely has a 4th-low 5th move that will catch you by surprise if you aren't expecting it. Only really an issue if you're setting up a top rope, but that's what most people do at the Columns, so its a legitimate issue.

Incidentally, this and routes to the right get climbed a lot less than other lines at the Columns, and I haven't figured out why. Maybe its that they are all almost pure jamming lines?
By George W
Sep 14, 2015
rating: 5.7+ 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b

Sustained 5.7 climbing for an average sized man. Of course, it's more difficult if you're small and hands/feet are off. No obvious crux, it'll be over before you know it. A 4th class move to the larger columns leads you off. It's an exposed step on a slick column usually covered in dirt. It's one 4th class step due to risk, no real place for hands except to palm something, don't trust the bushes... tread carefully.

Agreed with others on cam sizes - protect the mantle on top with a 3/3.5" piece. My first trad lead ever! I'll never forget it!

The Definitive
Climbing Resource

Inspiration & Motivation
to Fuel Your Run

Next Generation Mountain
Bike Trail Maps

Backcountry, Sidecountry
& Secret Stashes

Better Data. Better Tools.
Better Hikes!