Supercrack of the Desert
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Kelsey Gray reconsiders the wisdom of leaving the ...
This route is, well, super.
Climb up the side of the detached flake (1.5 or 2 Friend) through the awkward crux (maybe 10c) to a top-of-the-flake ledge right below the crack. Although decent gear is available, groundfalls have occurred here, so heads-up. Climb the crack (sustained 5.9) for 80 feet, past the roof to a bolted anchor. While I typically don't like to give away the detailed beta, I'll make an exception here: hand jam, foot jam, hand jam, foot jam ... The crack widens a bit for the last 15 feet, so depending on the size of your mitts, you may have to revise this beta to include a cupped hand or two, and maybe even a fist.
A 60m rope will just barely reach from the anchor for the rappel/TR. While it probably goes without saying, TR through draws and not the anchor.
One 1.5 or 2 Friend, 5 or 6 #3 Friends, and 2 or 3 #4 Friends. A blue TCU can also be used for additional pro on the crux.
Hike up to Supercrack Buttress and find the largest queue. If this doesn't help you locate the route, look left of the ruins, finding the obvious splitter hand crack above a large flake, going through a small roof and cleaving the blank face above in an unbroken line another 60 feet or so above the roof. An impressive line that's hard to miss.
Someone in our group enjoying a tape-free day on S...
Bernard Vachon, with plenty of gear for the trip
Super crack Dan St. John 1 #2 Metolius 1 @PO...
Me leading the route. Photo by Joseffa Meir.
Spud Genereaux passing the roof, circa 1990.
Matt starts up the route.
The Bomber Lilac FatCam!!
Me on TR of Supercrack.
This is Tom rose leading Supercrack of the Desert.
Tony Bubb follows 'Supercrack' in some bygone era....
Lee Jensen trying not to laugh as Perin Blanchard ...
Perin Blanchard on Supercrack early on a ...
Charles Vernon on Supercrack way back in 1999 or 2...
Out of the mid-morning shadow.
My very first Indian Creek Climb... Supercrack is...
A great shot of my buttcrack on supercrack
Pulling the roof move.
Belaying Gregory from the anchors.
Original name of this climb. If you see this piece...
Bob Horan on an early ascent of Super Crack. Photo...
Steve Mestdagh crackin the Super Crack. Photo: Bob...
BD sponser climber Kenedy climbin the SC on Hexes....
Sponser climber for BD Kenedy on SC with Hexes. P...
mid jan 2009
Me leading Supercrack back in 1982
Tim leading Supercrack
BETA PHOTO: This is a good looking line
Supercrack taken from the pillar to the right of t...
Karl Kelley leading Supercrack. Photo by Jenna Bos...
Supercrack kicked my ass. Photo by Jenna Bostock.
My hands after climbing Luxury Liner aka Supercrac...
Gearing up for Halloween 2012...Retro Day
Roped up Halloween
Standard Belay for the day...Halloween 2012
Yep 5 Hexes...No tape....Hi-top...Rope harness...t...
BETA PHOTO: A closer view of the start to Supercrack, which fo...
|Comments on Supercrack of the Desert
|By Bill Wright|
Nov 29, 2001
While getting onto the pedestal is definitely the technical crux, the hardest part for me is just enduring to the anchors. I have relatively small hands and the #3 Camalot-sized crack feels insecure and drains me. I think this is a MUCH harder crack than the Incredible Hand Crack (which is trivial except for the overhanging twenty foot section) and much harder than the perfect #2 Camalot crack of Generic Crack. I also find it harder than any other 5.10 crack that I have done in this area - mainly because of my hand size, but also because there is no chance for rest (unlike many of other 5.10 cracks like Generic Hand Crack, IHC, Gorilla Crack, Keyhole Flake, etc.) Hence, I think the crack itself is solid 5.10, not 5.9. Your hand size (and opinion) will vary, of course.
|By George Bell|
From: Boulder, CO
Nov 29, 2001
Those of us with big hands find Incredible Hand Crack (IHC) technically harder. Supercrack is way enduro, but I find I can hand jam it all the way (although the start is thin hands and I am really cupped out near the anchors). The crux of IHC is short (relatively), but it is desperate thin hands for me. I have heard that IHC is slowly getting wider (and likely Supercrack too), so in 10 years or so the ratings may have to be revised!
|By Darin Lang|
Nov 30, 2001
Bill, Mike, and George all make excellent points, consistent with my own limited experience at Indian Creek. It seems that adding letter grades to the routes at IC wouldn't really give any useful information, and most of the route submissions on this site so far seem to recognize this. As far as Supercrack goes, I think the best consensus is that it is "5.10". Some may think it is 10a, some may think it's 10d+. Strangely, everyone would be right.
|By Charles Vernon|
From: Florence, AZ
Feb 2, 2002
I wouldn't enjoy leading Supercrack with the gear list in this description. #3 friends are only really nice for the first 30 ft. or so of the crack proper. After that they get pretty tipped out, and 3.5 friends fit much better, if a little tight. But 3 camalots are absolutely perfect for the final 50 feet and I'd recommend bringing more of that thatn any other piece if you can get it.
I would add that the climber in the photo below seems to be carrying an awful lot of #3 camalots!
|By Darin Lang|
Apr 1, 2002
Now, Charles ... "heavy and slow" is our motto. I followed Bernard up this climb (he of the oversized rack in the photo below), and he placed exactly 3 #3 Camalots. The first was quite tight, and a #2 (Camalot) would have worked. Nonetheless, you're probably right, and I should modify my gear beta above by recommending that you take 3 or 4 #4 Friends, and two 3.5 Friends.
Or ... just take 5 or 6 #3 Camalots. As Charles notes, these fit better than anything in the upper section of the climb.
|By Anonymous Coward|
May 17, 2002
the first move is solid 10c the next 10 feet is a debatable 9+ with the next three moves a solid 10a. The following eleven moves are 10b/c, with moves 15-37 10b. moves 37-42 are 10b as well.
|By Brad Schildt|
From: Boulder, CO
Aug 19, 2002
Additional beta: this is a good climb to wear a long sleeved shirt. Better yet, tape it around your wrists, so that when you show up at work the next day you don't have to explain those nasty scabs covering the insides of your wrists and forearms.
Feb 4, 2007
I agree, getting to the pedestal = technical crux. Just blast through it. I don't suggest getting pumped early by placing anything; it's not that high anyway. Like all splitter cracks, this one is hand-size dependent. If you have larger-than-average hands, you'll cruise the top 1/3. If you have normal hands (perfect for Incredible Hand Crack), you'll find the top section to be a bit of a beyatch. Heavy on the #1-#3 Camalots.
Oh yea, OVER-RATED.
Jun 20, 2007
i'll start off by saying i haven't done a great deal of climbing in indian creek: but i did truly enjoy leading this route. in my opinion, it is definitely a classic and a must climb for the creek.
a lot of climbers have added good and valid info about this climb, some of which i agree with, some of which i don't. that's the double edged sword of mountainproject- everyone can speak their mind, but don't ever take anything on this site as absolute.
it is my opinion that:
getting onto the pedestal is the technical crux.
protect the technical crux as to not hit the ground (#2 with a runner works well, avoids rope drag)
if your hands are perfect for incredible hand crack- this will feel bigger
if so-wear long sleeves or go to work with nasty scabs (but be proud!)
before the roof- #2 camalots fit perfectly
after the roof you won't need anything but #3 camalots- i think i had 5
From: Los Angeles
Nov 26, 2007
love this route. i always come here and climb this at least once. endurance is the key.
From: Bear Creek, CO
Jan 17, 2008
Here is a link to a video of Catherine Destivelle soloing this impressive climb:
Beautiful to watch. Scary though.
|By Stefan Doucette|
Jul 29, 2008
Brian Becker and Ed Webster were also part of the first ascent party.
From: Durango, CO.
Aug 13, 2008
This thing really is a beauty. Last two times on it, we were the only ones in the lot. The new plaque is very nice, there was also a new plaque by Coyne Crack.
Aug 14, 2008
the plaque is pretty unnecessary. earl is probably rolling over in his grave.
|By Buster Jesik|
Oct 27, 2008
The new plaque is beautiful, leave it alone. If this isn't a 4 star pitch I don't know what is.
From: Denver, CO
Nov 14, 2008
As I understand it, this was first done as a two pitch route. Anyone have beta on P2? Are there anchors up top? Does the rock stay good? Grade? Gear? Thanks!
|By Jason Shatek|
Dec 3, 2008
A #2 camalot and a yellow mastercam protect the technical crux at the bottom. Once in the crack, a #2 will work for about 10 feet after the roof. Also, crowds weren't a problem, I didn't see many people near supercrack.
Mar 11, 2009
I did this '91 and I remember that it should have even 3 pitches. I also did the 2nd pitch, and it was wider (fist and ow) but easier, so I did not mind that only one of my friends was usable as pro. The 3rd pitch was finger crack, supposed to be 5.11, and as I had absolutely no gear for that, I did not attempt it. There was another abseil bolt at the end of P2.
|By Sean Wolf|
From: Denver, CO
Jun 8, 2009
I was pretty intimidated attempting this climb as a my 2nd trad lead. I blew a clip under the roof and landed on the pedestal. But I got back up and eventually finished. I was so pumped that while trying to clip the chains my hands slipped and took a pretty deece whip. Good thing it was the last climb of the trip because I was completely exhausted afterwords.
|By charley graham|
Nov 6, 2009
The third pitch of Supercrack is excellent. Bring triples of #00 and #0 tcus and doubles of the other small sizes and you'll be protected. I would call this one of the better Wingate stemming corners. The crack is too small for your fingertips but there are lots of small holds and the rock is perfect so the tiny cams seem good to whip on. Go straight up off the belay, through the thin crux and to a stance where you can either go straight up on crumbly rock with no gear or traverse left on a ramp and head up the next crack system. I went left. Once you summit, you can walk back right and rap straight down the plumb line of the first two and a half pitches. There are two fixed anchors above the one everyone usually stops at. Bring two ropes.
From: Boulder, CO
Nov 18, 2009
This route seem to get bigger every passing year. It seems to take mostly #2 until right after the roof and then #3 BD Camalots to the anchors. It is wide for me after the roof, and I cannot use fists until the very top.
Much Harder than IHC.
|By Rob Davies UK|
From: Cheshire, UK
Oct 16, 2010
Hard to grade even in (or especially in) the UK system, so simply 5.10 is the best call. Technical crux in the first 20' would be worth UK HVS 5b. The individual moves on the main crack are probably no more than UK 4c but it goes on for so long - arms programmed for the maximum 40'-50' length of gritstone cracks (like mine) just give up!
From: Durango, Colorado
Feb 2, 2012
P2 (~100', 5.10) Mostly thuggish cups/fists with a couple wider spots and some hands deep in there too. Seemed to eat up #2/3 Camalots and a #4 is nice to have. Ends at 2 bolts & 2 drilled angles.
|By Matt Hoffmann|
Apr 20, 2012
Like everyone says. Wide hands, wide hands, wide hands. Bring a lot of blues and a couple yellows for the very start of the crack. I protected the boulder problem start with a yellow c4 before the move and a yellow alien after it (my friend used a #4 after it).
Beautiful crack. Our last climb of the trip and it was just fun fun fun to the anchors. Use your feet!
|By Ross Hokett|
From: Fort collins,Colorado
Jun 26, 2012
this is an excellent pitch if you have large hands to me was much easier than the generic crack. The starting flake was by far the hardest part for me off the ledge a few #2's and then #3's the rest of the way up.
From: Westminster, CO
Oct 10, 2012
Great climb. I didn't feel the opening moves were any harder than 5.9. Maybe harder for shorter people, I'm 6'1
|By Ryan N|
From: Bay Area
Oct 13, 2012
The beginning is defiantly the technical crux of the route. Very greasy but well protected. The first 20ft is perfect #2 thru the roof then it opens up to #3 and becomes pumpy. Good climb, though I suggest hitting it in the AM when the sun is not so bad.
From: Small Lake, UT
Oct 13, 2012
+1 for defiant cruxes. They're the shit.