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Help with 4-5” Cracks


Original Post
Ted Pinson · · Chicago, IL · Joined Jul 2014 · Points: 210

So I’ve been really struggling with the transition between fists and offwidths.  I have a crack machine that I built and have been throwing myself at, but the progress has been slow in that size.  My biggest issue is that I can get an ok stack (usually cupped butterflies or hand/fist depending on how high I can get my hands) and get my feet in, but I have trouble moving my stacks up without getting spit out.  If I get high enough I can eventually get a tight knee in, but I still can’t release my hands long enough to move them up.  Any advice?

Rob warden The space lizard · · Now...where? · Joined Sep 2009 · Points: 0

Core strength is necessary to properly levittate. Also work on your calf locks

Ted Pinson · · Chicago, IL · Joined Jul 2014 · Points: 210

Yeah, that makes sense...my core has been getting wrecked from trying this.  Also, stumbled across this gem:
https://vimeo.com/46589051

He really leans back a lot, which might help with balance.  Right now, I feel like I’m constantly getting pulled out of the crack.

mat · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2011 · Points: 5

How overhung is the crack?

Mark Straub · · Berkeley, CA · Joined Feb 2010 · Points: 25
Ted Pinson wrote: Yeah, that makes sense...my core has been getting wrecked from trying this.  Also, stumbled across this gem:
https://vimeo.com/46589051

He really leans back a lot, which might help with balance.  Right now, I feel like I’m constantly getting pulled out of the crack.

Man, that's a great video.  Any tips on the calf lock?  I don't think I've ever tried to do one before.

Ted Pinson · · Chicago, IL · Joined Jul 2014 · Points: 210
mat wrote: How overhung is the crack?

The crack machine is vertical.

abandon moderation · · Tahoe · Joined Aug 2012 · Points: 138
Mark Straub wrote:

Man, that's a great video.  Any tips on the calf lock?  I don't think I've ever tried to do one before.

https://www.climbing.com/.amp/skills/the-calf-lock/

It's a pretty shitty size when you can't get your knee in. My only advice is to get the calf unreasonably high. And do more sit-ups.

Leavittation is great when it works, but I find the range pretty small before it gets too wide. Often I'll keep calf locking after my knee fits, it just makes them less strenous since you can pull you body in closer to the crack and get extra friction with the knee.
Fehim Hasecic · · Boulder, CO · Joined Jun 2013 · Points: 135
Ted Pinson wrote: Yeah, that makes sense...my core has been getting wrecked from trying this.  Also, stumbled across this gem:
https://vimeo.com/46589051

He really leans back a lot, which might help with balance.  Right now, I feel like I’m constantly getting pulled out of the crack.

“Climbing wide cracks can be dangerous...” that’s a funny statement 

mat · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2011 · Points: 5

When Sid tried to explain vertical butterfly stacks to me he said the key was to get one food quite high.  This would push your body to the side of the crack and allow you to shuffle your hands up sort of laybacking off one of them.

You might also have someone who can climb this crack watch you and give you pointers.  Seeing might make troubleshooting easier.

phylp · · Upland · Joined May 2015 · Points: 622

Moab Craggin Classic going on right now. If you were there Pam Shanti Pack and Jay Anderson would be showing you in person at the Offwidth Clinic. Maybe schedule this for next year!

Luna Luna · · New Haven, CT · Joined Mar 2016 · Points: 60

Practice sliding between butterfly stacks and tight arm bars.. is super useful for moving in wide cracks and placing gear

Ted Pinson · · Chicago, IL · Joined Jul 2014 · Points: 210
phylp wrote: Moab Craggin Classic going on right now. If you were there Pam Shanti Pack and Jay Anderson would be showing you in person at the Offwidth Clinic. Maybe schedule this for next year!

You have no idea how much I wish I was there!  ...life...

Jacob Straszynski · · San Francisco · Joined Dec 2016 · Points: 5

There’s a trick in the crack climbers technique manual that makes off fist parallel cracks smaller than knees kind of fun.

You put top foot toe in, heel out, lower foot heel in toe out with your side in the rock. Works amazing on a crack machine but I’ve found natural cracks a bit irregular for it. It makes the crack machine feel like 5.8 though :)



It’s gonna feel improbable until you get that second foot in, then it’s miracle. It’s so much easier than the hand/fist stack, lieback, slide hand up, replace fist sequence that I was using before that even though it feels like a specialized move when you find its niche it’ll be worth it for the look on your partners face when you float through it!

Calf locks should work as well to help you release the stack momentarily for that upward hand move. My crack machine wasn’t deep enough IIRC - I couldn’t get the leg high enough without kicking the back of the crack and being unable to reach a depth where it locked on the meat of my calves. Hence the lieback described above, which is incredibly strenuous and sucks.
phylp · · Upland · Joined May 2015 · Points: 622

Ted Pinson, Jay Anderson and Pam Pack are in the planning stages for their spring off-width clinic and they want to know when people are wanting to come.  Time to start planning your off-width vacation!

Cole D · · Los Angeles · Joined Sep 2017 · Points: 5
phylp wrote: Ted Pinson, Jay Anderson and Pam Pack are in the planning stages for their spring off-width clinic and they want to know when people are wanting to come.  Time to start planning your off-width vacation!

where can i find out more about this?!

phylp · · Upland · Joined May 2015 · Points: 622

Cole, Jay is one of my Facebook friends and he shared the announcement that Pamela had put about this on her Facebook page.  So maybe just look at her Facebook page, the post is probably public.   I have a feeling we are going to have a long and late winter, as you can see by the weather out your window.  It actually was SNOWING at my house in Upland today and we are at only 2000 feet!

Ted Pinson · · Chicago, IL · Joined Jul 2014 · Points: 210
phylp wrote: Ted Pinson, Jay Anderson and Pam Pack are in the planning stages for their spring off-width clinic and they want to know when people are wanting to come.  Time to start planning your off-width vacation!

That sounds epic!  Thanks for sharing.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

Trad Climbing
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