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Best hand cracks in the Northeast for small (BD 0.5-1) hands?

Original Post
Etha Williams · · Somerville, MA · Joined May 2018 · Points: 314

Who doesn't love a good hand crack? Looking for suggestions for fun hand cracks in the area for people with smaller hands. 0.75-1 is perfect hands for me, and I have a partner who's around 0.5-0.75. Also open to face climbs with fun sections of jamming. Mostly looking for stuff ≤ mid 10 (could be rated higher due to hand-size dependence...); but open to harder stuff to dream about and/or flail up :)

So far I've had a lot of fun on Yosemite Crack at Farley and 5.8 Crack at Rumney, though both became fists for me at some point. I remember liking Toe Crack at Cathedral when I followed it, but don’t remember much about what the jams were like for me. Rhododendron at the Gunks was fun, though very jams-optional.

(I'm aware that one can look at the protection beta to get a sense of this, but given the dearth of splitters around here, this isn't always as informative as it might be elsewhere.)

--

Edit: some favorites so far from the suggestions below: Bombardment, The Start, Nutcracker, Peapod.

Noah R · · Burlington, VT · Joined Nov 2018 · Points: 0

The Adirondacks have some pretty sweet cracks to be jammed. Real nice granite too. 

Pierre de St Croix · · Southbury, CT · Joined Jun 2010 · Points: 0

The first pitch is slightly R/Xish (straightforward friction slab), but the payoff on Bombardment at Cathedral is stellar!!!

5.8 variation on Whitney-Gilman climber’s right at Cannon is splitter #2 (I know you’re looking for smaller, but it is awesome).

Some good jamming at Creature Wall in the Dacks. You may want to tape up unless you’re technique is good.

First pitch of Erect Direction and Double Crack at the Gunks definitely allows for occasional hand jamming.

mbk · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2013 · Points: 0

My recollection is that Ross Pond has a hand crack, can't remember how much, if any, was #1.   I am told that Lost City has vertical cracks, but I've never been.

Re: Bombardment:  instead of the R/X approach, you can do the safe-but-HARD bolted start ("Age Before Beauty") instead (no way it is only 5.10a... definitely at least 5.9+ ;-).

Edit to add:  maybe also Pine Tree Eliminate (not splitter but I recall getting some thin-hands jams).

David K · · New Paltz, NY · Joined Jan 2017 · Points: 145
Pierre de St Croix wrote: First pitch of Erect Direction and Double Crack at the Gunks definitely allows for occasional hand jamming.

If we're including Gunks fake cracks (i.e. never really require jamming) the very most obvious hand crack is Ken's Crack. For the slightly more obscure, there's Lost City Crack.

Yoda at Rumney has a lot of thin hands. It's sport, but there's way more protection with gear--it's been on my mind to go back for a retro-trad ascent.

Reppy's Crack at Cannon is the absolute classic-est splitter.
Brian · · North Kingstown, RI · Joined Sep 2001 · Points: 747

Gamesmanship -Poke-O-Moonshine, Daks
Reppy's Crack, Cannon, NH

Scott R · · MA · Joined Jul 2014 · Points: 0

I agree with Bombardment. Great pitch. Smaller hands than Yosemite Crack at Farley or Toe Crack. 

I never do the first pitch and always opt to do Age Before Beauty (10a slab) to get to the money pitch of Bombardment. It’s hard relative to Bombardment, but it’s very short and closely bolted so you can pull on draws if necessary. 

Russ Keane · · Asheville, NC · Joined Feb 2013 · Points: 175

Toe Crack, Bombardment, Pine Tree, and Black Lung -- all can be done in one day.   (PS.  Per usual in the east, none of these will require you to hand-jam the whole way, aka they aren't splitter).

Rob Rogowicz · · Danville, NH · Joined Sep 2017 · Points: 70

Another vote for Bombardment on cathedral and the left bolted slab to avoid the death slab (its hard but really fun to try (clean falls) and can easily pull on draws)
Bombardment is amazing and got my hand half stuck each time on bomber jams.

Also, another vote for 5.8v on WG.... its beautiful, perfect way to the pipe, has fun movement, and face holds to help you along.

The good book, double chin, cornered at pway are few other shorter good ones.

Have fun!

Etha Williams · · Somerville, MA · Joined May 2018 · Points: 314

Thanks all! Stoked to get on some of these, especially Bombardment.

I remember the crack at the top of Yoda being a bit shallow for me to get good hands in, but it's been a while, so I could be misremembering.

Reppy's is splitter #2-#3, no? If it's truly splitter (i.e. I can't use irregularities in the crack to get tighter jams), then that'll be fists to off-fists for me. Regardless, stoked to get on it at some point!

Chris Duca · · Downingtown, PA · Joined Dec 2006 · Points: 2,095

Cathedral Ledge
-They Died Laughing
-Birds Nest
-Kiddy Crack
-Pine Tree Eliminate
-Toe Crack
-Chicken Delight
-Funhouse
Adirondacks-Jump Bat Crack-Arachnid Traction-Rockoholic-Mr Rogers Neighborhood -Big Bertha-Fun City-The Sting
Gunks-Ken’s Crack-Airy Aria-Eastertime Too-Alphonse (dihedral section)-Blistered Toe

Rob Rogowicz · · Danville, NH · Joined Sep 2017 · Points: 70

Just my opinion on a few of those routes... they are all great though
-They Died Laughing (mostly finger)
-Birds Nest (classic finger)
-Kiddy Crack (finger)
-Fun House 2nd Pitch (huge hands)

Nolan Huther · · Burlington, VT · Joined Dec 2014 · Points: 682

Love these threads. A few more Adirondack cracks... A few people up thread listed just whatever cracks are in the area without regard to size but these I remember being tighter hands/fingers for the most part (I'm around a #2 perfect hands I think, probably a few hairs less than) or a tight hands crux, roughly in that range

-North Country Club Crack, Jewels and Gems 5.6
- Big Bertha, Barkeater 5.6
-Seven Ounces, Beer Walls 5.7
-Arachnid Traction, Creature Wall 5.8
- Fast and Furious, Beer Walls 5.8
- Excalibur, Lower Washbowl 5.8
- Mr Clean, Barkeater 5.8 (#2s to start but tight hands/layback) after the crux
-Lifelong Affliction, Tanager Face 5.8+
-The Disputed, Pitchoff Chimney Cliff 5.8
-Partition, Upper Washbowl 5.9- (old school 8)
-Scarynac Crack, Baker Mtn 5.9
-Little Kisses, Lost T 5.9
-Frosted Mug, Beer Walls 5.9
-Fun Country, Barkeater 5.10a
-TR, Spiders Web 5.10a
-Mystery Achievement, Good Luck Mtn, 5.9+++++. Put this one on your list!
-Hairy Upper Lip Drip, Silver Lake 5.10b (tight hands crux but the upper #3 crack might be the Crux for you!)
-Star Sailor, Pitchoff Chimney Cliff 5.10c (notably harder for big finger folks, TR'd from The Disputed)

If we're talking this size range then we should mention the most mega .75-1 splitter in the park, Catatonic, Cat Mtn 11d

Might edit back if/as I think of more

SethG · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2009 · Points: 258

Actually Lost City Crack might be your best bet at the Gunks. I consider that climb easier (for me) to do without jamming-- I do more of a layback/footwork/reach thing-- but the size is exactly what you are looking for and if you can jam that size it might be easier for you to do it that way. It is 5.10a.

Doug Kinsman · · Atlanta, GA · Joined Jun 2008 · Points: 0

Diagonal and Intertwine at Crow Hill, only an hour away. Cro Magnon is also very nice but may be a bit more than moderate.

Keith Meister · · East Greenbush, NY · Joined Aug 2009 · Points: 30

A few more for the Adirondacks:
Gamesmanship 5.8+  Poke-O-Moonshine
Buffalo Bob 5.7+ Deadwater
Mr. Clean 5.8  Barkeaters

Alan Rubin · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2015 · Points: 0

Hello Etha, One crag that hasn't been mentioned so far, but one that offers what you are looking for is Hewes Hill in Swansea,NH (a little south of Keene). It is a bit of a walk up there but it offers one of the best collections of granite cracks (mostly fingers to hands) in southern New England. The cracks aren't classic splitters in that there are usually horizontals every few moves, but the sections in between offer pure jamming. While  some of the routes may be a bit stiffer than your preferred grade range (though some are within it) top-roping is always an option. It is included in Rob Konigs' recent Monadnock Area Rock Climbs guidebook. Definitely worth a visit and you are unlikely to have to stand in line.

Most of the other cracks at Farley are either thinner, wider, or harder than you are seeking, but some, like Barndoor, have thin hand sections. Nearby at Rose Ledge there are several cracks further along the cliff from the Main Buttress that may be worth your time--such as the various cracks on the Buoux Buttress. As is typical these aren't pure splitters but they do have sections of thin hands jamming. Connecticut (especially Ragged) has plenty of cracks, including in the size range of interest, but typically for the traprock they are rarely consistent in size and there are almost always faceholds. However on many it is possible to 'force' yourself to only use the jams for significant portions of the climbs.

Alex Fischer · · Amherst, MA · Joined Jun 2018 · Points: 97

As an average sized male, the crux of Yosemite Crack was fists for me...pretty impressive doing it with small hands.

JD1984 · · Leominster, MA · Joined Jan 2012 · Points: 726

Slow and Easy at Cannon.

There is also another .75 Crack at Farley but the first part of it is 10+. You can climb the slab to the right at around 5.8-5.9 and join with the main crack to keep the grade around 5.8. Not sure of the name.

Hands for me is a perfect #2 so I prefer a Reppy’s type Crack myself ..... Crackaholics at Farley is awesome!

As Al stated... Hewe’s Hill has a great selection of cracks with some pretty stiff grades. Zig Zag is one of the best pitches of 5.8 you will find!

Jake ES · · Burlington, VT · Joined Aug 2018 · Points: 62
Pierre de St Croix wrote: The first pitch is slightly R/Xish (straightforward friction slab), but the payoff on Bombardment at Cathedral is stellar!!!

5.8 variation on Whitney-Gilman climber’s right at Cannon is splitter #2 (I know you’re looking for smaller, but it is awesome).

Some good jamming at Creature Wall in the Dacks. You may want to tape up unless you’re technique is good.

First pitch of Erect Direction and Double Crack at the Gunks definitely allows for occasional hand jamming.

Definitely agree with bombardment. 


The 5.8 variation to the third pitch of WG, however, I would not recommend. This is one of the sketchiest pitches I have ever done. The climbing is fun and exposure is wild, but 75% of the jugs on the upper half are loose. On one of my many outings on this pitch, my follower knocked a microwave sized block off the belay at the top. Coupled with this being the most popular moderate in all of new england and the actual splitter crack being less than 15 feet long, I would not recommend.
Pierre de St Croix · · Southbury, CT · Joined Jun 2010 · Points: 0
Jake ES wrote:

Definitely agree with bombardment. 


The 5.8 variation to the third pitch of WG, however, I would not recommend. This is one of the sketchiest pitches I have ever done. The climbing is fun and exposure is wild, but 75% of the jugs on the upper half are loose. On one of my many outings on this pitch, my follower knocked a microwave sized block off the belay at the top. Coupled with this being the most popular moderate in all of new england and the actual splitter crack being less than 15 feet long, I would not recommend.

I don’t remember loose blocks on the 5.8 var of 

W-G, but glad you’ve spoken up on the safety 

concern.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

Northeastern States
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