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Shared By: Steve Levin on Aug 31, 2001
Admins: Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Aeon Aki, Mike Snyder, Taylor Spiegelberg, Jake Dickerson

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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.

Protection Suggest change

#4 Camalots, #4 Friends.