Left Hand Crack
Avg: 3.3 from 77 votes
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|Shared By:||phil broscovak on Dec 31, 2004|
|Admins:||Leo Paik, John McNamee, Frances Fierst, Monty, Monomaniac|
DescriptionI was really surprised that no one had submitted this absolutely fabulous Harmel's classic. Left Hand Crack might just be one of the best 5.8 cracks on the Western Slope. Many people would argue that LH should be rated 5.9, some would even say 9+ but for two things; 1: Left Hand has always been rated 5.8. and 2: Left Hand has everything you need. Sure, I will grant that it is stiff for the grade, but Harmel's has always been stoutly rated, and yes it is in your face crack climbing. But if you avoid tunnel vision and make like the Vitruvian Man, you will see what all is around you. Most people who struggle or fail on LH do so because they only focus on the six inches of rock in their face. At Harmel's, there is always more than meets the eye.
In the background of first picture under Question of Balance, you can see the inverted Vee where Left Hand starts. The start of LH is fun jams, stems and liebacks to get established on the narrow ledge to the left. From this stance, there are two flakes like surfboard ends right in front of you. From here, also the overhanging crack and dihedral of LH looms above. Lieback the flakes and jam up the crack till your feet are atop the flakes. Repeat the same process of lieback, jam, work feet to stances on left until the angle kicks back to less than vertical. From there, work up and left passing the roof on the left and joining the Crystal Staircase finish to the bolted belay stance. The crux is the awkward transition from overhanging crack to less than vertical crack. Look for a teeny stem hold way out near the arete behind you to your right. If you are competent with solid gear placements, they can be gotten from stances and any potential air time should be safe.
From the bolted station atop LH, you can rap and top rope all of the routes on that wall from Tony's Tango to LH. Or you can finish up to the top on a variety of routes. My favorite finish has always been the 'Aqua Dog', 5.9, offwidth roof.