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Black Crack 

YDS: 5.10b French: 6a+ Ewbanks: 19 UIAA: VII- ZA: 19 British: E2 5b

Type:  Trad, 150'
Original:  YDS: 5.10b French: 6a+ Ewbanks: 19 UIAA: VII- ZA: 19 British: E2 5b [details]
FA: Mike Stultz, George Eyper, Joe Cote 1971
Page Views: 2,690
Submitted By: David Aguasca! on Apr 29, 2009  with updates from Eli

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (10)
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Sarah Garlick on Black Crack


If you've ever climbed Upper Refuse and looked up at the offwidth crack that looms ominously over its first pitch...wonder no longer. This route gets nearly zero traffic, on account of the hideously dirty start and finish. Ignoring these, though, the middle is splitter and houses some serious teeth, so tape up and wear long pants...taped knees might not be a bad idea, too.

You can either climb the crack, which starts with a series of flakes, or you can avoid the grunge and climb a series of ledges which deposits you in an alcove below the nicer-looking section.


Start up the Upper Refuse ramp and head into the right-facing corner.


There's a fixed tricam, pin, and a jingus bolt.

You'll need big cams: several #5 and 6 camalots oughtta do it. Bring a couple medium size cams as well, as the topout can be protected reasonably well.

Be aware that there are sections of this with less than adequate protection.

Photos of Black Crack Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Scott leading Black Crack 9.17.2017
Scott leading Black Crack 9.17.2017
Rock Climbing Photo: Sarah Garlick near the finish of Black Crack with ...
Sarah Garlick near the finish of Black Crack with ...
Rock Climbing Photo: Sarah Garlick seconding Scott on Black Crack
Sarah Garlick seconding Scott on Black Crack
Rock Climbing Photo: I was told by IME staff that this was recently cle...
I was told by IME staff that this was recently cle...

Comments on Black Crack Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Jul 22, 2017
By Coz Teplitz
From: Watertown, MA
May 25, 2009

Jerry Handren's guidebook calls this 5.10d. Webster calls it just 5.10 (I think). Now here it's 5.10a? Which one is it?

This thing looks seriously cool - and brutal! Can't wait to get on it!
By Erik Eisele
Apr 22, 2010

It's probably 10b, though it's significantly easier than any Yosemite 5.10 offwidth.

The business takes old 4.5 or new number 5 Camalots and number 5 Friends. Three is plenty. You can walk one the whole way and essentially be on TR, dropping the other two behind you as you go. You could place a number 6 at the top, but the climbing eases up by then so you don't need to.
By Steven Cooney
Aug 22, 2011

My favorite climb on this section of the cliff. If you aren't familiar with OW it feels very hard. OW is hard to grade but this does have great grit to it in contrast to Yos OW which are just polished. Very fun! George Hurley did it in the winter expecting a nice ice flow in the back.
He ended up holstering his tools and sending in crampons! I think he was in his mid-60s at the time. No excuses now!
By burlap submariner
Jun 1, 2012

In comparison to diedre direct and piss easy this is a lighter 10 cathedral offwith, I found the rock to be grippy and lots of little edges inside and outside of the crack. Eric is right, I brought and old style 4.5 and two bd 6., I placed the 4.5 near the start of the ow and walked a 6 until I was happy moving passed it then walked the other 6 until I was comfy getting into the grooves at the top entering the gully. Such a cool route.
By dirtbag hero
From: Columbia, Mo
Aug 5, 2013

Can you rap in and climb this route?!
By nhclimber
From: Newmarket, NH
Aug 5, 2013

Could, or just climb from the giant ledge or walk down.
By samuel von hammerstien
Sep 9, 2013
rating: 5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b

how did this get a PG 13?
By David Aguasca!
From: New York
Apr 10, 2014


I added this route before I knew any better, and actually I was intending on climbing it while I lived in NH but never got around to it. From what I remember the PG13 is from when the route was first climbed, they didn't really have adequate pro for the main section, so instead some sketchy star drives or 1/4 inchers were used, which are in situ to this day.

If you climbed it, what did you think of it?
From: Keswick Cumbria.UK
Apr 27, 2014

The first ascent was made in 1971 by Mike Stultz , George Eyper and Joe Cote .This party placed a 6" bong for protection . While not actually used as aid, it was impossible to avoid coming in contact with it.Barber and Masury in 1976 climbed it without the bong.. a bolt placed next to the crack is used for protection.
By Eli
From: Lives in a truck
Sep 28, 2015
rating: 5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b

This route is incredibly well protected. A .75 fits in an elusive pocket at the top, you can forgo the last #6. #5s will do for most of it. Also it is not "hideously dirty". The bolt seems totally bomber, don't clip that fixed gear.
By lee hansche
From: goffstown, nh
Jul 22, 2017

After years of thinking about it and a few times showing up only to find it wet, I finally got to climb black crack. Taking advice from this thread I brought a pair of jeans and a long sleeve shirt to protect my skin, but.... forget them until I was tied in beneith the route in shorts and a T-shirt. Seeing as it was 90+ degrees out I wasn't too broken up about it. Precise movement allowed me to get a clean onsight without spilling any blood. I found this to be one of the best 5.10s I've climbed in the area. Exceptional.

I used three #5 cams and a #6.. I also brought a normal rack of cams and put them to good use. Could get by with less but that was a comfortable rack.

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