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Cackle Crack 

YDS: 5.8 French: 5b Ewbanks: 16 UIAA: VI- ZA: 15 British: HVS 4c

Type:  Trad, 1 pitch, 110'
Original:  YDS: 5.8 French: 5b Ewbanks: 16 UIAA: VI- ZA: 15 British: HVS 4c [details]
FA: ?
Page Views: 5,881
Submitted By: Charles Vernon on Jan 1, 2001

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Climbing the first part of Cackle.

Season raptor closures MORE INFO >>>


This route is on Hen and Chicken Rock, the 100 foot high buttress (with a pointy summit) just below the SE corner of the East Owl. Take the approach trail which branches left about 1/4 mile up the Gem Lake Trail, and lead right to the rock. Cackle Crack is the excellent hand crack in the large, left-facing corner on the rock's right side. Climb it to where it becomes a finger crack and belay on a ledge below the summit block; go north and hike down east to descend.


Bring gear to a #3 Camalot.

Photos of Cackle Crack Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Cackle Crack and loving it.
Cackle Crack and loving it.
Rock Climbing Photo: Cackle Crackle.
Cackle Crackle.
Rock Climbing Photo: Layin' back on Cackle Crack.
Layin' back on Cackle Crack.
Rock Climbing Photo: Reeves leading down low on Cackle Crack.
Reeves leading down low on Cackle Crack.
Rock Climbing Photo: Another view of the first belay.  August 8, 2002.
Another view of the first belay. August 8, 2002.
Rock Climbing Photo: Cool first belay.
Cool first belay.
Rock Climbing Photo: Paul Giglio making it go with Erik Corkran and his...
Paul Giglio making it go with Erik Corkran and his...

Comments on Cackle Crack Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Oct 24, 2016
By Kurt Johnson
From: Estes Park, CO
Dec 18, 2001

This is an excellent first 5.8 trad lead. Not too long, bomber gear, good rests, and very aesthetic. When I did it, I ended up rapping off a two-bolt anchor to the left and at the same height as the top of the Cackle Crack dihedral - a short but sketchy traverse that could send you swinging back into the dihedral, but an alternative way of rapping off.
By Jon Slinger
Apr 23, 2002

The Hen and the Chickens, ie cackle crack, yosemite crack(there are more) are not included in the raptor closure. This explained on the NPS closure notice at the twin owls trailhead.
By Andrew Gram
From: Salt Lake City, UT
Sep 1, 2002

Yeah, it is only 1 pitch, but I would give it 3 stars. One of the finest pitches of 5.8 hand jamming I have ever seen anywhere. Rapping from the bolted anchor is not recommended because you miss another 30 feet of great climbing!
By Brian Faulkner
From: Fort Collins
Oct 11, 2002

I agree that this climb is an excellent choice for a first 5.8. It only has one difficult section about 15 feet up, and the rest is easier. You only need a few larger pieces down low, and the rest of the climb takes smaller gear. When you reach the top create a belay so you can look out at longs and the rest of the Estes Valley. Its great! Its also quit a bit shorter approach than many of the climbs on lumpy so you can get there after dinner and climb till the sun goes down without trobule.
By Chris Fisher
Oct 19, 2002

What a great 5.8. I think this climb, although short, deserves a three star rating. I find myself coming back to this one. Nice jamming with the rest spots spaced perfectly.
By David Warriner
May 4, 2003

Did this route last year, thought it was great. The only problem with it is it didn't go on long enough. Great trad 5.8 lead. Belay is too cool.
By Jeremy Franz
From: Berthoud, CO
Jul 10, 2003

I'd bring a couple of larger pieces for this one. I left the #3.5 and #4 Camalots in the car and was longing for them on lead. I found myself scooting the #3 up with me as I went so it all worked out.

If you belay at the pinnacle at the top of crack, it turns into a two pitch route. A good option for practicing multipitch climbing. We rapped off a sling around the pinnacle. The traverse to the bolts looked pretty thin and dicey.
By Brian Faulkner
From: Fort Collins
Sep 25, 2003

I have seen a lot of people ending the pitch at the top of one of the blocks by the bolts. I think it seems kinda sketchy to move over to them. You can get about 20 feet more of good climbing if you keep climbing the crack that goes up and to the left and really top out, from which you can walk off of. That last part does not have good feet so its hard to stop and protect it, but the climbing is fun.
By grega Albrechtsen
Jul 31, 2006

Great route.. We also TR'd Hagakure from this route. IMO, it was not sketchy to stem over to the bolts. Just a stretch.
By Merlin
From: Grand Junction
Apr 29, 2008

Superb lead for those working into the 8s, it gobbles gear.
By Tony B
From: Around Boulder, CO
Jul 6, 2008
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

Fun climbing, and a good single pitch, but don't stop at the bolts! There is more fun to be had above.
By - - -
Jul 23, 2008

If you've got it, bring your #4, especially if you're a newer leader.
By Angela Mabe
From: Flagstaff,AZ
Apr 12, 2010

I'm glad I had the #4.
By Petsfed
From: Laramie, WY
Sep 12, 2010
rating: 5.8- 5b 16 VI- 14 VS 4c

While it is true that you could place a #4 on this route, you could just as easily place a second #3 a couple feet higher or lower. Also, crux location is determined more or less by hand size. If perfect hands is like a #2 or #2.5 Friend, the crux is the first 15 feet. If it's closer to a #3 or #3.5, the crux comes near the end of the dihedral.

Also, the upper crack is very doable, with incredibly good feet if you know what a good crystal on granite looks like. They aren't jams, but these feet are crazy good.
By Canon
Aug 30, 2012
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

Bomber gear, you can sew it up with nuts and a SR. Dont bother bringing the #4 Camalot. Climb out 25ft above the bolts in one single pitch and walk off the back - it's probably faster than rapping down. The last crack left above the bolts does have good feet and can be easily protected.
By Petsfed
From: Laramie, WY
Oct 24, 2016
rating: 5.8- 5b 16 VI- 14 VS 4c

Returned to this yesterday. Those bolts are in terrible shape! Someone please replace them! Also, there really is no need for a #4 anywhere. You can always go higher, lower, or deeper. The upper crack loves #0.75 and smaller, so make sure you pack more of that size.

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