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Double Crack 

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

Type:  Trad, 150'
Original:  YDS: 5.8 French: 5b Ewbanks: 16 UIAA: VI- ZA: 15 British: HVS 4c [details]
FA: Jim McCarthy, Hans Kraus, 1955. FFA: Jim Geiser, Jim McCarthy, 1958
Page Views: 11,378
Submitted By: John Peterson on Mar 15, 2006  with updates from kenr

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (183)
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Andrew Rubin working his way up Double Crack.


This route is probably the burliest 5.8 in the Gunks. There's no one move that will shut you down, but the climb just keeps coming and coming.

Start at an an obvious crack system on a huge left-facing face, about 40' downhill and left of the large Broken Hammer corner, and uphill and left of Lisa.

P1: The technical crux is low down (about 20' up) but by the time you get to the top, every move is another crux. If you're not up to the task, or if your second is needs a good belay for the start, you can belay in the middle somewhere at a decent stance. 5.8, 150'.

There is a rap station (2 ropes) at the top. Or bushwack/scramble around climber's left toward the top and traverse left to Silly Chimney or High E if you only have one rope.


The Double Crack access trail is about an 18-min. walk from the Uberfall, or a 14-min. walk from where the East Trapps Connector Trail meets the carriage road. This is a minute or two beyond The Yellow Wall. Double Crack starts at a prominent crack system about 40' downhill and left of the big dirty Broken Hammer corner.


Usual Gunks rack - bring lots of it if you lead this in one pitch and you're a wimp like me.

Photos of Double Crack Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Abe leading Double Crack in one pitch.
Abe leading Double Crack in one pitch.
Rock Climbing Photo: Fiddling in gear at a great stance just below the ...
Fiddling in gear at a great stance just below the ...
Rock Climbing Photo: Just above the first alcove.   Photo by Martha B.
Just above the first alcove. Photo by Martha B.
Rock Climbing Photo: Abe taking a rest in the alcove on Double Crack.
Abe taking a rest in the alcove on Double Crack.

Comments on Double Crack Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Feb 11, 2017
By Adam Catalano
From: Albany, New York
May 9, 2006

WOW! Amazingly sustained. No move is harder than 5.8, but no move is easier than 5.7. I used every draw, sling and spare biner I had on me (even my prussik cord). Lots of medium to large cams, up to #4, maybe even #4.5. No real small cams needed. Milk the rests on the ledge and in alcoves, cause it's all vertical.
By Risi
Sep 4, 2007

Big nuts and hexes protect the route nicely. There are few small ledges and stances on which it is possible to rest a bit if you are pumped.
By JesseLittleton
Sep 21, 2007

If you don't have double ropes and are feeling a little daring, there is a sketchy chockstone with a sling and rap rings on it that I used today. I made it down safe, and it seemed relatively bomber. I would say use at your own risk/discretion. Ps -- awesome awesome awesome climb.
By Artem Lebedev
From: Santa Monica, CA
May 19, 2008

The part after the optional belay (second pitch) stays wet couple of days after rain. Not that it makes it unpassable, but definitely adds some spice.
By David Stowe
Aug 18, 2008

If you are worried about having your second hit the deck down low due to rope stretch, then have the second squat a few times before climbing and take in the slack. If you do that, you don't have to worry about them decking.
By Spiro
Oct 24, 2008
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

super climb for the grade. will test your pump clock. Takes gear well.
By slim
Jun 8, 2009
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

a lot better, a lot longer, and somewhat harder than it looks. a really good route for the grade.
By SethG
Oct 28, 2009

I climbed Double Crack last Wednesday, and the tat anchor 2/3 of the way up on a chockstone is still there. It is seriously sketchy-- I touched the chockstone and it moved. Someone should cut this anchor.

The route is staggering. One of the very best at the grade. The crux is in the first 20-30 feet, which is a little scary, but there's pro everywhere, it may be a little strenuous to place it if this route is at your limit. I found it eased off after the early crux, and there are several rest stances, but it does keep coming at you and it is steep throughout. The pump factor makes it seem harder than it is towards the top.
By doligo
Jun 28, 2010
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

Don't be fooled by the name - only the lower crux has some quality crack moves, the rest is burly chin-ups all the way up. Good climb for the start of the season, while your arms are still strong from ice climbing.
By analogical
Sep 20, 2010

One small correction to the descent info - if you have only a single rope, you can walk straight over (climber's left) to the High E rap line. You're already at the GT ledge at the top of Double Crack, so you'll have only two one-rope rappels to do. I've done this several times.

Best, though, I think, is to lead it with double ropes and rap. To complete the day, do what we did yesterday - walk over to Modern Times next!
By JeanGClimbs
From: Reading, VT
Oct 28, 2010

This route is indeed sustained. Yes, there are a few nice rest ledges/alcoves - take advantage of them when you can as the pump factor is high. Not a crack climb, but still protects well and will keep your attention from ground to top-out!
By Alex Washburne
May 13, 2011

This climb is like the 5.8 twin sister of double-issima - same aspect of a similar massive buttress, and the same sustained climbing that keeps you engaged from bottom to top. Insanely well protected - I'd call it G- if there were such a thing - as such it's a great climb for someone looking to push the grade. Finally, I pity the foo' who does this awesome climb in two pitches.

When rapping down from the top, two 50m ropes will get you to the bottom. With only one rope, you can rap off far to the climber's left of the rap station and catch the intermediate chock stone rap station on the way down (you'll see it on your way up. An alternative would be to stop the climb at this rap station and rap to the ground in one throw with a 60m rope). If you accidentally rap off the top to the climber's right, you can end up a solid 20 yards to the right side of the rap station, and (like me today) have a wee struggle traversing back to the intermediate rap station.
By Pete Wilk
Aug 15, 2011

There is a two nut+cordelette intermediate belay/rap with a locking biner on it. I recall it being about half way up and in a small right facing corner. Seems good enough for what it is. Better to do this all in one pitch (bring lots of slings!) though and use the High E rap or double rope rap.
By rgold
From: Poughkeepsie, NY
Oct 19, 2011

Another Gunks sandbag in my opinion. The bottom 20' is probably 5.9. There is a perfectly good belay ledge part way up; back in the day, everyone stopped and belayed there. If there is concern about the second having trouble, then the belay should be at that ledge, since there will be a lot less rope stretch and communication will be possible. It is very hard to communicate from the top.

I've cut the tat off that chockstone a few times and will continue to do so if I happen to be there and am and following the route. There's absolutely no reason for a fixed cordelette and locker at the belay stance either; that should be cut down as well. Keep the route as clean and natural as possible fer god's sake.

As for descents with a single rope, much closer than High E is the Silly Chimney, and you don't have to climb up a pile of choss to get to it. You can walk straight left over to the top of Silly Chimney from the top of Double Crack. It is easy to downclimb Silly Chimney unroped, although very few people do that any more. There is now a rap station on some trees just climber's left of the chimney.

Historical note: Dave Craft and I made what was, I'm pretty sure, the first all-nut ascent in the Gunks on Double Crack in 1967, using what would now be considered a very primitive set of pre-Chouinard nuts ordered from Joe Brown.
By worth russell
From: Brooklyn, NY
Oct 23, 2011

awesome, awesome climb! I would say large cams are unnecessary. I used one #3 and that was it. Nuts are great on the first half of the climb. Very pumpy, very sustained. Harder than alot of 5.9s in the surrounding area. G all the way. Utilize the rests. The crux for me was the O.W. section but that may have more to do with my lacking skill set
By Simon Thompson
From: New Paltz, NY
Aug 16, 2012
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

Awesome fun climb. The 5.8 crux is pretty early on. The rest is steady 5.7 moves with tons of options for holds and pro. We had a single 70m rope and were able to make a diagonal rap to climbers' right and downclimb a 15ft corner to the ground.
By Alex Jacques
From: Burlington, CT
May 18, 2013

Sustained 5.8, first 100ft are slightly overhung. Takes cams of all sizes
By rogerbenton
Oct 1, 2013
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

There's a shoebox sized loose block a little more than half way up, near the second alcove. I marked it with XXX in chalk but that'll wash off so watch out, it's just sitting there looking like a jug. I was doing a lot of thumping on holds before grabbing and there was a bunch of loosy goosey stuff all chalked up. Eeek.

Great route. I combined pitches and used everything I had on me from green c3 to blue c4 and then some. Totally G rated. I was a little curious about the route's reputation for being sustained and pumpy but the rests are there, just have to use them. Great views from the top of this. Quite a nice area of the cliff in general. Thank god this route is a PITA to toprope.
By rocknice2
From: Montreal, Quebec
Oct 15, 2013
rating: 5.7+ 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b

Solid 5.7+ crack. Just have to know how to climb crack. I didn't find it pumpy. There are tons of rests all over the place.
By losbill
Oct 16, 2013
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

Rocknice - Did you really sink a lot of jams on DC? Despite the name it didn't seem to me to offer a lot of jamming.

Also for a dubber like me the first slightly overhanging/vertical 30' with somewhat awkward feeling holds felt pretty pumpy. It always gets my attention. I definitely get rests but for me they are not entirely straight forward.

When all is said and done though still an absolutely great climb.
By EricBacus
From: Germantown, NY
Aug 12, 2014

"Sustained 5.8, first 100ft are slightly overhung. Takes cams of all sizes"
Sounds about right. I'd say "G" with some questionable holds.

Walking the GT to the high E rap looks like a pita. As a previous comment said; a 70m rope to the corner with a 15 foot ez down climb is a great option.
By Daniel Affsprung
From: New Paltz, NY
May 4, 2015

I agree that cams over 3 inches aren't necessary. I would take doubles up to that size though. There is at least one killer block at the top out. Be extremely careful of this block, and be careful pulling rap ropes. I got doubles stuck and had to ascend the whole pitch again. That being said, amazing pitch. Do it.
By Mike Kim
From: Queens,Ny
May 26, 2015

Dare I say, Best 5.8 in the gunks!!!!
By kenr
Oct 8, 2015
rating: 5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

We had a single 60 meter rope and decided to try the Silly Chimney rap. It worked.

We thrashed up through some undergrowth to climber's left (SW) than a couple of scrambling moves up a sort of gully in the rocks. Then easy bushwacking to go left along the top. Fortunately I knew how to find Silly Chimney. The broad gully above it which connects from the informal ridge trail to the narrower Chimney was newly blocked by a large fallen tree, so it looked different. The current "marking" was a stone resting on top of a broken tree alongside the ridge trail near the top of the broad gully.

. . (Perhaps a few years ago it was straightforward to "walk straight left" from the top of Double Crack, as rgold suggested above as of Sept 2015. But it looked like it would have been just a thrash nowadays. So we went diagonally left upward at first. No sign of any informal climber herd path. Seems like so few people are walking off nowadays, you have to really know your way around up top. Fortunately I remembered enough to get us there).

The rappel tree just south from the top of the narrow chimney had some fairly recent slings on it. Actually a nice rappel. With a 60 meter rope requires a couple of scrambling move to actually reach the base of the cliff.

The rappel tree by the top of Silly Chimney (though still standing solidly) is now dead.
By Dan Pizzillo
From: Brooklyn, NY
Feb 24, 2016

I did this route last weekend and came up with a way to rap to the ground with my single 70m. After we both topped out, I extended the rope with our two cordelettes (which added about 45 ft of length), lowered both ends so they were even, set up a reepschnur rappel, we rapped off the all-rope side, and pulled the cordelette-extended side.

Pretty much just as fast as rapping with doubles (only two additional knots to tie) and the length was perfect. Seems a little complicated, but it must have been faster and less effort than any of the other options.

That said, double ropes would be great for this route since you're zig-zagging your way to the top.
By Sardocius
From: Old Lyme, CT
Apr 25, 2016

In my opinion the best 5.8 at the Gunks!

Bring lots of gear and watch out for a big loose block lodges in some dirt and grass toward the very top of the climb after all of the serious climbing is done. It's a widowmaker, but easily avoided.
By Nikki S
From: Cleveland, Ohio
Feb 11, 2017

The fun just keeps coming!

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