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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: 11,636
Submitted By: John Peterson on Mar 15, 2006  with updates from kenr

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (188)
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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.

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 big bite, or if your second is needs a good belay for the start, you can belay in the middle at a decent stance that takes finger-sized gear for an anchor. 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.


Head up at the next trail just past the High E area. Double Crack starts at a prominent crack system on a big right-facing buttress just uphill and around the arete from the obvious wide crack of Ventre de Boeuf, and 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: Just above the first alcove.   Photo by Martha B.
Just above the first alcove. Photo by Martha B.
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: 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 Apr 25, 2016
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 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 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.
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 tat off the chockstone a few times and will continue to do so if I happen to be there and am and following the route. 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 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 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 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.

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