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a. The Uberfall
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Unsorted Routes:

Ken's Crack 

YDS: 5.7+ French: 5a Ewbanks: 15 UIAA: V+ ZA: 13 British: MVS 4b

Type:  Trad, 1 pitch, 50'
Original:  YDS: 5.7+ French: 5a Ewbanks: 15 UIAA: V+ ZA: 13 British: MVS 4b [details]
FA: Ken Prestrud, Lucien Warner, 1951
Page Views: 10,390
Submitted By: Ron Olsen on Feb 24, 2006

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (363)
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Adaptive paraclimber - put in gear every 6-12"...


A beautiful, short crack climb that is harder than it looks. Sustained and fun.

Start just right of the Uberfall, on a boulder below an obvious right-leaning finger crack.

P1: Climb the crack and belay from a tree at the top. 5.7+, 50'.

Walk off to the left and downclimb Uberfall Descent.


Standard rack.

Photos of Ken's Crack Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: working the bulge crux on Ken's Crack
BETA PHOTO: working the bulge crux on Ken's Crack
Rock Climbing Photo: Working the bottom of Ken's.  A beautiful, clean c...
Working the bottom of Ken's. A beautiful, clean c...
Rock Climbing Photo: Ken's Crack the saturday after hurricane Sandy. Th...
BETA PHOTO: Ken's Crack the saturday after hurricane Sandy. Th...
Rock Climbing Photo: In this Picture you can see why Kens Crack Rocks!
In this Picture you can see why Kens Crack Rocks!
Rock Climbing Photo: Having fun on Ken's Crack
Having fun on Ken's Crack
Rock Climbing Photo: Ken's Crack, winter edition
Ken's Crack, winter edition
Rock Climbing Photo: stay cool and place gear regularly early on
stay cool and place gear regularly early on
Rock Climbing Photo: starting up Ken's Crack
BETA PHOTO: starting up Ken's Crack
Rock Climbing Photo: Melody cleaning Ken's.
Melody cleaning Ken's.
Rock Climbing Photo: Nartreb topping Ken's Crack in 5 minutes.  To me, ...
Nartreb topping Ken's Crack in 5 minutes. To me, ...
Rock Climbing Photo: leading the crack
leading the crack
Rock Climbing Photo: Ken's Crack a little damp
Ken's Crack a little damp
Rock Climbing Photo: Kens Crack is the obvious finger crack that diagon...
BETA PHOTO: Kens Crack is the obvious finger crack that diagon...
Rock Climbing Photo: Kayte leads Ken's Crack on a beautiful February mo...
Kayte leads Ken's Crack on a beautiful February mo...
Rock Climbing Photo: Ken's Crack on a cold day.
BETA PHOTO: Ken's Crack on a cold day.

Comments on Ken's Crack Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Sep 17, 2015
By Paul Crowder
Mar 12, 2006
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

The route description is accurate - this attractive crack is no giveaway. It also sees a lot of traffic due to its relative proximity to the Uberfall and the Carriage Trail. If it's open, jump on it.
By Joe M
From: Beckley, wv
Jun 3, 2008
rating: 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b PG13

A very fun crack climb. One of the few lines Ive done so far at the Traps that can be done entirely using crack techniques. A must do.
By - - -
May 21, 2009
rating: 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b

really solid finger locks.
By slim
Jun 8, 2009
rating: 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b

the only knock on this fine little route is its length.
By apeman e
Jul 29, 2009

Protected the crack all passive. Great route.
By Jasonn
Dec 28, 2009

This was my first lead.... I think had a set of nuts and a cam.
By Jaysen Henderson
From: Bronx NY
Mar 21, 2011

I had planned on getting to this all last season and finally got it yesterday. The waterfall just to the left was raging about a foot off the side which made things interesting. This route looks a lot easier than it climbs, it's a good idea to place gear pretty much every move near the bottom to be safe and not deck on the sharp boulder at the base. Great climb tho.
By SethG
May 16, 2011

I have to disagree with you, Kevin.

On one level I hear you. The crux comes at a bulge that still feels awfully close to the block at the base. I've gotten weirded out there myself. But the leader has great options. I've put in a another cam and taken a hang there-- IIRC it was a bomber #2 Camalot, but there are probably a dozen other things you could place there. It's totally safe, so long as you do what you're supposed to do. You should place a lot of gear. And you don't need to extend the gear down low, the climb goes in a straight line.

You can't base the rating on what might happen if the gear comes out. If this were the standard then many, perhaps all, G-rated climbs would be unsafe. And as to whether the hands are "critical," well, aren't they always? This climb has great gear all the way up, and great handholds. If it isn't G-rated, then what is?
By doligo
May 16, 2011
rating: 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b

100% agree with Seth, this is one of a few climbs in the Gunks, where you have gear above your head almost the entire way up - just throw a nut up higher and your move is on TR.
By Chris Duca
From: Havertown, PA
May 17, 2011
rating: 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b

This and Ant's Line are the 2 safest climbs in the Gunks. gear every inch if you want it, plentiful feet, and, without a doubt, the most secure finger, hand jams in the Gunks. A very safe AND inspiring lead for the budding 5.7 crack climber. And it's not a sandbag, as others may have indicated.
By worth russell
From: Brooklyn, NY
Jun 14, 2011

Gear is no doubt a G, but 5.7? This crack is very pumpy. I would throw it into the 5.8 category and definitely not recommend it for the budding 5.7 leader. I myself am relatively new to 5.7 leading at the Gunks. I would put someone on Limelight and Strictly's before this climb.
By Chris Duca
From: Havertown, PA
Jun 19, 2011
rating: 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b

Sure, if you're new to crack climbing, then this route may feel a bit stout, but climb cracks enough and the jams on this line become as good as jugs.
By nartreb
Jul 8, 2011

As someone with little crack experience, I actually thought this route was easier than it looked. Features both inside and outside the crack offered some really solid hands, and solid feet whenever you really need them. Plus there were some good rests. You should be pretty comfortable with a layback once in a while, but you don't need to be a crack specialist.
By gblauer
From: Wayne, PA
Oct 15, 2011

I think this is a fine climb to put a 5.7 leader on. It eats gear. There is no reason to get hurt on this climb. Plug gear and go. We put a new trad leader (5.12 sport leader) on this climb the other day and he put in at least 12 pieces of pro on this climb. You can totally sew it.
By cjdrover
From: Watertown, MA
Nov 6, 2011
rating: 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b

Short, safe and fun. 5.7 G feels spot on to me, it might feel strange for some folks since it climbs more like a granite crack than a typical Gunks climb. Would be 4 stars if it was three times longer.
By SketchySam
Nov 15, 2011

I love this route, even though it's so short, because it's one of the few routes at the Gunks that offers the opportunity to get stellar hand and finger jams (another being Sonja, but it's a notch up in difficulty). I agree with the 5.7 rating, but I think this rating only applies if you're proficient at hand-jamming and finger-locking and you get the crux sequence just right. That being said, hand-jamming and finger-locking don't come naturally to most climbers and the Gunks offers very few options for training this esoteric technique, unlike other areas like Indian Creek, Yosemite, and Red River Gorge where good crack technique is mandatory for most trad routes. I think this explains why some beginners find Ken's Crack really tricky and/or polished. Done with proper crack technique it's a breeze. So if you feel it's difficult I recommend schooling up on crack technique and using this as an opportunity to experiment with different types of jams.
By micah richard
From: Litchfield, Connecticut
Apr 10, 2013

It is very much cheating to stem off the boulders in front of the crack!
By Luc-514
From: Montreal, Quebec
Sep 22, 2014
rating: 5.7+ 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b

This thing is getting greasier and more rounded as time goes by but the jams and pro are still solid.
By Arthur Torrey
From: North Billerica MA
Sep 17, 2015
rating: 5.8- 5b 16 VI- 14 VS 4c PG13

Did this as part of an Adaptive Climbing Group trip - Fantastic guides and volunteers that really worked to pick good routes for each of our abilities and skill sets. I am on the edge of becoming the second known paraplegic to lead climb - and this was going to be my chance... They wanted to check my skills before letting me off top-rope, so I did this with both top-rope and lead rope... Came down after about 30-35' because of harness issues causing my legs to go to sleep, and making about 25 placements - all but one of which was rated as 'bomber'. Would have climbed again on just the lead, but got rained out in a big way.

Really great as an adaptive climb, two others in the group campused up (no gear, top rope and super tight belay for progress capture) so is good for lots of different styles. Also relatively easy to get a climber on and off - the carriage road gets close, and then there are a couple different ways to get a chair to the start of the climb.

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