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Skunk Crack 

YDS: 5.9+ French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 17 British: E1 5a

Type:  Trad, 1 pitch, 80'
Original:  YDS: 5.9+ French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 17 British: E1 5a [details]
FA: Harvey Carter & Carey Huston, 1960
Page Views: 5,349
Submitted By: Ernie Port on Aug 4, 2002

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A better view of the chimney.

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  • Description 

    Climb the left of two side by side cracks (the right is Comeback Crack) on the nose of the west buttress, just north of Curving Crack.


    Small cams/TCUs and a few mid-size stoppers.

    Photos of Skunk Crack Slideshow Add Photo
    Rock Climbing Photo: Skunk Crack and Comeback Crack.
    BETA PHOTO: Skunk Crack and Comeback Crack.
    Rock Climbing Photo: Eric Sigler squeezes up the chimney.
    Eric Sigler squeezes up the chimney.
    Rock Climbing Photo: I'm stupid, went left side in.
    I'm stupid, went left side in.

    Comments on Skunk Crack Add Comment
    Show which comments
    By Ernie Port
    From: Boulder, Colorado
    Aug 10, 2002

    This short route offers a tricky opening sequence right off the ground. A crack inside a narrow groove widens for just a few inches which allows a tenuous two knucle deep finger lock for the left hand. The feet in the first two moves are vague and most folks use the crack for the right foot and stem/smear on the polished left face. 10' farther up a shallow, shoulder width, slightly inverted chimney must be overcome. Good pro here, but again a tricky sequence since its so tight, you can't see your feet, but a nice high right hand crack saves the day allowing you to pull through (I've seen climbers avoid this squeeze by pulling left over a lip to gain the easy ground). When this sequence is overcome, most people stop to catch their breath, I know I did. The remainder of the pitch is (5) and most parties go to the chains above curving crack to rap.
    By S. Kimball
    Sep 11, 2002

    I was still mystified by all the zippers and pockets on my new $80 climbing pants when my partner yelled "off belay, good luck..." The first few feet of Skunk Crack is slicker then a Jiffy-Lube garage floor at closing time.Being able to torque myself into the handjam above the initial fingerlock felt tough but extracting my shoulder out of the wider midsection nearly required medical attention. Nothing like an old school 5.9 to start me back sportclimbing!
    By Crusty
    Sep 12, 2002

    Scott, I think you should try yoga. It makes it easier to extract your shoulder from your wider midsection. Be careful out there!
    By Shane Zentner
    From: Colorado
    Oct 1, 2002

    The start of this climb is somewhat slippery. Definately solid 5.9 crux.
    By Rob Davies UK
    From: Cheshire, UK
    May 8, 2009
    rating: 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a

    Another Castle Rock sandbag? Hard to start and an awkward pig of a move higher up.
    By D. Shaw
    Aug 28, 2009
    rating: 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a PG13

    Friend Casey said, "nah, I don't want to picnic and climb at C.R. 'cause it is too greasy." I didn't know what he meant until trying this one, and now I do. Wow. Slick, like the guy said. Easier to second, as you can layback the first section with the slick feet, but if you are leading, it is tricky to layback and protect at the same time. For on-sight, 10a, I thought, but did 2nd lap following and maybe 9+ is ok for that. Definitely worth doing. And, there are now chains at the top of this, so no need to move over to top of Curving Crack for those chains.
    By John Rudolph
    Nov 24, 2009

    I left two quickdraws at the top of this route on the chains last week. If someone picks them up I would love to get them back. I forgot them because my partner fell and got hurt. Thanks, returning gear is good karma!
    By Matt Swartz
    From: Los Angeles, CA
    Mar 23, 2011

    Although this is a bit of an awkward route, I really enjoyed it. Squeezing as much of myself into the chimney worked for me. I know I didn't look very graceful though....
    By Bryan Ferguson
    Apr 4, 2015

    The 1976 edition of High Over Boulder (Pat Ament and Cleveland McCarty) had this route at 5.8+. Back then, we thought that was pretty much what a 5.8+ felt like. Who knew?
    By Peter Lewis
    From: Bridgton, Maine
    Aug 21, 2017

    5.8 still feels like this, Bryan F. Only a bit more so. Everything just keeps getting harder.

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