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Supercrack Buttress
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Unsorted Routes:

Supercrack of the Desert 

YDS: 5.10 French: 6b Ewbanks: 20 UIAA: VII- ZA: 19 British: E2 5b

Type:  Trad, 3 pitches
Original:  YDS: 5.10 French: 6b Ewbanks: 20 UIAA: VII- ZA: 19 British: E2 5b [details]
FA: Earl Wiggins
Page Views: 90,198
Submitted By: Darin Lang on Oct 14, 2001

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Out of the mid-morning shadow.

RAIN AND WET ROCK The sandstone around Moab is fragile and is very easily damaged when it is wet. MORE INFO >>>


This route is, well, super.

Climb up the side of the detached flake (1.5 or 2 Friend) through the awkward crux (maybe 10c) to a top-of-the-flake ledge right below the crack. Although decent gear is available, groundfalls have occurred here, so heads-up. Climb the crack (sustained 5.9) for 80 feet, past the roof to a bolted anchor. While I typically don't like to give away the detailed beta, I'll make an exception here: hand jam, foot jam, hand jam, foot jam ... The crack widens a bit for the last 15 feet, so depending on the size of your mitts, you may have to revise this beta to include a cupped hand or two, and maybe even a fist.

A 60m rope will just barely reach from the anchor for the rappel/TR. While it probably goes without saying, TR through draws and not the anchor.


One 1.5 or 2 Friend, 5 or 6 #3 Friends, and 2 or 3 #4 Friends. A blue TCU can also be used for additional pro on the crux.


Hike up to Supercrack Buttress and find the largest queue. If this doesn't help you locate the route, look left of the ruins, finding the obvious splitter hand crack above a large flake, going through a small roof and cleaving the blank face above in an unbroken line another 60 feet or so above the roof. An impressive line that's hard to miss.


Photos of Supercrack of the Desert Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Me leading Supercrack back in 1982
Me leading Supercrack back in 1982
Rock Climbing Photo: Kelsey Gray reconsiders the wisdom of leaving the ...
Kelsey Gray reconsiders the wisdom of leaving the ...
Rock Climbing Photo: BD sponser climber Kenedy climbin the SC on Hexes....
BD sponser climber Kenedy climbin the SC on Hexes....
Rock Climbing Photo: This is Tom rose leading Supercrack of the Desert.
This is Tom rose leading Supercrack of the Desert.
Rock Climbing Photo: The Bomber Lilac FatCam!!
The Bomber Lilac FatCam!!
Rock Climbing Photo: Original name of this climb. If you see this piece...
Original name of this climb. If you see this piece...
Rock Climbing Photo: Yep 5 Hexes...No tape....Hi-top...Rope harness...t...
Yep 5 Hexes...No tape....Hi-top...Rope harness...t...
Rock Climbing Photo: Ubercrak
Rock Climbing Photo: Supercrack
Rock Climbing Photo: Standard Belay for the day...Halloween 2012
Standard Belay for the day...Halloween 2012
Rock Climbing Photo: Shadowboxing on SuperCrack
Shadowboxing on SuperCrack
Rock Climbing Photo: Supercrack
Rock Climbing Photo: Hexes!
Rock Climbing Photo: Jorden succumbing to her crack habit!
Jorden succumbing to her crack habit!
Rock Climbing Photo: A great shot of my buttcrack on supercrack
A great shot of my buttcrack on supercrack
Rock Climbing Photo: Tom
Rock Climbing Photo: Supercrack taken from the pillar to the right of t...
Supercrack taken from the pillar to the right of t...
Rock Climbing Photo: Sponser climber for BD Kenedy on SC with Hexes.  P...
Sponser climber for BD Kenedy on SC with Hexes. P...
Rock Climbing Photo: Steve Mestdagh crackin the Super Crack. Photo: Bob...
Steve Mestdagh crackin the Super Crack. Photo: Bob...
Rock Climbing Photo: Supercrack
Rock Climbing Photo: Karl Kelley leading Supercrack. Photo by Jenna Bos...
Karl Kelley leading Supercrack. Photo by Jenna Bos...
Rock Climbing Photo: Gearing up for Halloween 2012...Retro Day
Gearing up for Halloween 2012...Retro Day
Rock Climbing Photo: Roped up Halloween
Roped up Halloween
Rock Climbing Photo: Someone in our group enjoying a tape-free day on S...
Someone in our group enjoying a tape-free day on S...

Show All 56 Photos

Only the first 24 are shown above.

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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Oct 9, 2016
By Bill Wright
Nov 29, 2001

While getting onto the pedestal is definitely the technical crux, the hardest part for me is just enduring to the anchors. I have relatively small hands and the #3 Camalot-sized crack feels insecure and drains me. I think this is a MUCH harder crack than the Incredible Hand Crack (which is trivial except for the overhanging twenty foot section) and much harder than the perfect #2 Camalot crack of Generic Crack. I also find it harder than any other 5.10 crack that I have done in this area - mainly because of my hand size, but also because there is no chance for rest (unlike many of other 5.10 cracks like Generic Hand Crack, IHC, Gorilla Crack, Keyhole Flake, etc.) Hence, I think the crack itself is solid 5.10, not 5.9. Your hand size (and opinion) will vary, of course.
By George Bell
From: Boulder, CO
Nov 29, 2001

Those of us with big hands find Incredible Hand Crack (IHC) technically harder. Supercrack is way enduro, but I find I can hand jam it all the way (although the start is thin hands and I am really cupped out near the anchors). The crux of IHC is short (relatively), but it is desperate thin hands for me. I have heard that IHC is slowly getting wider (and likely Supercrack too), so in 10 years or so the ratings may have to be revised!
By Darin Lang
Nov 30, 2001

Bill, Mike, and George all make excellent points, consistent with my own limited experience at Indian Creek. It seems that adding letter grades to the routes at IC wouldn't really give any useful information, and most of the route submissions on this site so far seem to recognize this. As far as Supercrack goes, I think the best consensus is that it is "5.10". Some may think it is 10a, some may think it's 10d+. Strangely, everyone would be right.
By Charles Vernon
From: Tucson, AZ
Feb 2, 2002

I wouldn't enjoy leading Supercrack with the gear list in this description. #3 friends are only really nice for the first 30 ft. or so of the crack proper. After that they get pretty tipped out, and 3.5 friends fit much better, if a little tight. But 3 camalots are absolutely perfect for the final 50 feet and I'd recommend bringing more of that thatn any other piece if you can get it.

I would add that the climber in the photo below seems to be carrying an awful lot of #3 camalots!
By Darin Lang
Apr 1, 2002

Now, Charles ... "heavy and slow" is our motto. I followed Bernard up this climb (he of the oversized rack in the photo below), and he placed exactly 3 #3 Camalots. The first was quite tight, and a #2 (Camalot) would have worked. Nonetheless, you're probably right, and I should modify my gear beta above by recommending that you take 3 or 4 #4 Friends, and two 3.5 Friends.

Or ... just take 5 or 6 #3 Camalots. As Charles notes, these fit better than anything in the upper section of the climb.
By Anonymous Coward
May 17, 2002

the first move is solid 10c the next 10 feet is a debatable 9+ with the next three moves a solid 10a. The following eleven moves are 10b/c, with moves 15-37 10b. moves 37-42 are 10b as well.
By Brad Schildt
From: Boulder, CO
Aug 19, 2002

Additional beta: this is a good climb to wear a long sleeved shirt. Better yet, tape it around your wrists, so that when you show up at work the next day you don't have to explain those nasty scabs covering the insides of your wrists and forearms.
By Braxtron
From: ...
Feb 4, 2007
rating: 5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b

I agree, getting to the pedestal = technical crux. Just blast through it. I don't suggest getting pumped early by placing anything; it's not that high anyway. Like all splitter cracks, this one is hand-size dependent. If you have larger-than-average hands, you'll cruise the top 1/3. If you have normal hands (perfect for Incredible Hand Crack), you'll find the top section to be a bit of a beyatch. Heavy on the #1-#3 Camalots.

By evanvv
Jun 20, 2007

i'll start off by saying i haven't done a great deal of climbing in indian creek: but i did truly enjoy leading this route. in my opinion, it is definitely a classic and a must climb for the creek.
a lot of climbers have added good and valid info about this climb, some of which i agree with, some of which i don't. that's the double edged sword of mountainproject- everyone can speak their mind, but don't ever take anything on this site as absolute.
it is my opinion that:
getting onto the pedestal is the technical crux.
protect the technical crux as to not hit the ground (#2 with a runner works well, avoids rope drag)
if your hands are perfect for incredible hand crack- this will feel bigger
if so-wear long sleeves or go to work with nasty scabs (but be proud!)
before the roof- #2 camalots fit perfectly
after the roof you won't need anything but #3 camalots- i think i had 5
have fun
By JoshuaTreeRunner David
From: Los Angeles
Nov 26, 2007

love this route. i always come here and climb this at least once. endurance is the key.
By percious
From: Bear Creek, CO
Jan 17, 2008

Here is a link to a video of Catherine Destivelle soloing this impressive climb:

Beautiful to watch. Scary though.

By Stefan Doucette
Jul 29, 2008

Brian Becker and Ed Webster were also part of the first ascent party.
By Jaaron Mankins
From: Bayfield, CO
Aug 13, 2008

This thing really is a beauty. Last two times on it, we were the only ones in the lot. The new plaque is very nice, there was also a new plaque by Coyne Crack.
By slim
Aug 14, 2008
rating: 5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b

the plaque is pretty unnecessary. earl is probably rolling over in his grave.
By Buster Jesik
Oct 27, 2008
rating: 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a

The new plaque is beautiful, leave it alone. If this isn't a 4 star pitch I don't know what is.
By Bingman
From: Fort Collins, CO
Nov 14, 2008
rating: 5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b

As I understand it, this was first done as a two pitch route. Anyone have beta on P2? Are there anchors up top? Does the rock stay good? Grade? Gear? Thanks!
By Jason Shatek
Dec 3, 2008

A #2 camalot and a yellow mastercam protect the technical crux at the bottom. Once in the crack, a #2 will work for about 10 feet after the roof. Also, crowds weren't a problem, I didn't see many people near supercrack.
By JoergB
From: Germany
Mar 11, 2009

I did this '91 and I remember that it should have even 3 pitches. I also did the 2nd pitch, and it was wider (fist and ow) but easier, so I did not mind that only one of my friends was usable as pro. The 3rd pitch was finger crack, supposed to be 5.11, and as I had absolutely no gear for that, I did not attempt it. There was another abseil bolt at the end of P2.
By Sean Wolf
From: Denver, CO
Jun 8, 2009
rating: 5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b

I was pretty intimidated attempting this climb as a my 2nd trad lead. I blew a clip under the roof and landed on the pedestal. But I got back up and eventually finished. I was so pumped that while trying to clip the chains my hands slipped and took a pretty deece whip. Good thing it was the last climb of the trip because I was completely exhausted afterwords.
By charley graham
Nov 6, 2009

The third pitch of Supercrack is excellent. Bring triples of #00 and #0 tcus and doubles of the other small sizes and you'll be protected. I would call this one of the better Wingate stemming corners. The crack is too small for your fingertips but there are lots of small holds and the rock is perfect so the tiny cams seem good to whip on. Go straight up off the belay, through the thin crux and to a stance where you can either go straight up on crumbly rock with no gear or traverse left on a ramp and head up the next crack system. I went left. Once you summit, you can walk back right and rap straight down the plumb line of the first two and a half pitches. There are two fixed anchors above the one everyone usually stops at. Bring two ropes.
By Hamlet73
From: Boulder, CO
Nov 18, 2009
rating: 5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b

This route seem to get bigger every passing year. It seems to take mostly #2 until right after the roof and then #3 BD Camalots to the anchors. It is wide for me after the roof, and I cannot use fists until the very top.

Much Harder than IHC.
By Rob Davies UK
From: Cheshire, UK
Oct 16, 2010
rating: 5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b

Hard to grade even in (or especially in) the UK system, so simply 5.10 is the best call. Technical crux in the first 20' would be worth UK HVS 5b. The individual moves on the main crack are probably no more than UK 4c but it goes on for so long - arms programmed for the maximum 40'-50' length of gritstone cracks (like mine) just give up!
By eDixon Dixon
From: Durango, Colorado
Feb 2, 2012

P2 (~100', 5.10) Mostly thuggish cups/fists with a couple wider spots and some hands deep in there too. Seemed to eat up #2/3 Camalots and a #4 is nice to have. Ends at 2 bolts & 2 drilled angles.
By Matt Hoffmann
From: Squamish
Apr 20, 2012
rating: 5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b

Like everyone says. Wide hands, wide hands, wide hands. Bring a lot of blues and a couple yellows for the very start of the crack. I protected the boulder problem start with a yellow c4 before the move and a yellow alien after it (my friend used a #4 after it).

Beautiful crack. Our last climb of the trip and it was just fun fun fun to the anchors. Use your feet!
By Ross Hokett
From: Little Rock, AR
Jun 26, 2012

this is an excellent pitch if you have large hands to me was much easier than the generic crack. The starting flake was by far the hardest part for me off the ledge a few #2's and then #3's the rest of the way up.
By NickinCO Mardi
From: colorado
Oct 10, 2012
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

Great climb. I didn't feel the opening moves were any harder than 5.9. Maybe harder for shorter people, I'm 6'1
By Ryan N
From: Bellingham, WA
Oct 13, 2012

The beginning is defiantly the technical crux of the route. Very greasy but well protected. The first 20ft is perfect #2 thru the roof then it opens up to #3 and becomes pumpy. Good climb, though I suggest hitting it in the AM when the sun is not so bad.
By Boissal
From: Small Lake, UT
Oct 13, 2012
rating: 5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b

+1 for defiant cruxes. They're the shit.
Jan 29, 2014

I did this route just once, in 1996 or 1997 or so. I led it onsight, by the light of the full moon and my headlamp (no led lamps back then, sadly).

I could swear the guide at the time listed it as 5.9 or 5.9+. So, I took a pretty casual attitude towards it. I remember being sketched out of my mind on the moves up onto the pedestal. In no small part because I could not see what I was doing at all. The moonlight was blocked, and those old school little headlamps were weak sauce.

After 20 minutes of hemming and hawing, up and down, I finally committed and got past that part. The rest of it was a pretty surreal experience. I don't remember the crack proper feeling any harder than say, Reed's direct. But, I have big meaty hands.

I do remember thinking the whole experience felt very hard for 5.9, but I chalked that one up to doing without sunlight.

The next night we did the Kor Ingalls in the same style. That was a very interesting road trip.
By Moritz B.
Nov 10, 2014
rating: 5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b

Does Anyone have beta on pitch three and about getting off the cliff? Do you rappell the route?
By Ryan Arnold
Dec 15, 2014
rating: 5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b

I only brought 2 #2 camalots and it wasn't enough for me. I'd want to place a #2 in the initial corner about 10 feet up, then four in the first 30 feet of the crack proper. If I do this again, I'll bring:

one finger sized cam
five #2 camalots
four #3 camalots, more if I don't have #3.5
2-3 #3.5 or #4
By Henry AB
Apr 20, 2015

I brought 5 #3s, and that felt about right. I personally would not want to climb it with fewer #3s.
By Walter Galli
From: Sint Maarten
Oct 9, 2016

Amazing, I was born in 1976, the best looking crack ever...

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