Would it be easier for you to crack climb if you could only see the aesthetics of crack climbing? What are the holds? What is the best place for you to put your feet? Crack climbing is a rewarding and beautiful way to climb, often on radiant sandstone walls in the desert or gorgeous granite in the alps, following perfect splitters up endless rock faces. From Utah to California to Kentucky, climbers search all year round for new and classic crack lines.
Despite this, crack climbing can be an acquired taste, one that can lead to misery and pain. You can learn to enjoy cracks, not despise them, by reading this article by Trek Amaze. We will explain how to crack climb, from the right shoes to the right gloves to the right technique.
Climbing cracks usually only contains cracks, so to move up, you have to use the cracks. It is important to jam various parts of your body into the crack. It may be painful at first, but once you master the movement, moving quickly and confidently up a crack system can be exhilarating.
Crack climbing is the bread and butter of the sport. If your hand is swallowed whole by a crack, it’ll make climbing that crack much easier and now insert your hand into the crack and slide your thumb down towards your palm to jam your hand, engaging the muscles in the hand around the thumb. By stretching these muscles, you make your hand fatter, which allows you to hang off your hand as it jams into the crack.
The thumbs-up and thumbs-down gestures are two different ways. A thumbs-up lets you reach a little higher. In general, thumbs-down will fit better into tighter cracks.
As you widen the cracks in your hands, you can make cups in them by bending your fingers at the base. Cupped hands work best for cracks that are too wide for bomber hand jams, and too tight for fists. These aren’t as secure, and you have to arrange your fingers straight to use them.
The footwork required for crack climbing is no different from that required for other types of climbing. Hand-cracks are great for placing your feet, but you have to twist your feet into them. Place your foot roughly level with your other knee while sitting cross-legged with your knee facing out. If you can, insert your pinky toe at the bottom of the crack with your foot tilted sideways. Weight the foot by twisting your big toe downward and bringing your knee closer to the crack.
You may feel uncomfortable when you first try this, but it will become easier and more painless as you get used to it.
HAND CRACKS: HOW TO JAM THEM
Finger locks involve inserting knuckles into a constricting crack and a well-placed finger-lock can feel like you could hang off it all day, like a solid hand-jam.
Look for the place in the crack where your fingers constrict and start with your elbows pointed away from you for a thumbs-down finger lock. Then you need to turn your elbow down as you twist your hand and sink in your finger-lock. Insert your index and middle fingers as deeply as possible.
Finger-lock your thumb and ring finger with your pinky and ring finger’s knuckles and now again, lock them into position by twisting and bringing your elbow down.
A challenging aspect of finger-cracks is the footwork. It is common for climbers to use their feet as they do in hand-cracks: start with the knee facing out, and then rotate the foot into the crack by bringing the leg parallel to the crack, and twisting the foot. If you twist your toes into the crack, you can relieve some of the weight on your arms. You can increase the surface area of your climbing shoe in cracks by keeping your heels low.
You can also attempt to find friction by sticking your big toe, pointing up, in the crack. The more foot contact you have with the rock, the better. Use any holds available on the face as well.
HOW TO FINGER-LOCK IN A CRACK CLIMBING
The ring-lock technique can be used for cracks whose width is slightly greater than the finger. While this can be a difficult skill to master, it is crucial to master when trying a size climbers call “rattly fingers”.
Cross the tip of your index finger on top of your thumbnail, with your elbow facing out. This should go into the crack. Stack your other fingers as high as the crack will allow over your index finger. You should now be able to wedge your fingers against your thumb inside the crack of the ring-lock when you pull your elbow down and twist.
When hand-cracks widen, a fist sometimes fits perfectly. The fist jam can either be used palm-up or palm-down, and is applied by placing your fist inside the crack and clenching your hand muscles to make the fist wider and wedge it inside. You can adjust the position of your thumb to make the fist wider or narrower, but beware – a wide thumb position can be very painful.
Wide hand cracks or fist jams fit feet perfectly. It is the same technique, but in many cases you won’t need to twist your foot too much into the crack, as it will fit perfectly. You may have to rub your foot in the crack, pushing your outside heel against your big toe or your inside heel against your pinky toe if the crack is too wide for your foot.
MAINTAIN DIRECTIONAL FORCE
In any jam, it is important to maintain the direction of pull while cranking up. You can try keeping your elbow down while you pull yourself higher, so your hand and elbow are pulling in the same direction, for example, for a thumbs-up hand jam. By raising your elbow as you pull higher, you may change the direction of the force, causing your hand to slip out of the crack.
Climbing cracks – especially hand-cracks – is often very shoulder-intensive. The hand and arm positions are kept as static as possible, so most of the pulling is done through your shoulder muscles.
The best way to climb a crack that leans in a certain direction is to shuffle your hands as you climb, rather than leap-frogging. When you are leading the left hand during a left-leaning hand-crack, place your left thumb down, and your right thumb up. The left hand should be placed above the right hand and the hands should be shuffled one at a time instead of climbing right over left.
The right hand should lead the thumbs-down jam, and the left hand should follow the thumbs-up jam.
CRACK CLIMBING GRADES
The crack climbs seem to be graded according to the hand and finger size of a normal male. The crack size for a 5.10 hand-crack will fit a number 2 Camelot slot (usually very solid for an average-sized man) and will be fairly steep. As the grade increases, the climb becomes steeper and the crack becomes more awkward in comparison to a number 2 hand jam.
As a result, climbers with smaller hands and fingers sometimes have an easier time finding 5.11 cracks than 5.10 cracks. Climbers with smaller hands will have an easier time climbing a number 1 Camelot hand crack than the average male. It is also typically easier for tiny fingers to sink a knuckle into a crack than larger fingers which can only cling to the edge of the crack with their fingertips.
As a general rule, climb the route you’re inspired by, and take the grade only as a guide to crack size and steepness.
The majority of crack climbs are traditional. This means that they have no bolts and are protected by placing quickdraws on traditional gear as you climb higher. In general, it’s a good idea to wear a helmet when trad climbing.
Camming devices work best on parallel cracks that make it hard to fall. When placing gear, keep it at your waist to avoid taking up your next jamming spot.
Uniform cracks like those found at Indian Creek often require several cams of the same size to safely climb a single route. However, don’t worry – climbers are friendly and often lending gear to climb routes safely at the Creek and other areas.
Climbing cracks can be hazardous to your skin. Climbers have torn off skin from their hands, fingers, knees, or any other part that could be useful for stuffing into cracks. Climbers sometimes wear gloves made of thin sticky rubber, which not only protects their skin but also increases friction between their hands and the rock.
Others choose gloves made of climbing tape. While there are a number of ways to do this, this method eliminates the need for tape on your palms. Ensure your knuckles are covered.
If they know they’re getting into some sharp finger locks, climbers tape their fingers as well. Wrap a thin strip of tape around each index and middle finger’s first knuckle. You should now find that sinking your fingers into your finger locks is less painful and more enjoyable.
As crack climbing involves generally stuffing your feet into cracks and twisting them, a tight and aggressive sport climbing shoe is not ideal. A comfortable fit is better than a painfully tight one. You may never forgive your curled toes if you squish your shoe into a crack and twist your foot; a flat shoe will be better than a curved one.
There are a lot of shoes that are great for crack climbing, but many crack climbers choose either the La Sportiva TC Pros or the Five Ten Moccasym shoes. With its stiff toe box and ankle protection, the TC Pros are suitable for burly footwork. Moccasyms are very soft and flexible, making them better for narrow cracks because you can stuff more of your foot into a tight hand-crack or more of your toes into a finger-crack.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):
How do you train crack climbing at home?
Crack climbing at homes means no cracks, therefore, check out this video to know more.
How do you crack climb your feet?
Crack climbing with foot is called as foot jamming. This video will tell everything about foot jamming.