Crack Climbing: The Definitive Guide


Crack climbing is a highly technical form of movement in which climbers position their hands, feet, and even their entire body in cracks to make upward progress on rock. An advocate for the sport’s aesthetic lines, physicality, and technical know-how, author Pete Whittaker teaches more than sixty Crack School Masterclasses each year and was featured in the popular climbing filmWide Boyz. This detailed and comprehensive guide teaches step-by-step techniques and tips, including for:

  • Jamming (finger, hand, fist, foot, arm, leg, body)
  • Crack types (chimneys, liebacks, underclings, roof cracks)
  • How to safely lead and place protection
  • Efficient positioning and movement
  • Strength recovery while climbing


From the Publisher

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It’s Time To Jam

I started this project with one goal in mind—to provide a resource of crack climbing knowledge: the go-to place to learn about this craft. I hope that everyone who picks up the book—even the very best climbers in the world—can learn something (I certainly have from writing it), or at the very least think about a crack climbing concept in a different way. So, to the readers: this book is written for you.

— Pete Whittaker, author, elite climber

Step-by-step instruction, illustrated with precise drawings

Photos show how to tape hands to protect your skin and boost your friction

Each chapter includes a “From the Master” inspirational interview with an elite rock climber

Guidelines on placing gear

Tips on what to wear for different types of cracks

Excerpts from sample chapters

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Chapter 2: Finger Cracks

PINKIE-DOWN JAM: RING FINGER powerful jam, active twisting jam

You can also execute pinkie-down jams with your ring finger as the bottom finger

(figure 4). The same technique is used as with pinkie- down finger jams, the only difference is that your ring finger is the one biting into the constriction. Your little finger can either stay inside the crack

(where it will be of limited use as it is too narrow to passively wedge) or move out-side. Keeping it outside the crack will help to emphasise the twisting action on your ring finger. This technique is useful if: . . .

Chapter 3: Hand Cracks

CORNER CRACKS

There are a number of different positions that can be adopted with the hands and feet that can affect the way you climb in a hand-width corner crack. What follows are a selection of different hand and foot positions, and then the type of climbing you’ll experience by positioning yourself in this manner. No one position is right or wrong, it’s just about picking the most appropriate one for a particular situation. Are you feeling tired? Do you need to move quickly? Do you want to climb securely? What’s going to work best for the angle you’re climbing? These are the type of questions you should be asking yourself to help select the most appropriate position.

Chapter 4: Fist Cracks

TEACUP JAM, PROTRUDING THUMB

This is when teacupping can become very unpleasant; however it will give you an extra half inch to fill a void. Follow the same steps as for a flat thumb teacup,

but as you move your thumb around the side of your fist, sit the tip of the thumb

in the small indentation created by your bent index finger. This will make the joint of your thumb protrude out against the crack wall (figure 72). A lot of pressure will be going through a very small contact point which will make your thumb want to buckle back in. To prevent this from hap-pening, push down and into the indentation with the tip of your thumb to help create outwards expansion. You should tape the thumb joint for this jam or else it will very quickly become excruciatingly painful.

Chapter 9: Roof Cracks

WIDE PONY

With this technique, you are climbing with your hands between your legs, sideways, in a crablike style (figure 150).

Hands: Use your hands in the butterfly jam stack position (Chapter 5), so one palm is facing towards you. The palm that is facing towards you is used to aid your sit-up: use it to undercut the crack (and to keep your torso from dropping down) as you get your other hand in position.

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Mountaineers Books is an independent nonprofit publisher.

Publisher‏:‎The Mountaineers Books; Illustrated edition (Jan. 1 2020)
Language‏:‎English
Paperback‏:‎320 pages
ISBN-10‏:‎1680512153
ISBN-13‏:‎978-1680512151
Item weight‏:‎680 g
Dimensions‏:‎17.53 x 1.78 x 21.34 cm
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