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3 Tips For Getting Into Crack Climbing

3 Tips For Getting Into Crack Climbing

If you decide to take advantage of the warm weather in Laramie and venture into outdoor climbing, you will most likely encounter crack climbing. Known to the Arapaho Indians as “Land of the Earthborn Spirit,” Vedauwoo is known to the climbing community as the off-width capital of the world. Although it does have bouldering and sport climbing options, it's particularly well-suited for crack climbing.

So, what is crack climbing? To put it simply, finding a vertical crack in a rock and climbing it. Rather than using holds to climb the face of a wall, you utilize the crack to make your way up. Technically, this falls under trad (traditional) climbing because you aren't using pre-set bolts to guide your route.

However, the technique is very different from other types of climbing and as one of the world's finest crack climbers Pete Whittaker says in his article about "The Five Rules of Crack Climbing," your first crack climbs can be a "heartbreaking experience."


So here are five tips to getting started.


1. Good people equals good climbing

Let's be honest - climbing is dangerous. And while the danger is part of its charm, that also means you need to go into this activity with caution, humility, and willingness to learn. Having the right group of people to help you learn is key to having a good time and good climbs. 


2. Get the right gear

Speaking of danger, making sure you're equipped with the right tools will help make the entire experience easier. 

Thankfully, you can get everything you need right here at Basecamp:

  • Climbing shoes 
  • Harness
  • Chalk Bag
  • Crack gloves
  • Tape
  • Rope
  • Quickdraws 
  • Helmet


3. It's all about the jams

Finally, let's talk about the technique so you know what you're getting into. Crack climbing is all about jams: hand jams, foot jams, finger jams.

For a jam, you put your hand/foot/finger into its coordinating appropriately sized crack and wedge it to give you leverage to pull and push yourself up the wall. You will use a combo of all three to crack climb.


Obviously there is a lot more to crack climbing, but it's best learned by doing and watching. Don't forget to tag us on Instagram when you post about your adventures!

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