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Better crack climber than face climber?

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Re: Better crack climber than face climber?

Postby Kahuna » Mon Apr 15, 2013 3:45 am

WyomingSummits wrote: Did a bunch of 10+ R rated slab routes to the left of the Great Arch that are runout up to 80/100ft and steep enough that if you fall.....um, ya better not fall. :)


Them would be from right to left in order:

Yankee Go Home .10a 1 bolt on each pitch of 110'
Great Brown Way .10c 1 bolt for 130' on each pitch
Great White Way .9+ 3 bolts for two pitches of 110' each
Dixie Crystals .9+ the same as above

etc etc etc


Climbed at both Stone and Looking Glass for over four years straight back in the late 80's early 90's.

I assisted in FAing five routes at Stone.

BTW: One of the toughest and most precise routes there is AMTRACK, 5.10X. The Direct start to GFR. 45 feet of Old Skool .10+ with NO Pro.
It is all there but you best be good on your feet and nerves.
Last edited by Kahuna on Mon Apr 15, 2013 3:51 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Better crack climber than face climber?

Postby Burchey » Mon Apr 15, 2013 3:49 am

Kahuna wrote:
WyomingSummits wrote: Did a bunch of 10+ R rated slab routes to the left of the Great Arch that are runout up to 80/100ft and steep enough that if you fall.....um, ya better not fall. :)


Them would be from right to left in order:

Yankee Go Home .10a 1 bolt on each pitch of 110'
Great Brown Way .10c 1 bolt for 130' on each pitch
Great White Way .9+ 3 bolts for two pitches of 110' each
Dixie Crystals .9+ the same as above

etc etc etc


Climbed at both Stone and Looking Glass for over four years straight back in the late 80's early 90's.

I assisted in FAing five routes at Stone.


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Re: Better crack climber than face climber?

Postby WyomingSummits » Mon Apr 15, 2013 4:52 am

Kahuna wrote:
WyomingSummits wrote: Did a bunch of 10+ R rated slab routes to the left of the Great Arch that are runout up to 80/100ft and steep enough that if you fall.....um, ya better not fall. :)


Them would be from right to left in order:

Yankee Go Home .10a 1 bolt on each pitch of 110'
Great Brown Way .10c 1 bolt for 130' on each pitch
Great White Way .9+ 3 bolts for two pitches of 110' each
Dixie Crystals .9+ the same as above

etc etc etc


Climbed at both Stone and Looking Glass for over four years straight back in the late 80's early 90's.

I assisted in FAing five routes at Stone.

BTW: One of the toughest and most precise routes there is AMTRACK, 5.10X. The Direct start to GFR. 45 feet of Old Skool .10+ with NO Pro.
It is all there but you best be good on your feet and nerves.


Did all of those but Amtrack and Dixie Crystals. Not sure why we never made it back to do Dixie.
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Re: Better crack climber than face climber?

Postby Vitaliy M. » Mon Apr 15, 2013 4:32 pm

I think it is important to be well rounded in different types of climbing. Personally I end up on cracks more often, since I climb at Yosemite valley/Tahoe. But also have onsighted 5.10+ sport routes. Have not climbed much slab since when Tioga opens up I go to high Sierra instead of Toulumne. Longer climbs are more interesting than cragging to me.
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Re: Better crack climber than face climber?

Postby Palisades79 » Mon Apr 15, 2013 4:35 pm

Shoes design & fit make a big difference on face & crack.Some times top-roping problems ,I found that I could make face moves with some rock shoes but not others.I could comfortly wear some shoes for long routes on long days but not others.Accordingly I tended to compromize on a design that could handle both face & crack all day.I climbed Zodiac on El Capitan in stiff approach shoes instead of rock shoes because of the amount of standing & hauling in slings for 4-1/2 days. I could not have climbed Crest Jewel on North Dome with those appraoach shoes.
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Re: Better crack climber than face climber?

Postby Burchey » Mon Apr 15, 2013 5:01 pm

Footwork can make or break your crack climb as well, not just slab. I was pulling sheets of skin off my hands until I figured that out. Speaking of, saw a picture of John Bachar on what looked like a crazy solo out in Joshua Tree from back in the 80s I think...wearing what looked like a pair of chuck taylors. Amazing what was done in shoes much less capable than the modern ones we enjoy.
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Re: Better crack climber than face climber?

Postby TimB » Mon Apr 15, 2013 7:28 pm

Burchey wrote:
Kahuna wrote:Precisely Tim.

That is why all my first and second time students do nothing but slab. Just as I and so many others before did when they first started.

Proper and Precise Footwork is 80% of ones physical climbing ability.

Any World Class climber will tell you that.


Always cool to see it click with a new climber...Hey! My legs are important!



Ain't it the truth! The more I discover(through my own experience) about climbing, the more I like it.
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Re: Better crack climber than face climber?

Postby Vitaliy M. » Mon Apr 15, 2013 7:46 pm

That is why all my first and second time students do nothing but slab. Just as I and so many others before did when they first started.


It is much better to start students on climbs that don’t require solid technique to be enjoyable. Anyone reasonably fit can do a 5.7-5.8 slab climb on top rope vs a crack (which requires finger/hand/fist jamming or OW technique) of that grade. Took me a lot of practice to learn how to do solid jams.
Clients return when they have fun :)
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Re: Better crack climber than face climber?

Postby Burchey » Mon Apr 15, 2013 8:09 pm

Vitaliy M. wrote:
That is why all my first and second time students do nothing but slab. Just as I and so many others before did when they first started.


It is much better to start students on climbs that don’t require solid technique to be enjoyable. Anyone reasonably fit can do a 5.7-5.8 slab climb on top rope vs a crack (which requires finger/hand/fist jamming or OW technique) of that grade. Took me a lot of practice to learn how to do solid jams.
Clients return when they have fun :)


That's a good point, V. You have to set the hook, get them interested in an awesome way to enjoy the outdoors and stay in shape.

I was pirate-guiding some people in J-Tree, and the area we went to (thin wall) was really crowded. Consequently, the only lines left were a little stiff for the climbers. They struggled on them for a while, but the overall experience I'm sure was less fun because they weren't equipped with the proper experience/technique. The 5.6 lines right next to them would have been more appropriate, but that gang wasn't going anywhere.
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Re: Better crack climber than face climber?

Postby Sierra Ledge Rat » Tue Apr 16, 2013 7:59 pm

AdamsKerr wrote:Does anyone else have this issue?

It dawned on me at the crag yesterday that i climb cracks and gear routes much better than i do face/sport routes. I feel very fluid on 5.9/5.10 gear routes but flail a little on and 5.10 and above face climbs.


I wish that I had your problem. I was a natural at face/slabs, but floundered in cracks.

Count your blessings and enjoy your gift.
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Re: Better crack climber than face climber?

Postby Burchey » Tue Apr 16, 2013 8:27 pm

Sierra Ledge Rat wrote:
AdamsKerr wrote:Does anyone else have this issue?

It dawned on me at the crag yesterday that i climb cracks and gear routes much better than i do face/sport routes. I feel very fluid on 5.9/5.10 gear routes but flail a little on and 5.10 and above face climbs.


I wish that I had your problem. I was a natural at face/slabs, but floundered in cracks.

Count your blessings and enjoy your gift.


Kahuna wrote:Anybody can climb cracks.

But not many dare delve into the world of runout Slab.
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Re: Better crack climber than face climber?

Postby Vitaliy M. » Tue Apr 16, 2013 9:03 pm

Personally I think individuals will be better if they practice a certain type of climbing more at that type (if one works on slab more than cracks they will be better at slab. Even though there are physical qualities that could make you better at one or the other). Actually I don't think I know anyone (in my friends circle) who onsights 5.11 OWs, slab, overhanging sport, fingercracks, handcracks, chimneys and leads wi5 ice. Most concentrate on 1-2 of these and not the others..
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Re: Better crack climber than face climber?

Postby norco17 » Tue Apr 16, 2013 9:13 pm

I think vitals hit the nail on the head. You get better at what you practice.
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Re: Better crack climber than face climber?

Postby Wastral » Tue Apr 16, 2013 11:21 pm

Reason more 'can' slab/face climb over crack climbing is that crack climbing requires a higher degree of upper body fitness and frankly a higher tolerance of pain. The initiate newbie A) doesn't generally have the upper body fitness level, and B) probably isn't expecting a little pain and flinches releasing their hand from the crack when in reality they need to squeeze their thumb "down-in" locking fist in instead. So, the newbie climbs what they can and builds strength and confidence.

Add very few practice crack walls in gyms or at parks. So newbies have been practicing face climbing and VERY little crack climbing. Face climbing walls are cheap and easy to make. Crack climbing walls are hard to make.
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Re: Better crack climber than face climber?

Postby WyomingSummits » Sun Apr 21, 2013 1:07 am

Wastral wrote:Reason more 'can' slab/face climb over crack climbing is that crack climbing requires a higher degree of upper body fitness and frankly a higher tolerance of pain. The initiate newbie A) doesn't generally have the upper body fitness level, and B) probably isn't expecting a little pain and flinches releasing their hand from the crack when in reality they need to squeeze their thumb "down-in" locking fist in instead. So, the newbie climbs what they can and builds strength and confidence.

Add very few practice crack walls in gyms or at parks. So newbies have been practicing face climbing and VERY little crack climbing. Face climbing walls are cheap and easy to make. Crack climbing walls are hard to make.

The indoor wall I climb at in the winter has cracks ranging from thin fingers to wide hands, both vertical and pulling through roofs. Very natural feeling surface......I love it. At 44ft high, it's good work when it's really blowing or the roads are closed to the black hills or cody.
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