Crack climbing is hard. 😄 I took private lessons from Tino and it was both fun and hard learning how to crack climb on the 5.9 Crack at the Salt Pump Climbing Gym. I love climbing at Salt Pump - thanks to Noreen for the belay and video of my practice climbs.
Blogging about my journey in rock & ice climbing. And inspiring other women to climb, no matter what age!!
Thursday, May 12, 2022
Learning to crack climb!
Tuesday, November 27, 2018
Crack Climbing & Sport Leading Instruction #9
This month marks one year that I started on my journey of learning to crack climb. While vacationing in Joshua Tree National Park a year ago, I hired Seth Peitit of Mojave Guides for two days to teach me to crack climb. Not only do I love crack climbing, but I enjoy the process of learning the techniques of crack climbing. Since returning from Joshua Tree NP, I wanted to continue my crack climbing lessons. So every month I drive 70 miles north to Salt Pump Climbing Company in Scarborough, Maine for my lesson with Tino. Tino, the head routesetter, is a "movement guru" and I'm fortunate to take lessons from him. And today I had another super day of lessons with Tino!
Several months ago I added sport leading to my crack climbing lessons. I find my lessons on sport leading to be really helpful and enjoyable to learn! The lessons give me an understanding and help me get accustomed to the technique necessary in the movement of sport climbing. It includes leading in the 5.6 to 5.8 range and the technique training I come away with has been most invaluable!
I got my indoor lead cert from a New Hampshire climbing gym several years ago. In order to do so, I had to demonstrate lead and lead belay on a 5.9 route. I lead up to a 5.10 but most times I felt like I was thrashing my way up a route and didn't see any point in continuing. Discouraged, I stopped climbing indoors for a while and that caused me to lose my mindset and an overall interest in sport leading. Learning climbing techniques with Tino has renewed my interest in sport leading/climbing.
For the crack climbing portion of my lesson, I worked on using and alternating tension in my body in order to climb through the pain and pressure. It was nearing the end of my lesson and I was tired, but super stoked to get up part ways of the overhanging section of the crack! On my next lesson, I'll push through the pain and pressure to climb through that overhanging section and to the top! The one factor that I keep in mind in all my lessons is that technique is uber important in crack climbing as in another other style of climbing. This is what keeps my interest piqued.
At the end of my lessons, Tino gave me exercises to do to increase my mobility and strength. He also suggested that I keep a climbing journal. So I downloaded the Journey Diary and Journal App, and use that to list all my "light bulb" moments and lesson details to reflect back on.
Monday, August 6, 2018
Salt Pump Climbing - Indoor Climbing
Noreen and I spent several hours climbing at Salt Pump Climbing gym in Scarborough, ME. Originally we were supposed to climb at the Lower Slabs at Pawtuckaway but with heavy rains for the past 2.5 days and the crag being under tree shade, we cancelled and did some indoor climbing. This gave me a chance to work on the wide crack and Noreen a chance to climb at a gym she's never climbed at.
In addition to top roping some of the other climbs in the gym, I did 3 runs on the crack route. My second time I made it half way up the crack before having to stop to rest. Working on building more stamina to finish the route in one sweep. Also, I noticed that if I didn't place my feet well, it was painful. If I placed my feet well, there was just pressure. I have to look at where I'm placing my feet, and purposely place them so that the rubber on the side rand makes good contact with the rock surface. I'm learning that It's really important to calculate just how deep or shallow to place my feet in the crack so that I don't experience any pain, and do it as quickly as possible. Having a really great pair of crack climbing shoes (Butora Altura Green) also helps!
A short clip of my climb on the wide crack
Same climb, another angle - before my iPhone fell over! LOL!
Noreen crushing the 5.9 Pipe Master
Friday, July 20, 2018
Crack Climbing Instruction #6
Fantastic crack climbing lesson with Tino today!! After warmup worked on “Pressure Garden” the green route (right) to practice, what else, cross-body tension - and it was so fun!! The route is a dihedral and is supposed to mimic the 5.11, 5th pitch of The Prow on Cathedral Ledge - "Stemming" used to ascend. Climbing on vertical cracks is super strenuous but I have to admit, it makes the low-angle cracks outdoors easy. #crackclimbinggoals
Friday, April 27, 2018
Crack Climbing - Instruction #3
Sore and bruised finger knuckles - but happy to have a crack climbing lesson with Tino this morning! Worked on getting my thumbs rotated into my palms and then twisting my hand in the crack. Made for a solid hold but I have to remember to keep that all locked as I have a habit of loosening as I move up. As for my foot jam technique, I experienced only one good foot jam today. It was solid as I moved up and there was pressure on my foot but absolutely no pain. Learning on vertical cracks is definitely more challenging than learning on low-angle cracks. But I get so much out of learning to crack climb! It's difficult, but helps me focus and brings me great joy, especially the learning aspect. The rewards far outweigh the pain! 2i - Ice and Ibuprofen!
Monday, April 23, 2018
Women's Climbing Festival - Salt Pump Climbing Gym
Although I didn't get to stay for the film like I had originally planned to, I did get to take the Crack Climbing clinic. The class was limited to 6 and taught by Kaili Throp. I met some other badass women who love crack climbing! Other clinics included Anchor Building, Rappelling 101, Climbing Movement, Training Off The Wall, Intro to Climbing, Kids Intro to Bouldering, Anatomy of a Rope, Project & Route Building Facing the Fear of Falling on Lead, Injury Prevention and Yoga/climbing workshops.
Wednesday, January 31, 2018
Crack Climbing - Instruction #2
Sore but happy feet
Thursday, January 25, 2018
Crack Climbing Skills Seminar
Salt Pump Climbing Gym in Scarborough, Maine has several climbing seminars that are held each month. I signed up for their crack climbing seminar which is limited to 6 climbers. Janet Wilkerson taught the seminar and we learned hand jamming and finger locking. We met upstairs and introduced ourselves, then climbed and down-climbed 5 bouldering routes for warm up. There are 3 floor-to-ceiling crack routes and each is a different size, offering practice for jams, from fingers to fist, depending on hand size. We moved downstairs to the crack routes and broke up into two groups. Janet offered beta to everyone and we got to practice hand, foot and finger locking jamming techniques. In addition to the instruction, I really enjoyed the opportunity to practice techniques with other climbers who are motivated to climb crack! If you want to give crack climbing a try, sign up for the 2-hour seminar. You'll learn essential techniques to get you started, and have fun climbing crack routes!
**Janet Wilkerson is the Marketing Director of Salt Pump Climbing. She is also an AMGA guide with Cathedral Mountain Guides.
Janet Wilkerson teaching us how to tape up
Thursday, December 21, 2017
Crack Climbing - Instruction #1
Fast forward to today.....
I had my first lesson with Tino today and it was fantastic! Where I mostly worked on low-angled crack routes in Joshua Tree, the route I worked on today is a 30 foot vertical hand crack with the last 15 feet slightly overhung. It is the easiest of 3 crack routes at Salt Pump Climbing. My lesson was for 2 hours and it started off with warming up and assessment on 3 types of easy routes. This was so that Tino could see my movement, route reading, balance, strategy and strength skills. Then we moved over to the crack route. Before I climbed we covered jams, locks, rattly/insecure jams, lateral pressure and body positions. I climbed the vertical crack using hand jams in the crack while using my feet on the holds up the sides of the crack. It was fun, challenging and scary all rolled into one and I got to the top on my second try. And not gonna lie....it was work, but the constant body tension of crack climbing is addicting! Can't wait for my next lesson for feet jamming, but for now, I need to practice what I just learned!
Ocun Crack Climbing Gloves
Convenient, easy and fast on/off
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