A true climber understands and appreciates the beauty of cracks. The sheer aesthetics of cracks are too beautiful to ignore. Crack climbing can be challenging, and that’s what makes it more exciting and thrilling. Many climbers would agree that it needs unique kinds of techniques different from boulder problems and sports routes. It requires special gear like crack climbing gloves and shoes to protect your hands and legs.
Before you plan to take a crack at crack climbing, you need to understand that crack climbing requires different types of hand holds and movements. To help you learn that, here are four tips for learning how to climb cracks.
1. Keep your body in line with the crack.
When you start climbing a crack, it’s essential to keep your body in line with the crack. Keeping your body parallel to the crack helps to be in an ideal position to apply the maximum force on your arms and legs.
For example, imagine you are climbing a ladder, where the two legs of the ladder are the edges of the crack. Now, when you start climbing the ladder, your limbs and body are parallel to the legs. Your knees point upwards, giving you the best position to draw force from your legs and push upwards. Your elbows point downward and line with the ladder, giving you the optimum strength to lift yourself with your hands.
2. Efficiently fill the crack space.
Crack climbing is all about climbing the spaces in the crack between the rocks. That is why you need to occupy as much space as you can in the crack. Insert the body part that you want to jam as deep inside the crack and try to reach it until you cannot go further. You need to ensure you have occupied the entire space before you even do any of your jamming techniques.
Many climbers make the mistake of doing their jamming technique before even getting their body parts fully into the space. That way, they get less surface for jamming, which is not an efficient way to do it. When you can lock your entire hand till your wrist, why waste the space by jamming only four fingers.
3. Use your body parts as climbing gear.
The gears like shoes, crack climbing gloves, cams, Big bros, and micro nuts help make your climbing easier. What if you can use your body to do the same? Every area of your body, from the smallest finger to your entire body, can help create a jam in the crack.
Thanks to all the joints and muscles, the human body allows you to twist and expand it from its natural shape and size. You can use every body part from the smallest size to the largest for your advantage while climbing a crack.
4. Prioritize the structure of your body and not the strength
You must have heard many pro climbers say they don’t use their strength to climb a crack. They make the best use of their body structure to stay in and on the rock. The human skeleton, bones, and ligaments extend and retract to take different sizes and shapes.
For example, you can easily insert your hand into a normal-sized jar, but you cannot get your hands out of it if you form a fist in the jar. That’s how you can use the structure of your body to learn to jam and hence master the art of crack climbing.
Though crack climbing seems challenging to learn and master, you can easily climb any crack you lay your eyes on with the right gear, technique, and a lot of practice.