/ Learning to jam in the Peak?
So, what recommendations are there for a jamming beginner like me in the Peak District? Any meccas? Up to an HVS would be perfect - extremes will be seconded!
Easier grades sound good as can concentrate on technique. Any hotspots?
Wasn't there a list of good routes to hone your jamming skills in that Crack School article on here a while back? Might be worth seeking that out...
Excellent, just found them. 6 part series with suggestions. Thanks.
The answer is in your OP, do the routes you've been avoiding all these years. There are enough jamming cracks at most peak grit crags to keep you busy all day.
Oh no it won't. You may get a graze or two, but there's no need to bleed and no need to tape.
In something like ascending order of difficulty:
Heather Wall, Froggatt
Ash Tree & Bilberry Cracks, Burbage North
Easy Jamming, Stanage
Green Gut, Froggatt (some self-discipline might be required to make yourself jam it)
Dog Leg Crack, Curbar
Pulcherrime, Burbage North
Amazon & Greeny Cracks, Burbage North
Brown's Crack, Bamford
Wall End Crack Direct, Stanage
Hell Crack, Stanage
Hawk's Nest Crack, Froggatt
Fern Crack, Stanage (a bit wider)
The Crank, Ramshaw (the hardest move is harder than The File, but it's less sustained)
The File, Higgar Tor
Bond Street, Millstone
At the lower grades, the hardest part is often avoiding the urge to climb around the jamming. Stick with it and one day you'll have some mad skillz.
Yeah, if The File left you bleeding then you're definitely doing it wrong.
My memory of leading it (twice) is that those who struggle do so because they either place awkward or poor jams and put too much weight on them.
The File is fab and good footwork keeps too much weight off of what are perfect jams. Placing gears is fine, just don't place too much. And get on with it!
Don't worry too much about roof route, it's hard for the grade and you don't really jam it anyway :)
Go to Millstones. Climb for a day. You'll have a pretty good idea of jamming by the end.
The best bit about the crag is that the routes are sustained jamming. Normally most crack lines on grit only have a section which you can just layback or avoid. At Millstones you're forced to hand jam...over and over.
Start up something like Bond Street (what a route!) and you'll be jamming by the time you get to the top :) Perfect hand size jams. Very easy and very protect-able.
^^ This is the thing.
For easier jamming, it's absolutely everywhere on the grit but most people who don't like jamming just don't notice it.
On Peak Rock says something about that - Heather Wall (Froggatt) is Jamming Test No 1 but as the book says the test isn't whether you *can* jam, it's whether you choose to.
Let me chuck in a few more suggestions to add to the ones already made though..
Embankment 2 at Millstone (*so* much quality jamming at Millstone).
Jam the wide crack and place gear in the narrow one. When/if you find you're really getting the thin finger jamming sorted, you can jam the narrow crack and place gear in the wide one.
Mutiny Crack at Burbage North is a must. (It's only HS, but a dreadful sandbag for non-jammers. The crux is right at the bottom.)
Ignore any suggestions to do 20 Foot crack at Burb N by the way, its shiny, slippery and horrible. Go and do the Real 20 Foot Crack at Stanage instead. :o)
It might actually be better to learn the technique in more of a bouldering style: Dog Leg Crack at Curbar is perfect for that. It's (just about) a highball with perfect hand jams, the tricky bit is the change of angle brought about by the 'dogleg' itself. The Pugilist (just to the right of the Eliminates wall) is another great little struggle, but as the name suggests it's more about the fists. (And a bit of an offwidth-y start - it packs a *lot* of fun into about 4m of climbing!)
There's an amazing little 'splitter' hand/fist crack at Moorside Rocks, just to the left of the Jackalope. To make the most of it start sitting on the boulder at the foot of it. That is one to tape up for though - it's full of sharp crystals and even with perfect technique it'll try to eat you.
My advice is always go to Curbar and lead Dog-Leg Crack then do it again and again making slight adjustsments to the way you climb it until you are confident to solo it above mats, then lap it solo until you are happy without the mats. Little Innominate on Curbar is now you test piece... if you breeeze this as a highball above mats you are ready to enter the world of HVS jamming.
I'm not so sure. The jamming on Matinee is pretty easy and for me isn't even the crux of the route!
I would say that if you can breeze up the Vice and Foord's Folly then you are on your way to proficiency.
> Go to Millstones. Climb for a day. You'll have a pretty good idea of jamming by the end.
> The best bit about the crag is that the routes are sustained jamming. Normally most crack lines on grit only have a section which you can just layback or avoid. At Millstones you're forced to hand jam...over and over.
> Start up something like Bond Street (what a route!) and you'll be jamming by the time you get to the top :) Perfect hand size jams. Very easy and very protect-able.
Where are the other hand-jamming routes at Millstone?
There's a bit on The Mall (I think), and I managed a little bit of jamming on Great North Road but everything else is finger-locking. I certainly can't think of a single other 'sustained jamming' route there.
They've been briefly mentioned already, but these articles (and videos) by Tom Randall and Pete Whittaker are an absolute must: (Especially part 2 and part 5, if hand jamming is your thing.)
The Jamming list in the Roaches guide is a good selection of routes, Ramshaw will sort you out nicely.
Here is a useful tip: If you do decide to try Melvyn Bragg then don't do it by yourself, firstly you need photos of the faces you end up pulling and secondly it is possible to get really very stuck especially if you've got big feet!
> Here is a useful tip: If you do decide to try Melvyn Bragg then don't do it by yourself, firstly you need photos of the faces you end up pulling and secondly it is possible to get really very stuck especially if you've got big feet!
Sound advice! It's also very possible to fall on your head and you need someone to move pads to make sure you don't die as a result the world's least glamorous climbing accident.
Pretty much any gritstone crag has jamming. There are a few good starter VD ones at the car park end of Burbage North. The more you practice the less it hurts and the more you appreciate the near perfect secure rest they can afford you at times.
Gimcrack? (Until the horrifically loose mucky top.)
Shaftesbury Avenue? (Not much better than Gimcrack at the top.)
The first 'pitch' of Oxford Street? (and/or Piccadilly Circus)
As someone already mentioned above, the trouble with 'easier' jamming cracks is that the jamming is often avoidable (by layback, face holds or whatever). But if you want to learn to jam, you have to jam. ;o)
I'd have taken a fall onto my head in preference to the helpful comments I got once I got my foot stuck and got so exhausted trying to free it I couldn't even pull myself back up my own leg.
If you mean Altar Crack at Rivelin you only jam to half rest more effciently to place runners (especially a higher runner before the layback starts, if VS laybacks are pushy for you).
I'd beware of these jamming lists as many will tear your skin when learning: Dog Leg is nice and smooth and ideal for building technique. Even jamming experts get cut on rough rock.
I guess some would say that tearing your skin IS the learning :-)
They would obviously be wrong. I taught jamming as a great part of the gritstone climbing armoury and for starters show how on a steep well weathered slab a gentle jam is almost painless but stops those arms pumping out overgripping on the alternative slopers. Also how a jam cuts pump in (then out) of balance when placing gear. Pure jamming routes are for down the line when you know a good jam is better than a good jug. Dog-Leg at Curbar is the perfect smooth training ground for mid-grade grit.
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