/ OPINION: The Future of Competition Climbing - Crack is Back
WideBoy and crack connoisseur Pete Whittaker makes the case for more cracks in climbing competitions...
''The Rose move' was the '80s. 'Crimp, pull and lock' was the '90s. Volume climbing came in the '00s. 'Run-and-jump' was the teen years. We're into the '20s baby, and the '20s is crack. '
Absolutly agree with them. Cracks are found on every crag. Some of the moves you see at comps are never replicated outdoors.
It would also be interesting to see how some climbers handle the cracks.
In reply to:
I'm on the fence about it! But here is a link to the comp mentioned - start ten minutes in.
Now we're into crack climbing I'm wondering if the word 'crack' refers to the type of climbing or if it's a reference to the addictive nature.
We've been training using the crack volumes at The Climbing Depot for a few weeks and gave our skills a test drive a couple of weeks back outside. No more puffing up the routes, we cruised them. I hope more of these volumes start appearing at other walls so local climbers can get their fix.
I'd like to see some mono moves - nothing looks as impressive as hanging off a single finger.
I never minded a few jamming scars after a good gritstone weekend, but mincing my hands at a wall? No thanks.
You need a pair of crack gloves in your life. Anyone saying it's cheating needs to take those rubber soled shoe thingy's off their feet.
“Crimp, pull and lock' was the '90s”
So right. Those were the days
I m a convert to crack climbing and love it but at a recent comp there was a Wide Boyz crack and inside was blood and given that there were probably 200+competitors on the day I'm not sure its a good move for competitions.
I think at the moment cracks are fun in comps as they split the field. Those with traditional background can laugh at the hop skip and jump youngsters flailing up cracks. However once they learn how to jam its going to be difficult split the field because as the article says there is always a way.
Maybe in the future we will see more niche competitions? More footless campus comps and crack fest comps to go alongside other niche comps like Dry tooling and speed climbing?
Remember, once you can jam everything is a jug right?
> Maybe in the future we will see more niche competitions?
That's certainly an even more specialised technique. Flared back and footing - crucial to get your feet as close to the edge as possible.
> No more puffing up the routes, we cruised them.
I agree. A recently amazed a whole room of Californian teenagers by easily jamming an awkward crack problem they'd all been failing to layback. I expressed surprise that in a state with such a history and wealth of crack climbing they weren't better at it. They explained that would mean climbing outside.
Absolutely agree. And it's got nothing to do with being an old bloke who bemoans the indoor world moving further and further away from the outdoor. As you say, it demands adaptability/creativity, and so separates the merely good from the truly great. The Ondra example was perfect - yes he probably climbs more outdoor than most of the others - but it was painful to watch otherwise world-class climbers simply fail to step back and figure out a solution to what, to them, was a novel problem.
I'd love to see cracks at indoor walls. But, particularly in these times, I think one important consideration for bringing cracks to indoor walls is hygiene. I remember, some time ago, a crack being set with volumes at my local wall, which attracted a lot of attention. It was a really tricky, off-width, parallel crack on and overhanging wall and we all went off with gnarly chunks of skin missing from the backs of our hands. No big deal, but they took a long time to heal and one guy ended up with an infection that lasted quite a while. Cracks outside just don't get the human traffic of sweaty, dirty hands that indoor holds get. But, once we start bleeding on indoor cracks, I think walls will have to be really careful to keep holds clean.
> They explained that would mean climbing outside.
I laughed out loud at this, thanks!
>at a recent comp there was a Wide Boyz crack and inside was blood and given that there were probably 200+competitors on the day I'm not sure its a good move for competitions.
Bollocks. There should be sharp quartz crystals inside the cracks to separate the competitors according to their ability to deal with real pain. I mean, there are so many brushers at each comp; why not a few disinfectant sprayers as well?
> However once they learn how to jam its going to be difficult split the field
And anybody who thinks Team Japan would take more than a couple of weeks to get up to speed on jamming if they felt the need is kidding themselves.
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