FRI NIGHT VID: Wild Country Crack School; Episode 7

by Duncan Campbell - UKC Feb/2014
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Tom Randall on The Cobra Crack, Squamish, 115 kb
Tom Randall on The Cobra Crack, Squamish
© Hotaches

Wild Country's ‘Crack School’ is a series of eight short videos designed to utilise the skills and knowledge of Wild Country climbers Tom Randall and Pete Whittaker to give an introduction to crack climbing.

Over 8 episodes the guys cover all widths of crack: Fingers, Hands, Fists and Offwidths as well as looking at the skills of gear placement and taping up. In the first episodes of Crack School Tom and Pete looked at the basic techniques of crack climbing, the all important building blocks for any would be crack climber - how to jam, what to do with the feet and how and when to place gear.

Advanced Crack School

In these more advanced sessions Tom and Pete look at techniques for when the crack doesn't do what you want it to - when it's too wide, too thin or non-existent. They look at what tricks and techniques you need in your armoury to take your jamming one stage further.

In Episode 7; ‘Advanced Fingers’ Pete and Tom look at the following:

Ring Locks: Once a crack gets too wide for the first knuckle on your index finger things get tricky!! Your fingers won’t lock and you can often end up laybacking in this situation. The solution is the Ringlock – a jam which brings down the size of the crack by using your thumb as a spacer.

Split Fingers: When your first finger doesn’t fit where you want it to it’s sometimes possible to use your middle finger as the main jamming finger and place your first finger below. Tom shows how this technique works and how it can be used.

Getting round cruxes: Many cruxes can be avoided by a long reach, Pete shows how to place your feet and the orientation of the fingers which is needed to be able to get beyond a break in a crack or to reach a better section of crack.

Tom’s Finger Crack Hitlist

This list contains very few true ‘splitters’ (as there’s very few in the UK) but that doesn’t mean the routes aren’t good or shouldn’t be aspired to, it just means there may not be many long true finger crack sections on them:

For those that waltzed up those, here are some inspirational, international ticks (Or just head to Indian Creek):

  • Recovery Drink, 8c, Norway
  • Cobra Crack, 8c, Squamish
  • Stingray, 8b, Joshua Tree
  • Ruby's Cafe, 8a, Indian Creek

2014 Crack School Masterclasses

If you want to know more about crack climbing and even to learn direct from Tom and Pete Wild Country are running a series of Crack School Masterclasses across the UK for spring 2014 - see more HERE or contact the walls direct:

8th March - Boulders, Cardiff. Call 029 20484880. Mail: or go to

15th March - The Foundry, Sheffield. 
 Call 0114 279 6331. Mail: or go to

29th March – Manchester Climbing Centre. 
 Call 01612307006. Mail: or go to

26th April – The Leeds Wall, Leeds. 
Call 0113 2341554. Mail: or go to:

27th April - The Climbing Station, Loughborough. 
Call 01509 217 636. Mail: or go to

15th June – Castle Climbing Centre, London. 
Call 020 8211 7000. Mail: or go to

Enter our Crack School Competition

As usual we are running a competition alongside our latest video you can enter our competition here and the prizes include entry to our Crack School Masterclasses across the country. Enter our Crack School Masterclass Competition

Pete Whittaker on the crux of The Cobra Crack, 5.14, Squamish
© Hotaches

Wideboys 2

And following on from their round the world crack successes Tom and Pete will be appearing in a new film of their outrageous exploits. Premiering at SHAFF 2014 Wideboyz 2 show what the ‘boyz have been up to since their return from Century Crack… Find out more HERE

Crack School videos Parts 1-6
You can see all the Crack School videos - parts 1-6 on Wild Country's website HERE
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