Very recently I had been to a climb where I learnt about an alternate route that requires a huge crack to be climbed. It is of about a 100-120 ft roughly.

Though I have experience in climbing open faces of walls with the aid of equipment like pegs, I have never tried much of my skills to climb through natural cracks, so before I get there, I'd like to prepare a bit in that point of view.

As far as I can see the kind of an activity it is, offset pull-ups should be good exercise to start with.

Can anybody suggest some more sort of a warm-up/exercises one should follow while beginning to prepare/practice for such a climb? Are there good online educational resources for learning specialized techniques for crack climbing?

  • Is the crack high-angle or exposed? If so, then you should be using ropes and trad gear so that a fall isn't fatal. Most trad pieces are specifically designed for cracks.
    – user2169
    Feb 14, 2014 at 18:32
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    In terms of physical conditioning, the answer to your question depends completely on the width of the crack, because the technique is totally different for different widths. Practice at a rock-climbing gym. Hand cracks, especially vertical ones, tend to be very fatiguing to climb, and this is another reason that you probably want ropes -- so you can hang on the rope and rest.
    – user2169
    Feb 14, 2014 at 18:53
  • By the way, what do you mean by: "with the aid of equipment like Pegs." Is that a training tool (peg board?) or some kind of aid pro?
    – Mr.Wizard
    Feb 14, 2014 at 20:28
  • @Ben Crowell: Yes, considering that crack in specific, a fall would be fatal without a doubt. Its a 135 ft tall, and is immediately after a vertical wall climb of a good 200 ft.
    – WedaPashi
    Feb 17, 2014 at 6:15
  • @BenCrowell: A peg is a Piton. a.k.a Pins
    – WedaPashi
    Feb 17, 2014 at 16:41

1 Answer 1


Update 2019: video links and PDF links fixed, and new 2019 video added. Please let me know via comment if the links break again.

I don't have a lot of experience with cracks myself (I refuse to make my feet hurt, and so far I haven't found a way around that), but I found these Wide Boyz videos quite helpful in getting the basic jams correct.

Each video (except the newest ones: #7 Advanced Fingers, and #8 Advanced Hands) is accompanied by a PDF, though I found the videos themselves the most useful.

Video, and where available accompanying PDF file:

  • "I don't have a lot of experience with cracks myself" ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)
    – Kyle
    Apr 4, 2016 at 20:09
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    @Mr.Derp youtube.com/watch?v=v5LwzasSsZ8
    – Mr.Wizard
    Apr 4, 2016 at 21:42
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    While this is probably a very helpful collection of videos, this is practically a link only answer, so I think I have to downvote - sorry. Feb 8, 2017 at 0:09
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    @PaulPaulsen Thanks for the courtesy of explaining your down-vote. :-) If I could think of a way to share this content without links or plagiarism I would do it.
    – Mr.Wizard
    Feb 8, 2017 at 5:28
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    Well, you wouldn't have to let it stand without the links, but you could summarize the content roughly. E.g. if you need to train special parts of the body, or what are the special techniques for crack climbing. In my opinion you don't have to cover it in-depth, especially since you don't have a lot experience in this field, but summarizing the general outline would improve the answer a lot. Feb 8, 2017 at 9:17

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