Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Guidebook: Gunks - Double Crack

Double Crack (5.8) - Two Pitches (recommended) - Trad - Mixed Anchors

: Take the fifth trail up to the left after the overhanging, roof-like Andrew Boulder (about a 10-min walk down the Carriage Trail after the Uberfall area). At the top, head right and up hill to an arrete that has a low roof on the left and an obvious vertical crack system on the right face.

Pitch One (5.8) - 75 feet - Gear Anchor: Most guidebooks will say this is a one-pitch climb that runs 150 from the ground to the ledge. However, if your second falls even from about 15 feet up then it is possible for the second to deck as a result of rope stretch. There is a popular story out there where a second did just that and she managed to break an ankle, even though the leader (belaying from the tree at the top) had pulled the rope as tight as he could (he was apparently using the autolock belay technique that can be done with popular devices such as the Black Diamond Guide). Rope stretch can be eliminated simply by breaking this out into two pitches. Of course, using a thicker rope (with less stretch) or setting up a sling-shot belay at the top will also help. In any case, climb the pumpy start (crux) up the crack to the rest about 25 feet up. Fade left toward the pod and exit the pod to the right on a couple of good ledges for the optional belay.

Pitch Two (5.7) - 75 feet - Tree Anchor: Climb the off-width to the left of the belay and exit it (crux) to the face, following the path of least resistance to the top.

Descent: Rap off the tree at the top all the way to the ground with two 60m ropes. Otherwise, rap twice with one rope using the intermediate rap station that you'll pass while climbing the off-width (not recommended).

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