CLASSIC CRACK (5.8+)
Icicle Creek Canyon, Leavenworth, Washington
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Jeff Kelly leads Classic Crack
Fred Beckey’s old Guide to Leavenworth Rock Climbing
reference to a "severe layback problem" at the Mountaineer Creek
trailhead. The trailhead is gone, moved miles upstream, but the
crack is still there. It is rarely done as a layback anymore,
though. A marvelous new technique called "jamming", apparently
unknown to climbers of the early Beckey era, can now be used to
climb this crack, which has come to be known as Classic Crack.
Classic Crack is one of the most-climbed cracks in Washington
state. Classic Crack buttress is often used by climbing schools, where
all of the basics can be learned: rappelling, belaying, face climbing,
and jamming. Classic Crack is a textbook jamcrack, a little
wide and leaning a little to the left, deep and occasionally flaring,
requiring good jamming technique, from thin hands to fists. It is
short, splitting a wall only about forty feet high, but strenuous,
with continuous 5.8 moves from vertical to slightly overhanging.
The crack is commonly toproped and often led or soloed. It is
definitely not a climb on which to make a bold statement, though. The crack
has been free soloed up and down, in the dark, barefoot, and
by drunken idiots wearing tennis shoes.
About the only kind of ascent it hasn't had is a nude mass
solo winter layback ascent - at least, not as far as anyone knows.
Classic Crack lies on private property. Luckily, the owner
is a climber who tolerates the presence of other climbers so
long as they mind their manners. Please be on your best behavior.
back to classics
A half-dozen cams from 1 to 3 inches should suffice to lead the crack.
Rock Climbing Washington (Falcon Publishing 1999)
Guide to Leavenworth Rock Climbing (The Mountaineers, 1965, p. 12).