After last week's trip to Leavenworth, Lori decided there shouldn't be anything keeping us from a return trip to give Classic Crack another shot. So we decided to go out and warm up on a few other cracks before attempting to tackle Classic Crack.
One thing I can say is, the Leavenworth climbing season is coming to an end. When we left the car around 10am, it was still around 40° out. As soon as the sun goes behind the ridge or clouds, it tends to get real chilly as well.
We started out on a crack we had dubbed "Puppy Crack" a few weeks earlier. This because we thought it was Dogleg Crack, but it is shorter (and easier.) After "Puppy Crack" we set up a top rope on Dogleg Crack. From a technical rating standpoint, it turns out Dogleg Crack, 5.8+ is not a particularly good warm up for Classic Crack, also at 5.8+. (We didn't realize it had the "+" until we were already trying to climb it.)
After a few attempts each, we both successfully climbed it without hanging or falling. The key for me was unlocking the right foot moves on the thin face while on the lower portion of the crack. After that, the crack climbs straight up for a bit, (easiest part of the climb) and then to the dogleg. After we were both confident about Dogleg Crack, we moved on to Classic Crack.
It was getting late, and neither of us felt comfortable about going unbelayed to the the anchor at the top, so we belayed it, and both rapped off, while I set a directional. Lori gave it the first shot, and was able to climb it to the top with a few hangs and hollers. I started climbing and did not get too far off the ground when I once again had difficulty unlocking delicate foot moves. After some hanging, Lori had to lower me as she was in an uncomfortable situation at the belay up top. I told her to clean the anchor and rap off as it was getting late, and I was getting chilly.
Overall, I have noticed for me that it is still the footwork that takes priority when crack climbing. Unlocking the moves on the lower portion of Dogleg Crack made all the difference on that route. Due to the right leaning nature of the lower crack, your right foot needs to be on the face through that section. Mostly Lori and I figured that you used the right foot stances just to bump up the left foot in the crack, and that the left foot was used for moving up the crack. A similar issue occurred for me on Classic Crack. The previous week I had got farther up the climb. However, I believe I muscled (pull up) my way through the delicate foot work, which tired me out. This time, I was having difficulty unlocking a move I had no difficulty getting past last time, but was attempting to climb it in better style. So I think when crack climbing gets hard for me, I will not blame the jams, but look to the feet.
Route Profile - Kautz Glacier
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