A wide range of equipment is used during rock or any other type of climbing that includes equipment used to protect a climber against the consequences of a fall. See the Glossary of climbing terms for more equipment descriptions. Climbing ropes are of kernmantle construction, consisting of a core of long twisted fibres and an outer sheath of woven coloured fibres; the core provides about 80% of the tensile strength, while the sheath is a durable layer that protects the core and gives the rope desirable handling characteristics. Ropes used for climbing can be divided into two classes: low elongation ropes. Dynamic ropes are designed to absorb the energy of a falling climber, are used as belaying ropes; when a climber falls, the rope stretches, reducing the maximum force experienced by the climber, their belayer, equipment. Low elongation ropes stretch much less, are used in anchoring systems, they are used for abseiling and as fixed ropes climbed with ascenders. Modern webbing or "tape" is made of a combination of the two.
Climbing-specific nylon webbing is tubular webbing, that is, it is a tube of nylon pressed flat. It is strong rated in excess of 9 kN. Dyneema is stronger rated above 20 kN and as high as 27 kN. In 2010, UK-based DMM performed fall factor 1 and 2 tests on various Dyneema and Nylon webbings, showing Dyneema slings can fail under 60 cm falls. Tying knots in Dyneema webbing was proven to have reduced the total amount of supported force by as much as half; when webbing is sewn or tied together at the ends, it becomes a sling or runner, if you clip a carabiner to each end of the sling, you have a quickdraw. These loops are made one of two ways—sewn or tied. Both ways of forming runners have advantages and drawbacks, it is for the individual climber to choose which to use. Speaking, most climbers carry a few of both types, it is important to note that only nylon can be safely knotted into a runner, Dyneema is always sewn because the fibers are too slippery to hold a knot under weight. Webbing has many uses such as: Extending the distance between a tie-in point.
An anchor around a tree or rock. An anchor extension or equalization. Makeshift harnesses. Carrying equipment. Protecting a rope that hangs over a sharp edge. Carabiners are metal loops with spring-loaded gates, used as connectors. Once made from steel all carabiners for recreational climbing are now made from a light weight aluminum alloy. Steel carabiners are much heavier, but harder wearing, therefore are used by instructors when working with groups. Carabiners exist in various forms. There are two major varieties: non-locking carabiners. Locking carabiners offer a method of preventing the gate from opening when in use. Locking carabiners are used for important connections, such as at the anchor point or a belay device. There are several different types of locking carabiners, including a thread-lock. Twist-lock carabiners are referred to as "auto-locking carabiners" due to their spring-loaded locking mechanism. Non-locking carabiners are found as a component of quickdraws. Carabiners are made with many different types of gates including wire-gate, bent-gate, straight-gate.
The different gates uses. Most locking carabiners utilize a straight-gate. Bent-gate and wire-gate carabiners are found on the rope-end of quickdraws, as they facilitate easier rope clipping than straight-gate carabiners. Carabiners are known by many slang names including biner or Krab; the first climber who used a carabiner for climbing was German climber Otto Herzog. The Maillon performs a similar function to a carabiner but instead of a hinge has an internally threaded sleeve engaging with threads on each end of the link, is available in various shapes and sizes, they are strong but more difficult to open, either deliberately or accidentally, so are used for links which do not need to be released during normal use, such as the center of a harness. Quickdraws are used by climbers to connect ropes to bolt anchors, or to other traditional protection, allowing the rope to move through the anchoring system with minimal friction. A quickdraw consists of two non-locking carabiners connected together by a short, pre-sewn loop of webbing.
Alternatively, quite the pre-sewn webbing is replaced by a sling of the above-mentioned dyneema/nylon webbing. This is of a 60 cm loop and can be tripled over between the carabiners to form a 20 cm loop; when more length is needed the sling can be turned back into a 60 cm loop offering more versatility than a pre-sewn loop. Carabiners used for clipping into the protection have a straight gate, decreasing the possibility of the carabiner accidentally unclipping from the protection; the carabiner into which the rope is clipped has a bent gate, so that clipping the rope into this carabiner can be done and easily. Quickdraws are frequently used in indoor lead climbing; the quickdraw may be pre-attached to the wall. When a climber ascends the wall, he must clip the rope through the quickdraw in order to maintain safety; the safest and most effective place to clip into a quickdraw is when it is at waist height. A harness is a system used fo
Self-locking devices are devices intended to arrest the fall of solo climbers who climb without partners. This device is used for back rope solo climbing for'ground-up climbing' or'top rope self belaying'. To date, several types of such self-locking devices have evolved; the earliest type of self belay device used was the ubiquitous prusik knotted sling used by climbers. The method requires the soloer to feed out an estimated length of belay rope so that he can reach his next stance and repeat the process as the rope is difficult to feed through the prusik knot while climbing; the next level of device development improved on the locking limitations of the prusik sling by utilizing a cam, activated by the climber's body moving down to rotate the simple grab cam inside a rigid frame. The climber's harness is directly attached to the cam and the frame encapsulates the rope. Early versions of the cam systems used a Gibbs-style type 1 ascender placed in an inverted position attached to a soloer's sit harness opposite to the manufacturer's intended use.
The combination of a climber's body position in a fall and friction between the ascender frame and the rope provides the activating leverage for the cam to grab the rope. Fall forces generated using this device and the cam profile can be enough to damage a rope due to the high clamp loads induced by the cam lever arm; the main drawback to this system is that it is like the prussik knot system where the soloer has to feed out an estimate amount of rope in order to reach a stance point. A big improvement over the Gibbs-style type 1 ascender was the design of the Wren Industries'Soloist' – the device incorporates a floating cam, activated by the relative position of the rope to the device frame, with the frame secured between a user's sit harness and a chest harness; the Soloist allows the rope to feed without the need for the soloer to manually feed out between stances – so it allows a'true' hands-free climb. Knowledge of the correct device position relative to the rope anchor is critical for the correct operation of the cam devices in a fall as they are mono directional in operation, the soloer must be aware that he needs to put in a runner as soon as he sets off above the belay point on a multi-pitch climb, otherwise he can slide to the bottom of the rope in the event of a fall.
The Soloist cam profile design allows the belay rope to be "grasped" rather than crushed as in the early cam devices. To overcome these limitations, the Wren Industries'Silent Partner' device was developed; this system has four mechanical moving parts inside a frame, attached to a climber's sit harness and is an inertial drum brake with the belay rope connected to the device by tying a clove hitch around the device's drum. The Silent Partner is unique in the sense that it operates in both directions of drum rotation so it can be attached to a climber's sit harness in either position, eliminating the danger of stepping off a multi-pitch anchor point before the first runner can be placed; as long as the clove hitch can feed over the drum, the rope will feed through the device. In a fall, the drum is back driven by the rope; the method used to lock the drum against the device frame is by the use of two straight knurl edge discs that are thrown outwards by centrifugal force as they ride on parallel ramps milled into the drum's enclosed outer periphery.
Two light return springs act as centrifugal force trips and as return springs to reset the discs when the fall load is released and the device is unlocked. A simple nylon guide is used to ensure both discs activate to jam the discs between each drum ramp and the frame's lock ring. While the device works quite well, it suffers from rope drag that can prematurely tighten the clove hitch, so allowance must be made to reduce the hanging weight of the rope below the device; the rope diameter and elasticity is critical for operation, as higher than normal fall forces can be generated due to the rapid locking rate, in the order of 13 kN at runners and anchor points. Mountaineering: the freedom of the hills. Cox, Steven M. 1951-, Kris.. Seattle, WA: Mountaineers Books. 2003. ISBN 0898868289. OCLC 50982399
Golden age of alpinism
The golden age of alpinism was the decade in mountaineering between Alfred Wills's ascent of the Wetterhorn in 1854 and Edward Whymper's ascent of the Matterhorn in 1865, during which many major peaks in the Alps saw their first ascents. With its beginning predating the formation of the Alpine Club in London in 1857, the golden age was dominated by British alpinists and their Swiss and French guides. Prominent figures of the period include Lord Francis Douglas, Paul Grohmann, Florence Crauford Grove, Charles Hudson, E. S. Kennedy, William Mathews, A. W. Moore, Leslie Stephen, Francis Fox Tuckett, John Tyndall, Horace Walker and Edward Whymper. Well-known guides of the era include Christian Almer, Jakob Anderegg, Melchior Anderegg, Johann Joseph Benet, Peter Bohren, Jean-Antoine Carrel, Michel Croz, Ulrich Kaufmann and Johannes Zumtaugwald. Walker's sister Lucy attained some notable firsts during the period, including the first ascent of the Balmhorn, several first female ascents. In the early years of the "golden age", scientific pursuits were intermixed with the sport.
More than not, the mountaineers carried a variety of instruments up the mountain with them to be used for scientific observations. The physicist John Tyndall was the most prominent of the scientists. Among the non-scientist mountaineers, the literary critic Leslie Stephen was the most prominent. In the years of the "golden age", the non-scientist pure sportsmen came to dominate the London-based Alpine Club and alpine mountaineering overall. 1854 Königspitze, Strahlhorn 1855 Mont Blanc du Tacul, Weissmies 1856 Aiguille du Midi, Lagginhorn 1857 Mönch, Monte Pelmo 1858 Dom, Nadelhorn, Piz Morteratsch, Wildstrubel 1859 Aletschhorn, Grand Combin, Rimpfischhorn, Monte Leone 1860 Alphubel, Blüemlisalphorn, Gran Paradiso, Grande Casse 1861 Castor, Lyskamm, Mont Pourri, Monte Viso, Weisshorn, Weißkugel 1862 Dent Blanche, Dent Parrachée, Gross Fiescherhorn, Monte Disgrazia, Täschhorn, Zuckerhütl 1863 Bifertenstock, Dent d'Hérens, Piz Zupò, Tofane 1864 Adamello, Aiguille d'Argentière, Aiguille de Tré la Tête, Balmhorn, Barre des Écrins, Gross Wannenhorn, Mont Dolent, Presanella, Zinalrothorn 1865 Aiguille Verte, Grand Cornier, La Ruinette, Ober Gabelhorn, Piz Buin, Piz Roseg List of first ascents Exploration of the High Alps Silver age of alpinism Hermann Alexander Berlepsch, The Alps.
Trevor Braham, When the Alps Cast Their Spell: Mountaineers of the Golden Age of Alpinism Ronald Clark, The Victorian Mountaineers. John Tyndall, Hours of Exercise in the Alps
Traditional climbing, or trad climbing, is a style of rock climbing in which a climber or group of climbers place all gear required to protect against falls, remove it when a pitch is complete. Traditional bolted face climbing means; the bolts tend to be much farther apart. For example, a trad bolted route may have bolts from 15–75 feet apart. A sport route may have bolts from 3–10 feet apart, similar to a rock climbing gym; the term seems to be coined by Tom Higgins in the piece "Tricksters and Traditionalists" in 1984. A trad climber is called a traditionalist. Characterizing climbing as traditional distinguishes it from bolted climbing-either trad bolted or sport climbing and "free solo climbing". However, protection bolts and pegs installed while lead climbing are considered "traditional" as they were placed during the act of climbing from the ground-up rather than on rappel in the context of granite slab climbing. Before the advent of sport climbing in the United States in the 1980s, somewhat earlier in parts of Europe, the usual style of unaided rock climbing was what is now referred to as traditional-either bolted face climbs or crack climbs.
In trad climbing, a leader ascends a section of rock placing his or her own protective devices while climbing. Before about 1970 these devices were limited to pitons. John Long's 1989 technique manual How to Rock Climb used the term "sport climbing" in reference to what is now considered "traditional climbing". Important features of trad climbing are a strong focus on exploration, a strict dedication to leaving nature unblemished by avoiding use of older means of protection such as pitons, which damage the rock; this evolution in climbing ethics has been attributed to the efforts of Yvon Chouinard, Royal Robbins, many others, who pioneered the "leave no trace" ethic in climbing. The term gear in climbing refers to equipment used during climbs. Gear or protection are mechanical devices that provide safety, either by allowing greater stability in making a move or by dampening force and reducing the distance of a fall; the suitability of individual types of gear depends on the formation of the rock face.
The phrase placing gear denotes the act of setting a piece of gear into the rock face and attaching the rope before ascending higher. In the event of a fall, the gear acts as a catch-point for the rope, thus preventing the climber from hitting the ground. Gear is placed at frequent intervals to avoid becoming too "run out", provide protection in the case of a fall. Nuts started being developed in the 1950s in the UK, with the original pieces being made from discarded machine nuts with slings threaded through them. Urban legend suggests; these developed into purpose built nuts. Prior to about 1970 in the United States, climbing relied on pitons; as other variants of climbing were not nominally in existence as well, all climbing was in effect trad climbing until the early 1980s when sport climbing emerged in Europe. Since the 1970s, developments in protective gear have made climbing more dynamic. For example, nuts—removable pieces of metal which could be jammed into cracks to support weight during a fall but could be removed at the end of a climb—helped fuel trad climbing's growth in popularity and safety.
Contemporary protective gear used in trad climbing consists of removable protective devices such as: Aluminum, steel or brass nuts Hexagonal-shaped chocks Slings Spring-loaded camming devices TricamsIf a climber is soloing they remove placed gear while rappelling back down the climb. In protecting the lead climber in both trad and sport: Carabiners and slings are used to connect the gear to the climber's lead rope, so that in the event of a fall, the rope can be used to catch the falling climber. Modern traditional climbs have fixed gear in places where there are no opportunities to place adequate removable gear, it is considered bad style to install new protection bolts or pitons on existing climbs that can be completed without them. Many of the existing pitons and bolts from the first ascents of routes done many years ago, are now considered to be in bad condition having suffered from the weathering; this is present on sea cliffs where the salt nature of the air has sped up the oxidisation to create rust and weaken the protection.
A number of knots are required for traditional climbing, to create anchors, to tie in the climbers and to be used during the climb. Figure-eight loop is used to tie in the climbers at both ends Clove hitch is used when building an anchor using the rope and sometimes to make a climber safe at a belay ledge Alpine butterfly can be used to tie a climber into the middle of a rope Munter hitch is used to belay without a belay device Slip knot or running knot, can be used during a climb to sling a protrusion of rock known as a chickenhead or any trees that may be on the route Lark's foot or girth hit
A belay device is a mechanical piece of climbing equipment used to control a rope during belaying. It is designed to improve belay safety for the climber by allowing the belayer to manage their duties with minimal physical effort. With the right belay device, a small, weak climber can arrest the fall of a much heavier partner. Belay devices act as a friction brake, so that when a climber falls with any slack in the rope, the fall is brought to a stop; when the rope is held outward, away from the body, it moves freely, so the belayer can take up or pay out slack. When the rope is brought backward, to the side of the body, the rope is forced into tight bends and rubs against the device and/or against itself, allowing the belayer to arrest the descent of a climber in the case of a fall; this rubbing slows the rope, but generates heat. Some types of belay devices can arrest a fall without the belayer taking any action, while others require the belayer to hold or pull the rope in a particular direction.
Belay devices attach to the harness of the belayer via a carabiner, are made of aluminium or an alloy. Some belay devices can be used as descenders for a controlled descent on a rope, abseiling or rappeling. Many belay devices can be used to control two ropes in parallel. There are many reasons why the two-rope option might be chosen by a climber, including the consideration of reducing rope drag. There are auto-belay devices on the market which allow a climber to climb solo in his or her climbing gym; this is a device that you feed a bight of rope through a hole or aperture and hook it into a locking carabiner on the harness. The Sticht plate was the first mechanical rope brake, named after Fritz Sticht, it consists of a small metal plate with a slot that allows a bight of rope to pass through to a locking carabiner and back out. This locking carabiner is clipped to the belayer, able to lock the rope at will; some plates had two slots for double ropes. The slots could be different sizes for different diameter ropes e.g. 9mm and 11mm.
A wide wire spring may be attached on one side to help keep the plate away from the brake carabiner to ease feeding and taking in rope. A smaller hole is present for accessory cord to carry the device. Sticht plates are forged from aluminium alloy in a round disc shape, although other shapes such as rounded rectangles were made. Although any belaying plate with one or two slots is called a Sticht plate, Fritz Sticht patented the design with Hermann Huber for Salewa GmbH in 1970, who sold it as the Salewa Sticht Bremse. Sticht plates have become less popular since more modern designs provide smoother control over the rope and are less prone to jamming when doubling as a descender; this type of device has a tubular or rectangular shape. It is an evolution of the Sticht plate's concept by creating more surface area to dissipate heat and the ability to create sharper angles which creates a stronger degree of friction which has greater stopping power; as a result, this is the most common type of belay device used.
Besides arresting the fall of a climber, these devices can be used for rappelling. Sometimes just called an "eight", this device is most used as a descender. A figure eight can be used for belaying, indeed there are some which are designed for belaying, however they are not popular due to the tendency to twist the rope. There are variations on this design including DMM's "cardiac arrester" which does the same thing but is shaped like a heart, it is designed to help stop rope twisting. Figure eights, although not the most common belay device, are still found in use. For most uses, a tubular style belay device is safer to use. Under the right conditions, assisted braking devices use a sudden load on the rope to engage a camming mechanism or pull the belay carabiner into a pinch point to prevent the rope from passing through the belay device; the terms "self-" or "auto-locking" are discouraged, because it is recommended to always keep the brake hand on the rope. There do exist rare conditions where these devices' braking functions may not apply though accident statistics show that these incidents are user-error.
An icy, worn, too-thin of a rope, or other conditions, such as insufficient training and experience, may affect a device's braking function. A Guide Plate known as an auto-blocking belay device, is a metal plate with an elongated slot for the bight to go through and a carabiner is attached so that when pull from the climber occurs the carabiner will be pulled to lock off the device. A similar device to the traditional tubular belay device which has two extra loops; when the device is attached directly to an anchor point with the use of a second carabiner through the larger of the two loops it performs a similar stopping function to that created with the guide plate. The device is able to be used as a standard tubular device when belaying from the harness. Statistically, by sales volume, the Grigri is the most popular mechanically assisted braking belay device. A Grigri, when properly used, assists in braking the rope with a camming device that clamps the rope in the event of a fall; because of the braking mechanism, modified belay techniques are used, though Petzl, the device's manufacturer, has approved only certain techniques for instructing new belayers.
Grigris give a harder catch than a regular belay device because they allo
Buildering describes the act of climbing on the outside of buildings and other artificial structures. The word "buildering" sometimes misspelled bildering is a portmanteau, combining the word building with the climbing term bouldering. If done without ropes or protection far off the ground, buildering may be dangerous, it is practiced outside legal bounds, is thus undertaken at night. Night climbing is a particular branch of buildering, practiced for many years in a variety of locations such as the University of Cambridge, England. Night climbing, as distinct from buildering, is performed by undergraduates under cover of darkness; the term "night climbing" has replaced the older term "roof climbing". Adepts of buildering who are seen climbing on buildings without authorization are met by police forces upon completing their exploit. Spectacular acts of buildering, such as free soloing skyscrapers, are accomplished by lone, experienced climbers, sometimes attracting large crowds of passers-by and media attention.
These remain rare. Buildering can take a form more akin to bouldering, which tends towards ascending or traversing shorter sections of buildings and structures. While still frowned upon by property owners, such as the University of Colorado at Boulder and Tufts University, turn a blind eye towards the practice in many locations. Although practised as a solo sport, buildering has become a popular group activity; as in more traditional rock climbing, routes are graded for difficulty. In 1895, the great alpinist Geoffrey Winthrop Young, started to climb the roofs of Cambridge University, England. Students had been scrambling up the university architecture for years, but Young was the first to document this activity, he published a buildering guide to Trinity College. In 1905, while a master at Eton College, Young produced another small volume on buildering, spoofing mountaineering. In 1905, Harry H. Gardiner began buildering, he climbed over 700 buildings in Europe and North America wearing ordinary street clothes and using no special equipment.
In 1910, George Polley started his climbing career when the owner of a clothing store promised him a suit if he would climb to the roof of the building. He succeeded, went on to climb over 2,000 buildings. During the years from 1915 to 1920, buildering in New York City reached its peak. Before 1915, there were few skyscrapers in New York City, after 1920, the city authorities had legislated to outlaw buildering. During this golden era, a number of daredevils climbed the tall buildings, but several of them fell to their deaths in the attempt. In 1921, a group of undergraduates from St John's College, published a buildering guide to that college. In 1930, John Hurst wrote the second edition of Geoffrey Winthrop Young's buildering guide to Trinity. In 1937, a comprehensive and lighthearted account of Cambridge night climbing appeared in popular print, written by Noël Howard Symington, under the pseudonym "Whipplesnaith". In 1947, John Ciampa scaled the exterior of the Astor Hotel in New York City.
In 1960, Richard Williams wrote the third edition of the Trinity buildering guide. Night climbing remained popular in Cambridge during these post-war years. In 1970, a book entitled "Night Climbing in Cambridge" was published under the pseudonym "Hederatus". Buildering featured prominently in a book by F A Reeve, published in 1977. In 1977, George Willig climbed the South Tower of the World Trade Center. In the 1980s, Dan Goodwin scaled many of the world's tallest buildings, including the World Trade Center, the Sears Tower, the John Hancock Center, the CN Tower, most the Telephonica Building in Santiago, Chile for Stan Lee's Superhumans In the 1990s and the following decade, Alain Robert became the world's most famous builderer by free soloing high buildings all over the globe. In 2007, buildering in Cambridge was featured in a detective novel by Jill Paton Walsh. Between 2007 and 2011, several books on night climbing were published by Oleander Press, of Cambridge. In 2007, they reprinted the Whipplesnaith book.
In 2009, they reprinted Geoffrey Winthrop Young's first edition of the Trinity Guide, the St John's Guide. In 2010, they reprinted John Hurst's second edition of the Trinity Guide, as well as Young's book "Wall and Roof Climbing". In 2011, they published an omnibus edition of the three Trinity guides, including an introduction by Richard Williams which reviewed the history of night climbing in Cambridge from the 18th century to the present day; this introduction removed the cloak of anonymity that had protected the identities of the first nocturnal explorers. From around 2008, buildering became popular amongst teenagers and young adults in eastern European countries including Russia and the Ukraine, they shared footage of their achievements on video portals such as YouTube. In August 2016, a young man going by the name Stephen Rogata attempted to scale New York City's 68-storey Trump Tower using climbing gear and giant suction cups; the identification of the first recreational or professional builderer remains an open question, but at Cambridge, Geoffrey Winthrop Young is regarded as the original pioneer.
Alain Robert has achieved world-wide renown and is regarded as the greatest of all builderers. In 2011, he climbed the 830-meter Burj Khalifa tower in Dubai. On that occasion, he used a harness in accordance with safety procedure, but most of his climbs have been free soloing. O
Crack climbing is a type of rock climbing in which the climber follows a crack in the rock and uses specialized climbing techniques. The sizes of cracks vary from those that are just wide enough for the fingers to fit inside, to those that are so wide that the entire body can fit inside with all limbs outstretched. Many traditional climbing routes follow crack systems, as they provide natural opportunities for placing protective equipment. In the context of climbing, cracks are classified by their width in relation to the climber's body: finger, off-finger, off-width, chimneys. Finger cracks are just wide enough for part of the finger to fit inside. Off-finger cracks called "off-hand", are wider than finger cracks, but not large enough for the entire hand to fit inside. Hand cracks are just large enough for the entire hand to fit inside. Off-width cracks are wider than hand cracks, but not wide enough for the legs or upper body to fit inside. Chimney cracks are large enough to fit the entire body inside, allowing for a wide variety of techniques depending on the distance between the two rock faces.
The walls of crack systems run parallel to each other throughout the entire length of the crack. Some of the most challenging climbs follow cracks; when a crack is uniform in width, it may require a different approach for each individual climber—a hand crack for a smaller climber may be an off-finger crack for a larger climber. Throughout the history of rock climbing, whenever traditional climbers seek to develop routes in a new area, they invariably follow crack systems which offer natural locations for placing protective equipment; the use of the term "line" as a synonym for "route" derives from this practice, as cracks form visually distinct lines that can be followed from base to top. Prior to the introduction of spring-loaded camming devices, there was no suitable method for placing protective gear in off-width cracks, which made such routes dangerous when they were not technically demanding, it was not until the 1980s that extra-wide camming devices proliferated, enabling climbers to safely ascend off-widths.
By the 1990s, crack climbing had diminished in popularity for a variety of reasons. The advent of sport climbing allowed climbers to focus on difficulty and aesthetic appeal when developing new routes. Furthermore, cracks are difficult to simulate in climbing gyms, so those who train indoors are limited to face routes when they climb outside. In 2006, Canadian Sonnie Trotter made the first free ascent of the Cobra Crack in Squamish, British Columbia, which at the time was considered to be the hardest crack climb in the world. Since this ascent and more difficult crack lines have been climbed including Stranger than Fiction in Canyonlands National Park, The Meltdown in Yosemite National Park, Blackbeard's Tears on the California coast and The Recovery Drink in Norway's Jossingfjord. In 2011, Tom Randall and Pete Whittaker completed the first free ascent of Century Crack, a 160-foot off-width in Canyonlands National Park, Utah; the crack was first attempted in 2001, is considered the hardest off-width crack climb in the world.
The most fundamental technique used in crack climbing is "jamming", in which the climber forces a body part into the crack such that it exerts force on both walls. This creates the friction needed for the climber to make upward progress; the body part used and its positioning are dependent on the width of the crack. For example, some cracks are just wide enough. A crack wider than that may require the hand to be curled into a fist to form an effective jam; when the crack is too wide for a single limb to jam, climbers use a technique known as "stacking": both hands or both feet are placed inside the crack, pressed against each other. For example, if the crack is too wide for a fist jam, the climber may press a closed fist against one wall and an open hand upon the other in order to span the width of the crack; the "stemming" technique, used on cracks that are wider than the climber's body, employs a similar principle. The four limbs are pressed straight outwards against opposing rock faces. In traditional climbing, the climber places protective gear while ascending the route, rather than installing permanent fixtures beforehand.
Much of this equipment was designed for use in crack systems. The two main categories of protection are passive, with no moving parts, active, which use springs to keep the gear fixed in place. In both categories, protective gear is color-coded by size to allow the climber to identify the correct piece of gear for a given position while climbing. Nuts and hexes are two common types of passive protection. A nut is a small rectangular piece of metal on the end of a wire cable, with a loop at the other end for attaching a carabiner; the nut is placed inside a crack, just above a constriction in width. This prevents the equipment from slipping out of the crack when the climber falls. Most nuts are between 50 millimetres wide. Hexagonal chocks called "hexes", are similar to nuts, but are designed for larg