Crack Climbing Clinic

Crack Climbing Clinic

Date: October 13 - October 14, 2018

Course Category: Climbing Clinics    

Location: Kentucky

Instructor: Clay Kennedy

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Interested in bridging the gap between indoor and outdoor climbing; tired of having to lay back every crack you encounter; or are you thinking about bigger climbs out west but intimidated by wide cracks? Come  join Fox Mountain Guides for a two-day crack climbing clinic at the Red River Gorge, where you can sample cracks of all sizes and difficulties.

This clinic will focus on introducing and fine tuning crack climbing technique while still having the safety net of a top rope. The overarching goal is to have a safe and supportive learning environment where participants feel comfortable pushing themselves and learning new climbing skills.

Topics Covered:

  • Making the perfect tape glove
  • The basics
    • Hand and foot jamming technique
    • Fist jams
    • How to rest on a hand/fist jams
  • Thin crack climbing technique
    • Finger locks, ring locks, and the dreaded thumb stack
    • Proper thin crack foot work
  • Wide crack technique
    • Arm bars, chicken wings, and heal toes
    • Hand stack variations


  • Bust the myth that crack climbing has to be painful.
  • To create time and space for repetition of crack climbing skills on climbs utilizing top ropes, ie climb, climb, climb.
  • Provide opportunities for participants to try climbs at/above their limits.
  • Provide a safe and positive crack climbing experience.


  • An understanding of the figure 8 follow through, belaying, and basic climbing technique and communication.

Number on course: Maximum of 6:1 client to instructor ratio

Course length: Two days

A Note from the Instructor: 

I was introduced to crack climbing nearly ten years ago in Vedauwoo, Wyoming. Vedauwoo is known for its stout crack climbs, sharp crystals, and wild granite formations. My first foray into crack climbing at such a place was probably similar to many others, I had gobies the size of half dollars all over my hands and ankles, my clothes got ripped and torn, and my ego was almost as bruised as my elbows and knees. Never had I struggled so hard and for so long on a short 5.8 crack climb, and never had I felt so rewarded after finally getting that perfect hand jam if only for a moment.

Since then my love for crack climbing has taken me all over the country from the roof cracks in Kentucky, to the perfect splitter cracks of Indian Creek, to the soaring granite walls of Yosemite Valley. I have spent two winter seasons down in Patagonia where the romote granite walls rise from glaciers and are filled with cracks of all sizes. And I have sought out the incredible crack climbs in the Sierras and Canada’s famed Bugaboo National Park.

No other style of climbing combines both technique and shear determination like crack climbing. The subtle nuances of a fist jam or the shear tenacity it takes to make it up an off-width climb keep me coming back to crack climbing season after season.

Cost*: $350 per person*

2: $500 per person (two to one instructor, two days)

1: $650 per person (one to one instructor, two days)

*The costs are based on the actual number of participants on the course. Courses normally run at 3+ people but in the event the courses run with fewer people the costs will be as shown . Participants that do not wish to take the course with low numbers (because of the cost) can change their course to another date. The upside to lower numbers is of course a more personal course.