Supercrack of the Desert at Indian Creek
The video of the historic first ascent of Supercrack of the Desert, at Indian Creek in Utah (USA), established in 1976 by Earl Wiggins, Ed Webster and Bryan Becker.
As we noted recently for Action Direct, there are some routes which capture the imagination of climbers more than others. Be it due to their beauty, the quality of the rock, the difficulty, because of who climbed it at a given moment – the fact of the matter is that there are numerous variables which come into play that render a line “the route” not only of a crag, but of a way of interpreting climbing. At times even breaking past national borders and becoming true, international stars.
A route which fits this bill is certainly Supercrack of the Desert at Indian Creek, close to Moab in America's Utah. The route was first ascended by Earl Wiggins, Ed Webster and Bryan Becker and at the time the trio were joined by Stewart Green and Dennis Jackson who documented the ascent with photos and film. The date was November 1976, the Creek was still there to be discovered and it was Wiggins who challenged the hitherto impossible, establishing according to Webster “a new frontier of desert sandstone crack climbing.” In doing so he changed the history of climbing at Indian Creek forever.
It is worth remembering that camming devices hadn't been invented at the time – the revolutionary Friend was invented by Ray Jardine and Wild Country two years later – and so the route was protected with hexentrics e nuts, significantly augmenting the psychological nature of the route. Perhaps it's worth remembering that the line was also given a different name – Luxury Liner – but in the end this didn't stick: Supercrack was simply too nice and representative. And it is certainly also worth remembering that after the first beautiful hand crack, and the second pitch led by Webster, that Wiggins stretched the route to its logical conclusion right to the rim of the crag.
Nowadays few climbers make the effort to climb all the way to the top, most prefer lowering off the first bolt belay. But even if something is lost this way, evidently the dream remains alive and kicking. There must be a reason why, of the thousands of routes out there in the desert, Supercrack remains the world's most photographed and desired sandstone crack climb!
Luxury Liner: The First Ascent of Supercrack by Chris Alstrin