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Sacherer Cracker

First ascent: Frank Sacherer and Mike Sherrick, 1964
By: Chris McNamara
Area: U.S.A., Group: Yosemite, Peak: El Capitan, Country: USA, Region: California

An excellent, clean, widening crack up a steep wall, Sacherer Cracker is a beautiful climb. Bomber protection for the crux and the first 100 feet of climbing leads to a 10-foot widening offwidth, which is the actual crux for many. Don't underestimate the short 5.7 approach pitch, which is a polished flare that has spit out many a 5.11 climber! The crux is a section of slowly widening finger to hand cracks that rewards trusting insecure jams and firing up to the first hand jam. Fifty feet of beautiful steep hands tests your endurance, and then a rest ledge lets you contemplate the 30 feet of off-hand/fist to the intimidating offwidth. Large gear can be used, but good chockstones at the base of the offwidth offer great pro, and the offwidth widens so quickly that huge cams will only gain a few feet of protection.This 1964 route, done by Sacherer and Mike Sherrick, involved a 120-foot jamcrack that varied in width from one to six inches. At 5.10a, and difficult to protect (using bong-bongs), this was one of the bolder leads of the mid-1960s. Yvon Chouinard, greatly impressed with Sacherer's ability, wrote that he "always climbed on the verge of falling over backwards-using no more energy than was necessary to progress and rarely bothering to stop and place protection.... Apparently his belayers have been so completely gripped they were unable to use a camera. I have not been able to find a single photograph of Sacherer on a lead!"

GETTING THERE

Starting point: Yosemite valley

ACCESS

30 minute hike along the base of the SW Face of El Cap.

DESCENT

Rappel with two ropes.

GEAR

2 sets of cams to 4.5". One really big cam optional

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Details / route
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DIFFICULTY

5.10a

FACE

SW

LENGTH

50m

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www.supertopo.com

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