Months ago, I had met Sarah Malone in Golden. Sarah didn’t climb offwidth but she wanted to learn so we agreed that we would climb Crack of Fear (5.10d) at Lumpy Ridge. I left for three weeks but came back at the end of summer and Sarah was still psyched to climb some wide. We drove out to Lumpy and hiked up to the base. As we racked up, we both stared at the ominous looking crack. Would it go? Several hundred feet of offwidth seemed daunting.

If you zoom in and look very carefully, you can see the offwidth that stretches to the top!
The crux on Crack of Fear. Photograph by Sarah Malone

I was feeling nervous about climbing, having spent almost a month overseas. But as soon as I started moving up the first pitch, it felt familiar and good. The beginning of pitch one began with a short hand crack until it reached a wide opening. I climbed the offwidth for thirty or so feet until I reached a bolted belay.

Despite what I had seen in photos on Mountain Project, I stayed left side in. The undercling wasn’t necessarily the crux, but my energy had petered out by the time I reached it. Pulling the roof was felt arduous but good. The struggle was gratifying, and my stoke for wide cracks returned.

Sarah Malone arm barring on the first pitch
Okay, off-widths. We are officially on a little break

Cover photograph courtesy of Sarah Malone.

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