The Incredible Spam Crack
Last October, my friend Tyson and I had the opportunity to climb in Indian Creek for the first time. Neither of us had climbed a true “splitter” style crack before. So, prior to our trip, we started learning how to climb hand cracks at our local climbing gym.
I have always been fascinated by desert rock. The flat void surrounding desert rock formations make them seem so much more grandiose. Tyson and I decided to chase down some moderates. We discovered The Incredible Spam Crack (5.9) in Karl Kelly’s Creek Freak guidebook. We both decided it looked like an excellent starter route for our first Indian Creek leads.
Soon enough, we found ourselves travelling down the 4×4 road that leads to the Tenderloins Wall. Upon arrival, we realized we were the only ones there. A rare occurrence in many climbing areas. We made our way up to the base and found the plaque for “Spam Crack”.
Like many routes in Indian Creek, the wall felt grand. The route follows a beautiful right-facing corner for 80 feet that leads to a beefy bolted anchor. Tyson climbed it on lead, rapped off, and cleaned the gear. Then, I racked up with cams primarily in the 1” to 3” range, and started my lead.
The start of the route involves some wide stemming moves. I ended up placing a #2 as my first piece about 12 feet up. It’s not until you get past the horizontal fracture that the climbing gets more straightforward. I remember this section feeling insecure at times. However, protection opportunities are ample. The crack narrows down to perfect hands once you pass the horizontal fracture.
…the crack narrows down to perfect hands once you pass the horizontal fracture. The start of the route involves some wide stemming moves.
Once I passed over the horizontal fracture, it was off to the races. Perfect hand and foot jams led all the way to the anchor. As I clipped the anchor, I took a minute to take in the setting. We were the only ones there and I had just lead my first Indian Creek splitter. So stoked!
The Incredible Spam Crack is a great moderate for the budding Indian Creek leader. I can attest to that. However, it does require a 4×4 to gain access to the main formation. It’s not as convenient as Supercrack Buttress. Nor does it have nearly as many moderates. But, it’s off the beaten path and the setting is beautiful.