Sunday, March 6th, 2016

A Climber’s Guide to Planet Granite Cracks

My Supertopo Thread (which did not receive much love). :p

We climbers in the Bay Area are fortunate to have access to the carefully crafted cracks at the three Planet Granite gyms: San Francisco, Sunnyvale, and Belmont. I’ve visited gyms outside of the PG Bay Area system. While some of them offer a few interesting ones, they do not have the variety you see here and most of the cracks I see else where are just straight edged crevices that may offer the technical challenge, but lack the aesthetic appeal (to my eyes anyway).

The photos below cover almost all the cracks (missing only three) from all three gyms. The numbers at the top are Grigri numbers. The location names are based on the wall map from each gym. The wall maps are linked in the spreadsheet embedded at the bottom of this post, a log sheet when I did PG Cracks in a Day on a very rainy day. In the spreadsheet, you can find a brief description of the cracks.

  • 1. IMG 0613
  • 2. IMG 0664
  • 3. IMG 0663
  • 4. IMG 0616
  • 5. IMG 0617
  • 6. IMG 0666
  • 7. IMG 0618
  • 8. IMG 0619
  • 9. IMG 0665
  • 10. IMG 0620
  • 11. IMG 0621
  • 12. IMG 0622
  • 13. IMG 0623
  • 14. IMG 0662
  • 15. IMG 0624
  • 16. IMG 0626
  • 17. IMG 0627
  • 18. IMG 0628
  • 19. IMG 0629
  • 20. IMG 0630


Planet Granite Cracks in a Day TR

Pulled off by the skin of teeth. Started climbing at PG SF at 10:25am, and finished my last crack at Belmont 8pm — the closing time. The bad: My PGiaD partne badly injured (not knowing when and how) his right ankle at the end of SF session, and after belaying me (thank you!) and pulling off a few impressive ascents using one foot only in Sunnyvale, he had to call it a day. The good: when I arrived at Belmont gym with only one hour 15 minutes left and no partner lined up, a public partner call turned up Brian who was psyched about my mission and cheerfully belayed me in blocks, which enabled the completion of my goal. Still cannot believe my luck.

(Edit: The weekend after, it was raining again, so I did it again, with another partner. With all the climbing area opened up, I got 54 laps in this time adding the fist crack in SF opened up after construction completion and the broken cracks by the Exit door in Belmont. There are a few –4 or 5–hangs and cheats, but over all, I felt strong. )

A nerd that I am.


P.S. Touchstone Berkeley Ironworks Cracks

  1. IMG 1183 Hand and some wide hand and fist. Plenty of constrictions
  2. IMG 1184 Mostly cup hand and fist. The incline actually makes leveraging easier.
  3. IMG 1185 Rattley finger and thin hand. Just one short crux.

4 Responses

  1. andrewon 26 Mar 2016 at 4:04 pm

    I saw your thread on st and wanted to see the larger photos, so clicked here. Very cool. I’m jealous of your plentiful and varied training terrain! Also that you are so close to the valley lol. The tz post was incredible… I’ve always vaguely wanted to do that one. One day. Maybe the day will be sooner rather than later after reading your post. Or maybe I’ll continue to stick to fingers and hand cracks 🙂
    Anyway just wanted to say hi. Also, I love that you track your climbs in excel!! I thought I was the only one dorky enough to do that. Hehe. Thanks for the stoke!

  2. mudwormon 28 Mar 2016 at 12:14 pm

    Hi Andrew, thanks for visiting and leaving your kind comment! I’m not the type who tells everyone to “just do it (Twilight Zone)!” when I don’t know their climbing at all because that’ll be empty encouragement, but you’ll know in your heart when you feel ready. Here is from one dork to another: Rock on, Andrew!

  3. Yuanon 06 Mar 2020 at 9:52 pm

    Could you please post a video about how to climb the smooth off-width crack in PG Belmont (Grigri #61)?

  4. mudwormon 23 Mar 2020 at 11:19 am

    Oh, now you are forcing me to climb cracks at PG Belmont again! I haven’t bothered for quite a while. Yes, that OW is hard, and based on my experience, people of different sizes definitely climb it differently simply because of the fact some guys can span their feet across, and some small people can fit inside more, etc. I’ll try to make a video someday (not promising when), but keep on at it, and you’ll get it in your own way! Thanks Yuan for leaving your comment!