A few weeks ago I was desperate to climb outside, but didn’t plan for it and needed to spend most of my day taking care of things around town. It was gorgeous out, and I was unwilling to head to the gym. I’m trying to focus on training like I hope to climb, and had had one idea kicking around for a while.
Trad climbing almost always entails some form of crack climbing, and I am not terribly good at either. The rock gym is relatively useless for training towards crack climbing, so I took a lead from one of my favorite climbers and built a little tool for the specific exercise of learning to cram my fingers into rock fissures. Welcome to the crack machine:
I used 2x8s, carriage bolts, and pvc pipe as spacers to make the system adjustable- meaning I can work any size crack. The size of lumber matters quite a bit- I would have like to use 2×10 or 2×12 so that I can practice armbarring and chickenwinging but they would have been too heavy to lift.
One big note on the building side- the holes in the board on the left, above, need to be ~1/8″ to 1/4″ larger than the holes on the right. Carriage bolts don’t tend to sit perfectly straight, so you want some clearance to get things to fit together nicely. Using carriage bolts and nuts allows you to crank the boards apart to any width crack- mine is currently set to “rattly fingers” or “BD 0.75.” You don’t actually need the PVC spacers, I just thought they would add some rigidity which really wasn’t necessary with six carriage bolts in 8′
For the record- these guys crush it, and they trained almost exclusively in a basement. Look forward to updates on how training is going.