Leavenworth Rock Guides: Crack Climbing Technique 

Leavenworth Rock Guides Intro to Lead Rock Climbing Course with the Northwest Mountain School

Trip: Leavenworth Rock Guides

Course: Crack Climbing Course

2022 Dates: March - October
  • Custom Dates Available Daily
  • May 1 or 29
  • June 26
  • July 24
  • August 6

Scheduled Cost: $295 per participant

Cost: Custom Programs
  • $315 each w/ 1-2 climbers
  • $280 each w/ 3 climbers
  • $240 each w/ 4 climbers
  • $205 each w/ 5 climbers
  • $190 each w/ 6 climbers

Ready to Sign up?

Cost Includes
Guide fee, use of climbing harness, climbing helmet, all group climbing equipment including use of climbing rack.
Cost Does Not Include
Transportation to/from Leavenworth, personal food, water, and clothing.

Expedition PDFs 

Equipment List ยป
Those who want to progress beyond sport climbing or climbing in a gym eventually need to come to terms with crack climbing. Most natural climbing lines follow crack systems as these give climbers places to place protection and the crack itself provides a weakness that allows climbers to ascend routes without pre-placed bolts. Some would argue that crack climbing is the most pure and fundamental form of rock climbing.

Our crack climbing technique clinics capitalize on the wealth of natural granite cracks found in the Leavenworth area and introduce students to techniques that allow them to securely and efficiently climb a variety of crack types.

We typically begin with hand cracks as most climbers find the hand-jam to be the most secure hold found in crack climbing. Once basic hand jamming technique is understood we move onto finger and fist cracks. For those who are particularly keen we can also cover off-width technique. Off-width are cracks that are too small for chimney climbing, yet too big for fist jams.

Skills Taught during Crack Climbing Technique 

  • Finger, fist, and hand jams
  • Off-width strategies
  • Taping for crack climbing
  • Appropriate footwork for crack climbing
  • Technique differences between leading and top-roping
  • When to consider using lie-back technique
  • Placing and removing gear in cracks
  • Selecting the best rack for a given crack type
  • Use of cams, nuts, Big-Bros, and other crack protection

Courses before Crack Climbing 

Rock Climbing Anchors Clinic
Introduction to Outdoor Climbing
Sport Climbing Technique

Courses after Crack Climbing 

Improvised Rock Rescue
Multi-pitch Climbing
Traditional Lead Climbing

Programs after Crack Climbing 

Snow Creek Wall Climbs


If run at a 1:1 ratio this program takes about 5 hours, and if run at a 2:1 or greater ratio the course takes 8 hours. Courses are scheduled on demand.


Participants should be familiar with belaying, and basic climbing knots. The goal of the course is to move you toward leading pitches on your own.


To register for this course you should complete our domestic climbing application and return it to the Northwest Mountain School office. You can complete our online registration here. Once you have completed your application you can make your deposit or full payment here. It is best to call our office at 509-548-5823 to make sure that space is available on your selected program. Space is allotted on a first-come, first-serve basis.

This program takes place on US Forest Service lands under a commercial-outfitter and guide permit. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) prohibits discrimination in all its programs & activities and is an equal opportunity provider and employer.