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Breaking into 5.10 Trad with big hands

Yosemite 5.10 trad can feel impossible as a large man with big hands and feet. Do others have tips?

The struggle:

I can’t get trad shoes large enough for a true relaxed fit because the brands almost universally max out at 12.5. When I do get trad shoes the toes are so rounded in this size I cannot fit the toe into finger cracks. I have great hands for #3 and #4 but most Yosemite 5.10c/d is hard fingers that I cannot get locks into. The mythos are pointier in the toe so have been a game changer to approach finger cracks but I’m still lacking at those grades.

I know crack climbing is all size dependent but the 10 range for long technical routes all have these small technical finger pitches and it’s limiting to only be skilled in some styles. I’ve taken to working on offwidth as a result but would love to be able to cruise up serenity some day. Advice would be valued.

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Re: Breaking into 5.10 Trad with big hands

It's a common issue. There's not much more advice to give than to train for what you'll be climbing. If the topo says ringlocks, but it feels more like tips, then you just have to train by climbing tips. Find a gym with an adjustable crack wall, or build one yourself and train, train, train. System boards at the gym are also helpful to focus your training on specific techniques and holds.

One bit I can share about getting big feet into thin cracks is to use the sole-to-rand surface of the outside of your foot to create a friction jam against the crack(think pinky toe edge against the crack with toes pointed up) and look for any pods or scars that you can use to get a bit more of your foot in for more security.

Vary the routes on your trip, thin for wide. No reason you should be the only one who has to suffer- just find some slightly wider cracks that are perfect hands for you!

At REI, we believe a life outdoors is a life well-lived.
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Re: Breaking into 5.10 Trad with big hands

It's a common issue. There's not much more advice to give than to train for what you'll be climbing. If the topo says ringlocks, but it feels more like tips, then you just have to train by climbing tips. Find a gym with an adjustable crack wall, or build one yourself and train, train, train. System boards at the gym are also helpful to focus your training on specific techniques and holds.

One bit I can share about getting big feet into thin cracks is to use the sole-to-rand surface of the outside of your foot to create a friction jam against the crack(think pinky toe edge against the crack with toes pointed up) and look for any pods or scars that you can use to get a bit more of your foot in for more security.

Vary the routes on your trip, thin for wide. No reason you should be the only one who has to suffer- just find some slightly wider cracks that are perfect hands for you!

At REI, we believe a life outdoors is a life well-lived.
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Re: Breaking into 5.10 Trad with big hands


@REI-ReinkeM wrote:

It's a common issue. There's not much more advice to give than to train for what you'll be climbing. If the topo says ringlocks, but it feels more like tips, then you just have to train by climbing tips. Find a gym with an adjustable crack wall, or build one yourself and train, train, train. System boards at the gym are also helpful to focus your training on specific techniques and holds.

One bit I can share about getting big feet into thin cracks is to use the sole-to-rand surface of the outside of your foot to create a friction jam against the crack(think pinky toe edge against the crack with toes pointed up) and look for any pods or scars that you can use to get a bit more of your foot in for more security.

Vary the routes on your trip, thin for wide. No reason you should be the only one who has to suffer- just find some slightly wider cracks that are perfect hands for you!


Thanks for the feedback. I try practicing the side rand jam more

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