This route is probably the burliest 5.8 in the Gunks. There's no one move that will shut you down, but the climb just keeps coming and coming.
Start at an an obvious crack system on a huge left-facing face, about 40' downhill and left of the large Broken Hammer corner, and uphill and left of Lisa.
P1: The technical crux is low down (about 20' up) but by the time you get to the top, every move is another crux. If you're not up to the task, or if your second is needs a good belay for the start, you can belay in the middle somewhere at a decent stance. 5.8, 150'.
There is a rap station (2 ropes) at the top. Or climb a really gross pitch to the top and traverse left to High E if you only have one rope.
The Double Crack access trail is about an 18-min. walk from the Uberfall, or a 14-min. walk from where the East Trapps Connector Trail meets the carriage road. This is a minute or two beyond The Yellow Wall. Double Crack starts at a prominent crack system about 40' downhill and left of the big dirty Broken Hammer corner.
Usual Gunks rack - bring lots of it if you lead this in one pitch and you're a wimp like me.
WOW! Amazingly sustained. No move is harder than 5.8, but no move is easier than 5.7. I used every draw, sling and spare biner I had on me (even my prussik cord). Lots of medium to large cams, up to #4, maybe even #4.5. No real small cams needed. Milk the rests on the ledge and in alcoves, cause it's all vertical.
If you don't have double ropes and are feeling a little daring, there is a sketchy chockstone with a sling and rap rings on it that I used today. I made it down safe, and it seemed relatively bomber. I would say use at your own risk/discretion. Ps -- awesome awesome awesome climb.
If you are worried about having your second hit the deck down low due to rope stretch, then have the second squat a few times before climbing and take in the slack. If you do that, you don't have to worry about them decking.
I climbed Double Crack last Wednesday, and the tat anchor 2/3 of the way up on a chockstone is still there. It is seriously sketchy-- I touched the chockstone and it moved. Someone should cut this anchor.
The route is staggering. One of the very best at the grade. The crux is in the first 20-30 feet, which is a little scary, but there's pro everywhere, it may be a little strenuous to place it if this route is at your limit. I found it eased off after the early crux, and there are several rest stances, but it does keep coming at you and it is steep throughout. The pump factor makes it seem harder than it is towards the top.
Don't be fooled by the name - only the lower crux has some quality crack moves, the rest is burly chin-ups all the way up. Good climb for the start of the season, while your arms are still strong from ice climbing.
One small correction to the descent info - if you have only a single rope, you can walk straight over (climber's left) to the High E rap line. You're already at the GT ledge at the top of Double Crack, so you'll have only two one-rope rappels to do. I've done this several times.
Best, though, I think, is to lead it with double ropes and rap. To complete the day, do what we did yesterday - walk over to Modern Times next!
This route is indeed sustained. Yes, there are a few nice rest ledges/alcoves - take advantage of them when you can as the pump factor is high. Not a crack climb, but still protects well and will keep your attention from ground to top-out!
This climb is like the 5.8 twin sister of double-issima - same aspect of a similar massive buttress, and the same sustained climbing that keeps you engaged from bottom to top. Insanely well protected - I'd call it G- if there were such a thing - as such it's a great climb for someone looking to push the grade. Finally, I pity the foo' who does this awesome climb in two pitches.
When rapping down from the top, two 50m ropes will get you to the bottom. With only one rope, you can rap off far to the climber's left of the rap station and catch the intermediate chock stone rap station on the way down (you'll see it on your way up. An alternative would be to stop the climb at this rap station and rap to the ground in one throw with a 60m rope). If you accidentally rap off the top to the climber's right, you can end up a solid 20 yards to the right side of the rap station, and (like me today) have a wee struggle traversing back to the intermediate rap station.
There is a two nut+cordelette intermediate belay/rap with a locking biner on it. I recall it being about half way up and in a small right facing corner. Seems good enough for what it is. Better to do this all in one pitch (bring lots of slings!) though and use the High E rap or double rope rap.
Another Gunks sandbag in my opinion. The bottom 20' is probably 5.9. There is a perfectly good belay ledge part way up; back in the day, everyone stopped and belayed there. If there is concern about the second having trouble, then the belay should be at that ledge, since there will be a lot less rope stretch and communication will be possible. It is very hard to communicate from the top.
I've cut the tat off that chockstone a few times and will continue to do so if I happen to be there and am and following the route. There's absolutely no reason for a fixed cordelette and locker at the belay stance either; that should be cut down as well. Keep the route as clean and natural as possible fer god's sake.
As for descents with a single rope, much closer than High E is the Silly Chimney, and you don't have to climb up a pile of choss to get to it. You can walk straight left over to the top of Silly Chimney from the top of Double Crack. It is easy to downclimb Silly Chimney unroped, although very few people do that any more. There is now a rap station on some trees just climber's left of the chimney.
Historical note: Dave Craft and I made what was, I'm pretty sure, the first all-nut ascent in the Gunks on Double Crack in 1967, using what would now be considered a very primitive set of pre-Chouinard nuts ordered from Joe Brown.
awesome, awesome climb! I would say large cams are unnecessary. I used one #3 and that was it. Nuts are great on the first half of the climb. Very pumpy, very sustained. Harder than alot of 5.9s in the surrounding area. G all the way. Utilize the rests. The crux for me was the O.W. section but that may have more to do with my lacking skill set
By Simon Thompson From: New Paltz, NY Aug 16, 2012 rating: 5.85b16VI-15HVS 4c
Awesome fun climb. The 5.8 crux is pretty early on. The rest is steady 5.7 moves with tons of options for holds and pro. We had a single 70m rope and were able to make a diagonal rap to climbers' right and downclimb a 15ft corner to the ground.
There's a shoebox sized loose block a little more than half way up, near the second alcove. I marked it with XXX in chalk but that'll wash off so watch out, it's just sitting there looking like a jug. I was doing a lot of thumping on holds before grabbing and there was a bunch of loosy goosey stuff all chalked up. Eeek.
Great route. I combined pitches and used everything I had on me from green c3 to blue c4 and then some. Totally G rated. I was a little curious about the route's reputation for being sustained and pumpy but the rests are there, just have to use them. Great views from the top of this. Quite a nice area of the cliff in general. Thank god this route is a PITA to toprope.
By rocknice2 From: Montreal, Quebec Oct 15, 2013 rating: 5.7+5a15V+13MVS 4b
Solid 5.7+ crack. Just have to know how to climb crack. I didn't find it pumpy. There are tons of rests all over the place.
By losbill Oct 16, 2013 rating: 5.85b16VI-15HVS 4c
Rocknice - Did you really sink a lot of jams on DC? Despite the name it didn't seem to me to offer a lot of jamming.
Also for a dubber like me the first slightly overhanging/vertical 30' with somewhat awkward feeling holds felt pretty pumpy. It always gets my attention. I definitely get rests but for me they are not entirely straight forward.
When all is said and done though still an absolutely great climb.