Fiendish Crack Machine

The final challenge of the recent Wide Boyz Crack School Masterclass with Tom Randall and Pete Whittaker was the Wild Country “Crack Machine”.


Rob Johnson “riding the Wide Pony” in the Crack Machine. For a full explanation of the mysterious lexicon of crack climbing, see the chuckle-worthy “Extras” on the “Wide Boyz” DVD.

This daunting contraption is like a fiendish reincarnation of the stocks. The centrepiece of which is a vertically aligned, giant letterbox – into which you “post” your own legs and jam your feet and stacked hands. The overhanging uprights at each end form finger cracks and the challenge is to circumnavigate the thing. Tom Randall explains in this video:

The Crack School Masterclass was great fun. The sessions were intended for climbers of all abilities and it would be well worth attending the next series if you are interested in learning some of crack climbing’s dark arts from the UK’s acknowledged crack-meisters.


The session over, Rob Johnson looks on as brother Doug sets off up the overhanging finger crack as he attempts to traverse the fiendish Crack Machine. Meanwhile Fran chats to Tom as Pete leaves his mark on one of the climbers.

World para climbing champion, Fran Brown made the Crack Machine Challenge look deceptively easy.

Profits from these masterclasses are going towards the BMC Paraclimbing team to provide support for the team to attend the 2014 World Cup. Tom and Pete are also donating a day’s Crack School coaching to the BMC Paraclimbing Team as part of their involvement.

KragRags is a family run business dedicated to making ethically produced clothes for climbers. When we’re not out climbing, we’re busy creating comfortable, high quality, eco-friendly clothing, from 100% organic cotton, using green renewable energy, ethical Fair Wear employment and ecologically friendly farming and manufacturing practices. Click these links to see our unique designs for men and women.


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