Discovery of Supercrack in 1971
Here are a couple paragraphs excerpted from "The Perfect Crack: The First Ascent of Supercrack," a chapter from a book I'm working on. The photograph is of Brett Green leading the crack in 1996, twenty years after the 1976 first ascent by Earl Wiggins, Ed Webster, and Bryan Becker. "Supercrack was discovered in late November 1971. The week before Thanksgiving, Billy Westbay and I had skipped our Monday through Wednesday classes at the University of Colorado exten
sion in Colorado Springs and had driven my white 1963 Volkswagen Bug that night through a blustery winter squall parked over Monarch Pass on the Continental Divide and down along Tomichi Creek to Gunnison. Jim Dunn, then a botany student at Western State College, awaited us at his little fourteen-foot caravan parked in a shabby trailer park on the western outskirts of town. It was cold, a cough-splitting chill that made it hard to breathe deeply." "Four miles northwest of Newspaper Rock, a spectacular southwest-facing buttress loomed above the road and the bare cottonwoods that lined the creek. A singular, solitary crack split the outer face of the salmon-colored buttress above a yellow cattle guard and a rock-strewn talus slope. I stopped the car on the road and we scrambled up to the base of the sheer Wingate sandstone wall. This was the best crack we had ever seen. It was splitter perfection. It was a super crack. And that’s what we called it: Supercrack. We longed to sink our hands into its parallel perfection, especially Billy who had large mitts amply suited for hand jamming."
Brett Green jamming Supercrack in 1996, 20 years after it's 1976 first ascent and 25 years after it's discovery and naming in 1971. Photo @ Stewart M. Green