Monday By Mateo: Chuck Pratt and Pratt's Crack


Chuck Pratt was the clown prince of Yosemite’s original Camp 4 scene, a climber diminutive in
stature but prodigious on talent and humor, known for his grace on the rock and his gymnastic
feats of balance and derring-do. As his contemporary TM Herbert recalled in an article for
Alpinist, Pratt “used to walk the metal railings at Glacier Point [in the mid-1950s] and any other chains and cables he could find.” Once, when the Colorado climbers Pat Ament and Van Freeman brought their own slack chain to Camp 4 to practice their balance, Pratt stood up on it and began to juggle wine bottles—at least three and maybe four. He was surely one of the progenitors of the modern slack lining movement. He was also bold on rock, and his route Pratt’s Crack in Pine Creek on the East Side of the Sierra still commands respect. Here, where dark rock meets white, a wide crack soars up the cleaved corner. Sure, it’s “only” 5.9, but it’s old-school 5.9 offwidth and it goes on forever. So wear thick clothes, bring Big Bros or Valley
Giants, and be ready to get your gnar on, just like Pratt did on the first ascent way back when.

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