On November 4, Fumiya Nakamura made the coveted fourth ascent of one of the hardest offwidth cracks in the world, Century Crack 5.14b. Located on the White Rim in Canyonlands, Utah, Century Crack is an intimidating 85-foot offwidth roof crack. The route starts with a section of hands before widening up to flared #6’s. After this technical crux it’s a total enduro-fest of #5’s before before pulling the roof lip at the very end. The route succumbs to a mix of hand and foot stacks, arm bars, bat hangs, and lots of “wide pony-ing”
The monster roof crack was first climbed by Wide Boyz Tom Randall and Pete Whittaker in 2011 with the gear pre-placed. They later returned and sent the route placing gear on lead. In 2018, Danny Parker became the third climber to send the line.
From Japan, Nakamura is currently travelling around the United States climbing hard cracks. As if Century Crack wasn’t enough, he just sent the notorious Belly Full of Bad Berries 5.13- in Indian Creek. During his successful redpoint of Century Crack, he spent a grueling 83 minutes on the route. His rack was heavy, containing one #3, one #4, one #6, and ten #5’s, plus a bunch of draws. To learn more about his Century Crack ascent, we reached out to Nakamura. You can read our short interview below.
Nakamura with his Century Crack rack. Photo by Ashley Cracroft.
Fumiya Nakamura Interview
Did you do any specific training for Century Crack?
Yes, I climbed a 20-foot crack trainer that’s in the C5-C6 size – it was actually [Century Crack third ascentionist] Danny Parker’s trainer. I trained on it 16 days in a month, almost every other day.
What routes or boulders have you done in the past to prepare you Century Crack?
A lot of routes and boulders in Japan, Vedauwoo, Squamish, and Utah.
When did you first try Century Crack?
I first tried it on November 3rd. After the long drive and approach, we arrived at Century Crack around 5:00pm. I was so tired and we had limited time, but I decided to try it before it got dark. It was almost sunset. There was a lot of sunlight and it was hot for me. I couldn’t flash. It got dark so I lowered down from the roof before the vertical part so that it was easy to clean. On November 4th, I went back at 1:30pm to give it a second try and I sent.
Nakamura on Century Crack. Photo by Ashley Cracroft.
What was your projecting process like?
I climbed lots of hard offwidth routes so I thought I was ready. My strength felt good. I could send hard route in one or two tries. But I was not sure about Century Crack because it is so long. I wanted to imagine my climbing on Century in my mind – a kind of image training – so I went Century one day to confirm the location and approach and see the route with my own eyes. I realized it is so long – incredibly long.
After that I went back to Salt Lake City and visited Danny [Parker] & Ashley [Cracroft] to train with them. I could only climb 20 feet [on the crack trainer]. Next day, it was 40 feet. I understood it was not enough at all. I kept training. [After I experienced] almost no muscle pain, I thought my strength was ready. But I still didn’t know how to take a rest, and my foot and leg endurance was not enough. It felt like my weak point.
What was the most difficult aspect of climbing Century Crack?
Its length and variety of its sizes. It’s not all the same size – it’s not only wide pony. You need many techniques in my opinion. Before my first try, I thought it was only wide pony, but it is not.
What advice would you give to people looking to climb Century Crack in the future?
I’m not sure if you can climb this monster only with wide pony training. I think you need many kind of cracks and inversion experiences. First, have fun. Second, keep your health good – eat good food, avoid injury, hear your body’s voice.
Third, climb lots of offwidths and roofs before Century Crack – as many as possible and many types of offwidth cracks. I think Japan and Vedauwoo are some of the best places. Little Cottonwood has some great routes, and Squamish also has good offwidths. Let me know if you’d like to visit Japan – we’re welcoming you. Forth, find your Century Crack partner. Fifth, train with your trainer and climb 200 feet with 14 lbs on.
Nakamura on Century Crack. Photo by Robin Fults.