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“Luxury Liner” The First Ascent of Supercrack - New Film by Chris Alstrin

January 6th, 2009 | No Comments | Posted in First Ascent, Videos

wiggins2Check out the trailer to my new film I’m working on. In 1976, Earl Wiggins, Ed Webster and Bryan Becker made the historic first ascent of the desert climb “Supercrack”. Stewart Green and Michael Gardner had the foresight to film this historic event with 8mm cameras. 3o years later we bring this story to film.”Luxury Liner”


This film is solar powered. During the making of the film we had a little reunion. Ed Webster, Bryan Becker, Stewart Green, Dennis Jackson and a few others for support spent 7 days in the Indian Creek corridor. We produced one small grocery bag of trash. Everything else was recycled or composted. I’m not a big tech guy so I don’t know how much energy we are saving by going with solar power but I can tell you I’m very excited we took this route and every little bit counts when it comes to protecting our resources. I am currently in the process of editing this film with the help of Mike Meyer. I don’t know about you but everytime I view the trailer to this film and the old super 8mm footage shot by Stewart, I can’t help but be inspired by climbers like Earl, Ed and Bryan.


Stewart Green wrote (excerpted from “Life on the Edge):

wiggins2The second week of November, 1976. Earl Wiggins slung a rack of clunky six-sided Hexentric nuts over his shoulder, nodded at Bryan Becker, who held a rope threaded through a Sticht belay plate that would act as a brake if he fell, standing on the ledge beside him and launched up Supercrack. And it was a thing of beauty. This bold ascent, in the days before Friends, a spring-loaded camming device invented by Ray Jardine for Yosemite’s slick cracks, made sandstone cracks safe, was the real beginning of modern desert crack climbing.
The first ascent of Supercrack was a tangible manifestation of the possibilities of rock climbing. Before its ascent, it was a great unknown if Supercrack and the many other splitter cracks that lined the cliffs in Indian Creek Canyon as well as elsewhere in the canyon country could be safely protected and climbed. The uncertainty was if any gear would actually wedge against the smooth walls inside the soft sandstone ’s parallel-sided crack and keep a falling climber from crashing into the ground. In late 1976, though, Earl Wiggins was at the top of his game. For the next few years he was simply one of the best climbers in America, but he remained modestly unheralded, a footnote on the pages of Climbing Magazine. He believed then and for the rest of his life that proof was in action, that talk was simply idle chatter. A man had to walk the walk. And Earl walked-no, make that ran-that high, fine line. He was different from most of the other climbers because he not only had the swagger but he had the guns to back it up.

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